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Obama: Drug Legalization 'Worth A Serious Debate'

Discussion in 'Marijuana News' started by oltex, Jan 28, 2011.

  1. Obama: Drug Legalization 'Worth A Serious Debate'
    HuffingtonPost / Ryan Grim / 1,27,2011


    WASHINGTON -- Drug legalization is an "entirely legitimate topic for debate," President Barack Obama said Thursday during his online YouTube town hall, in response to a question from a former deputy sheriff who has turned sour on the drug war.

    In endorsing such a debate, Obama went further than any president has since the start of the war on drugs, which [ame="http://www.amazon.com/This-Your-Country-Drugs-History/dp/0470167394/"]can be traced back [/ame] at least to President Richard Nixon, but more realistically to the early 20th century, when the federal government began criminalizing drugs that had long been legal.

    Obama, who said again toward the end of his answer that drug legalization is "worth a serious debate," lent legitimacy to a policy area that has long been relegated to the "unserious" corner of American political discourse.
    His answer indicates an evolution in his administration's approach to the question of legalization. In the past, Obama has not treated the issue with the same respect.

    In 2009, during a similar online event, the president paused to address the hundreds of questions that had been submitted regarding marijuana and drug policy. "Can I just interrupt, Jared, before you ask the next question, just to say that we -- we took votes about which questions were going to be asked and I think 3 million people voted," he said to aide Jared Bernstein. "I have to say that there was one question that was voted on that ranked fairly high, and that was whether legalizing marijuana would improve the economy -- (laughter) -- and job creation. And I don't know what this says about the online audience -- (laughter) -- but I just want -- I don't want people to think that -- this was a fairly popular question, we want to make sure that it was answered. The answer is no, I don't think that is a good strategy -- (laughter) -- to grow our economy in 2009."

    His answer Thursday was hardly an endorsement of legalization, but it was nonetheless a marked turnaround. "I think this is a entirely legitimate topic for debate," he said. "I am not in favor of legalization. I am a strong believer that we need to think more about drugs as a public health problem."

    The president's comments came in response to a question from MacKenzie Allen, a member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and a retired deputy sheriff with law-enforcement experience in Los Angeles and King County, Washington. In this year's YouTube poll, Allen's question garnered twice as many votes as the LEAP head Neill Franklin, a retired Baltimore narcotics cop, applauded Obama's comment but called for him to turn the words into action. The White House is preparing a budget to submit to Congress in the coming weeks, and how much priority it gives to drug treatment versus incarceration will be an indication of the direction the administration plans to take.

    "The president talks a good game about shifting resources and having a balanced, public health-oriented approach, but it doesn't square with the budgets he's submitted to Congress," Franklin said in a statement. "The Obama administration has maintained the Bush-era two-to-one budget ratio in favor of prisons and prosecution over treatment and prevention. It doesn't add up. Still, it's historic that the president of the United States is finally saying that legalizing and regulating drugs is a topic worthy of discussion. But since the president remains opposed to legalization, it's clear that the people are going to have to lead the way. Police officers and innocent civilians are dying every single day in this drug war; it's not a back-burner issue."

    Obama's response to Franklin's question appears below:

    Video


    More views from other sources:

    Newsvine - Obama: Drug Legalization 'Worth A Serious Debate'


    Obama: Drug Legalization 'Worth A Serious Debate'


    Obama: Drug Legalization 'Worth A Serious Debate' | Barack Obama ...
     
  2. The fact that he changed his wording "Worth a serious debate" definantly is an indicator of increased apporval. Or decreased disapproval.

    Either way good outcome.
     
  3. I think so too. The first offer to debate it since Nixon is significant.
     
  4. CBS News: Obama: Drugs Should be Treated as a Public Health Problem
    DrugWarRant
    / Pete Guither / 1,28,2011


    I know a lot of you are deeply disappointed that Obama didn't suddenly shed all his skin, emerge from a cocoon as some new kind of species and suddenly proclaim, after devouring his press secretary, that the U.S. government should pursue legalization of all drugs. Well it wasn't going to happen. However, what
    did happen had some real value.

    Seeing this headline at CBS Political Hotsheet ain't bad:


    Obama: Drugs Should be Treated as a Public Health Problem
    However, acknowledging that the “war on drugs” has not been effective, Mr. Obama said he thinks of drugs as “more of a public health problem.”
    And then, CBS reporter Stephanie Condon quoted the entire question from retired deputy sheriff MacKenzie Allen.
    …
    Los Angeles Times
    :
    In his second sit-down with YouTube, Obama again learned that the most popular questions as voted on by users of the online video hub were about the legalization of marijuana.
    “This is an entirely legitimate topic for debate,” Obama said after initially chuckling about the subject matter coming up again.

    The question posed to the president specifically asked him whether all drugs should be legalized and regulated, “thereby doing away with the violent criminal market as well as a major source of funding for international terrorism.”

    “I am not in favor of legalization,” Obama said in response. But he said he thinks Americans should look at drugs more as a public health problem than a legal issue.
    It's going to be a lot harder for Kerlikowske now that Obama has shown that “legalization” is in his vocabulary.
    …
    San Francisco Chronicle: Obama: Legalizing drugs a “legitimate” topic of debate
    …
    And over and over again in tomorrow's media, you'll likely see that excellent question from LEAP. Not a bad day's work. Good job on voting.

    And I second
    Scott Morgan's comment:
    Let me begin by saying that the substance of the President's answer is inconsequential insofar as nothing more than this could possibly have been expected. The greatest significance of today's event lies in the fact that a pro-legalization police officer overwhelmingly won the popular vote on YouTube and compelled a response from the President of the United States. By acknowledging the legitimacy of this discussion, Obama helps us to dig an even deeper grave for the dying notion that there is anything frivolous or unserious about arguing for an end to the War on Drugs.

    The banal pot-jokes and rank stereotyping that have often tainted mainstream discussion of the legalization movement have no place in this conversation, and the President's words should serve to discredit those who've voiced distracting insults instead of potential solutions. Whatever else the President may put forward, his singular decision to accept and defend our advocacy as “entirely legitimate” is a leap forward, both for the discussion as a whole and for Obama himself.

    I will address in a separate post the appropriate criticisms of his specific remarks (of which there are many), but let us not fail to find any promise in today's events simply because we expect much more. This is a heroic accomplishment by our friends at LEAP and really the entire drug policy reform community, which has achieved blinding visibility in recent years and shattered the presumption of public deference that has long sheltered the drug war from mainstream opposition.

    [​IMG]
     
  5. I give him respect for answering the question as he did. Even if he is truely for legalization, supporting that would be suicidal death and Obama's #1 goal is to do whatever he can in the next 6 years to stop the conservatives from overruling the Health Care Bill, so he's going to save all his ammo for that. I totally agree. I'd be FUCKED if it wasn't for his Health Care bill.

    He doesn't agree with legalization but now that he said it's a legitimate question, everyone else will also. I feel our efforts, with sending emails to representatives and senators and the like will be a lot more productive now. I feel people will actually respond to our questions seriously.

    He wants to remove the criminal aspect of drugs. That's a good kick in the right direction.
     
  6. This isnt even a matter of debate, we will obviously win if whoever is debating for us knows anything.

    Anti-Pot people have absolutely no ammo, none. They will restate the tired old claims of reefer madness and then get fucking destroyed in an actual debate.
     
  7. Yes it's worth of a serious debate, but will we get one? Hell fuck no. Not debates with anybody that matters. We'll be on Fox providing debates against ex-DEA agents for sometime. I doubt Obama would ever debate it.
     
  8. and at the end of the day nothing is 'change'd, and everything is the same old bullshit. I seriously can't believe that people even think he'll try to decriminalize pot, he's a diplomat who promises one thing, and forgets about it the next day. FUCK OBAMA.
     
  9. nixon is also the one who thought everyone who smoked is jewish

    obama said its open for debate, doesn't mean hes gonna start one. they won't talk about it at all
     

  10. It is true they might not talk about, but since it is getting good press arrogant assholes might ease up their thoughts about cannabis. Which would result in more votes for the movement. This is a nice step forward.
     
  11. Wow. I wasn't expecting this.

    Good start to the year.
     
  12. I was saying all this yesterday after the online obama questions on NORML Show Live (Online Cannabis Radio Talk Show) and they all started flamming me on how I was wrong because Obama doesnt want to legalize... but the fact IS that ITS MAJOR STEP FOWARD.... WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME A PRESIDENT SAID 'ITS WORTHY OF DEBATE?'
     
  13. The last significant elected politician (cough cough) was Arnold.
     
  14. #14 iiLLmatic, Jan 28, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 28, 2011
    they realize that the people want something done and they can't keep ignoring it, so they're doing all they can to spin it into something they can make money off of - rehab facilities. imo its a bad thing, hopefully i'm wrong


    its not a debatable topic, because anybody defending the issue is going to get verbally abused
     
  15. I have to agree with Phamas and a few others who said it first; just because Obama said it's 'worthy' of debate doesn't mean he's ever going to bother to do so. He needs to consider, wholeheartedly, the fact that election year is coming up quick. If ever the American people were primed and ready for a candidate like Ron Paul, it is right now. Ron needs to step up and run for 2012. He WILL debate the topic of legalization. He WILL admit that ending prohibition will save our economy. But he WILL NOT laugh at us in the process. Ron Paul takes our civil liberties seriously, as all our politicians and lawmakers should, but don't. I would so love to see Ron Paul debate Obama on the topic of prohibition and legalization & regulation.
     
  16. in all honesty the majority of his response was in a negative light. this won't make them ease up, it wasn't a step forward at all.

    it was the same shit just regurgitated to you.. so you'll hang around until next year. fuck that :wave:
     
  17. Ron Paul is a little too old to run in 2012, tbh. And Ron Paul has never been the president, where anything you say can be taken and ran with. Bad example with the laughter thing, IMO. Obama wants to get reelected. At that time of that video, the economy was in even deeper shit and Obama's ratings were down. Now? His ratings are up, the economy looks to be getting better, so he doesn't throw the question away like he did the last time. As long as more states continue with passing medical marijuana laws (and DC has done it now), no one will be able to escape the issue once 2012 rolls around.
     
  18. I really dont think Obama will do anything toward ending marijuana prohibition, i mean he is a family man, and im sure he doesnt want his children smoking pot for many reasons, negative publicity is probably the biggest reason, and think about the message it would send his kids if he spoke out for the legalization of marijuana. I just wanted to make that point.
     
  19. No first term president will atempt to legalize cannabis. Perhaps he's feeling the waters...seeing how people react because he probabily knew the question was coming.
     
  20. bullshit ron paul is NOT too old to run.

    mccain just ran didn't he ? mccain is 74, ron paul 75

    more zzz's from me to you sir

    obama didn't help his ratings with that drug response

    theres always gary johnson
     
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