Hey Obama, Where's the Herb?

Marijuana in an election year? Please.

That’s how anti-War on Drugs groups interpreted Obama’s sidestepping of a question about the legalization of pot at yesterday’s YouTube-sponsored press conference — despite the question getting the most user votes by far. According to an organization called L.E.A.P, which stands for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, the President (and presumably the people at YouTube who picked the questions, as if the President’s people had no say in that) took time to answer questions about tennis and late-night snacking, but couldn’t find five minutes to answer a question on the minds of millions of Americans.

Prior to the conference, the question received the most votes of any video submission, and was number two only to a written question about copyright infringement. Here’s the pro-legalization of marijuana question, as asked by Stephen Downing, a L.E.A.P. board member and retired deputy chief of police in Los Angeles:

As I stated in a previous post, marijuana is on the minds of many Americans, and here in Mass., it’s even more pronounced, with a majority of Bay Staters (from both political parties) expressing that marijuana ought to be made legal and managed like tobacco or alcohol.

In the President’s defense, I haven’t heard much about any of these topics (snacking, tennis, marijuana, or copyright infringement) as presidential candidates seem to be on permanent messages about jobs and the economy. But as Newt Gingrich proved with his apparently voter-scaring plan to colonize the moon, sometimes these crazy tangents provide insight into the brain on campaign.

But I’m going to say no. Whenever something like this comes out (but usually not when something doesn’t come out, as was the case here), it ends up as grand diversion. Think of the time that Obama was asked if he smoked, or when Elizabeth Warren and Scott Brown had that whole “don’t want to see you naked” thing going on.

It should be clear by now that any effort to legalize marijuana (or even talking about it) is going to come from the bottom up — very much like voters legalizing gay marriage. This November, Massachusetts voters will have their chance to cast a ballot in favor of medical marijuana.