By Jeremiah Vandermeer
The White House has launched a new website giving citizens the opportunity to electronically petition President Obama, who will respond to issues that receive more than 5,000 signatures in 30 days. Sign the petition asking Obama to pardon imprisoned Canadian marijuana activist Marc Emery!
"The right to petition your government is guaranteed by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution," the website, called We the People, states under it's 'How & Why' section. "We the People provides a new way to petition the Obama Administration to take action on a range of important issues facing our country. We created We the People because we want to hear from you. If a petition gets enough support, White House staff will review it, ensure it’s sent to the appropriate policy experts, and issue an official response."
The Pardon Marc Emery petition states:
We formally request President Obama pardon and release Marc Scott Emery. Marc Emery, a well-known Canadian political activist, publisher, businessman and leader of the BC Marijuana Party, was arrested in 2005 at the request of the United States for selling cannabis seeds through the mail. The DEA press release by Administrator Karen Tandy on July 29th, 2005 clearly explained the United States’ extradition request was a “significant blow … to the marijuana legalization movement” because Marc Emery’s money had been “channeled to marijuana legalization groups active in the United States and Canada” — and therefore, was for the purpose of prosecuting and punishing him by reason of his political opinion, activity and involvement; [DEA press release seen at www.FreeMarc.ca]
The petition had 2,148 signatures at the time this article was published; almost half way there!
Marc Emery, known in Canada as the Prince of Pot, is currently serving a 5-year prison term after being extradited to the US from Canada for selling marijuana seeds online. Marc funneled the vast majority of his profits to legalization efforts, which made him very unpopular with powerful US and Canadian leaders, who eventually had him locked away.
We The People has only been up for a few days, but already the site has been bombarded with petitions covering a wide range of issues.
What's the most popular issue, you ask? Legalizing marijuana, of course.
At the top of the list (with 35,930 signatures at the time this article was published) is a petition titled Legalize and Regulate Marijuana in a Manner Similar to Alcohol.
In fact, five of the top 10 petitions relate to legalizing marijuana and hemp. Check out the most popular petitions.
This is by no means a surprise, as several of the Obama Administration's past public outreach efforts (and comprable efforts from the Canadian government) have seen similar results, with marijuana-related topics at the top of the respective lists.
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