Why is Obama So Chicken, Unwilling to Even Address the Question of Pot and the Failed Drug War?
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"Inappropriate?" What is more appropriate to discuss at a time like this than fiscal responsibility and civil liberties? President Obama once pledged to have “science and the scientific process…inform and guide decisions” of his Administration, and many of us are still holding out hope he will finally follow through on that promise.
Throughout his presidency, he played off the social media and grassroots strategies that propelled his 2010 campaign. President Obama utilized modern communication tools such as Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube throughout his first term to engage with the American people. The programs varied from YouTube video town halls, to Twitter Q&As, to petition drives, but the general concept was always to solicit policy and reform ideas from the general public, and address them in a formal and intelligent way. Many saw these as perfect opportunities to raise the issue of marijuana prohibition, and as a platform for an otherwise neglected issue to be seriously addressed. In practice, it never seemed to go that way for marijuana reform advocates. Through each of the previous nine efforts of this nature, questions on ending the drug war and legalizing marijuana have finished at the top every time and have typically dwarfed any other issue in volume of responses. Each time the administration has either ridiculed the question, ignored it entirely, or given it a vapid response. In this regard, the latest snub is simply a continuation of the status quo.
It is immensely disappointing that, yet again, the administration has declined the opportunity to discuss the very serious issue of ending marijuana prohibition in this country. For the ninth time, the White House has solicited the American people for direct input on the issues they cared about, and then, when the resulting answers called overwhelmingly for marijuana law reform, President Obama ignored the will of the American. Over half of the country now supports regulating and taxing marijuana; we can only hope that during the general election the issue is addressed with the respect and urgency it demands. If things continue as they are, President Obama very well may earn the dubious honor of running to the right of his predecessor George W. Bush on the marijuana issue.
President Obama once stated that marijuana legalization is an entirely “legitimate topic for debate.” The American people are clearly ready for that debate, Mr. President. When will you be?
Erik Altieri is NORML Communications Coordinator.