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US Open Government Initiative Enters Phase Three 572

Posted by kdawson
from the madisonian-moment dept.
circletimessquare writes "The Obama administration opened a discussion forum in January of this year which has become an electronic suggestion box. It is now entering stage three, following brainstorm and discussion phases: the draft phase, in which the top subject matter is codified into suggestions for the government. 'Ultimately, the visitors advanced more than 3,900 ideas, which in turn spawned 11,000 comments that received 210,000 thumb votes. The result? Three of the top 10 most popular ideas called for legalizing marijuana, and two featured conspiracy theories about Mr. Obama's true place of birth.'"
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US Open Government Initiative Enters Phase Three

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  • Legalize it? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 22, 2009 @10:58PM (#28433833)

    Not sure if that's a brilliant idea or not, but surely removing it from schedule 1 status is the right thing to do.

    That Nixon-era policy makes classifies it as having "no medicinal value" and is considered "highly addictive". Both are jokes.

    The status above cocaine gives law enforcement more incentive to go after potheads than Colombian smugglers. Ridiculous.

    • Re:Legalize it? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Starlon (1492461) on Monday June 22, 2009 @11:01PM (#28433855)
      The Government's leading expert on marijuana says legalize it. He claims it causes less damage to society and health than both tobacco and alcohol. Look him up. His name's Dr. Donald Tashkin.
    • Re:Legalize it? (Score:5, Informative)

      by shaitand (626655) on Monday June 22, 2009 @11:09PM (#28433953) Journal

      Marijuana is a fairly safe herbal supplement with thousands of years of demonstrated safe use. By even the most exaggerated accounts it is less addictive than most cough syrups. The known side effects are less severe and occur with less frequency than over the counter medications like say Aspirin and many other herbal supplements.

      According to the FDA's own rules an herbal remedy with an established long term history of safe use should be unregulated right alongside all the other herbal supplements from the scam diet pills to those supported by clinical evidence like Ginko Biloba.

      There is no legitimate reason to make marijuana a black market product but there are plenty of illegitimate reasons.

    • Re:Legalize it? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Will.Woodhull (1038600) <wwoodhull@gmail.com> on Monday June 22, 2009 @11:37PM (#28434271) Homepage Journal

      Legalize it, then it can be taxed and regulated. We should strongly consider doing the same thing with other drugs, too. If drugs were legally available, there would be no profit in the illicit drug trade, we would see a reduction in crime at all levels, and the medical costs associated with overdoses and adulterated drugs would also decrease. Legalizing marajuana would be an excellent test case.

      Also, if marajuana was legalized, then hemp would be legalized, and the USA would again have a valuable cash crop to grow on marginal lands. It is stupid that hemp is an illegal crop... the only reason for it being illegal is that it seemed easier to pass a law against hemp than to train law enforcement personnel in the simple botany needed to make the distinction. I, for one, think that our cops are smart enough to learn how to do a simple field test.

      Of course, legalizing any of the highly profitable black market drugs would mean bucking the lobbying efforts of one of the USA's major industries, and one of the very few that enjoys freedom from paying any taxes on its profits. So I don't expect this to happen soon or without great effort.

      • Re:Legalize it? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by SleepingWaterBear (1152169) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @01:12AM (#28434977)

        Legalize it, then it can be taxed and regulated. We should strongly consider doing the same thing with other drugs, too. If drugs were legally available, there would be no profit in the illicit drug trade, we would see a reduction in crime at all levels, and the medical costs associated with overdoses and adulterated drugs would also decrease. Legalizing marajuana would be an excellent test case.

        Also, if marajuana was legalized, then hemp would be legalized, and the USA would again have a valuable cash crop to grow on marginal lands. It is stupid that hemp is an illegal crop... the only reason for it being illegal is that it seemed easier to pass a law against hemp than to train law enforcement personnel in the simple botany needed to make the distinction. I, for one, think that our cops are smart enough to learn how to do a simple field test.

        Of course, legalizing any of the highly profitable black market drugs would mean bucking the lobbying efforts of one of the USA's major industries, and one of the very few that enjoys freedom from paying any taxes on its profits. So I don't expect this to happen soon or without great effort.

        I agree with you entirely that marijuana (and many other drugs) should be legalized. The vast majority of the problems associated with drugs are direct results of their being illegal, and enforcement accomplishes nothing but raising the price.

        I'd like to ask the slashdot community if they've ever heard of anyone who wanted it having trouble getting pot (or almost any common street drug for that matter). If we're not making access to the drugs difficult, what exactly are we doing? It's pretty damned obvious what the negative effects of making drugs illegal are - at the most basic level, the drug trade funnels millions of dollars to organized crime. Then there's the fact that it's much harder to help people with drug problems if they're afraid of being treated as criminals. Finally, without regulation and control, otherwise safe drugs (at least as safe if not safer than alcohol) can be adulterated and made toxic. The laws don't seem to be doing anything other stuffing our overcrowded prison systems. Personally I dislike pot - I think it makes people stupid and boring, and I don't like my mind to feel dull - but it's pretty damned obvious to anyone with half a brain that right now we're doing nothing but harm.

        • by wisty (1335733) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @04:42AM (#28436169)

          Try not to make it so logical.

          Illegal drugs are made by TERRORISTS and ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS. They are often sold, on the street, by STREET GANGS. By REGULATING the trade of these substances, we TAKE JOBS AWAY from HARD WORKING AMERICANS, and LET THE BAD GUYS WIN.

          The cost of preventing illegal drug imports, and the lost revenue from the taxes that could be applied to these if they were legal leads to HIGHER TAXES, and LESS MONEY FOR SCHOOLS.

  • by Tom90deg (1190691) <Tom90deg@yahoo.com> on Monday June 22, 2009 @11:01PM (#28433857) Homepage

    Ahh, once again, the power of the internet proves that the majority of people are pretty stupid. Of course, we already knew that because of Myspace. Yay glitter!

  • Really?? (Score:2, Interesting)

    Hmm. Our economy is a disaster. We have two wars going on with no real plan to get out of either. We have a health care problem in this country that nobody has proposed a meaningful solution to. The national debt is increased every year with no end in sight. We have multiple states on the verge of financial ruin. Our national infrastructure is falling apart in many ways and places. Our education system is falling behind further every year.

    And several critical countries around the world are increasi
    • Re:Really?? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ArsonSmith (13997) on Monday June 22, 2009 @11:07PM (#28433919) Journal

      "...But until then I don't see why it merits the time of our government."

      I think that's part of the point. All this other crap going on and we're still arresting people for smoking pot!?!

    • Re:Really?? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Darkness404 (1287218) on Monday June 22, 2009 @11:11PM (#28433967)

      And for some reason marijuana is an important issue? Are you kidding me? I don't see how it could possibly be more relevant than any of the issues I already listed. If we could solve all of them, then I would be comfortable with our national government looking into this "marijuana issue" (whatever the hell the issue is). But until then I don't see why it merits the time of our government.

      Lets see... You legalize marijuana and you can cut down on the number of arrests made, cut down on the number of cops, when you legalize it you would also allow for new industries to thrive, tax dollars to collect, Assuming even only a moderate increase of marijuana consumption as a part of it being legalized, you open up an entire new industry, more jobs, less spending for the government, more freedom and more revenue.

      There is no way you can argue for marijuana to not be legalized by a purely financial standpoint. Plus, legalizing it will cut costs, and spend less time looking at the issue rather than the more time you are foolishly suggesting.

    • by Chuck Chunder (21021) on Monday June 22, 2009 @11:19PM (#28434067) Homepage Journal
      It's not surprising people want to get get high.
    • Re:Really?? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by mbone (558574) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @02:42AM (#28435547)

      And for some reason marijuana is an important issue?

      Almost one million arrests per year ? 50 to 100,000 people or so in jail at any one time for possession ? A few dozen people killed each year while being arrested or while in jail ?
      Corruption all over the place ? Damn straight it's an important issue. And, unlike many issues, it is a purely government issue, that the government could solve in a week, if the government was interested in actually listening to what the people were saying.

  • by Toe, The (545098) on Monday June 22, 2009 @11:04PM (#28433895)

    The article gets it right in saying it is a "suggestion box." All we can do is suggest to our rulers what we want them to do: they still get to decide. This is still not democracy. It's barely even a democratic republic.

    If you want real democracy, please consider joining the Metagovernment [metagovernment.org] project which is a collective of projects [metagovernment.org] working to make governance a truly open system for everyone.

    Also, consider attending Participation Camp [mudball.net]. The virtual meeting started this morning, and there will be a brainstorm session [gmane.org] tomorrow morning (1500GMT, ie 11:00 AM Eastern).

    • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Monday June 22, 2009 @11:14PM (#28433999)
      The only way to have a truly free government is to have a government that protects only against force and fraud. That way you have freedom to do whatever you want to while being safe because of the government.
      • by Mr2001 (90979) on Monday June 22, 2009 @11:23PM (#28434099) Homepage Journal

        The only way to have a truly free government is to have a government that protects only against force and fraud.

        If so, then people who ask for a "truly free government" should be careful what they wish for.

        That way you have freedom to do whatever you want to while being safe because of the government.

        Well, no, not quite. A ban on force and fraud is, itself, a restriction on your freedom: you aren't free to do whatever you want if what you want involves force or fraud. It's a perfectly justified restriction, but it's still a restriction.

        More importantly, a government that only protects against force and fraud is a government that doesn't regulate industry. We've seen where that leads, from healing tonics to meat packing to investment banking. There's plenty of deception and destruction that doesn't quite fall under the umbrella of "force and fraud".

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by dkleinsc (563838)

        So now all the employers in your vicinity work you 90 hours a week at the equivalent of $3 per hour. And they collude (there's nothing forceful or fraudulent about that), and say that if a particular candidate doesn't win elections in your area they're going to fire everyone (there are plenty of replacement workers out there, since only half the number of people are employed thanks to the 90 hr/week rule). And before you say that some of those unemployed masses could just start their own businesses, the sam

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by PottedMeat (1158195)
      I don't want a democracy. I don't want a democratic republic. I want a REPUBLIC.

      Too few people know the difference.
      • and give rise to revolution or a strong man who throws out all the rights in the republic to reestablish order, leading to autocracy

        if you aren't explicit about the whole democracy thing, you wind up with an aristocratic elite with a firm grip on the government. study the history of all republics, this is a natural evolution. for all of its flaws, democracy has a feature which trumps everything else: it manufactures legitimacy. the will of the people is consulted, and the government is chosen from that will. the people are happy they have their say. there is always malcontent, in any system, but it is held at a minimum in democracy

        without the explicit consultation democracy provides, the will of the people and the agenda of the ruling class begin to drift apart over time. simple miscommunication and entropy can be the culprit, no real malice, although there's always enough of that around. mistrust and illegtimacy is the result, and social stability decays, eventually leading to outright revolt or an incredibly weak government that gives way to a strong man and autocracy who reestablishes order, but at the cost of all the precious rights you look to a republic to guarantee

        so you're stuck with democracy. it provides stability. a republic without democracy isn't stable, it decays

        and i really have to wonder what makes you so distrustful of your fellow man. some sort of blind conceit on your part probably, a personal failure of yours

  • by girlintraining (1395911) on Monday June 22, 2009 @11:13PM (#28433987)

    I think I see a flaw in your cunning plan, Mr. President: The people who voted for you are also online. And dear god, are they stupid. Don't feel bad though; The ones that voted for the other guy aren't any smarter. -_- But then, what did you really expect? Given a choice between democracy and educated civil discourse, or a large smack of porn and screaming matches, 9 out of 10 internet users prefer the latter. And the 10th one was a cat walking over the keyboard.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by BitZtream (692029)

      Interestingly, if you think about it, if 9 out of 10 internet users prefer the porn and screaming matchs, the world really isn't all that bad, nor does it appear that there really is that much to get all uppity about.

      Thats probably why there really isn't any 'change', its not actually bad enough that people want to put for the effort to do so, they'd rather just enjoy the porn.

      Me, I would like to change things, but only so that the ISPs stop fucking with me and my bandwidth and caps, so I can download more

  • by Korey Kaczor (1345661) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @12:52AM (#28434857)
    The irony of this is, twofold: One, this is the administration that that had added a huge increase to tobacco taxes, and these people think that the government is actually going to legalize marijuana? Hah hah hah! Good one.

    Two, it's just sad that our country's main concern is legalizing some drug that's major benefit is to get people high. While marijuana has a lot of medical uses, and banning it is pointless, it's just pathetic that nobody cares about inflation, an overzealous foreign policy, the sick demented system of child "protection" services ruined to scam parents and ruin the family, the court system being a guilty-until-proven-innocent fiasco where the court orders you to prove your innocence and you have to pay for court costs, drugs tests, psych exams, and etc. to prove your innocence, and freedom from censorship. Nope, us Americans gotta have our weed! Gotta get high so we won't have any other problems to worry about, just pretend they don't exist with a nice pipe in front of us.

    I guess there is also a third point of irony: Weed stupifies you, you'd think the government would favor deregulating it so they could tax it to the sky's limit and get more money off of you that way, while having a bunch of people too high to care about the other rights the government keeps taking away.
  • Registering (Score:4, Insightful)

    by JimboFBX (1097277) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @04:06AM (#28436007)
    So registering on the site isn't https. I know this isn't credit card information but still, I wonder how many people use the same password for this as they do their email. Too easy to snoop such a high profile web server.

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