January 27th, 2011 By: Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director
[Update! While President Obama's YouTube remarks may have beenpredictable, the mainstream media's focus on the popularity of marijuana law reform has been nothing short of extraordinary -- as noted by the growing number of mainstream outlets (CBS, Fox, USA Today, etc.) that have devoted ink to the story. Via today's YouTube forum, the public has made their case to the mainstream media and that ultimately is just as important, if not more important, than making their case to the President.]
Regardless of whether or not President Obama addresses the question of marijuana law reform in today’s live YouTube ‘Ask Obama’ Q&A, the American public has made their case to the mainstream media.
Last night, Universal Press Syndicate ran with the headline, Top Obama YouTube questions: Legalize pot. Here’s an excerpt from the article:
The top questions Americans want to ask U.S. President Barack Obama on YouTube Thursday deal with legalizing marijuana, a review of the questions indicated. … The YouTube questions Obama will answer will be based on the number of votes each question receives, YouTube said.
More than 193,000 people submitted nearly 140,000 questions and cast almost 1.4 million votes by midnight Wednesday, the submission deadline, a United Press International review indicated. This is 10 times last year’s 14,000 questions, the first year YouTube hosted an Obama interview.
The top 10 questions all involved ending or changing the government’s war on drugs, legalizing or decriminalizing marijuana and embracing industrial hemp as a “green” initiative to help farmers, the UPI review found.
As NORML’s Russ Belville blogged yesterday, marijuana’s popularity is not just limited the top 10 questions. In fact, the top 100 most popular questions (See them here.) posed to the President are about marijuana and drug law reform.
In the minds of the mainstream media, that is a statement just too big to ignore:
USA Today: Obama’s questions from YouTube deal mostly with legalizing pot
The Politico: Obama is urged to talk about drugs
Huffington Post: Obama Barraged By Pot Questions For Upcoming YouTube Town Hall
Washington Post: YouTube interviews President Obama
Regardless of how President Obama responds, the media has their story: The American public is ready to engage in a serious and objective political debate regarding the merits of legalizing the use of cannabis by adults. Is the President? Tune in here at 2:30 est today to find out.