Barack Obama promised "change we can believe in". When it comes to cannabis and the Obama Administration, I believe...
- we will finally see progressive reform in drug law, especially a new tolerance for cannabis. (57%, 122 Votes)
- you're smoking too much hope if you think this administration is going to enact progressive reform in drug law. (43%, 93 Votes)
Total Voters: 215
Pot Supporters Bang on Obama’s Doors for Drug Reform | PEEK | AlterNet
Change.gov, the Web site of President-elect Barack Obama’s transition team, has now closed the Web page “Open for Questions.”After receiving nearly 100,000 total votes on more than 10,000 public policy issues, the most widely voted on question for Obama is:
“Will you consider legalizing marijuana so that the government can regulate it, tax it, put age limits on it, and create millions of new jobs and create a billion-dollar industry right here in the U.S.?”
(Equally impressive, 16 of the top 50 overall questions posed to the new administration pertained to drug-law reform. Now do we have your attention?)
The #1 question, 2 of the top ten, 6 of the top twenty, and a dozen of the top fifty all have to do with marijuana and drug law reform. Check out the Top Twenty after the break:
Top Twenty Questions at Barack Obama’s Change.gov:
- “Will you consider legalizing marijuana so that the government can regulate it, tax it, put age limits on it, and create millions of new jobs and create a billion dollar industry right here in the U.S.?”
- “What will you do as President to restore the Constitutional protections that have been subverted by the Bush Administration and how will you ensure that our system of checks and balances is renewed?”
- “What will you do to establish transparency and safeguards against waste with the rest of the Wall Street bailout money?”
- “Will you lift the ban on Stem Cell research in your first 100 days in office?”
- “What will you do to promote science and mathematics education to Elementary and Middle School students?”
- “Will you appoint a Special Prosecutor – ideally Patrick Fitzgerald – to independently investigate the gravest crimes of the Bush Administration, including torture and warrantless wiretapping?”
- “13 states have compassionate use programs for medical Marijuana, yet the federal gov’t continues to prosecute sick and dying people. Isn’t it time for the federal gov’t to step out of the way and let doctors and families decide what is appropriate?”
- “What do you plan to do to our food industry to make it more sustainable? Will there be changes to our farming policies?”
- “What will you do to end the use of mercenary forces (ie Blackwater) by our military?”
- “What will you do first to reduce pollution/waste and incentivize greener behavior across the country?”
- “The US “War on Drugs” wastes billions every year tracking down and incarcerating non-violent users. What is your position on the legalization of marijuana? How do you feel about treating rather than imprisoning users of harder, addictive drugs?”
- “How long will it take for you to implement your healthcare policy to insure those who do not have any insurance at all?”
- “How will you fix the current war on drugs in America? and will there be any chance of decriminalizing marijuana?”
- “What legislation will you introduce to preserve Net Neutrality and stop the telecom industry from eviscerating the greatest communication medium of all time?”
- “What kind of progress can be expected on the decriminalization and legalization for medicinal purposes of marijuana and will you re-prioritize the “War On Drugs” to reflect the need for drug treatment instead of incarceration?”
- “What will be done to make the banking industry accountable when there are so many substantiated stories about their mismangement in relationship to selling bank owned properties and managing potential foreclosures?”
- “Solar energy is in use throughout the world on an individual household basis for water and facility heating, as well as electricity generation. Will your admin. attempt to utilize the millions of acres available for solar energy collection?”
- “The U.S. has the world’s highest incarceration rate, largely due to the War on Drugs. Our prisons are festering pits of rape, racism, and gang violence, and divert a lot of tax money to the corrupt prison industry. How can we fix this?”
- “What will be done about the FDA and its cozy relationship with the Pharmaceutical industry? Will the protective legislation for the Pharm be reversed? Will the FDA pre-emption policy protecting the Pharm from liability be addressed?”
- “Why are we rebuilding our national highway system instead of building high-speed passenger rail and revitalizing our cities and towns through the development of mass transit? Is this not key to our long-term economic and environmental well being?”
So let’s review. We are in a financial freefall, yet there are only two questions on the bailout and finance. We’re engaged in two Middle Eastern wars, yet only one question on the military. George W. Bush’s creative interpretations of the Constitution and Geneva Conventions only merited two questions, as did the environment, science, and infrastructure (if I count net neutrality).
Meanwhile, medical marijuana specifically gets two questions, legalization specifically gets two, also, and the war on drugs in general gets two questions as well. And yet, when I visited the Democratic Convention in Denver this August, Democrats talked about the War on Drugs and Marijuana as much as they praised the presidency of George W. Bush (i.e., not at all!) Pressed on the issue of his decrim stance from 2004, candidate Obama backed away from it, and President-elect Obama has been stocking his cabinet with some ardent drug warriors from the 1980s, 1990s, and today.
Is Obama’s cabinet a “Nixon goes to China” moment, as Allen St. Pierre put it this weekend? Maybe the “change” Obama promised will be a top-down rethinking of our drug policy, and staffing those positions with these nominees is a politically-savvy way of guaranteeing their confirmation in the Senate and neutering any political attack on progressive drug law reform. For example, who better to tear down the injustice of mandatory minimum sentencing than a vice president who created them and can now say he was wrong?
Or will the Obama Administration ignore 30% of the top twenty questions from the people? Will we once again be the shouting majority, screaming for a commonsense approach to drugs and an end to the injustice and cruelty of the drug war, yelling our lungs out at deaf politicians who care more for campaign contributions from big pharma, alcohol, tobacco, construction, prison guards unions, and law enforcement than responding to the will of the people?
I guess come January 20, 2009, we’ll begin to find out.