President Obama's 4/20 Facebook Forum avoiding marijuana legalization question

Once more President Obama wades into the online breach with yet another Facebook Town Hall to solicit questions on policy from the public.  The event takes place on April 20th, a.k.a. 4/20, the unofficial national cannabis holiday, without any sense of irony that these forums have been dominated by marijuana legalization questions every time the public votes on these questions.

(President Obama’s Facebook) WHAT’S HAPPENING
President Barack Obama will hold a special “Facebook Live” townhall to connect with Americans across the country.
Where? Well, everywhere! The event at Facebook’s headquarters, with CEO Mark Zuckerberg & COO Sheryl Sandberg, will be live streamed for anyone to watch. Just come back here at the right time: Wednesday, April 20 @ 1:45pm PDT / 4:45pm EDT. Unless invited to attend in person, please do not show up at Facebook HQ. You can watch and participate via the event’s live stream.
President Obama will connect with Americans across the country to discuss the tough choices we must all make in order to put our economy on a more responsible fiscal path, while still investing in areas like innovation that will help our economy grow and make America more competitive.
Facebook will be selecting questions for President Obama to answer during the event. Submit questions now by posting them right here, on this event’s wall. As an alternative, you may submit a question via

So how in the world can the president avoid what will surely be voted the number one question once again by the online democracy of Facebook?  Simple… don’t let the public vote.  Scott Morgan from DrugWarChronicle has the scoop:

It had become clear that as long as Obama’s forums allowed the public to vote on topics for the president to address, the top-ranked questions would be about legalizing marijuana or even ending the War on Drugs altogether. Reluctant to confront the issue further, the White House recently changed its approach and announced an April 20, 2011 event on Facebook in which participants will not be allowed to vote at all. Questions can be sent in by email or posted on the Facebook page, but Obama’s staff will make selections without any public input.
The inherently democratic, vote-powered economy of ideas on the Internet has proven to be a remarkably powerful tool for discovering content of social value. The ability to click on what you like is the currency of social media and it offers insights into public opinion that may be worth more than meets the eye. The participatory nature of a vote-driven web forum makes people care about the outcome. Advocates for a wide variety of causes are inspired to spread the word and work to make sure their issue gets votes. The Obama Administration has abandoned the process simply to silence one particular idea, but the effect will be to make the forum less interesting for everyone.
Moreover, the rise of marijuana policy into the realm of mainstream public discussion should fascinate, rather than frustrate, our political leadership. It’s a phenomenon that should at least interest our elected officials, even if they don’t yet fully understand or care that marijuana prohibition funds murder in Mexico, that innocent family pets are slaughtered in botched pot raids, that precious wilderness is being devastated by black-market marijuana manufacturing, that racism defines our marijuana arrest rates, that public servants are being corrupted before our eyes, and that we blow billions each year just to keep the situation as bad as it’s been for so long.

131 thoughts

  1. Just one more way that America decides to shut the mouths of the PEOPLE that LIVE here. You are nothing but hypocrites, asking people what they think and then shunning them for their ideas and questions. America is TRULY UN-American. Obama….you will change NOTHING. Why? Because even as president (I didn’t capitalize that on purpose) you see only what you want to see. This country will run itself into the ground LONG before a solution presents itself. So alcohol remains legal to drunken up all the violent types….and marijuana not? I feel our country is ran by undereducated, undeserving people. They have shown me NOTHING in the terms of trying to make this country better. You ask the people, then you silence them. You make me sick….

  2. With the vastly increasing medical evidences of the incredible cancer fighting and pro-health properties of Cannabis derivatives, and the well known industrial, textile, bio-fuel and agricultural uses that have been attributed to Cannabis Hemp fibers and oils, not to mention, the enormous economic potential or the safe recreational relaxation elements, my question for you, is this, Mr. President…
    “How long will it be before, like our first great President, George Washington, there is Cannabis Hemp growing in the White House Garden…?”

  3. I’ve personally seen what marijuana can do for people in pain – please explain why everyone is forced to go to drug dealers for their medicine? That’s how people get exposed to coke, heroin and lots of pills.

  4. Fascinated or frustrated, I Question why I still support the Obama admistration, But how do you think he feel’s being put in the questionable position of changing the power base of what I believe could be a third of the American financial power base, From Textiles, Pharmaceutical’s, plastic’s, paper, Fuel, Oil’s, protien,and foods, to name a few.
    Imagine the 80yr corporations that could be removed with a swipe of a presidential pen, Lumber,pulp, cotton,Oil company,s, countless drug patent’s, Billions in law enforcement, jail’s, Prisions, courts, lawyers and counsellors,
    Just imagine the scope of legal hemp.

  5. Why wouldn’t we want the violence to stop over a plant such as Marijuana. Legalization of other drugs as well would cut down dramatically on use. Who do you know who would want to show id to buy something like heroin or crack cocaine . I do not know any But I do know a huge amount of people who could help to safe our economy but legalizing and taxing Marijuana in its many forms of use. Hemp itself can be used for rope , clothing as well as many other house hold items many use every day. And it is only a plant which heighten aware3ness it does not make people dumb it helps ailments like chronic pain and ADD. I am a mother who would have used it as a medicine for my child if were to help him focus in school. and Yes I have chronic pain due to hereditary problems and Yes if it were legalized and taxed for use I would be a consumer. I know thousands of others who feel the same way Mr President how can you not see how this PLANT can help our economy and boost your plan to help the deficit faster than in 12 years and by making less cuts. Create Jobs for farmers, manufacturers of many house hold goods and for those who can benefit from the medicinal ways THC can help America. I do not smoke because of the legal reasons Sir but if you were to make it available to lessen my daily pain I would be a more productive mother I would be able to do simple things like plant a garden something people take fore granted and Sir I would be able to go back to work and help my husband provide for my family!

  6. Wow, way to cheaper the democratic experience Obama. Obviously something so widespread couldn’t possibly be a hot button issue? Lol of course not. Just silence the masses.

  7. This displays evidence of the federal government avoiding the popular opinion of the government. The people cannot expect politicians to take our interest. We must talk amongst ourselves and demonstrate solutions LOUDER. The people of WI stood strong at the capital, they did not partner together and suggest alternative solutions. They did not form financial teams to fight money with money. This war is about money. Marijuana was the first billion dollar industry in America. It’s an attack on Big Oil, Big Pharmacy, Cotton, Lumber, chemical companies (pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizer), government jobs… Now there’s tax payer expense. As people we need to reconnect and emotionally strengthen each other… fight by joining TEAMS in the cause of solutions. Make pushes in your local state… Montana and North Dakota are leading the way! Things are changin’ and it’s time the people lead the change rather than expect it from politicians. Join a TEAM or form a TEAM.

  8. What a surprise. Silence the masses to avoid the inevitable. I’m sorry I ever supported you President Obama. Your not different than the rest who lie to gain our votes then turn on your country in the blink of an eye.
    When will you and the FEDS learn and accept that you will never, and I mean NEVER stop us from using cannabis? I will use it whenever and however I want, and guess what? I’m gonna grow it too and so our the rest of us and there’s not a goddamn thing you can do about it.
    You all literally make me sick to my stomach. You give us alcohol which destroys our livers and makes us brainless, incoherent idiots. You give us cigarettes that cause cancer and disease, all for profit.
    And yet you keep cannabis illegal? Why? You pigs can’t profit from it! That’s what its all about. Selfish greed. Typical America. You can keep it illegal all you want but you’ll never stop me or anyone else from using it! EVER.

  9. Yes, marijuana being illegal sucks, yell at the senate and house of rep. To change it they need to pass it to him before he can sign yell at them at least hes trying to do a good job

  10. You know, our national political leaders and literally millions of Americans who remain fully supportive of pot prohibition and drug prohibition generally will readily chuckle and laugh at the FOLLY that was alcohol prohibition. Obama will probably sit and watch Ken Burns upcoming Prohibition documentary and shake his head at how misguided and futile it was. He might even be sipping a glass of wine as he does. How they can be that cognitively disconnected I don’t know, but they are.

  11. This is all apart of the master plan to make Americans into a country of servants. Where we are told we have a say in how are country is run and and what laws we want.
    What the truth is that Obama and all other presidents before and in the future are all puppets. they do not care what we as a country want. We need to take back our country from these villains. I hope the nation opens its eyes before its too late. Come on every day the DEA shuts down a tax paying medical marijuana business if Obama cared he would put a stop to it. The people who run and operate those businesses are do9ing the American dream. paving new ground for new industry.
    Free enterprise. Something is wrong when a government edits public opinion.

  12. What’s the matter Obama? It is painfully obvious to everyone but you politicians that prohibition on marijuana is not and has never worked, but we as a country keep pouring money into this “so called war on drugs” and all it is accomplishing, is putting money into the black market, sending innocent people to prison resulting in over crowding, causing more tax dollars to be wasted, and even more being missed out on by the government. My question is this, How can you keep skirting the issues, ignoring the American people, and keep one of the biggest cash crops in the world illegal when the United States is in the worst economical state in it’s history simply because you do not want to be known as “The one who legalized marijuana”? WE NEED CHANGE!! Where is it at Obama? You promised us change but have delivered more of the same half truths and lies that the United States government have been feeding us since 1937.

  13. If offered sufficient facts and evidence, any reasonable, self respecting, law abiding individual would [at the very least] expect and demand proof beyond a shadow of doubt, that the evidence supported by the facts is true. With that in mind – and – despite all appearances as a just person – how in the bloody hell can any prohibitionist have the nerve and audacity to corroborate the complete and absolute bullshit presented by a prejudice and unjust law – unless they are the author of that misplaced justice.
    Prohibs probably have it in their minds, as a passing observation that 4-20 @ 4:20 will be a meaningless gesture on our part. Tomorrow – it will be up to us to show them how mistaken they are. Some ask what can we do? Tomorrow – we can give Obama a real piece of our minds on his Facebook.
    Good luck and have a really great CDXX Communion.

  14. Obama is holding this Facebook forum on April 20th at about 4:20 p.m.. If he refuses to address the Quagmire prohibition v.2.0. has created then he is outright slapping reformers in the face with a wet rag.
    He mocks us!!!!!

  15. I have 2 questions for you, Mr. President. #1) What happened to common sense? #2) Why on earth did you do a “flip flop”?? Finally, Please Do Not Treat This Issue As A Laughing Matter or Joke, As You Did Before. Thank you. Sincerely, BD

  16. this is sad, president obama is going to have a town hall meeting. and then he is not going to let the town people in. they need to rename this as a campaign speech. how do you debate the people when you dont let the people in ? im really beginning to think this goverment is more a dictatorship. if people ask me questions i dont want i wont talk to the people . the president will only surround himself with the corporations that is putting money in his pocket. this form of goverment sucks

  17. Obama’s Road to RU IN: Has anyone noticed that the Obama campaign theme, which is also posted on Barack Obama facebook page is: “Are You In?” Now, if I text that to someone, it comes out as: RU IN. WTF? This guy is an ass, don’t drink the koolaid. Vote for any else.

  18. I won’t vote (again) for a two faced lying piece of crap. He’s gone back on his “words” and doesn’t seem to have control of DEA or any federal agency. It’s still business as usual for all republicans still holding Bush appointed positions. I don’t think they fired any federal DA’s in any state. He kept all of them! Walk on Barry I’ll be voting for anyone that doesn’t consider me a criminal.
    Happy 4/20 and let’s not forget about all our people that are rotting in cages. Marc, Eddy, we won’t forget. FTW

  19. To all my brethren in the “Reformation of the Genesist Faith”
    God be with you.

  20. Lost all faith in the so-called electronic “democratic-process” since the first 26-Mar-2009 Online Town Hall Meeting. (Didn’t wholeheartedly believe Obama’s vague, weasel-worded, pre-election responses to cannabis law reform questions either), so his contemptuous laughter 26-Mar-2009 at America’s #1 concern was no real surprise to me…!!!

  21. It seems that President Obama does not have what it takes to do what he really (probably) wants.
    I honest believe, that if marijuana was legal for adults, that he would truly enjoy himself by smoking a but of the herb while relaxing on a nice beach in Hawaii. I’m 100% sure it is something that close to 50% of all Americans would like to do if given the chance.
    It’s truly sad he has so much power but is apparently afraid to use it. Either that or he has changed so much since his younger years as to now be unrecognizable.

  22. I just re-read the post I just made and noticed a few spelling mistakes… I wish we had the ability to edit our posts so that we could avoid appearing less intelligent than we truly are…
    One more thing – I am disappointed in NORML for not getting behind the gathering that is now taking place in our nations capitol! I think NORML has a lot of power when it comes to rallying people and getting them involved but doesn’t take advantage of it nearly enough. I’m aware of the conference going on right now, but I have to say the timing sucks. I think getting us all together in DC to make our voices heard would be more fruitful…
    [Editor’s note: 1) The organizers of a 4/20 event in DC when there is a well advertised NORML national conference is in Denver and 2) Congress is not in session was unwise.]

  23. The war on marijuana has failed just like the “war” on alcohol. STOP THE OPRESSION, we have the RIGHT to decide to smoke this PLANT if we want to. It’s just as bad as tobacco. Punishing and ruining innocent people’s live and futures with these stupid petty misdemeanor possession charges. GO STOP A METH LAB OR CRACK HOUSE YOU PUSSES.

  24. My question to President Obama:
    After 40 years of the epic failure of the War on Marijuana isn’t it time to try something different? How about just eliminating the office of DEA which will save 2 billion dollars and farm out all the staff to Afghanistan and Iraq as support services and stop funding private for profit companies like Xe (formerly Blackwater) who are wreaking havoc over in the Middle East.

  25. even without a vote it wont matter. if the overwhelming input on facebook is the drug war issue then even if he dodges the bullet he knows what the people want him to actually do. i say continue to attack his approval rating, if he fears losing the election in 2012 he might at least fully decriminalize possession

  26. If alcohol is legal. Marijuana should be equally as legal. how many people do you hear of that go into a high stuper and kill their wives or beat someone. i think people who smoke the pot are less likely to corrupt society than the people who down alcohol daily. i havent been smoking the pot and my head is pretty clear and i can tell u right now legalizing the pot will probably HELP the government. I mean its legal in a quarter of the country anyway. so whats stopping the rest?

  27. “Facebook will be selecting questions” vs “Obama’s staff will make selections” Which is it? I’m assuming it’s the later but they are using facebook as a scapegoat.

  28. {paraphrasing} Mr. President… I’m a LEAP guy… WTF prohibition over.
    Answer (trying not to laugh) oh yeah this is serious and should be discussed…
    Just not in public where anyone can see, right?
    Tell ya what Mr prez… I will do my business in secret too… the next time I pull the voting lever asshat!

  29. we need a third party , if barrack obama will not face the issue , how can you vote for a rebulican , my god there is no choices any more. the people running this country is corporations. about 15 years ago congress passed a lad allowing corporations the ability to buy as many mass news media outlets as they can possibly buy. you can now see why that was so inportant when the news will not report the truth about marijuana or any other subject that the big corporations dont want you to hear about. democracy is something that used to be what our goverment worked by but that went out the window a long long time ago. its time to find a third party candidate that will stand up and talk about the issues of the day and not the issues of big corporations

  30. ahhhhh! i wish i can make it …… i have to work. everybody, please flood this facebook town hall meetin with marijuana legalization questions. we made it the most frequently asked question when he held an online town hall meetin. we can do it again. legalize

  31. The election is coming up (at least in the eyes of political wonks). Obama’s opponents target the culturally conservative as a voting block and even the slightest miscue could lead to the rise to power of those avidly against our interests. If they dragged William Ayers out of the closet for the last election, imagine what they’ll do with any comment even vaguely pro-marijuana.

    Some times the best defense is “no defense” – but – for the most part, and most of the time – the best defense is a “strong offense.” Today – 4-20 @ 4:20 – we, the Genesist Faith and friends, make a Declaration, and deliver it to all prohibs. Today – we start “defending” the garden with a “strong offense.” Today – and for all time – prohibs will be the “defenders” if they have any inclination whatsoever of invading the garden. The barbarians are at the gate – but – the shame they wear on the bosom of their soul, and their jersey, bear a huge 86. Today – we’re going to let our “offense” take the field – “GAME OVER.” But – it doesn’t stop there! After today – we offer them one word to get used to – “DEFEAT.” We hope – we truly hope – that they are good losers, and can handle their loss – otherwise – “They made their bed – now – they can lay in it.”

  33. If we could bribe Congress and the Senate with as much money as the Drug Corporations do, Marijuana would be legal today. Tax money isn’t good enough….they want pocket $…..

  34. President Obama knows exactly what today is! Folks are talking about IT (legalization). The President isnt giving amunition to those opposed to legalization. He has picked the time and place for the town hall on facebook…come on people that is code for give me a second term and we will get the job done. I certainly don’t believe there is a Republican on the horizon planning on riding in on a white horse with ending prohibition top on his agenda. I may be delulded but I say odds are far greater that should legislation passes both houses of congress ending prohition, President Obama is far more likely to sign it than not.
    My concern is for the Post Obama era. Can you imagine having the Feds cracking down in CA and other states again!
    Don’t be so hard on the President, there may be more at play here than meets the eye.

  35. The best question to ask Obama is: “Seriously, who do you think will be the next president in 2012?”
    Legalize cannabis is the only hope for the future.

  36. I cannot support this president who has withdrawn all support for me and my people.
    Don’t ask the president for help, ask your friends and neighbors, everyone you know. The people have the power, not the president. When enough average people demand change, it will happen; change will not come from the top.

    “Unless invited to attend in person, please do not show up at Facebook HQ.”
    This is why I will not be renewing my membership to NORML. Sorry guys, seems like I am contributing to nothing but your own wealth…
    [Editor’s note: As NORML is convening a national conference in Denver, CA-based reform groups involved in medical marijuana protested Obama today…]

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