US President Barack Obama speaks at conveyer engineering and manufacturing in Cedar Rapids (Reuters)
US President Barack Obama speaks at conveyer engineering and manufacturing in Cedar Rapids (Reuters)

President Barack Obama is due to answer a series of questions submitted by the American people on YouTube for Your Interview with the President.

In one of the White House's social media initiatives, Obama will address the questions that received the most votes from other YouTube users, with the second- highest rated question coming from a retired deputy chief of the Los Angeles Police Department advocating the legalisation of marijuana; the overall top spot went to a text question on copyright infringement.

The question, submitted by Stephen Downing, a member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, received twice as many votes as any other video question submitted.

The question asked: "Mr. President, my name is Stephen Downing, and I'm a retired deputy chief of police from the Los Angeles Police Department. From my 20 years of experience, I have come to see our country's drug policies as a failure and a complete waste of criminal justice resources.

"According to the Gallup Poll, the number of Americans who support legalising and regulating marijuana now outnumbers those who support continuing prohibition. What do you say to this growing voter constituency that wants more changes to drug policy than you have delivered in your first term?"

The Gallup Poll referred to in Downing's question was conducted in October. It revealed that 50 percent of Americans - a record high - now believe that marijuana should be made legal, with 46 percent against the proposed legislation.

Those in favour of legalising marijuana has risen from 12 percent in 1969, when Gallop first conducted a poll on the issue, putting pressure on the US Government to change the nation's laws in compliance with the people's wishes.

Many of the other top-ranking questions are also about the county's marijuana policy or the apparent failure of its "war on drugs".

Gallup reported: "The advocacy group National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws claims that marijuana is the third-most-popular recreational drug in America, behind only alcohol and tobacco. Some states have decriminalised marijuana's use, some have made it legal for medicinal use, and some officials, including former US Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders, have called for legalising its use."

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