At today’s Town Hall, Obama acknowledged that a whole lot of folks voted marijuana questions to the top (once again).
The query, which received more than three million votes, was: “With over 1 out of 30 Americans controlled by the penal system, why not legalize, control, and tax marijuana to change the failed war on drugs into a money making, money saving boost to the economy? Do we really need that many victimless criminals?”
Obama actually interrupted the M.C of the event — Jared Bernstein, chief economist to the Vice President — in order to tackle the topic. He kept his answer brief.
“There was one question that voted on that ranked fairly high and that was whether legalizing marijuana would improve the economy and job creation,” he said. “And I don’t know what this says about the online audience, but … this was a popular question. We want to make sure it’s answered. The answer is no, I don’t think that’s a good strategy to grow our economy. All right.”
Responded Bernstein: “Thank you for clearing that up.”
This approach is, of course, the traditional political approach — don’t want to actually dignify the legalization question or you’ll be considered fringe.
But times are changing. Perhaps we can make that no longer true. Wouldn’t it be great if we could make enough people care about this subject that when a President denigrated a popular viewpoint in this way, the uproar would require him to apologize the next day?
We need to continue increasing our power from the ground up.