Regardless of the answers given (or not) by the Obama transition team to the questions below, the mere fact that they were asked and obviously resonated so strongly with people, is already making an impact.
Quite a few people have taken notice about the prevalence of drug policy questions (and I expect there will be more).
Tim King at the Salem-News writes
I am not surprised that the number one thing Americans are asking President-elect Barack Obama is whether or not he is going to legalize marijuana. Generations are changing and evolving and the taboos around cannabis are slowly falling away.
Chris Bowers at Open Left writes:
This is the sort of thing that can happen when voting is left open to the public: […]
Now, I don’t mean to mock the question, or the public in general, when I say “this is the sort of thing that can happen.” Quite to the contrary, as I explain in the extended entry, half the country has used marijuana, more people are arrested each year for marijuana than for violent crime, the nation overwhelmingly favors reduction in marijuana penalties, it is very relevant to our economic downturn, and it is a question that simply has not been asked of the incoming administration in other forums. It should be asked, and I am glad it is on track to winning.
He goes on to give five reasons why the marijuana question should be asked — good ones. And concludes:
This should be a question that the incoming administration has to answer. It is, after all, not a small problem, not an issue on which there is consensus, and has not been addressed elsewhere. The Internet has long provided an outlet for issues and questions ignored by gatekeeper media. It is nice to see that “Open for Questions” is proving no exception.
Contrast that rational analysis to this hackneyed reaction at OhMyGov (and what we’re likely to see more of in the mainstream media):
Instead, the most popular question to the Obama administration was whether or not the President-elect plans to legalize marijuana. That’s right, throw the economy, eliminating our oil addiction, handling terrorism and ending two wars out the window because Americans just want to smoke their pot and eat it too. […]
What exactly these trends say about Americans is nebulous at best. Given Obama’s popularity among young adults and their proclivity to find cool websites faster than an Illinois politician can get in trouble, it’s likely the data is skewed to overrepresent this group whose nightly habits don’t quite mirror Joe the Plumber’s.
On the other hand, Americans might just be fed up with politics as usual and are looking to sit back, relax, and watch their retirement funds disappear through a comfortable fog without being hassled by police.
You know, I like a good pot joke as well as anyone, but sometimes people need to acknowledge that legalization is not a Cheech and Chong movie.