Pot debate hits White House site

Updated
By Anthony Reyes
A marijuana plant being grown for medicinal purposes (file)
A marijuana plant being grown for medicinal purposes (file)
Ed Andrieski/AP

We’ve been wondering the things Republicans might be shocked to discover about Governor Christie if he ran for president. Exhibit A: the medical marijuana program that is about to be instated under Christie’s watch. But the Garden State is not the only place where reefer madness is growing. 

The White House recently created an online system for petitioning the government called “We The People.” And they have promised a response from a White House official and maybe even President Obama himself to any petition that garners more than 5,000 signatures. The New York Times has now re-dubbed the site “Weed The People” after more than 77,000 people signed petitions asking Obama to legalize marijuana — making it the first petition to reach the threshold.

President Obama, always under a barrage of questions on marijuana legislation in digital forums and town halls, has vaguely responded that he is against it and dodged a more in depth explanation. Obama knows the steady rise in public support for legalization is something that cannot be ignored, especially when you open up a petitioning website.

WNYC reported New York City police commissioner Ray Kelly sent around a internal memo ordering the NYPD to stop arresting people who possess small amounts of marijuana. In 2010, more than 50,000 people were arrested for marijuana possession and since Mayor Michael Bloomberg came into office in 2002, there have been at least 350,000 arrests. And almost 86 percent of those arrested were Black or Latino, even though research consistently shows that young whites use marijuana at higher rates according to Drug Policy Alliance.

A New York Times editorial this week blasted the police department’s stop-and-frisk practice which some argue disproportionately targets minority youth, saying it “deserves deeper scrutiny by federal and state monitors” after damaging so many young lives for minor possession.

Proponents of federal marijuana legalization believe it will free police to fight serious crimes and prevent such unjust arrests. It depends where you live; Many states have legalized medical marijuana, in others you can spend time in jail for having a toke.

However, the main debate is whether legalization can create a new taxable commodity than can raise some of that revenue the U.S. government so badly needs right now.

What do you think?

 

Drugs and Barack Obama

Pot debate hits White House site

Updated