Tony Newman at 646-335-5384</p>
The Drug Policy Alliance, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, the Marijuana Policy Project, NORML and Students for Sensible Drug Policy have issued the following joint statement:
"Following his 2011 State of the Union address, President Obama asked the public to submit questions for an exclusive YouTube Interview that will take place on Thursday January 27. The "Ask Obama" forum promises to take questions from the American people on the issues they find most important in terms of national policy.
"The people have spoken, and the message is loud and clear: the top 100 most popular questions (193,000 were submitted) are on marijuana reform and the harms of drug prohibition, with the first-place question coming from a former police officer who has first-hand experience with the failure of these policies. The questions dominating the forum deal with marijuana legalization, prohibition-related violence, and the fiscal and human consequences of mass incarceration. The American people want to know why our country is continuing the failed, catastrophic policy of drug prohibition.
"Several of the most popular questions also address why our elected leaders have virtually ignored these important issues. This is not the first time marijuana legalization and drug reform have dominated the response to Obama's call for questions. There were similar results in both 2009 and 2010 when people asked Obama about ending prohibition and using science instead of politics to guide our drug policies. In 2009, Obama's response was to laugh off the question about taxing and controlling marijuana. In 2010, Obama ignored the questions, despite the questions dominating in quantity and quality.
"We are encouraged by the grassroots response bubbling up around this issue and urge President Obama to address this issue seriously and thoroughly."