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In Online Chat, Obama Ignores Marijuana Questions

The president gave marijuana-legalization advocates a buzz kill today.

That’s because groups that lobby to decriminalize marijuana had waged a weeklong YouTube campaign urging President Barack Obama to answer questions about drug policy during an online question-and-answer session billed as “Your Interview With the President.”

The top-rated questions, as voted by the public, dealt with marijuana and drug policy, but in the session, the president took questions via YouTube and Google+ on the job market, the economy and American manufacturing — hitting on many of the themes from last week’s State of the Union address. Some of the pro-legalization advocates chided the event’s organizers for finding time to pose questions to the president about late-night snacking and tennis but not drug policy.

The top-rated video question came from Stephen Downing, a retired Los Angeles police officer and a board member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, who said he and like-minded Americans are tired of getting brushed off by elected officials.

“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,” he said in a statement released tonight by LEAP. “A majority of Americans now support legalizing marijuana to de-fund cartels and gangs, lower incarceration and arrest rates and save scarce public resources, all while generating new much-needed tax revenue.”

The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws was similarly disappointed with the president’s Q&A.

“For the ninth time, the White House has solicited the American people for direct input on the issues they cared about and then, when the resulting answers called overwhelmingly for marijuana law reform, President Obama ignores the will of the American people on this burning issue,” Erik Altieri, NORML’s communications coordinator, said in a statement. “If things continue as they are, President Obama very well may earn the dubious honor of running to the right of his predecessor George W. Bush on the marijuana issue.”

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