A few weeks ago, the White House announced plans for its "We The People" project, which would allow ordinary Americans to use an online portal at the White House's website to submit a petition, gather support for it and, if it managed to clear a participation threshold (5,000 signatures within 30 days of submission), would get the attention of "policy experts" who would "issue an official response."
Well, this web portal went live today, and according to American Prospect contributor Nancy Scola, it seems the first petition has already reached that threshold.
And, if you've paid attention to what similar attempts at public engagement have garnered in the recent past, then you are probably prepared to be extremely not-surprised:
Legalize and Regulate Marijuana in a Manner Similar to Alcohol.
We the people want to know when we can have our "perfectly legitimate" discussion on marijuana legalization. Marijuana prohibition has resulted in the arrest of over 20 million Americans since 1965, countless lives ruined and hundreds of billions of tax dollars squandered and yet this policy has still failed to achieve its stated goals of lowering use rates, limiting the drug's access, and creating safer communities.
Isn't it time to legalize and regulate marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol? If not, please explain why you feel that the continued criminalization of cannabis will achieve the results in the future that it has never achieved in the past?
This petition had until October 22nd to gather 5,000 signatures, but it obviously didn't need it.
There are eight other petitions vying for support, so far. Three have over 1,000 signatures: a petition to promote the spaying/neutering of pets (1,160 signatures), a petition to "call an investigation into allegations of prosecutorial misconduct in the case of Sholom Rubashkin" (2,468 signatures, the Daily Caller has background on this matter) and another petition to legalize and regulate marijuana (1,193 signatures), whose authors should have maybe coordinated with the successful petition seeking the same thing.
The rest of the petitions involve "licensing and regulating online poker," a clemency request for Leonard Peltier, a petition to allow the industrial production of hemp (I sense a theme, here), a request to formally acknowledge the existence of extra-terrestrials who are "engaging the human race," and ... yes ... a third petition about marijuana legalization (okay, guys, message received).
I'm sure that petitioners of this projects first successful venture hope that the "policy experts" that issue the response will be more blunted than blunt. But if the response back doesn't meet the satisfaction of the petitioners, let me know and I will submit a petition of my own titled "IN RE: Your Response To The Earlier Petition On Marijuana Legalization: I Mean, Okay. But, Dude, Just Think About It For A Minute, Yo!"