Barack Obama has a sorry history of laughing off or otherwise ignoring questions about marijuana and drug policy reform, despite the issue coming out on top in every online vote the White House or his campaign has run. But here’s one he’ll be hard-pressed to ignore.
MacKenzie Allen, the retired deputy sheriff and a currently a member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), has the #1 question in YouTube’s “Ask Obama” contest, in which President Obama will answer the top-voted questions in a live interview to be broadcast this afternoon from the White House. Allen’s question got twice as many votes as the next-highest voted question.
Allen asks Obama:
Good evening, Mr. President. My name is MacKenzie Allen, I’m a retired law enforcement officer and member of LEAP (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition). The so-called “War on Drugs” has been waged for 40 years at a cost of a trillion dollars and thousands of lives, with nothing to show for it but increased supplies, cheaper drugs, and a dramatic increase in violence associated with the underworld drug market. Sir, do you think there will or should come a time for us to discuss the possibility of legalization, regulation, and control of all drugs, thereby doing away with the violent criminal market as well as with a major source of funding for international terrorism? Thank you so much for your time, Mr. President.
LEAP notes Obama’s previous inability to take the issue seriously:
The Obama White House has previously asked citizens to submit and vote on questions via the web several times, with marijuana and drug policy issues rising to the top virtually every time. During a town hall meeting following one such round of voting in 2009, President Obama laughed off a marijuana legalization question, saying, “I don’t know what this says about the online audience.”
This week Jon Walker at FDL noted that marijuana and drug questions were the top 5 overall; NORML’s blog reported that as of yesterday, the top 100 questions were all about marijuana and drug policy. Allen’s question, as a law enforcement professional, will be hard for Obama to ignore. That’s not to say he won’t do his damnedest to do so.
Congratulations to Just Say Now supporters, who helped solidify Allen’s question as the #1 video for Obama’s interview today. We’ll report back on what happens with this question.