The White House’s “We the People” petition site could have potentially been an interesting method for two-way communication between voters and the administration. Sadly the administration’s response to most petitions has rarely been anything more than to recycle old talking points.
Even by that already low standard, the new response from the White House regarding a petition to allow states to decide the legal status of marijuana is a truly pathetic. From the White House:
Thank you for participating in We the People and speaking out on the legalization of marijuana. Coming out of the recent election, it is clear that we’re in the midst of a serious national conversation about marijuana.
At President Obama’s request, the Justice Department is reviewing the legalization initiatives passed in Colorado and Washington, given differences between state and federal law. In the meantime, please see a recent interview with Barbara Walters in which President Obama addressed the legalization of marijuana.
Do you think that marijuana should be legalized?
Well, I wouldn’t go that far. But what I think is that, at this point, Washington and Colorado, you’ve seen the voters speak on this issue. And as it is, the federal government has a lot to do when it comes to criminal prosecutions. It does not make sense from a prioritization point of view for us to focus on recreational drug users in a state that has already said that under state law that’s legal. [...]
The official “response” from the White House is that they have no response, but in the meantime try to guess what Obama may have been implying in past interviews. Why even bother to issue a response if you aren’t even going to address the petition?
The small silver lining is that a meaningless non-response is better than a negative one. Since voters in Washington State and Colorado overwhelming approved marijuana legalization the administration seems to be going out of its way to ignore the issue as much as possible.