Drug Policy

Update: NO! Will Obama Finally Answer a Question About Legalizing Pot at Today's Online Interview (5.30pm ET)

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Update: The answer is no, Obama didn't answer the top vote-getting YouTube question, which was about drug prohibition. As the link and headlines below indicate, there just wasn't enough time, especially since the president, an admitted drug user, had to talk more pressing matters such as late-night snacks. Emphasis in original posting from Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP).

YouTube Ignores Cop's First Place Marijuana Legalization Video Question for Obama

Posted by LEAP

Site Finds Time for Questions About Dancing, Late-Night Snacks and Playing Tennis

Back before he was president, admitted drug user Barack Obama was known to question the sagacity of the drug war. Now that he's occupying the Oval Office, Obama regularly laughs off the subject of legalizing marijuana when it comes up. Which might be kind of funny if his Justice Department wasn't busy cracking down on medical marijuana dispensaries with a ferocity that easily surpasses anything evinced by the Bush or Clinton admins.

Today, maybe he'll actually talk about this issue at his latest gimmicky online town meeting, which takes place at 5.30pm ET.

As it happens, the good folks at Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) had one of their members submit a YouTube vid question to today's event. Stephen Downing is a retired deputy chief of the Los Angeles Police Department and his question about legalizing pot 

came in first place for video questions and ranked second out of all questions (with the overall top spot going to a text question about copyright infringement). Many of the other top-ranking questions are about marijuana policy or the failed "war on drugs," as has been the case every other time the White House has invited citizens to submit and vote on questions via the web.

In similar past situations, Obama has either literally joked away the question or bluntly said he's not in favor of legalization of marijuana, which is a position that puts him at odds with most Americans.

Read more from LEAP here.

Last year, in response to a LEAP question, he acknowledged that legalization is a "legitimate" topic for discussion, but then went on a long, rambling answer about "shrinking demand" and treating drug use as a public-health issue. That's not promising on its own but is especially bad when put in the context of his actual drug war bona fides. The simple truth is that Barack Obama, the latest in an increasingly long line of presidents and candidates who have admitted using illegal drugs, is every inch a drug warrior.

Read Jacob Sullum's great article on Obama's drug war.

Watch Downing's question here: