Posted at 11:32 AM on March 26, 2009
by Jeff Horwich
Been watching President Obama's online press conference, "Open for Questions" for about 45 minutes now. Premise: People have been submitting questions, other people vote on those questions, and Obama takes on the most popular.
There are plenty of good, smart questions in there. But Obama's people might have known what was coming. Here are the #1-rated questions in a number of categories:
Green Jobs and Energy: "Will you consider decriminalizing the recreational/medical use of marijuana?"
Financial Stability: "Would you support the bill currently going through the California legislation to legalize and tax marijuana?"
Jobs: ""What are your plans for the failing War on Drugs?"
Budget: "Why not legalize, control, and tax marijuana?"
Health Care Reform: "Why is marijuana still illegal?" (#2-rated question)
In the end, Obama just couldn't stay true to the premise for the town hall. All the pot questions were bundled into one, which he quickly and curtly dispensed with (to considerable applause from the crowd in the room).
What do you think: Should Obama have respected the outcome of the online question submitters (and voters)? Or did he do the right thing by focusing on other issues?
Marijuana reform may not be the most pressing issue our country faces, but it is certainly significant.
Marijuana is our largest cash crop, and it is ridiculous that the government isnt taxing it like everything else. And in addition to economic reasons, there are real moral arguments to be made about the freedom to do what you want with your own body.
I think it was unwise for Obama to brush this question aside. Until his administration decides to take marijuana seriously, citizens are going to keep pushing.
"I think it was unwise for Obama to brush this question aside. Until his administration decides to take marijuana seriously, citizens are going to keep pushing."
I totally agree, but what little optimism I have left says "at least they are starting to listen"; which is a major change.