The White House turned down a petition with 75,000 signatures that asked for marijuana to be legalized and regulated in a manner similar to alcohol. The petition was submitted as part of the Obama Administration’s “We the People” project. The White House promises a quick policy response to any petition if it receives enough signatures. According to the “We the People” website, the current threshold for receiving a response is 25,000 signatures within 30 days.
The marijuana petition received more signatures than any other, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Gil Kerlikowske, Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, said in a statement that marijuana is associated with addiction, respiratory disease and cognitive impairment. “Studies also reveal that marijuana potency has almost tripled over the past 20 years, raising serious concerns about what this means for public health—especially among young people who use the drug because research shows their brains continue to develop well into their 20′s. Simply put, it is not a benign drug,” he said.
Allen St. Pierre, Executive Director of the marijuana legalization advocacy group NORML, told the newspaper, it’s “hard not to be disappointed that the White House solicits—consistently—the views of the general public about specific policy changes via the Internet, and with the same consistency completely rejects the public’s ever-growing wont to see cannabis prohibition end in our lifetimes.”