This afternoon, for the third year in a row, President Obama will respond to questions submitted to him via YouTube, and for the third year in a row, many of those questions will be about weed. In fact, according to the Huffington Post’s count, 198 out of the 200 most popular questions submitted to YouTube, as voted on by the website’s users, are about the drug war or the legalization of marijuana. Obama didn’t answer any pot-related questions last year the YouTube moderator chooses what to ask him but stoners must be hoping that, if Obama does respond to them today, he’ll be a little less belittling than he was in 2009.
Haha! So much laughter! You know who isn’t laughing, though? The stoners. Well, they are, but only because they just watched this video. But regarding Obama’s answer? Not laughing.
Even though Obama is a former stoner himself — “If the high didn’t solve whatever it was that was getting you down, it could at least help you laugh at the world’s ongoing folly and see through all the hypocrisy and bullshit and cheap moralism,” he wrote in his autobiography — and is possibly more receptive to drug reform than he lets on, he has an election to worry about, and the image of a “soft-on-crime,” pot-friendly Democrat isn’t exactly appealing to middle America. Maybe he’ll be less derisive this time, but stoners looking for actual support for marijuana legalization from Obama should, for once, not hold their breaths.
Update: At the YouTube town hall, Obama was asked to respond to a marijuana-legalization question. Here is the question:
Obama was, indeed, a lot more receptive to the question this time around. Instead of giggling and giving a cursory answer, he called it “an entirely legitimate topic for debate.” Not surprisingly, though, he is “not in favor of legalization.” He also stressed that we should think of drugs as more of a “public-health problem” and of the importance of finding ways to “shrink demand” for them.