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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Obama Ignores Medical Marijuana During Google+ Hangout

Posted By on Tue, Jan 31, 2012 at 7:45 AM

click to enlarge SOME OTHER TIME
  • Some other time

President Barack Obama again turned to social media to connect with voters -- and again he used it to ignore talking pot.

You might have noticed that every time President Obama takes to the series of interactive intertubes, the unwashed masses want to talk, not taxes, and not turkey, but the good herb. Last year, POTUS employed YouTube and Twitter to walk among the people, and on Monday, Obama connected with his fellow Americans using "Hangout" on Google+.

Just like the last two times, viewers/voters submitted questions to the president for consideration via YouTube. And just like the last two times, a question about marijuana legalization was the top draw.

And, just like the last time, the question from a retired cop about failed drug policy and a reexamination of law enforcement priorities was not forwarded to the president.

Yet again, Obama is blameless: The White House says Google+ moderators selected the questions.

Some 133,000 questions were sent in to the president, according to Reuters. Two questions received top billing: A video question about marijuana, and a texted question about copyright infringement.

The video question came from former Los Angeles Police Department Deputy Chief Stephen Downing, who noted a recent Gallup Poll showed more Americans in favor of legalization than not. "What do you say to this growing voter constituency that wants more changes to drug policy than you have delivered in your first term?" Downing asked.

It's anyone's guess, as the president was too busy taking questions about his 20th wedding anniversary and those silly little things called drones in the Middle East.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney noted that it was out of the White House's hands. Google+ moderators picked the questions to feed to the president, whose answers were interspersed between give-and-take with five "typical" Americans in the Google+ "hangout."

It's unclear why Silicon Valley-based Google opted not to test the president -- perhaps it's the mutual flow of money and influence between the two?

"It's worse than silly that YouTube and Google would waste the time of the president and of the American people discussing things like midnight snacks and playing tennis when there is a much more pressing question on the minds of the people who took the time to participate in voting on submissions," said Downing, a board member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, a coterie of cops and former cops who speak out against the War on Drugs.

"The time to discuss this issue is now. We're tired of this serious public policy crisis being pushed aside or laughed off."

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About The Author

Chris Roberts

Chris Roberts has spent most of his adult life working in San Francisco news media, which is to say he's still a teenager in Middle American years. He has covered marijuana, drug policy, and politics for SF Weekly since 2009.


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