Dear President Obama,
I know you probably get tons letter from journalists and bloggers offering advice on what to do now that you’re the President of the United States (or POTUS). But may I suggest you listen, just for a second to the suggestion of a cannabis columnist from the heart of American Academia.
As I’m sure you recall, the first time your transition website (Change.gov) asked your constituents for the questions that matters to them, the most voted for question was: “Will you consider legalizing marijuana so that the government can regulate it, tax it, put age limits on it, and create millions of new jobs and create a billion dollar industry right here in the U.S?”
And they responded: “President-elect Obama is not in favor of the legalization of marijuana.”
With the mounting economic, medical and legal burden of reason on our side, cannabis users were left aghast. The brevity of that response, 85% shorter than your average, was a slap in the face and a dismissal of the important dialogue now decades overdue. As NORML deputy director, Paul Armentano, recently wrote, “Marijuana law reform should no longer be viewed by legislators a political liability. For the incoming administration and for Congress, it is a political opportunity.” And might I also remind you that, in every state in which propositions to loosen cannabis laws were on the ballot this year, every one of those propositions received a higher voter percentage that did you in presidential election.
Minutes after taking the oath for the presidency, you said, “The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works… Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. And those of us who manage the public’s dollars will be held to account.”
I struggle to find a collection of government programs that work less and waste more money than the War on Drugs. Still, I’m not going to ask you, the president, to begin campaigning for changes in marijuana laws. That would be ridiculous; you have more than enough issues to contend with. I’m asking you to re-open discussion of drug laws, especially those concerning cannabis. After all, there was enough time and money to investigate steroid use in Major League baseball. If we have the resources to snoop pastimes and games, surely there is enough to give a thorough investigation
Recall that a conservative estimate for the annual budget of the War on Drugs is 50 billion dollars. That means there is a Bernie Madoff size loss every year; wasted on a never-ending war with ill-defined metrics for success, empty-worded goals and no end in sight. And just as the invasion of Iraq helped Americas enemies in Iran and Venezuela, so too has the American Drug was provided increased profits and subterranean power for organizations whose interests are inherently opposed to American interests like the Taliban, Mexican drug cartels, and the sinister Canadian pot growers. Surely this topic deserves a little congressional investigation. You may find, not an outcry of horror, but rather a sigh of relief, a flood of recovered funds when we need them most, and an end to hypocrisy.
You’ve made no secret of the fact that you inhaled (and snorted). It wasn’t even a major election issue that you took part in an activity that, if caught (especially as a black man), almost certainly would have gotten you arrested and prevented you from even beginning you tremendous rise to be our 44th president.
I hope you get to read this Mr. President. I hope you get to take a moment to look at the facts instead of the propaganda manufactured by the DEA, FDA, and other government agencies that profit off of the ongoing drug war. I hope you can see past the politics and the antiquated prejudices and see to it that this issue gets a fair look.
Best of luck running the country, you’ll need it.
Peace, Love, and Bowls,
Lonny Reginald “Reggie” Hubbard