Twitter Defends Snub of #AskObama Question on Marijuana Legalization

yes-we-cannabis.jpg
@Obama: Marijuana is one way to curb the debt ceiling crisis
When will Americans give President Barack Obama a break? Seems like every time BHO II turns to new media to engage his coast-to-coast constituents on the issues, they take the conversation back to the same old place.

Legalizing drugs.

But unlike Obama's YouTube summit held in January, where the president briefly addressed marijuana legalization, the War on Drugs was absent from his Tuesday town hall held via Twitter. That's a problem, because as RawStory pointed out earlier this week, marijuana legalization was the most popular question Americans wanted to #AskObama.

Twitter defended the supposed snub to SF Weekly on Thursday, pointing out that questions on healthcare and the country's foreign wars also didn't make the 14-question cut. A favorable comparison to Obamacare? That's a first for the marijuana movement.

In a page directly from former Mayor Gavin Newsom's playbook, the president asked the country to send in questions to his Twitter town hall, held Tuesday, via tweets hashtagged #AskObama. Of the 14 questions and three follow-up questions picked for presentation to the president by forum moderator Jack Dorsey, one of Twitter's founders, not one of them mentioned legalizing drugs.

The national chapter of National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) posed the following question: "Would you consider legalizing marijuana to increase revenue and save tax dollars by freeing up crowded prisons, courtrooms?"

Not only was it the most popular question, it was almost three times more popular than the runner-up, receiving 4,911 retweets compared to the second most popular question, which was tweeted 1,800 times, according to RawStory. This led NORML and others to call shenanigans on the entire affair.

"Regardless of Twitter's role in determining which question was asked, the president should be proactive and address this issue himself," said Morgan Fox, communications director for Washington, D.C.-based Marijuana Policy Project, a legalization-focused lobbying group. "It's not surprising that he would continue to avoid talking about the issue. There is no good reason marijuana is still illegal, and it's hard to publicly defend such a failed policy with a straight face."

It's not quite so simple as that, Twitter spokeswoman Jodi Olson says. "Narrowing down 160,000-plus Tweets into just 17 questions is no easy task," Olson wrote in an e-mail.

Retweets were just one indicator of an #AskObama question's popularity. Mass Revelance, a social curation firm, sorted the horde of 140-character inquiries to find out which created the most buzz. Then a select group of Twitter users (called "curators") further culled the list and found that the most popular questions "were jobs (23 percent); the budget (18 percent); taxes (18 percent); and education (11 percent), and you'll note that the questions asked roughly corresponded to this," Olson wrote.

That's fine, but isn't NORML's question about jobs, the budget, and taxes? After Obama answered a tweet from Speaker of the House John Boehner, NORML fired out a tweet of its own: "#AskObama why they will answer Rep. Boehner's question, but won't talk about #CannabisJobs ! Legalize it, start a new job creating industry."

Olson admitted that NORML's question did address jobs and taxes, but again, she said, time was short. "There was time for only 17 questions -- three of which were follow-ups -- and the topic of marijuana legislation simply didn't make the top 14," she wrote. "Neither did healthcare, the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Social Security, nor other relevant economic themes."

"That said," she added, "the beauty of the open nature of Twitter is that NORML and others were able to get their message out far and wide even without the president specifically addressing the question."

Favorable comparisons to wars, Obamacare, AND the bulliest [SIC] pulpit on which to be ignored? Yes, it was a red-letter day for the green movement.

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Jillian
Jillian

On June 17, 1971, President Nixon told Congress that "if we cannot destroy the drug menace in America, then it will surely destroy us." After forty years of trying to destroy "the drug menace in America" we still *haven't* been able to destroy it and it still *hasn't* destroyed us. Four decades is long enough to realize that on this important issue, President Nixon was wrong! All actions taken as a result of his invalid and paranoid assumptions (e.g. the federal marijuana prohibition) should be ended immediately!

It makes no sense for taxpayers to fund the federal marijuana prohibition when it *doesn't* prevent people from using marijuana and it *does* incite the awful violence that we read about in the news every day by making criminals incredibly wealthy and inciting the Mexican drug cartels to murder thousands of people every year.

We need legal adult marijuana sales in supermarkets, gas stations and pharmacies for exactly the same reason that we need legal alcohol and tobacco sales - to keep drug dealer criminals out of our neighborhoods and away from our children. Marijuana must be made legal to sell to adults everywhere that alcohol and tobacco are sold.

"There's something extraordinarily perverse when we're so concerned about preventing addicts from having access to drugs that we destroy the lives of many times more people, either through untreated pain or other drug war damage".

Chris Koonce
Chris Koonce

Both marijuana and opium are fruits adapted to semi-arid growing conditions, though they may grow in more favorable environments, just not less favorable.  All fruits are beneficial to the type of animals which nourish in order to have the animals carry seed in the digestive tract to accomplish seed dispersal, or they cannot evolve or exist.  We should fight for a constitutional amendment prohibiting any law abridging the right to eat such foods, because many "powers that be" are frightened by their potential to generate financial resources.

Noel
Noel

I cannot stand the fact that Our Government refuses to answer this question. 

Jedi
Jedi

Agreed. I'm glad to live in a country where we have free speech - but it often falls on the deaf (and blind) ears of our elected leaders. Throw them out!

Wes Day
Wes Day

Legalizing Marijuana protects our Family, Friends, and Neighbors from the unnecessarily harsh consequences of an AT WORST poor life decision -- not to mention that it costs waaaaay too much to continue the fruitless effort of this pointless prohibition while simultaneously forgoing added tax revenues. 

Plus, the prohibition fuels crime by giving the revenue from illegal sales to mobs/gangs/cartels so that they can afford guns/amo/muscle...  Conveniently, then we have to spend MORE tax dollars to keep our proverbial thumb on them.  Smart, people... real smart.Yeah, Give Obama a break for NOT addressing this topic for the sake of the many Good Americans locked away for simply possessing a harmless plant or growing for personal use (which at least wouldn't fuel criminal activity if that were legal) . . .  I think not.   

OBAMA IS A FAIL

Jedi
Jedi

Persecution of marijuana smokers and funding for the failed "war on drugs" is INCREASED under Obama!! WTF?!?You would think that the easiest budget target of all would be the billions spent of a 40 year failed effort.

Neal Smith
Neal Smith

Agreed. Obummer is the best Republican President we've ever had. It is nothing less than a grave act of malfeasance for him to ignore the issues involved. He's nothing more than a complete sell out.

Brinna Nanda
Brinna Nanda

No, a complete sell-out would be John McCain.

Tha Doctor
Tha Doctor

Weed will never be legal until we elect someone with the backbone to stand up for America and the Americans that make up this great country of ours. This guy is only in it for his self. He cant sing, or play ball, or golf. He has never held a real job, and he has done nothing but apologize to Europe and the rest of the world for all the years, money, and lives we have given freeing, feeding, and protecting the world, while he spent 800 billion dollars of someones money bailing out his rich Wall Street friends.He is so desparate to go down in history for something other than the color of his skin that we are now supporting a political organization called the muslim brotherhood that treat women like cattle and kill gay people while trying to convince Americans they want a democratic form of government even as they define themselves by their religion.

How To
How To

"It's not surprising that he would continue to avoid talking

about the issue. There is no good reason marijuana is still illegal,

and it's hard to publicly defend such a failed policy with a straight

face."

Wow, beautifully said, I couldn't of said it any better. I would like to add that every dispensary that opens is another blow to the failed drug war!

http://www.How-To-Open-A-Dispe...

Tha Doctor
Tha Doctor

What is more pitiful than pot being illegal is how everyone of you griping about it will still vote for this socialist egomaniac on election day. By the way, "no vote" is a vote for the current administration.

Brinna Nanda
Brinna Nanda

Unless the "opposition" strictly includes marijuana reform and legalization in their platform, a vote for a Republican Administration will send this country quickly and totally down the toilet. Which, maybe, is where it belongs.

Gardunos
Gardunos

Obama is a coward, a liar, and the worst president in the history of this once great country!

Neal Smith
Neal Smith

Yes, I'll give Obama a break when I stop seeing medical MJ patients and their caregivers being arrested and jailed. I'll give him a break when he stands up for what's right. For a President or any politician to disregard 4,911 questions about any issue is nothing short of malfeasance.

Brinna Nanda
Brinna Nanda

So how many letters to your elected representatives, and for that matter, the president and the DOJ, have you written?

Diana
Diana

It is up to the people to stop being controlled by their government and stand together and end this bogus war on drugs. We can get marijuana legalization put on the ballots through initiavtives or referendums. We have forgotten that our government was created 'for the people, of the people, and by the people." We can get this done if we organize and stand behind each other and stop being afraid of our government. One woman rallied the alcohol prohibition, even though it was repealed it was all started as a simple campaign. With everyone ripping President Obama to shreds it would be political suicide for him to embark on such endeavor. We have the power it is time to get marijuana legalization on the voters ballot. Everyone needs to read The U.S. Constitution and put it to use. Know your rights or I promise you we are going to lose them. Many people are not aware of the fact that if one juror finds a law questionable that law can be nullified. Anytime anyone is arrested for marijuana possession always plead "not guilty" and ask for a jury trial. Never accept a plea bargain or atleast [ I never would plead guilty ]. Marijuana users are arrested every 54 seconds in this country, what a friggin' racket at the expense of the American people. We can peacefully and intelligently get marijuana legalization on the ballots in every state. Peace:)

Dave Beall
Dave Beall

Twitter always was a controlled anti-social scam,and,, as we all have found out,

Obama is a Terrorist

Brinna Nanda
Brinna Nanda

Obama isn't a terrorist. Give me a break, chum.

Bc00kie74
Bc00kie74

"That said," she added, "the beauty of the open nature of Twitter is that NORML and others were able to get their message out far and wide even without the president specifically addressing the question."---

So the so called "open nature" of twitter will ultimately be closed shut by moderators. Since everyone clearly understands the drug war in america has failed, why can't we even talk about a way to end it and try something else?

Bluescouser38
Bluescouser38

Bulls*it.......why is it illegal?? Come on i wanna hear a good arguement of why its illegal because i have never ever heard a good one even from my friends who are cops...let my weed be legal..if anything its good for you, all the people who say its bad hahaha maybe you need to try it...FREE THE WEED!! F U Twitter you know damn well what you were doing.

old roofer
old roofer

ill give u a good reason. cause oil,paper,cotton,plastics,pharmaceuticals will go out of business. and the fat cats wont be able to swim in a pool full of money. duh... welcome to america,the land of freedumb! 

Curt n Jessica Larson
Curt n Jessica Larson

The POTUS did respond to "end war on drugs" with this statement "I think with respect to the war on drugs, what we’ve always said is that investing in prevention, reducing demand, is going to be the most cost-effective thing that we can do. We still have to interdict the big drug kingpins and we still have to enforce our drug laws. But making sure that we’re spending more on prevention and treatment can make a huge difference." Taken directly from the transcript located here http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-...That being posted I think the POTUS is completely out of touch with reality and Jodie Olson is completely wrong. First Mr. Obama is having a slam session with congress over the national debt being reached and needing to raise the ceiling so that we can keep spending more and then issues that statement with respect to the war on drugs that we just need to spend more on it too, that's just so weak.  Second of all according to Twitsprout, http://obama.twitsprout.com/, legalization of marijuana in all it's various forms that were tweeted for #AskObama accounted for 12.25%, followed by Budget at 8.87%, Jobs at 7.75%, Taxes at 5.25%, Education 1.75% and this is no where close to the numbers that Jodie Olson quoted.  Finally, I would like to just say for the record that if you are going to have a social media connected event with your constituents, whom are supposed to be setting the tone and asking the questions, and you almost fully ignore the most pressing issue that they would like your support on then i would suppose it to say that they are not going to support you in your re-election and you probably should have just held a press conference instead of being so pretentious with this twitter town hall. 

Dan Holowack
Dan Holowack

It's true - there was an overwhelming number of tweets and retweets on this topic. Difficult to ignore. We've posted the final results and updated our Obama Dashboard: http://Obama.TwitSprout.comGreat post Chris. Cheers! -dan

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