As for those tens of millions of you who believe that cannabis should be legally regulated like alcohol -- and the tens of thousands of you who voted to make this subject the most popular question in the White House's online Presidential Town Hall -- well, your voice doesn't really matter.
Asked this morning whether he "would ... support the bill currently going through the California legislation to legalize and tax marijuana, boosting the economy and reducing drug cartel related violence," the President responded with derision.
"There was one question that was voted on that ranked fairly high and that was whether legalizing marijuana would improve the economy and job creation, and I don't know what this says about the online audience," he laughed.
"The answer is no, I don't think that [is] a good strategy."
Please, go read the entire thing. And consider adding your name to the well-written form letter, to which you can amend in any way you see fit. What follows is their form-letter with my own comments at the end.
You pledged "to open up the White House to the American people." I'm one of the tens of millions of Americans who believe that cannabis should be legally regulated like alcohol. I'm also one of the tens of thousands of Americans who voted to make this subject the most popular question in your online Presidential Town Hall. I'm disappointed to learn that you believe that my voice doesn't really matter.
I understand that you may oppose this position, but that is no reason to deride this issue.
Mr. President, please tell me: "What is it that you think is so funny about the subject of marijuana law reform?"
Since 1965, police have arrested over 20 million Americans for violating marijuana laws, yet nearly 90 percent of teenagers say that pot is "very easy" or "fairly easy" to obtain. Do you find this funny?
According to your administration, there is an unprecedented level of violence occurring at the Mexico/US border -- much of which is allegedly caused by the trafficking of marijuana to the United States by drug cartels. America's stringent enforcement of pot prohibition, which artificially inflates black market pot prices and ensures that only criminal enterprises will be involved in the production and sale of this commodity, is helping to fuel this violence. Do you still believe that this subject is humorous?
Finally, two recent polls indicate that a strong majority of regional voters support ending marijuana prohibition and treating the drug's sale, use, and distribution like alcohol. A February 2009 Zogby telephone poll reported that nearly six out of ten of voters on the west coast think that cannabis should be "taxed and legally regulated like alcohol and cigarettes." A just-released California Field Poll reports similar results, finding that 58 percent of statewide votes believe that regulations for cannabis should be the same or less strict than those for alcohol.
Why do you choose to laugh at these people? Why do you choose to laugh at me?
The American public is ready and willing to engage in a serious and objective political debate regarding the merits of legalizing the use of cannabis by adults. The time for joking is over.
Please consider apologizing for your dismissive tone, and please consider treating those of us who believe that there are viable alternatives to marijuana prohibition with the respect we deserve.
Regular internet users were a great help to you in your run for the White House; deriding online poll results is the same as slapping your greatest supporters in the face. I recognize that, when it comes to cannabis law reform, there are many interested parties on both sides of the issue and that sometimes these parties must be assuaged of their fears and doubts, especially in a public forum. But please, don't make the mistake of alienating the largest demographic that placed you in your position.
The "War on (Some) Drugs" has been a massive failure and the inclusion of cannabis in the same category as deadly drugs is patently absurd. If you truly wish to lead this country out of its troubles and into the future you must recognize that cannabis law reform is one of the most important issues for tens of millions of American citizens. We are tired of being imprisoned for taking our medicine. We are tired of being imprisoned for years for possessing an ounce of an harmless herb. We are tired of being treated as second-class citizens because we would occasionally rather imbibe smoke than destroy our livers with the much deadlier drug of alcohol. The time for derision is over. I fear that if you do not rethink your position on cannabis law reform that you will lose a great part of your public support.
My comments are in bold. The tactics of the old regime of "cannabis is as dangerous as heroin, cocaine, etc." is over. It's time for a new, modern and progressive policy that has at least something to do with reason and, maybe, just maybe the wishes of the majority.