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President Obama wants my questions

I got an email from President Barack Obama on Friday. I didn’t realize he knew me, but it was a nice letter and apparently he wants to hear from me personally!

The day after I delivered my State of the Union Address to Congress, I took off to connect with ordinary Americans around the country, talk more about our Blueprint for an America Built to Last, and get some feedback.

That’s why I’m writing you.

I guess my presence on the internet finally paid off. He realizes that I’m someone he can turn to for guidance.

On Monday we’re going to do something a little different. At 5:30 p.m. ET, I’ll walk into the Roosevelt Room across the hall from the Oval Office, take a seat, and kick-off the first-ever completely virtual town hall from the White House.

All week, people have been voting on questions and submitting their own, and a few of them will join me for a live chat.

What do you want to ask me?

This is going to be an exciting way to talk about the steps that we need to take together at this make-or-break moment for the middle class.

I suppose I should ask him about drug policy. Probably nobody else has done that yet, and I bet he’s anxious to have the opportunity to talk about legalization.

Seriously, here is the actual top vote-getter for tomorrow night, from LEAP’s Stephen Downing.

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51 comments to President Obama wants my questions

  • Duncan20903

    .
    .

    Border patrol agents, cops declare war against marijuana prohibition

    Dave Stancliff/For the Times-Standard
    Posted: 01/29/2012 02:38:30 AM PST

    If life was a movie.

    Opening Scene for “A LEAP of Faith”

    A green-and-white Border Patrol vehicle is cruising a primitive road along the international border between Mexico and California. It throws up plumes of dust as the occupants scan the horizon. The sun at high noon is an angry ball in a clear azure sky. Stretches of dirt turn into occasional strips of blacktop melting in the extreme heat. The patrol car disappears in a cloud of dust.

    Dialogue inside the car:

    1st Agent: “I wonder how long we’ll have to enforce this useless prohibition of pot? We know it’s a farce, and the public knows it, too.”

    2nd Agent: “Better watch who is around when you say things like that, Pete.”

    1st Agent: “I know … it makes me sick. Last month they called Charlie into Border Patrol Headquarters in Washington and fired him because of his personal views on this losing war against marijuana.”

    2nd Agent: “How did they hear about Charlie’s views anyway?”

    1st Agent: “He was talking about LEAP during lunch with some guys from the night shift. Someone probably passed his words along to his supervisor.”

    2nd Agent: “LEAP?”

    1st Agent: “That’s right. It stands for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition.”

    2nd Agent: “Tell me more about them…”
    /snip/

    Res ipsa loquitur.

  • claygooding

    They took NORML’s question off the list because the Whitehouse said it was inappropriate.

    “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?”

    For some reason they really never talk about the cost,only how much more budget they need.

    • Francis

      That’s odd. Obama previously said that drug legalization was an “entirely legitimate topic for debate.”

    • MaineGeezer

      Maybe it was declared inappropriate because they thought it was too difficult to figure out an evasive answer that didn’t sound completely bogus.

  • Jake

    He wants a “blueprint”.. here is a suggestion…

  • Francis

    “What do you say to this growing voter constituency that wants more changes to drug policy than you have delivered in your first term?”

    MORE changes to drug policy than Obama has delivered?! That’s a pretty charitable way of phrasing the question.

  • in my opinion he doesn’t want to change much, just father some extra voters in the opposition

    • Francis

      That’s an interesting strategy, but even if he got started now, they wouldn’t turn 18 and be eligible to vote until well after the election. 😉

  • in my opinion he doesn’t want to change much, just gather some extra voters in the opposition

  • claygooding

    Prediction,,sometime this spring he will do something that appears to be opening discussions on drug law reform,,perhaps another study such as the last three authorized by congress and promptly ignored.

  • claygooding

    ISR: Israeli researchers say more doctors should recommend marijuana to cancer patients

    http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/israeli-researchers-say-more-doctors-should-recommend-marijuana-to-cancer-patients-1.409918

    “”More than two-thirds of cancer patients who were prescribed medical marijuana to combat pain are reportedly satisfied with the treatment, according to a comprehensive study conducted for the first time in Israel. The study – conducted recently at Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer, in conjunction with the Israel Cancer Association – involved 264 cancer patients who were treated with medical marijuana for a full year.””

    I wonder how many patients taking big pharmacy’s cancer treatments would recommend them to their friends? 2/3 of the patients also reported that they would recommend marijuana to their friends for pain management and as a treatment.

  • Dante

    Oh, for crying out loud!

    Another “Tell us what you think” opportunity from the US Government – after three nearly identical dog & pony shows failed to accomplish a thing?

    People – they don’t care what you think. They aren’t going to listen to you.

    THIS IS AN ELECTION YEAR PLOY. AGAIN. DON’T FALL FOR IT.

    The only way is to vote all incumbents out in November. Especially the drug warriors.

    Then, when tossed out on their cans, they will listen.

    • Duncan20903

      .
      .

      Dante, are you willing to go so far as to vote for Newt in order to toss out the incumbents? I’m not saying he’s going to get the Republican nomination. I’m trying to find out just how far you’re willing to go. In every race there are people who are going to look at the challenger and see some degree of Newt, i.e. disgust. Vote the rascals out is a noble sentiment, but what appears to happen is that the rascals are all running in races that other than the one that the voter is casting. It’s the other 98 Senators that need to be tossed, it’s the other 434 Congressmen, it’s the other 49 Governors, it’s the other 74,323 County Sheriff’s that are screwing everything up, etc. etc. etc. Voting for Gary Johnson just isn’t likely to get Mr. Obama tossed out.

      • Dante

        Tough call Duncan, but I sleep well at night knowing one thing:

        The traditional religious, sanctimoneous sack of hypocrisy that is the GOP hates Newt more than I do. He’s toast.

        So, would I vote for Romney?

        After all Obama promised and did not deliver, yes.

        • dt

          I think Obama is still the lesser of two evils if Romney is the nominee. Obama in a second term is more likely to be sympathetic to marijuana than Romney in a first term. Obama has smoked in the past, and Romney, being a Mormon golden boy, probably hasn’t. it would be a setback from a PR standpoint to elect the first president in 20 years who hasn’t smoked. Besides that, Romney’s statements on marijuana are much worse than Obama’s – Obama acknowledges that it has medical potential, while Romney thinks it should be avoided at all costs, and it is necessarily worse than any alternative.

          We’re talking outside chances, but the probability of something happening at the executive level is still higher with Obama.

        • darkcycle

          I’mcoming in as the anti Obama devils advocate here, and suggest that there is no reason whatsoever to think of Obushma as the “lesser” of any evils. He has governed using the very same neo-con/neo-liberal playbook as Shrub-the-lesser. I also see no encouragement from a supposedly unfettered Obama second term. He still has his library to fund, his speaking fees and his positions on various boards of directors to think of. A vote for Obama or his Repugnican surrogate, it’s the same thing. I’m off the third party road, myself.

  • Matthew Meyer

    OT: Peter Hitchens is at it again. See if you can follow his contortions. (Funny, I thought that using cannabis was–at least formerly–a means of political dissent.)
    http://hitchensblog.mailonsunday.co.uk/2012/01/the-cannabis-cult.html

    • darkcycle

      Oh, he is good for a laugh or two there.

      • darkcycle

        Hitchen’s must have lost a lot of girlfriends to stoners back in HS.

        • Duncan20903

          .
          .

          That’s just like what Harry J Anslinger said:

          “There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the US, and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos, and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz, and swing, result from marijuana use. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers, and any others.” (except Harry J)

    • SonOfNunu

      I just posted this – complete with UK spelling. let’s see if he approves it.

      Peter, I’m sure you’ll agreed that smoking should not be encouraged. Yet we do not threaten tobacco users with arrest and imprisonment. Now consider dangerous sports such as mountain climbing. The death rate on Mount Everest is about one in ten of those who make it successfully, which is a vastly higher mortality rate than just about any drug used at present in a recreational manner.

      Maybe you believe that it’s immoral to use a certain drug. If so, would you care to explain to us why you think that alcohol or tobacco is exempted from your personal moral condemnation. And even then, you still need to explain why you think it should be a crime to imbibe certain plants and not others.

      Prohibition means that these certain plants/concoctions/drugs are sold only by criminals and terrorists who are heavily armed. This is a direct result of this failed policy which guarantees that those who sell drugs cannot defend their business interests in the usual legal way.

      law enforcement and rehabilitation are mutually exclusive. Would alcoholics seek help for their illness if doing so were tantamount to confessing to criminal activity? Likewise, would putting every incorrigible alcoholic behind bars and saddling them with criminal records prove cost-effective?

      Peter, nobody wants to see an end to prohibition because they want to use drugs (they can already obtain them 7/11 on most street corners). No, they wish to see proper legalised regulation because they are witnessing, on a daily basis, the dangers and futility of prohibition. ‘Legalised Regulation’ won’t be the complete answer to all our drug problems, just as the end of alcohol prohibition in the US didn’t end all the problems associated with alcohol use/abuse, but it’ll greatly ameliorate the crime and violence on our streets, and only then can we provide effective education and treatment.

      • Jake

        SonOfNunu, Hitchens actually debated Peter Reynolds of CLEAR last year http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VrtKKCntSA8 regarding a legal regime for Cannabis. Whilst Hitchens is on the wrong side of history, he fully believes that drugs are a moral issue, he would prohibit alcohol/tobacco if he could (he is at least consistent in his view). He thinks they stupefy a population and will run it into ruin (his thinking is straight out of the 60’s). He also believes that we haven’t yet had a ‘war on drugs’, at least in the UK. If he were in charge you can imagine a far far more draconian ‘solution’.

        As I said, he is on the wrong side of history, his views are, largely, wrong and are not supported by the evidence… but he is a very good writer and has a large platform. He will be there until after the walls come tumbling down around him proclaiming anything negative about Cannabis as proof he was ‘right’ whilst ignoring the reduction in harms, crime, policing required and increased tax revenue. I hope your comment gets through (my experience is that they dont) if for no other reason than to educate the know-nothings reading his writings, as we aren’t going to change his mind any time soon…

      • darkcycle

        Damn fine, Malcolm, damn fine. I’m not feeling in top form yet today, and haven’t responded to that one. I’m battling a serious caffiene deficiency right now and need to pour more coffee down my neck. But right now, I’m pretty much worthless. We will see…

        • SonOfNunu

          They posted it!

          Here’s another one:

          Darren W., you wrote the following statement: “Going by that logic, it’s also your right to murder a person if you choose, which is also against the law.”

          Darren, It is extremely disingenuous to compare laws that are obviously there to protect us from each other – such as those pertaining to Pedophilia, Rape and Murder, with laws solely and foolishly designed to protect individuals from themselves – such as prohibition.

          While it is true that taking any drug (especially alcohol and tobacco) can sometimes indirectly affect others, this exact same argument was used to implement and painfully prolong alcohol prohibition in the US during the 1920s. Domestic violence, wife battering and child neglect were definitely not curtailed, or even slightly ameliorated during this earlier period of insanity. Not only did Prohibition increase usage but it also exacerbated all other related problems while bootleggers, just like many of our present day drug lords, became rich and powerful folk heroes as a result.

          Historically, the prohibition of any mind altering substance has never succeeded in providing what is needed – which is a safer environment for the users, the addicts, their families and society at large; Prohibition always spawns far worse conditions than those it’s supporters claim to be able to alleviate, so shouldn’t we all be aware by now of the difference between sensible public policies designed to protect us, and those foolishly designed to create as much mayhem as possible?

        • SonOfNunu

          “But right now, I’m pretty much worthless.”

          No worries DC! Find yourself a comfy seat in the gallery, pour another coffee, skin-up, and enjoy as poor ol’ Peter Hitchens gets hacked to bits and fed to wild dogs.

        • Duncan20903

          .
          .
          Well what a coinkydink. I just posted the executive director of the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs’ estimate of the number of cannabis users at some point in the 1930s. Last year the Federal government estimated that there are 17.4 million Americans who have enjoyed cannabis in the recent past. That’s an increase of more that 17,000% in ~75 years.

          Proposed assertion: If the murder rate had increased 17,000% in a comparable time period, you’re damn right we’d be trying to figure out something that works.

        • MaineGeezer

          @!SonOfNunu:

          Well said.

          As Peter Christ of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition puts it in his presentations, “As cops, our job is to protect you from each other. It is not our job to protect you from yourselves.”

          Prohibition breeds crime, corruption, and violence while doing nothing to solve our drug use problem. We need to end drug prohibition, which will end the crime, corruption, and violence spawned by prohibition. We can then address our drug USE problem as the medical and social problem that it is, rather than trying to turn it into a law enforcement problem, which it isn’t. The police are trained to arrest people, not to treat drug addicts. We need social workers and physicians, not cops, for this problem.

        • darkcycle

          Here. This is the best I could muster today: Mr. Hitchens, I would like to point out that people like me, who regularly comment on drug law reform issues, use something called a “search engine”. It is a marvelous invention, as you can enter terms like “marijuana” and “drug law reform” and it will return every related item it finds to your inbox. While it may suit your argument by providing a convenient straw man, and help to justify your private delusion, to assert that there is an organized effort to go and beat up Peter when he writes about marijuana, it is not the case. Nor is it the case that there is some sort of “master website” directing people where to post. Rather than an organized effort of a central authority, is is the individual efforts of many organized individuals…people with the capacity to use a search engine to find articles of concern to them. This is one of the current concerns of many, many people. NORML has been around for years, and it has never succeeded in pushing the issue beyond the fringe…what exactly do you think is happening here?Posted by: darkcycle | 30 January 2012 at 10:22 PMYour comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment Mr. Hitchens, I would like to point out that people like me, who regularly comment on drug law reform issues, use something called a “search engine”. It is a marvelous invention, as you can enter terms like “marijuana” and “drug law reform” and it will return every related item it finds to your inbox. While it may suit your argument by providing a convenient straw man, and help to justify your private delusion, to assert that there is an organized effort to go and beat up Peter when he writes about marijuana, it is not the case. Nor is it the case that there is some sort of “master website” directing people where to post. Rather than an organized effort of a central authority, is is the individual efforts of many organized individuals…people with the capacity to use a search engine to find articles of concern to them. This is one of the current concerns of many, many people. NORML has been around for years, and it has never succeeded in pushing the issue beyond the fringe…what exactly do you think is happening here?Posted by: darkcycle | 30 January 2012 at 10:22 PMYour comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

        • darkcycle

          weird…that posted twice….

  • Steve Finlay

    Actually, LEAP’s question got the most votes of all the VIDEO questions, not ALL the questions. Minor detail.

  • claygooding

    Marijuana questions dominate White House online chat — again

    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-57368357-503544/marijuana-questions-dominate-white-house-online-chat-again/?tag=contentMain;contentBody#comments

    “”President Obama’s live, online chat slated for Monday afternoon is intended to focus on issues raised during last week’s State of the Union address — but his online audience seems to be much more interested in marijuana policy.””

    Comments are open gentlemen,,start your engines!!!!!!

  • Duncan20903

    .
    .

    The ghost of Joseph McCarthy?

    DEA inquiries into medical marijuana industry include legislators
    By MICHAEL MOORE of the Missoulian
    Posted: Monday, January 30, 2012 7:30 am

    Diane Sands is used to having her name taken in vain.

    That’s just part of being a liberal from Missoula in the Montana Legislature.

    But her name surfaced recently in a way that offended and troubled her at a profound level.

    A possible witness in a federal drug investigation was asked whether Sands might be part of a conspiracy to sell medical marijuana. The questions came from Drug Enforcement Administration agents from Billings who were investigating medical marijuana businesses, and Sands learned about the inquiry from the witness’ attorney.
    /snip/

    Wow. I wish I hadn’t moved out of the United States. Or at least wish that I could recall doing so. What is the name of this strange land in which I am a stranger?

  • ezrydn

    Remind him of the spliff you two shared back in his “community” days. LOL

  • Chris

    Well… watching this now. Nothing about drug policy yet, but I did miss the first 6 minutes of this.

  • SonOfNunu

    “weird…that posted twice….”

    Some things are that good .. brilliant even!

    Hitchens will need an extra bottle tonight.

    Back to the topic: http://www.youtube.com/WhiteHouse

    • darkcycle

      I thought it half-assed, at best. All the rest had been well rebutted by the time I got in there.
      Speking of time…4:20, left coast, on the dot…see ya!

  • claygooding

    Nope,not a word,,so sad..but it does make it apparent to any str8 watching that they are running from us,,and we don’t even have guns.

  • well really… Mr Obama, you sir have erred. I am embarking on the NObama Campaign… potheads everywhere, tell the Prez that he will NOT be getting your/our vote/s.

    I owe Tim and Bonnie at Salem-News an oped. May as well start there.

  • So… what’d they do? Did they say “we’re skipping 18 out of 20 of the most popular questions” or did we get totally ignored? They do realize ignoring us doesn’t mean that we don’t exist or that we’ll just go away (if we do exist).

    Buttheads

    • Peter

      Do we have a list of the questions that have been sent in and the numbers? I don’t see them on the you tube link…

  • Duncan20903

    I really hate seeing people beating a dead art form.

    Pot Fanatics Ruin Obama’s Attempt to Talk About Serious Things Again
    by Liz Colville
    1:40 pm January 30, 2012

    In another failed attempt to have a Serious Discussion about things that allegedly matter to the American people, like the invisibility of jobs, the mirage-like appearance of money and the light-as-air noggins of the land’s lawmakers, the White House held a contest to see which American person-submitted questions President Obama should answer in a YouTube Q&A happening Monday afternoon, another installment of a thing they call “Your Interview With the President.” AS USUAL, the people took a vote and said DRUGS! Basically everything was about drugs. The things that weren’t about drugs had to be flagged for removal due to inappropriateness. Americant!
    /snip/

    • darkcycle

      I almost posted there, but I read the first twenty or so. The main body of those comments are idiots trying to one-up each other with dorito jokes and other tired cliches, the rest seem to be more concerned with Michelle Obama’s panties. (hmmmm…never thought much about those…)

    • Peter

      love this line from air-head Liz Colville:

      “…who now represents a group called LEAP (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition) (prohibition???)”

      thereby revealing just how out of touch with the argument on drug reform she really is.

    • Duncan20903

      It was presented as satire, that being the dead art form to which I referred.

  • dt

    Google didn’t even present the LEAP question to Obama, despite the fact that it was the top vote getter.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/01/31/idUS61868057620120131

  • and at HuffPo:

    Obama Ignores Pot-Related Questions In Monday’s Online Chat

    But now I’m curious… was it Google that didn’t present the questions to NObama rather than his ignoring them? I kinda need to know if I’m gonna do a shame-on-you oped (and of course there’s plenty to do one in that vein, just whether or not I can include NObama’s latest dismissive)

  • and lo and behold… Tom points out that LEAP has that detail covered:

    YouTube Ignores Cop’s First Place Marijuana Legalization Video Question for Obama

    Site Finds Time for Questions About Dancing, Late-Night Snacks and Playing Tennis

    Stephen Downing, the retired LAPD police officer and a board member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), had this to say about the site ignoring his question: “It’s worse than silly that YouTube and Google would waste the time of the president and of the American people discussing things like midnight snacks and playing tennis when there is a much more pressing question on the minds of the people who took the time to participate in voting on submissions. A majority of Americans now support legalizing marijuana to de-fund cartels and gangs, lower incarceration and arrest rates and save scarce public resources, all while generating new much-needed tax revenue. The time to discuss this issue is now. We’re tired of this serious public policy crisis being pushed aside or laughed off.”