The following is a letter I wrote in 2009. I have now sent it to President Obama several times. I have also sent versions to Michelle. Agree or disagree, I will keep trying.
Dear President Obama,
When you were running for office, about 50% of my friends, colleagues & family members supported you, the rest were split, a large number supported Ron Paul. Two things that both of these groups held in common was that their choice was the man that would bring change, the best chance they have ever had to have their values of freedom & liberty upheld. Like Michelle, I want to be proud of my country. I want to live in a country where those people elected to represent the people do not laugh them off simply because their ideas are controversial. Repeatedly, those people who worked as volunteers on your campaign, who donated their money, who went out to the polls in record numbers have asked you about drug law reform, in fact, these have been some of the most asked questions.
At your recent internet town hall meeting, the matter was literally laughed at. “One wonders what this says about our online community.” Instead of laughing, one should ask why this has been such a big issue. Instead of alienating some of your most stringent supporters, maybe you should ask them to back up their viewpoints.
The validity of industrial hemp as a natural resource that can be grown to decrease de-forestation while increasing farming & manufacturing jobs is undeniable. We can bailout all the banks we want, we can try as hard as we want to salvage our fragile system; unless and until we begin to produce for our selves again there is no way to turn around the problem. We cannot exist as a consumer society with everything we purchase being grown and manufactured in other countries. Allowing farmers across the nation to grow this valuable resource creates a lasting change by creating jobs and new industry. The increased taxes can be used to retrain workers in job areas that are affected.
You have yourself said that you will help end raids on medical marijuana patients and uphold state laws in these matters. I do not take any of the narcotic based pain pills or muscle relaxers or tranquilizers produced by big pharmaceutical companies due to the effect on mood, and ability to parent-a problem I do not experience using natural medicine. I am grateful for your support of my choice in medical care for these reasons.
While these are the two primarily accepted reasons for legalization or decriminalization, there are other reasons. So far this year we have spent over $12,225,000,000 on the drug war, we have arrested over 445,000 people-for drugs. This does not include the ongoing cost of incarceration of thousands of non-violent drug offenders who are in jails. This costs about $25,000 a year-we are also now extraditing from other countries those who break drug laws in other countries with people in the US. I am a single mother, living on less than $12,000 a year-not using public assistance and I think there are better ways to use our resources.
We live in a country where if I get pregnant, the constitution upholds my right to have an abortion-because it is my body. We live in a country where if I put an unapproved drug in my body-I can be locked in a cage. I cannot reconcile this. We live in a country where a small group of people who formed a private prison group in 1870 still operate today, ever more powerful in their lobbying efforts, ever more transparent in their use of prisoners as laborers for big corporate interests, ever more dangerous to our way of life and freedom. We live in a country where we elected you Mr. Obama, to end the injustice still being committed to American Citizens, in America, by Americans. Please realize that many of us asking you make sweeping changes see the numbers in prisons for these non-violent drug crimes well over half are African American men 19-39. Only minimum security prisoners (like these non-violent drug offenders) get to work for virtually no pay-instead of $9 an hour outside. This is whatever you want to call it. I look at the timeline and see it as a legal, constitutional continuance of very bad things.
What is your online audience thinking? We are thinking that if one looked at all of the data together one would see the billions of dollars we could save by not incarcerating non-violent offenders. We are thinking it is impossible to measure the value of 500,000 more free people living outside of cages. We are thinking that it will bring about an end that the 13 Amendment failed to when it included “unless he is convicted”. We are thinking that industrial hemp will literally repair the economy from the ground up. We are thinking that we would like to go to the pharmacy and not get a pill-and yet still find relief. We are thinking that in a land of religious freedom to persecute us for our way of being is unconstitutional-at best. We are thinking that there is a better way. We are hoping you will help us be proud of where we live. We hope that when we say “This is a big deal”, you will not laugh at us.
We Hope for Change.
Concerned US Citizen