Obama Dodges Marijuana Issue on YouTube
In what was billed as the President’s first “Google Plus Live Interview,” a question and answer session was posted on Youtube. It featured questions that received enough votes on the youtube channel to rank highly among the concerns of citizens.
Perhaps because of the medium, the questions were dominated by younger voters, for whom the Internet is a natural outlet for opinions and interactions. While the expected questions about the economy, jobs and education were featured, one question was notable for its absence. The number one question (most votes) had to do with the schizophrenic drug policy in the US – specifically, the conflict between federal and state laws on marijuana. This question was never asked.
Some background – when polling was opened to decide which questions would get the President’s attention, marijuana policy quickly became the hottest topic and a sure winner. But then the White House staff deleted it. And, it rose again in popularity. It was deleted a second time. After that, it seemed the issue couldn’t be avoided and the questions about drug legalization were allowed to stand. However, marijuana never came up in the actual Q&A session.
The comments on the YouTube clip are telling:
“WHY IS TOBACCO AND ALCOHOL LEGAL BUT CANNABIS IS ILLEGAL
WHY DO YOU ALLOW THE CANCEROUS AGENTS TO BE LEGAL
BUT THAT WHICH TREATS CANCER IS TREATED AS THE HIGHEST FORM OF FELONY TO POSSESS?
WHY HAS THE GOVERNMENT LOWERED THE PUNISHMENT FOR COCAINE, EVEN, BUT NOT FOR MARIJUANA?
Another: “USA is the biggest drug dealer I know!! Our government does anything the pharmaceutical companies want because they profit to much off of us.”
And there were many more.
Critics claim that a drive by NORML, the marijuana advocacy group, was behind the popularity of the voting for the legalization question, and the President’s position is already clear – Congress has established the law and his job is to enforce it.
The response is that the President has an obligation to answer his constituents, regardless of how bad the question may make him look.