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'Weed The People'

Citizens continue legalization controversy

By Victoria Staples
On October 25, 2011

More than 77,000 Americans are asking the White House to legalize marijuana, according to the White House's new petition website.

The website, "We The People," allows citizens to address government formally on any issue desired.  

Although the chances of the petitions influencing policy are slim to none, they keep open the lines of communication between government and  citizens.

To receive a response, petitions must acquire at least 5,000 signatures within 30 days.

In two days, one specific  legalization of marijuana petition received 20,000 signatures, making it the most popular on the website, according to

The New York Times renamed the site "Weed The People," according to MSNBC online.

President Obama has voiced that he is against the legalization of marijuana on various occasions, according to MSNBC online.

The petition asks for the legalization and regulation of marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol.

"A substance like alcohol that has high death rates as a result of car accidents and alcohol poisoning is legal," said Satira Holiday.

"If a substance of that nature can be legal, then with control, it [marijuana] should be legalized."

Holiday is a senior elementary education major from Philadelphia.

We the people want to know when we can have our "perfectly legitimate" discussion on marijuana legalization, the petition asks.

Petitioners continue to argue that the [marijuana] prohibition policy has been a failure since its issuance in 1965:

"This policy has still failed to achieve its stated goals of lowering use rates, limiting the drug's access, and creating safer communities. "

In some states, marijuana is decriminalized.

This means that one cannot be prosecuted for possession or use of a small amount of marijuana; however, intention to sell or possess large quantities of marijuana is illegal.

Marijuana counts for more than one-half of drug arrests made from 1965 to 2009, and 46 percent of all drug prosecutions nationwide are for marijuana possession, according to the National Organization of the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

"It [legalization] would keep a lot of urban youth out of the criminal system and save taxpayer's dollars from funding prison and the judicial system," Holiday said.

"The focus has been on individuals who are of a poor background, those selling to survive, rather than focusing on people who are making good money because they do it [sale and use marijuana] too," said Carolyn Thomas, Honors Program assistant.

"If they did a survey, people who do it as a recreation versus others -- the numbers would be staggering, and I imagine large numbers of petitioners generated have come from people of the middle class," Thomas said.

In a recent Gallup News poll, 50 percent of Americans want marijuana legalized.

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