Ducking Drug War Questions at Change.gov

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Obama’s transition team responded to the second round of Change.gov questions on Friday, proving yet again that they’d sooner defeat the purpose of the site than actually discuss drug policy.

Last time, a question about marijuana legalization got the most votes from the public, resulting in a one sentence "no" response. This time, the questions were broken into categories, and this question came in first in the "national security" section:

"Our current war on drugs is failing America. Billions of dollars are spent on a losing campaign. Our prisons are overflowing with people that don't deserve to be there. What is the government going to do in an effort to fix this major problem?"

But it wasn’t answered. It was the only leading question to receive no acknowledgement, thus the national security category was ignored entirely. Obama’s team claimed that some leading questions were put aside to make room for new ones:

Since there were so many popular questions in so many categories, we tried to pull out some of them that had been addressed previously by the President-elect or Vice President-elect in order to focus the video portion on questions that haven’t been as specifically addressed during the Transition.

The questions that fall into this category appear at the bottom of the post, except when you scroll down, you find the marijuana question from the first round, but not the new drug war question that won in the second installment. It’s sort of a bait and switch, the idea being that by referencing the old marijuana question, we’ll forget that a totally different drug policy question won in the second round and Obama refused to touch it.

All of this is perfectly predictable, and I won’t meet with much success trying to make a controversy out of it. Still, it serves as yet another obnoxious reminder of the desperate avoidance of any meaningful discussion of our drug policy in mainstream politics.
Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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obama talks about change?

obama talks about change? REAL CHANGE CAN BEGIN WITH FREEING THIS GOD-GIVEN, PEACE-PROMOTING, HEALING HERB!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! oh, soooo many positive changes it would bring. NOT ONE negative!!!! (the soccer moms are probably saying, NO! my kids will be more exposed to it!!!!) well i got news for you, WAKE UP!!!! truth is, there gonna be exposed to it either way. so why not in a legal, CIVILIZED manner??? not to mention your kids are exposed to alcohol and tobacco everyday (THAT KILL YOU)!!!!! cannabis has never been directly linked to a death. no such thing as an overdose on pot. IMPOSSIBLE. when will america wake up, and realize its time to legalize? free up prison space, free up police schedules, stop the hypocrasy, stop the lies, rescue the economy (industrial hemp), help the sick... i mean the list goes ONNNNNN!!!! LEGALIZE IT, DONT CRITICIZE IT!

What can we do?

What can we do about this? I mean, it's pretty absurd to call oneself 'Open for Questions' and then not answer them. Who do we contact to make a stink? Does anyone care? I wouldn't place my bets on the media.
If there's one good thing to come out of this, it's that the people clearly want change on this issue. Whether any legislator (besides Sen. Jim Webb) will actually act on that is a different thing.

Support drug law reform

Support drug law reform. Send in as much money as you can afford to organizations that support drug law reform. Organize rallies to support the legalization of marijuana/cannabis. We have to start legalizing drugs somewhere and cannabis is the best place to start. Push the legalization of cannabis in all 50 states. Currently, Of 208,291 responders to the TIME POLL 87.3% favor the legalization of marijuana. This means the people of this nation are ready for it. Mr. Obama is a pragmatist. He'll support legalization when he sees it's in his and the American people's best interest, and it is. What we have to do now is get out every single person who supports legalization and make it happen. Only 11.2% of Americans believe the war on drugs is working (2008 Zogby Poll). The numbers have never been more on our side. The average cannabis user is a clean cut, successful, middle -class male. Try to get these people out to rallies. Educate people about the evils of prohibition. Let moms know why prohibition is bad for their kids. Get permits (if required) and keep everything legal. There's nothing wrong or illegal about standing up for your right to rally. Encourage protesters to put on their best clothes and behave in an orderly manner. Ask them not to use cannabis in public or act like a bunch of hippies. Hippies no longer represent the average cannabis user. People fear the unknown. Let them know there's nothing to fear from legalization. The public is going to be far more supportive if they see themselves represented at rallies. Don't be afraid to speak out people. Spread the word that legalization will reduce crime and lawlessness. Americans refused to accept alcohol prohibition and it was repealed. History is on our side. When 87% of the American people speak we will be heard and cannabis will be legalized. Do it now. Don't expect anyone else to do it for you, they can't. If you really love this country and want to make it a better place by getting rid of the drug gangs, get up and get to it. Legalize cannabis, now.

One word answers.

Q: Is the new administration going to get rid of the "Don't ask, Don't tell" policy?
A: "You don't hear a politician give a one word answer much, but it's yes."

----------------------------------------------------
ROFL! Not to belittle the plight of homosexuals, but the think the drug questions have broader implications for society as a whole. I would like to have seen these questions addressed with at least as much pomp and theatre:

Scroll to the bottom

Q: “Will you consider legalizing cannabis/marijuana/hemp so that the government can regulate it, tax it, put age limits on it, and create millions of new jobs and create a multi-billion dollar industry right here in the U.S.?”

A: "You don't hear a politician give a one word answer much, but it's NO."

Flagrantly ignored:

Q: "Our current war on drugs is failing America. Billions of dollars are spent on a losing campaign. Our prisons are overflowing with people that don't deserve to be there. What is the government going to do in an effort to fix this major problem?"

A: "We see your question, AP from Seattle, but we will flagrantly ignore it. Next?"

Keep pushing

There is now a third round of "Open Government" on change.gov, this time called the "Citizen's Briefing Book". The principle is the same, submit ideas and vote to bubble them up.

Go to Change.gov and make yourselves heard. There are plenty of Drug War related entries. Comment on them and vote them up:

http://citizensbriefingbook.change.gov/ideas/viewIdea.apexp?id=087800000...

http://citizensbriefingbook.change.gov/ideas/viewIdea.apexp?id=087800000...

http://citizensbriefingbook.change.gov/ideas/viewIdea.apexp?id=087800000...

Why focus on the Federal Government???

If Obama admins don't want to focus on drug policy reform then they probably are not going to take the drug war very seriously either beyond lip service of assistance to Felipe Calderon.

Considering that cities and state governments make 99% of drug arrests according to the FBI and therefore spend the vast majority of drug war money, we reformers should be focusing our research and organizing efforts on how effective these cities and states have been at deterring drug use in their communities while our economy has been going to the shitter.

I lobby both

Everytime I send an email to my federal "representatives" on something that is also a problem with my state government (like Prohibition 2.0), I always CC my state "representatives" (I put "representatives" in quotes because they have never truly represented me). Unfortunately,they are no more responsive than my federal congresscritters.

Marijuana, Inc.

"Marijuana, Inc." a one hour documentary will be aired on CNBC this month. It will be January 22nd and 25th, at 9:00 AM and 1:00 AM (EST). Meanwhile, it would be nice for all the marijuana friends getting this to go to the You Tube video and leave a positive comment on this subject, which you can do by going to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lUQOQyNx-rU – that is of course – if you have something positive to say.
Send this to everyone on your email list for them to add their positive comments on this subject also.

Brinna's picture

A Marijuana Sandwich with Fitzgerald as bread and GLBT garnish

The first top 15 questions in the Additional Issues category is basically a marijuana club sandwich with prosecutor Fitzgerald as the bread and a light garnish of Patriot Act abuse and GLBT rights.

For an in depth analysis of how the Transition Team tap danced around the cannabis and drug war questions (and a list of those questions) see:

http://my.nowpublic.com/culture/obama-cannot-escape-cannabis-2nd-round-o...

P.S. In answer to "what can we do?" We can continue making noise about it, over and over again, and bring it up to the level of public discourse. Link to articles like this one, and the one at nowpublic, on your facebook and myspace pages, in your blogs and personal emails.

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