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Obama's Facebook Forum Fails To Silence Marijuana Legalization Advocates


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In an apparent effort to prevent marijuana legalization from again dominating the discussion, Obama's next online townhall event will not allow participants to vote on their favorite questions for the president. But what does that say about the politics of social media? And will it even work?

It started with a simple and promising idea. The young voters who helped put Obama in office congregate on the Internet, and the best way to keep them involved in the political process is to meet them on their own turf. The incoming Obama Administration planned online forums mimicking the "thumbs up, thumbs down" voting systems that help rank the best content on popular viral sites like YouTube, Reddit and Digg. The President would solicit questions from the public and see what people cared about the most.

What no one anticipated was that the legalization of marijuana would emerge as the most popular political topic among the online public. Despite being initially chastised as "Internet trolls," supporters of marijuana reform repeatedly demonstrated their momentum in an open exercise of online democracy.

As startling as it was to see marijuana legalization taking a front row seat in mainstream politics, the outcome couldn't be ignored without defeating the purpose of the exercise entirely. Obama was forced to respond, and after an unfortunate first attempt to brush the issue aside, he eventually conceded just months ago that legalization is "an entirely legitimate topic of debate," but rejected it without explanation nevertheless.

It had become clear that as long as Obama's forums allowed the public to vote on topics for the president to address, the top-ranked questions would be about legalizing marijuana or even ending the War on Drugs altogether. Reluctant to confront the issue further, the White House recently changed its approach and announced an April 20, 2011 event on Facebook in which participants will not be allowed to vote at all. Questions can be sent in by email or posted on the Facebook page, but Obama's staff will make selections without any public input.

In some respects, this formatting change neatly resolves the "problem" that emerged in the last several forums. Although Obama's staff always had the discretion to select questions regardless of the vote, the presence of a visible count created transparency and pressure to address the most popular topics. Now that the voting process has been eliminated, there's no risk of a difficult question taking center stage and embarrassing the President again. Ignoring the drug policy issue entirely will be substantially easier this time, but at what cost?

The inherently democratic, vote-powered economy of ideas on the Internet has proven to be a remarkably powerful tool for discovering content of social value. The ability to click on what you like is the currency of social media and it offers insights into public opinion that may be worth more than meets the eye. The participatory nature of a vote-driven web forum makes people care about the outcome. Advocates for a wide variety of causes are inspired to spread the word and work to make sure their issue gets votes. The Obama Administration has abandoned the process simply to silence one particular idea, but the effect will be to make the forum less interesting for everyone.

Moreover, the rise of marijuana policy into the realm of mainstream public discussion should fascinate, rather than frustrate, our political leadership. It's a phenomenon that should at least interest our elected officials, even if they don't yet fully understand or care that marijuana prohibition funds murder in Mexico, that innocent family pets are slaughtered in botched pot raids, that precious wilderness is being devastated by black-market marijuana manufacturing, that racism defines our marijuana arrest rates, that public servants are being corrupted before our eyes, and that we blow billions each year just to keep the situation as bad as it's been for so long.

If advocates of marijuana reform have become annoying in their efforts to get attention, maybe that's because there is no official time or place to have this debate. How we deal with drug use in America is a question almost anyone would agree is profoundly important, and yet the discussion is ducked by our political leadership at every opportunity.

The real political significance of the Internet is that it's the one place where political priorities are spelled out by the people, unedited, uncensored, and allowed to stand on their own strength. The fact that marijuana legalization gains newfound momentum here is testament to the flawed political machinery of the past, not the quirks of the new social media tools that are just beginning to reshape political landscapes.

Indeed, until he is prepared to discuss the problems with our nation's marijuana laws in much more detail, the President's online events will remain a rather pointless and impractical exercise. If you don't believe it, check out what everyone's talking about on his Facebook page right now.

NewsHawk: MedicalNeed: 420 MAGAZINE
Author: Scott Morgan
Source: huffingtonpost.com
Copyright: 2011 TheHuffingtonPost.com, Inc.
Contact: Contact us
Website: Scott Morgan: Obama's Facebook Forum Fails to Silence Marijuana Legalization Advocates

Julie Gardener

New Member
It is kind of ironic that he holds it on 4/20 but doesn't want marijuana to be the main topic. LOL How simply utterly silly is that. I hope one of the great comedians does a parody of that. And yes, it should fascinate rather than frustrate our political leaders that this topic comes up so often. HELLO political leaders, Cannabis is knocking on your door. Open up and let in the light. I posted quite a bit on the wall myself. I kept it very positive and I was surprised to see all the negativity on the wall too. I had fun and was able to debate a little and learn more. I also met a few good like minded people to stay in touch with. Towards the end I put up something that must've been controversial because they took it down. lol. It was the JFK speech about 'the truth' with my spin on the Cannabis Prohibition. So they definitely censored the wall. I was just feeling like it needed to be there but they disagreed. Anyway, on we go, we will get there one day. Cannabis to the world or bust. Stay positive and keep moving. Happy 4/20 to all...One Love :thumb:


New Member
So was it a crock of shit or was it lagit? I had other things to attend to and did not get a chance to watch it. It sucks when we spend billions on bullshit policies and they wonder why we can't feed the hungry and fix the budget.

Happy 420 Everyone!


New Member
Didn't see or hear but sounds like it was what was to be expected.It was just another vote that I wasted in there system.So they can say people aren't disenfranchised with them.:peace:


New Member
It was more of the same. Campaign stuff. We broke, my ideas for the future are better than their ideas...blah, blah, blah...energize the youth...blah,blah,blah

Personally, I think it's time we changed our approach to the subject. Asking our politicians if they believe that Marijuana should be legalized may not be the correct question. For others, asking if something should be legalized can easily be construed as asking for consent to use. For Grandma and Grandpa, that may be a bridge to far.

I believe that many more could be brought around on their thinking if the right questions were asked. Do I belong in prison because I smoke marijuana? Should people be gunned down in their homes by law enforcement for suspicion of possessing or growing marijuana? How much are marijuana related convictions costing us as a nation, and what return are we getting?

I think we have approach the debate from a realistic POV. It would be easier to force our politicians into a corner on the topic. I don’t need anyone’s permission; I need the government to leave me the fuck alone.

I believe the debate would catch more traction w/ non-users if the focus could be kept on the Fed rather than cliche talking points that have been regurgitated ad nauseam.


New Member
Like I have said and will say again. MMJ is the key to legalization. Once you can hold officials accountable and liable for not adhearing to the laws and the will of the people then there is hope for full legalization and the production of hemp products. Yes the baby boomers are a key factor as well... not just the youth.


New Member
Being a baby boomer we are in charge now. We started this fight back in the sixties against the Establishment, and here we are helping to build the barricades.


Nug of the Month: Jan, May 2013 - Plant of the Month: June 2013
I was thinking of sending this to Mr. Obama...Mr. President, you evaded the subject of legalizing Marijuana. By Saying that "it is a legitimate topic for debate" is ambiguous but ,at best, an invitation for serious dialog. We are educated, intelligent people, who have dreams and take steps to fulfill them. We are siblings and parents, pagans and preachers. We are, doctors, lawyers, plumbers, farmers, grocery clerks, mechanics , pilots, every walk of life is represented here, creed, color, ETC. One thing in common, Marijuana makes our lives better, eases pain, settles anxiety, stops seizers, stops cancer, clothes us, feeds us, heals us, shelters us, cleans us, the list goes on. Time to stop hiding behind the wallet big business is handing you. Be the first President to do what the people want and need. Legalize Marijuana, it can save our nation and our planet.



New Member
the profit maryland could make from cannabis.this people are crazy.not only does it help with pain.,bipolor it would really help to just let the people live life happier.....how about all the congress people that use and all the police that keep over half for them selves when they raid and bust people !!!!!!(a proven fact) good old usa.if there is a god this law will pass.this country has bigger fish to fry...::cheer:
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