Tomorrow is October 22nd, this date is important because it is the deadline that the Obama administration set for the closing of the We The People petitions. Several petitions have moved past the 5000 signature requirement but the most notorious is without a doubt the “Legalize and Regulate Marijuana in a Manner Similar to Alcohol” petition which gathered the most responses at a whopping 70,000+ signatures. In fact, in the top 10 petitions, a whole half are related to marijuana: a second marijuana legalization petition, one to end the war on drugs and one asking to stop interfering with state reform received around 53,000 signatures combined; an additional petition to allow industrial growing of hemp got 19,000 supporters. Totaled, that’s another 72,000 petitioners demanding marijuana and drug reform. Regardless of how long the president and his staff take to digest the submissions are come up with a reply, the unavoidable truth is that the response will be a key driver of marijuana policy for the coming year at a minimum.
The entire exercise does a good job of painting a picture of the disconnect between the government and the people. Almost 150,000 people demand cannabis reform on the Obama administration’s very own forum and yet the threats, raids and assorted attacks on the medical marijuana industry continue unabated. It is certainly possible, likely even, that the administration expected similar results and has a response at the ready; given the current approach to marijuana in DC, the reply could very well turn out to be some sickening new re-commitment to prohibition. A turn-around in policy is possible, but sadly the odds of that being the case are rather bleak.
Is it at all possible that the administration expected to gain some kind of real insight into popular demands through this initiative? Why even bother with it? Looking at other leading petitions, they do not fall into any single category. With demands for court justice, a student debt pardon, the elimination of the TSA, the abolishment of puppy mills and the editing of the pledge of allegiance, it is clear that no narrow issue dominates the public’s concern in the way that marijuana does. Perhaps the halls of executive power are indeed so isolated from the reality on the streets that Obama needs a marijuana petition on the White House’s own platform to see what is evident to everyone else.
Recently, marijuana lawyer and activist Robert Raich speculated that the ramped up enforcement is a result of anti-marijuana bureaucrats at the Department of Justice having figured out how to push the President around. Given that Obama has failed to stick to many of his supposed convictions and demonstrated astounding political ineptitude in his handling of Republican obstruction, Raich’s scenario is not very far fetched. If it is the minions of the American law enforcement complex who are running policy over our doormat president, then maybe there is some critical mass of voices that can break the spell. Whether that breaking point can be reached through this marijuana petition or if will take much more forceful actions is to be seen, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to try and be as loud and clear as possible.
So if you haven’t signed the marijuana petition go on and do so, lets get it to 100,000!
Disclaimer: These opinions and statements made in these posts are solely the authors and do not necessarily represent the opinion of 420 Petition and its parent company.