Another online Q&A contest concluded Monday without any straight answers from the President about why marijuana remains illegal. YouTube, which sponsored the forum, declined to ask the President a single marijuana-related question, despite overwhelming public demand.
As was the case with every previous online forum of this sort, questions about marijuana legalization were not only prominent, they were by far the most popular vote-getters.
These are the top three highest-rated questions from the entire contest:
"Mr. President, When you asked the country to give you questions, one of the most asked was "Are you going to legalize Marijuana". When you read it, you laughed like it wasnt serious. Why is that?"
"What are your plans for cannabis legalization?"
"Why don't you legalize marijuana, it seems like a great way to gain tax money, and people should have to right to use it if they please, and it would cripple gang activity? Do you plan to?"
Lussy Picker, Kentucky
Sadly, none of these questions were answered. In contrast, the most popular question that wasn't about marijuana received 1,331 votes and, yes, the President answered that one. It was about net neutrality, which Obama says he supports. So, at least we'll continue to enjoy free speech on the internet, even as the White House pretends not to hear us.
Incredibly, this political popularity contest was broken up into categories including Jobs & the Economy, Health Care, Energy & Environment, Foreign Policy & National Security, Education, Financial Reform, and Government Reform, yet it was the "Other" section which drew the most votes, due entirely to its emphasis on legalizing marijuana. "Other" has become a de-facto euphemism for drug policy reform in several of these White House sponsored forums, which wouldn't keep happening if "Crime & Drug Policy" were given its own well-deserved category alongside the other issues that supposedly encompass the modern political landscape.
Instead, the whole online voting process has become a self-evident mockery, as the contest's democratic structure is violated time and again simply to avoid answering one simple question. But if you're frustrated by all of this, don't be. We're winning the online debate, and we're doing so at a time when online outreach is important enough to the White House that they keep coming back for more.
February 2, 2010
Drug War Chronicle
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Obama Avoids Questions About Legalizing Marijuana (Again)