Once again the issue of marijuana reform has dominated President Obama’s attempt to have the public submit questions for an online question and answer event.
This afternoon President Obama will be taking part in a live chat on Google+ called “Your Interview with the President”. Individuals were encouraged to submit and vote for questions. Not surprisingly, the issues of marijuana legalization and medical marijuana overwhelmed all others.
According to the Whitehouse Youtube page, with voting currently closed, 18 of the top 20 most popular question are about marijuana/drug policy. Seven of the top 20 question are directly related to questions created by NORML and its unusual removal from the page. NORML’s original question was:
“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?”
The second most popular question on the page is from LEAP member Stephen Downing, a former LAPD deputy police chief. His question, shown in the video above, is:
Mr. President, my name is Stephen Downing, and I’m a retired deputy chief of police from the Los Angeles Police Department. From my 20 years of experience I have come to see our country’s drug policies as a failure and a complete waste of criminal justice resources. According to the Gallup Poll, the number of Americans who support legalizing and regulating marijuana now outnumbers those who support continuing prohibition. What do you say to this growing voter constituency that wants more changes to drug policy than you have delivered in your first term?
So far every attempt by Obama to directly reach out to young voters through some form of online question and answer system has resulted in young adults overwhelming voting to confront the President with questions about our government’s marijuana policies. It happened with his transitional website Change.gov, his first Youtube townhall and with the White House’s new “we the people” petition site.
Marijuana reform is an issue young voters across the ideological spectrum care deeply about. While marijuana legalization is rarely talked about in our mainstream political discourse, at every opportunity regular Americans use the internet to try to make legalization an issue Obama can’t ignore.