In YouTube's "Ask Obama" Contest, Drug-Legalizing Cop Comes in First - Obama says "entirely legitimate topic for debate"

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Thu, 01/27/2011 - 14:03.

CONTACT: Tom Angell (202) 557-4979 or media//at//leap//dot//cc

In YouTube's "Ask Obama" Contest, Drug-Legalizing Cop Comes in First Place

Obama Previously Laughed Off Marijuana Questions, But Can He Ignore a Cop?

WASHINGTON, DC --  A video question about legalizing drugs from a former deputy sheriff has come in first place in YouTube's "Your Interview with the President" competition, where users submitted and voted on questions to be posed to President Barack Obama.

Obama is scheduled to answer the top-voted questions today, Thursday, Jan. 27, at 2:30 PM EST in an interview that will be streamed live online at

The first-place question from MacKenzie Allen, the retired deputy sheriff and a currently a member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), can be viewed at

“As a proud American with a career in law enforcement behind me, I find it frustrating that many elected officials pay little or no attention to the serious harms caused by our failed drug policies," said MacKenzie Allen, a retired deputy sheriff who served in Los Angeles, CA and King County (Seattle), WA.  "That's why I took advantage of what is likely my only opportunity to pose a question to our president, via the Internet. I’ve watched for decades as we throw good money after bad and, more importantly, life after life, at a 'War on Drugs' that is waged with counterproductive tactics and an overall flawed strategy. For the sake of those law enforcers who are still bravely on the front lines of the 'Drug War,' I hope our politicians will heed the call to finally discuss a new approach to drug control."

The Obama White House has previously asked citizens to submit and vote on questions via the web several times, with marijuana and drug policy issues rising to the top virtually every time. During a town hall meeting following one such round of voting in 2009, President Obama laughed off a marijuana legalization question, saying, "I don't know what this says about the online audience."

LEAP Executive Director Neill Franklin, a former Baltimore narcotics cop, responds, "The fact that these questions keep getting the most votes says that Americans are tired of our elected officials ignoring this important issue. Some of my best friends have been killed in line of fire while enforcing these senseless laws. It's not a laughing matter, and the president shouldn't treat it as such."

Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) represents police, prosecutors, judges, FBI/DEA agents and others who want to legalize and regulate drugs after fighting on the front lines of the "war on drugs" and learning firsthand that prohibition only serves to worsen addiction and violence. More info at

I'm watching now and this question isn't first...

I'm watching now and this question isn't first...

A veteran from Akron is asking about jobs...

And for stream started about 6 minutes late...

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Question asked at 3:01... "entirely legitimate topic for debate"

Question asked at 3:01... Retired deputy sheriff MacKenzie Allen asks President Obama to consider at least a discussion on legalizing drugs to stop the violence inherent in the criminal market created by prohibition - I summarize Obama's response to the #1 voted question submitted to YouTube:

I think this is an entirely legitimate topic for debate - I'm not in favor of legalization - we need to think of drugs as public health problem - like with smoking... drunk driving... seatbelts... we need to change peoples attitudes we have been focused on putting people in prison versus shrinking demand - White House is looking at these issues closely - we need to shift more focus on drug cartels, including disruption they cause at the border - can we shrink demand? In some cities it may take 6 months to get into treatment - we need to put more resources into treatment - and reconsider what we are doing to first time nonviolent drug arrests... e.g. Drug Court without prison - all things worth exploring and debate.

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The Budgetary Implications of Marijuana Prohibition

From When I met with my counsel about legalizing cannabis in Ohio, I explained I never bring up a problem without a solution

For intellectual perspective, I saw a debate between William F. Buckley and John Kenneth Galbraith, around 1980, where the conservative Buckley strongly argued the importance of legalizing marijuana, for economic reasons - and most enlightened economists seem to agree. Galbraith's argument against legal marijuana was very Great Society (his baby) and unrealistic, as has been the War against pot.

Buckley won the debate by a landslide. 

From Legalize It or Criminalize It - Should NEO/Ohio Lead The World in Medical Marijuana R&D, Production and Revenues?

An Open Letter to the President, Congress, Governors, and State Legislatures

     We, the undersigned, call your attention to the attached report by Professor Jeffrey A. Miron, The Budgetary Implications of Marijuana Prohibition. The report shows that marijuana legalization -- replacing prohibition with a system of taxation and regulation -- would save $7.7 billion per year in state and federal expenditures on prohibition enforcement and produce tax revenues of at least $2.4 billion annually if marijuana were taxed like most consumer goods. If, however, marijuana were taxed similarly to alcohol or tobacco, it might generate as much as $6.2 billion annually.

     The fact that marijuana prohibition has these budgetary impacts does not by itself mean prohibition is bad policy. Existing evidence, however, suggests prohibition has minimal benefits and may itself cause substantial harm.

     We therefore urge the country to commence an open and honest debate about marijuana prohibition. We believe such a debate will favor a regime in which marijuana is legal but taxed and regulated like other goods. At a minimum, this debate will force advocates of current policy to show that prohibition has benefits sufficient to justify the cost to taxpayers, foregone tax revenues, and numerous ancillary consequences that result from marijuana prohibition.

Endorsing Economists:
*Affiliations listed are only for purposes of identification.


Milton Friedman The Hoover Institution, Stanford University Nobel Laureate
George A. Akerlof University of California, Berkeley Nobel Laureate
Vernon L. Smith George Mason University Nobel Laureate

See full list (and vote, if you haven't alreday) here.

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so Norm - why am I being denied access?


This is a posting another member asked I unpublish

This is a posting another member asked I unpublish but Angel can see it because she wrote it - and I can see it because I'm an admin.

So you can see the technology supports dialog at all different levels depending on the configuration - we just need to reconfigure realNEO differently, and put in place new leadership.

Unless the board figures out how to republish this posting, I guess this conversation is private. Too bad... we're fixing the regional economy and realNEO there.

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oh... because of the threats?

I wasn't taking them personally... I figured Diana was just flapping her jawbone.


so why wasn't the entire post of the person allegedly making the threats pulled?


and no Jeff - its obviously isn't "on my end" - but hEY! don't go anywhere - some members have been trying for days to get the attention of the administrators! Are you or Susan Miller or Gloria (is it Gloria??) out there?





I don't delete anything except SPAM, which is reported to Mollum

I don't delete anything except SPAM, which is reported to Mollum, and we delete the account and report that to Mollum.

If I'm asked to unpost something from a valid member, I unpublish it. If there is more to be done, some other authority needs to do that.

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well atleast we know one "administrator" is still alive

Jeff B..... not that that means anything.

Now you know the abuse I've been taking for over 2 years

Now you know the abuse I've been taking for over 2 years from Jeff Buster and his merry crew of pirates.

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I've never been


So who do you think they work for: coal, oil, lead or JD?

So who do you think they work for: coal, oil, lead or JD?

Could be Cliffs... Koch... Sherwin Williams.. Jones Day... it sure ain't Microsoft.

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I don't know Norm...

I'd say I'm disillusioned all around.

It's like a movie where agents from different countries

It's like a movie where agents from different countries are all going after the same target at the same time, and don't even know who are agents from where, and they just make a mess... I believe that was a plot from a Pink Panther but I'm not sure.

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which is why I prefer point blank honesty

it just all makes more sense in the end, doesn't it?

Yup, and I'm honestly off to Colorado to test a new MMJ food

Yup, and I'm honestly off to Colorado to test a new MMJ (Medical Marijuana) food line I'm having developed there for a Cleveland-company so they may have products in this new industry where it is legal (15 states + DC), even if not legal to participate in that economy here... otherwise, all the opportunities to innovate in this entire industry will be gone for Ohio entrepreneurs and businesses before we can even get in the game.

Pretty weird, huh?!?!

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dbra "trusted user"

Hello dbra,  You are not blocked.  Problem must be on your end.  best, Jeffb

problem is not on Debra's end

unless it is contagious. lots of access denied going on. what's up? I copied the link thus far if they are needed.

realNEO organizational issue

realNEO organizational issue - I was asked to unpublish a posting but the comments still show and are active - "the board" has to decide how to fix this.

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