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#AskObama Twitter town hall ignores flood of marijuana legalization questions

By Eric W. Dolan
Wednesday, July 6, 2011 18:30 EDT
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Republicans were not the only ones flooding President Barack Obama with questions during his “#AskObama” Twitter town hall; the event also generated a huge response from those opposed to the war on drugs.

Data gathered by TwitSprout showed the most retweeted question for Obama was about the legalization of marijuana.

“Would you consider legalizing marijuana to increase revenue and save tax dollars by freeing up crowded prisons, court rooms?” was retweeted 4911 times, according to the analytics service.

A question about letting the Bush tax cuts expire came in second place, with only 1800 retweets.

Although marijuana legalization was an overwhelmingly popular question with Twitter users, Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, who moderated the online town hall, focused on questions pertaining to the economy, education and space exploration.

“#AskObama why they will answer Rep. Boehner’s question, but won’t talk about #CannabisJobs! Legalize it, start a new job creating industry,” the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws complained in tweet, which was itself retweeted more than 100 times.

During his YouTube Q&A in January, Obama was asked what his plan was to help alleviate the detrimental effects of America’s drug war.

He responded by saying that while he’s not in favor of legalization, he did see room for adjusting the drug war to focus less on incarceration and enforcement and more on medical treatment and other forms of interdiction.

The position expressed by President Obama was largely unchanged from 2009, when he told a community driven Q&A that he did not believe legalizing marijuana was a good strategy to grow the economy. He did not, however, crack a joke about the question, calling the debate over drug policy “legitimate.”

With prior reporting by Stephen C. Webster

Eric W. Dolan
Eric W. Dolan
Eric W. Dolan has served as an editor for Raw Story since August 2010, and is based out of Sacramento, California. He grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and received a Bachelor of Science from Bradley University. Eric is also the publisher and editor of PsyPost. You can follow him on Twitter @ewdolan.
 
 
 
 
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