Obama’s Opportunity: Will the White House Snub Marijuana Yet Again?

Last week, the White House launched the next in its long line of social media engagement initiatives, this one entitled “Your Interview With the President.” The concept was simple, anyone could upload their question to the President on YouTube, others would vote on them, and the highest rated ones would be posed to the Commander in Chief in a Google+ Hangout on January 30th.

This seemed to be a logical opportunity to ask the administration about marijuana legalization. Last Tuesday, I posted NORML’s question to the White House YouTube page for consideration. We asked, “With over 850,000 Americans arrested in 2010, on marijuana charges alone, and tens of billions of tax dollars being spent locking up marijuana users, isn’t it time to regulate and tax marijuana?”

The reception was overwhelmingly positive, in just several hours the question received over 4,000 “thumbs up” votes and was one of, if not the, most popular question on the service. Then a peculiar thing happened, the question was removed. After becoming the most positively voted upon question in less than a day, the White House removed the question, deeming it “inappropriate.”

We informed our audience of the censorship and encouraged them to engage the White House on their own, using our question or a one of their own choosing. Over the next several days the program was inundated with marijuana law reform questions. At first, many met the same fate as our original question and were removed from the site. It seems our persistence ended up paying off and the page administrator finally gave up trying to censor the incoming questions and most marijuana inquiries have remained up since.

Voting closed last night at midnight and I made some rough calculations of the final results to see how we performed. Of the top 160 questions asked, marijuana reform questions accounted for 105 of them. Reposts of our question brought in an estimated 17,524 up-votes in addition to the 4,028 the original received before being removed. Combined, that is over 21,000 votes for one question, which is 5 times as many votes as any other question on the page. The 105 marijuana reform questions in the top 160 brought in over 74,000 votes, dwarfing any other topic. Our friends at LEAP posted a question as well and it ended as one of the top rated questions. You can read their coverage here.

Now, we wait. “Your Interview With the President” is scheduled to take place tomorrow, January 30th. Considering this is the same individual who previously stated that, “we need to rethink and decriminalize our marijuana laws” and that legalization is a “perfectly legitimate topic for debate,” maybe he will take this opportunity to address the issue seriously for once. In an election year, this could go a long way towards winning back those who feel disenfranchised with the administration over a perceived lack of progress on the issue and amped up raids on medical programs in states such as California and Colorado.

The American people are ready for our debate Mr. President, are you?


139 thoughts

  1. Obama say its a “perfectly legitimate topic for debate” yet didn’t even touch the subject. He’s an I gots mine, and a coward.

  2. ugg….. you got to be kidding me, i had a gut feeling this was going to happen.

    Don’t give up! If he is giving a speech in your home town or even near it, ask the question there. We will get our voice heard.

  3. If there ever is a next time, maybe u should just ask why they support unnecessary deaths and suffering of hundreds of thousands of Americans every year?
    Or ask them other then voting on the local level..what is the point of voting?

  4. This is silly I thought it was “WE THE PEOPLE FOR THE PEOPLE” Are we not the people. We need to march on Washington.No matter who gets elected. Are rights are being violated and they are ok with the substances that kill and do no good. but something that helps millions they ignore. We need to go to Washington and shake these morons and remind them they work for use also not just the 1%. sorry i”m just venting.

  5. The claim that Cannabis should not be legalized because of the potential for abuse is stupid. First, one cannot overdose. Second, there is no physical withdrawal after stopping that drives people to do whatever it takes to get more, like heroin or crack.

    Finally, anything can be abused. People abuse nutrition and over eat fast food and soda and these things are NOT good in excess, just like anything else. Some people overdo exercise to the point that it is not healthy. Others take over-the-counter and other pills in excess. As Joe Rogan noted, anyone can take a fork and stab themselves in the eye but that’s no reason to criminalize forks. Similarly, there is no good reason why Cannabis is illegal for adults, at all, period.

    All things in moderation. Responsible adults who are FREE people (at least we’ve been told that since we could crawl) should be able to do what they wish considering it does not harm others. I’m all for tobacco smoking bans in public places because that choice DOES hurt others around them with second hand smoke and that awful stench that follows them around.

    People don’t buy Mexican dirt weed because the US govt. started a campaign of spraying Mexican territories with paraquat, an herbicide which of course kills plants, but is highly dangerous to people who might consume it. What kind of crap-ass govt. office is allowed to do that sort of thing, in the name of public safety? What about the safety of Mexican nationals who live and own that land? It’s bizarre how much power these anti-drug liars and thugs have with their so-called jobs, paid by public revenues! Prohibition creates organized crime and then these people chase them around in a game of cat and mouse. It’s beyond stupid. Find real work. Focus on real criminals, like white collar criminals and violent offenders. Live and let live. Stop lying and tell the truth.

    That intentional poisoning of people forced Americans to grow Cannabis. That’s why Cannabis is the NUMBER ONE cash crop in the United States–Americans were forced to breed and grow their own to avoid being poisoned.

    Bush did cocaine at Camp David while Daddy was president. Laura and her friends reportedly had a smoke-out, according to one of the participants in attendance. Bush fell off the alcohol wagon after leaving office according to Laura, and he gave talks where his speech was so slurred, it was obvious he was either drunk or on tranquilizers.

    Cannabis was medicine for thousands of years and so medical marijuana is not a mere excuse, intended for people feign sickness in order to something that harms no others and is the safest medicine known to man. This sort of whining self-righteous claim is ignorant and fallacious; it’s not surprising considering the campaign of propaganda and misinformation about Cannabis that has lasted generations, socializing people to believe lies.

  6. My question to him would be “Mr. President I am a soldier who has severed numerous deployments in all the combat zones over the last 15 years, I will retire at the end of the next presidents term. If re-elected what will you do to change the federal medical marijuana laws so that, after more than 20 years of service, my retirement benefits won’t be in jeopardy for possessing a prescribed medical marijuana?”

  7. We the people? It’s a joke. Our Nation has been purchased by the wealthiest, and Corporations who need enemies that keep the peoples focus on anything but the death of our Democracy. Marijuana is just one of many. So for those of us who want Marijuana to be legal. Wait until the powers that control our Gov. say okay. On April 15 1814 John Adams letter to John Taylor. Remember democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausted, and murders itself. there has never been a democracy yet that did not commit suicide…
    We must find a way to make legalizing marijuana appear to be advantages to the owners of our plutocracy. Thats it

  8. I liked all the topics put forth by NORML and other relevant postings. So to here that they were deleted and completely ignored by a government that I served for over 8 years in the Army is an outrage! Eight… Years… Of my life! You don’t get to just ignore me after I do something like that for you! After I held other Americans dying in my arms doing your dirty work! You better address this issues! After the nightmares I see every night and all the aches and pains from jumping out of planes and being blown up… This is the only thing I have found that works. So keep denying your citizens and veterans medicine they need to stay healthy, to live a normal life. We will see were your at when we prevail and you are the ones on trial for going against the unalienable rights put forth in the declaration of independence… “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”. I took an oath to protect this country and I have sat back and done nothing for too long. I fought threats foreign. Now its time to fight the domestic threat we face at home. The Noe-Fascists polices that are in direct violation of founding rights and the people that support and enforce them.

  9. jobs that could be created, not just growing, packaging, grading, sales, storage…. they are idiots for not jumping on this. It has never been more popular.

  10. I’m afraid Google+ now knows the truth about cannabis.. They’re learning! The machines are learning! Run for the hills, grow weed.

  11. there you have it, a president or polition sayung one thing to get into the white house or another branch of the goverment promissing to leglize or saying that it should be legal and then doing another when there in. just like a fish fish flip, flop. B.S.

  12. I was told a few months back that the white house would prescribe medical marijuana through the VA for patients who resided in states that allowed MM, now however the white house circulated a letter to all VA doctors changing it back to where it is not allowed.. Thank you mr obama

  13. Take every extra seed and consider plant them everywhere. The hermie seeds that are considered “no good” are best for this role.

    Plant them everywhere. There are already southern counties that are covered with Cannabis that they can’t “afford” to eradicate. Their “law enforcement” budgets just can’t afford to chop down plants. It would just add more to the lot of what grows naturally and is already present.

    UNJUST, UNREASONABLE, AND UNEXPLAINABLE laws created by selfish and racist persons in positions of privilege should be ridiculed and smashed. At the least, just ignore them. “Get to the back of the bus.” Just laugh and civilly disobey.

    History will know who held the moral ground in this whole debacle and disaster of Cannabis prohibition, which was passed with NO over sight, not voted upon by anyone who knew the difference between the words “Marijuana” and “hemp,” thinking it was some strange Mexican danger when it was actually the plant carried here and grown by Washington, Franklin, and most other colonialists who at the time were mostly all farmers. Jefferson brought home special strains from France. WWI propaganda encouraged, demanded the growth of hemp to help the war effort.

    It is the safest medicine known to man, even safer than placebo. There are cities where you can’t even drink the public water, it’s so badly contaminated from irresponsible mining, industry, and factory farming. Cannabis is no more dangerous than any of these mishandled public utilities or the over polluted air and water.

    And they make Cannabis “illegal” when it is not a crime and impose penalties akin to thievery and violence, marking people’s “criminal” records as the worst of stigmas, making school loans inaccessible, when child molesters and violent offenders can get loans to attend college.

    Plant every extra seed, make extra seeds. We have a good system of government, but it’s run by elected officials who will take any extra dollar they can pick up with fat fingers, yet not sit down and read the history. If they understand the history, then it’s intellectually dishonesty for the sake of greed, in which case, they are no better than burglars, armed robbers, Wall Street gamblers, and Ponzi schemers. Don’t elect these losers again because their mugs appear on the most TV commercials.

    Get them out of office. Most only hold their positions because they have some ability to speak publicly, sound like they know what they are talking about, and typically (almost always), incumbents are re-elected to the same position for another term because of name familiarity on mailers and TV ads.

    Point and laugh at them. The ones who have been there the longest are unreformable, unteachable. Conditioned to the corruption and habituated to power without personal responsibility, just FIRE THEM.

    Using the “legal” system is pointless when facing an unjust and corrupt law. Make Cannabis so prevalent by growing it everywhere that controlling it’s growth and use is MORE of an absurdity than it already is.

    -Safest medicine known to man.
    -Safest recreational diversion known to man.
    -Increases enjoyment of music, food, sex, basically everything.
    -Palliative treatment for depression, cachexia, glaucoma, Multiple Sclerosis, epilepsy, PTSD,
    -Apparently curative treatment for certain tumors
    -Is FREE (the concept of ‘street prices’ created directly by the unjust prohibition) as a plant of the creator, and is present everywhere on the planet because it was intentionally carried, bred, and grown by those who understood it’s critical role in human survival.

    -the fastest growing and most prolific source of biomass to produce diesel fuel WHEN (not if) petroleum is ALL GONE and the auto and petrol industries are no longer in business together for mutual benefit–they do as the hospitals and insurance do, to similarly create the most expensive system of health care, by working together to make more money off the poor. This scheme of HMO’s and managed care was concocted by Nixon and proven when his audio tapes were finally released.

    An unjust law is no law at all.
    -St. Thomas Aquinas

    An unjust law is one that has no REASON to back it up, and inevitably is impossible to enforce because of a demand that will. never. go. away.

    Law enforcement of Cannabis related “offenses” is not real law enforcement, it’s a joke. It is a holdover of puritanical hypocrisy meant to control people’s behavior (or at least attempt to do so) by targeting specific racial groups and allowing special interests (good riddance stupid newspapers and gasoline) to control markets. “Free market system?” hahahaha

    Of all the shows like “Law and Order” and “CSI” there are no episodes where they bust Cannabis users because it would be STUPID. People would ridicule the show and never watch again, because it’s not a crime! anymore than taking echinacea or St. John’s wort would be jailable offenses.

    It’s not a crime.
    It’s not a crime.

  14. the only way we will ever get washington to approve medical marijuana is to vote out every S.O.BISCUIT EATER that votes against the current marijuana bills in congress and vote for those that openly support it

  15. It’s funny how this country will decide which poison we can induce in our body which is alchohol the only choice that is on the menue. They have picked for us is worse than the other. That spells corruption.

  16. The war on drugs is not winnable but is continuously fundable which is why marijuana is still illegal

  17. While the war on drugs is not winnable. It is continuously fundable. Which is probably one of the main reasons marijuana remains illegal

  18. In 2004, when running for the U.S. Senate, Obama stated, and I quote, “We need to rethink and decriminalize our marijuana laws.”
    His feet must be held to the fire, on this.

  19. In 2004, when running for the U.S. Senate, Obama stated, and I quote, “We need to rethink and decriminalize our marijuana laws.”
    His feet must be held to the fire, on this. I don’t blame him for this. A President gets pressure from many directions. We must make our pressure felt.

  20. AS I read about the thoughts and feelings expressed on this site,and others like this one,I have to ask.How did our government go from protecting the will of the people to imposing the will of the government on the people?Lawmakers,who knew that they would be so good at their jobs?Gives me that icky feeling in the pit of my stomach.

  21. OK folks its time to make a stand. The only thing that can get things done is money and votes. Most of us have voting rights, some have money. Email this message to your elected officials and stand firm. Also send to like minded friends and family.

    To the President, Members of the US Congress, State and local elected officials:

    Criminal marijuana prohibition is a failure. Over 20 million Americans have been arrested for marijuana offenses since 1965. I believe that the time has come to amend criminal prohibition and replace it with a system of legalization, taxation, regulation, and education.

    I can no longer vote for elected officials that support the the current laws. I have decided not to vote for any politician that does not publicly support the removal of all penalties for the private possession and responsible use of marijuana by adults, including cultivation for personal use, and casual nonprofit transfers of small amounts.


    Voting Citizen
    & Member of the Movement

  22. I think it is so absurd to say Marijuana is called inappropriate when so many Americans (including the President) have tried it and would personally support it’s legalization. Not to mention the opportunity to tax–I’m surprised he didn’t jump all over that one.

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