Obama Responds Again to the Marijuana Question

January 9, 2009 at 8:16 pm 2 comments

Or, in this case, doesn’t respond again.

The second round of ‘Open for Questions’ at change.gov has closed, and the administration has already posted a video response to some of the top questions. Note the operative word here. As is written on the page:

Since there were so many popular questions in so many categories, we tried to pull out some of them that had been addressed previously by the President-elect or Vice President-elect in order to focus the video portion on questions that haven’t been as specifically addressed during the Transition.

To be entirely honest, I excepted this result. Obama cannot backtrack on the statement that he made in the first round of responses, so they chose to answer the question phrased as ‘will you’ rather than one worded as ‘why’ (as some were).

The point of voting was not to extract a response, but rather to demonstrate the widespread support for reform. As my last count, there were either three or four questions related to drug policy reform in the top ten ‘Additional Questions’ (one of which kept flip-flopping between first and second place), and three related to drug policy reform under ‘National Security’.

I’d consider that a success, if nothing else.

The first real test of this administration and its treatment of marijuana policy reform will be the appointment of the next drug czar. There have been rumors that Jim Ramstad is the pick, and I hope that they are unsubstantiated, because Ramstad would be a terrible choice. Ramstad opposes medicinal marijuana, which, as I have noted before, will probably be the first step in reform.

All is not lost yet, though. There are several ways to let Obama know that we expect better:

In our efforts to change local laws – efforts that have been almost universally successful in recent years – we should not forget the importance of reforming drug policy at the national level, which sets the tone for the country as a whole.

Entry filed under: change.gov, drug czar, ethan nadelmann, Facebook, Jim Ramstad, Obama, open for questions.

Decriminalization at Home has Implications Overseas Obama Citizens Briefing Book

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Anonymous  |  January 12, 2009 at 9:37 pm

    A new feature on Obama’s website, Citizen’s Briefing Book, allows us to submit longer proposals to his transition team.


    President Obama,
    Millions of Americans have recognized the need for change in the way this country addresses marijuana. Ballot initiatives in many states have gained overwhelming support for the decriminalization or legalization for medicinal use of marijuana. It has been proven many times over and over that it is safer to smoke marijuana than it is to consume alcohol or tobacco.

    Many non-violent, harmless people are crowding our jails and costing our nation billions of dollars that we can not afford. The case for legalization has been made by countless people over the years, and there is no reason for me to parrot the case. Harvard economist Dr. Jeffery Miron estimated that by repealing prohibition, our country would get an extra 10 to 14 billion dollars per year, including taxes from sales and decreased spending on enforcement.

    It is obvious that prohibition has failed. Marijuana is everywhere. Instead of wasting money trying to prevent a plant from being sold, focus on education and responsible use.

    Legalize it to help fix the economy. Legalize it to prevent the money going towards organized crime. Legalize it for the thousands of terminally ill patients who need it to help them get through the day. Legalize it to keep hard dangerous drugs away from kids. Or, simply legalize it because there is no logical reason not to. It does not matter why you choose to legalize marijuana, the outcome is what is important. By legalizing it, you are putting this country back on track towards fulfilling the goals of our founding father.

    President Franklin Roosevelt saw that alcohol prohibition had failed miserably, thereby saving us from the worst economic depression this country has seen. The answer is clear. Prohibition must be ended now.

  • 2. Open for Questions is… Open Again « Legal.Now  |  March 25, 2009 at 6:46 pm

    […] important for a variety of reasons. Make sure Obama receives this message so loudly that he cannot brush the question off again. Vote […]


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