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Can Marijuana Save The Republican Party?

54

republican marijuanaDemocrats have not capitalized on the marijuana opportunity; can Republicans get out of their own way and embrace the new societal norm?

FLINT, MICHIGAN- A 5% Congressional approval rating. A fractured party searching for a new direction. A government shutdown that has left a durable stain on the party name.

If the Republican Party ever needed a boost in reputation and membership, now is the time. Instead of inventing a new calamity to draw the party’s loose ends together, conservatives should adopt a more friendly attitude toward a topic that already has widespread acceptance nationwide and could prove financially advantageous- the legalization of medical and recreational marijuana.

Second only to election results, polling data is king among methods of taking the public’s political temperature. National, state and local polling data indicates time and time again the people’s societal acceptance of a new, more relaxed set of marijuana laws. Economic data points to vast financial benefit from the conversion of a successful and pervasive black market trade into a taxable source of revenue and jobs.

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marijuana polling data summary chart

 

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Although both parties could benefit from a greater association with, and support of, marijuana law reform, the Republican party is most in need of a new direction- and a new base of supporters. Support is high in some traditionally Red states- Texas, Oklahoma, Florida- and in battleground states, like Michigan.

How conservatives embrace the issue of marijuana’s societal acceptance is crucial. Lip service performed while passing laws that are restrictive to small business or that place excessive restrictions on cannabis use, cultivation or consumption are what marijuana law supporters expect Republicans to do. Conservatives can exceed this expectation by acting on input from state-based cannabis organizations.

In Michigan, Republican House Representative Michael Callton (of ‘pot for potholes’ fame) has sponsored a Provisioning Centers Act that enjoys moderate support from the cannabis community while Senate Republican powerhouses Jones, Richardville and Kahn are reviving last year’s much-maligned Pharmaceutical Grade Medical Cannabis bill, widely viewed by the media and marijuana community as a pandering attempt to satisfy Canadian marijuana powerhouse Prarie Plant Systems in their effort to corner Michigan’s retail medical marijuana market.

Campaigns that are not supported by grass-roots, rank-and-file members of the marijuana majority are not likely to succeed- or bring the support and acceptance Republicans need. Efforts in California, where opposition between forces halted the passage of a legalization drive, and in Oregon, where the 2012 campaign to legalize marijuana use (as neighbors Washington and Colorado did) failed, both fell short due in part to a lack of support by the patient base. Washington’s successful 502 initiative was significantly hampered because of the inclusion of an intoxicated driving standard that was not supported by marijuana consumers. Taking a pro-marijuana stand that favors law enforcement instead of providing patient protections will not deliver political benefit to either party.

And there is political benefit to be had. In the chart included with this article, the number of Americans that actively use marijuana is 7% and 48% admit to have tried the herb at some point in their life. If 82% of New Yorkers and 79% of New Hampshire residents support medical marijuana laws, less than one-tenth of those medicinal cannabis advocates are current users and nearly half have never tried pot. New York, New Hampshire, Hawaii, California, Minnesota- all are states with strong voter support of medical or recreational cannabis and all feature Democratic governors.

First, the Republicans need to get out of their own way.

Conservative representatives like Dr. Kevin Sabet, whose anti-legalization, pro-drug treatment message is spread across states and broadcast networks on a weekly basis, create an image of Republicans that satisfies neither the conservative party core nor the educated voters they seek to convert. “At a base level, our politics should seek to promote a more sober, safe and virtuous society, and nothing about making pot use more widespread than it already is serves the common interest,” wrote Washington Post columnist and Republican strategist Ed Rogers.

“Marijuana’s ascent as a national issue will force Republicans to choose between breaking with the conservative base or undermining their efforts to rejuvenate support from young voters, who so far have only shown interest in libertarian-leaning Republicans like Ron Paul,” wrote Nate Cohn in The New Republic. “If Republicans don’t seize the middle ground on marijuana legalization, Democrats will eventually use the issue to their advantage.”

The Democrats have not picked up the standard of cannabis law reform with any zeal- or, in some states, at all. That failure to act could cost them support in those tight 2014 races, where the conservative swing seen in 2010-s election could potentially be corrected.

In Michigan, Democratic House Representative Jeff Irwin has introduced a bill decriminalizing marijuana; that bill’s Senate mate was introduced this week by Democratic Senator Coleman Young Jr. Those decrim bills enjoy more support from grassroots marijuana law reform activists than either of the Republican-sponsored dispensary bills. Neither of these two legislators will have difficulty being re-elected.

With a fragmented Republican party and a presidential election still three years away, state Democratic parties could pounce on this opportunity to move many Undecided voters into the blue column. Cannabis users are often single-issue voters who are motivated to visit the polls when issues of significance are put before them, but once they have pulled the curtain and are looking at the ballot they remember who supports their issue and who does not. Democrats who face tight races need only to help marijuana law reform advocates get their issue on the same ballot to ensure a boost in voter turnout.

POLLING DATA- BY THE NUMBERS

4% of Americans think we are winning the war on drugs. 5

6% of Americans think people caught smoking or in possession of marijuana should go to jail. 16

7% of Americans regularly use marijuana. 2

12% of Americans have used marijuana in the past year. 2

38% of Americans believe marijuana is a gateway drug. 2

46% of Americans favor legalizing marijuana. 11

48% of Americans have tried marijuana. 2

50% of Christian young adults favor marijuana legalization. 17

52% of Americans want the federal government to honor states marijuana laws. 16

52% of New Mexico voters want to legalize, tax and regulate marijuana. 26

52% of Americans support legalized marijuana. 28

52% of Americans favor legalization of marijuana. 9

53% of Louisianans support legalized marijuana. 3

53% of Maryland residents want marijuana taxed and regulated like alcohol. 12

54% of Missouri voters favor a legalized and tightly regulated retail sale model. 20

56% of Arizonans favor legalizing marijuana. 18

57% of New Mexico residents favor decriminalizing marijuana for adults. 26

57% of Americans want adult use of marijuana legalized. 10

58% of Texans want legalized marijuana. 23

58% of Hawaiians favor decriminalization of marijuana use by all adults. 24

59% of New Jersey residents want legalized marijuana. 6

59% of Oklahomans favor marijuana decriminalization. 8

60% of North Carolinians would pass a Lowest Law Enforcement Priority law. 22

60% of Americans think federal marijuana laws should not be enforced in states that allow marijuana use. 27

61% of New Jersey residents want marijuana decriminalized. 6

62% of Floridians support medical marijuana. 13

65% of Californians support legalizing marijuana. 1

65% of Minnesotans favor medical marijuana. 21

67% of Michigan voters want relaxed marijuana laws. 7

69% of Canadians want either legalized or decriminalized marijuana use nationally. 4

71% of Oklahomans want medical marijuana. 8

72% of Americans believe government efforts to enforce marijuana laws cost more than they are worth. 27

75% of Washington, DC residents favor decriminalization of marijuana. 19

76% of doctors internationally favor the medicinal use of marijuana. 14

77% of Americans believe marijuana has medical benefits. 2

79% of New Hampshire residents support medical marijuana. 25

81% of Hawaiians are happy with their current medical marijuana program. 24

82% of Americans think we are losing the war on drugs. 5

82% of New York State voters support medical marijuana. 15

85% of Americans think adults should be able to use marijuana if prescribed by a physician. 11

 

REFERENCES: 

1 Tulchin, Sept. 2013 stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/2013/oct/17/twothirds_californians_say_legal

2  Gallup, 2013. www.golocalprov.com/news/New-Gallup-Poll-Shows-38-of-Americans-Have-Tried-Marijuana-/

3  Public Policy Polling, July 2013 www.thedailychronic.net/2013/25498/louisianians-favor-marijuana-legalization-poll-finds/

4 Forum Research, August 2013 www.thedailychronic.net/2013/25395/legalize-decriminalize-marijuana-say-canadians/

5 Rasmussen, August 2013.  www.thedailychronic.net/2013/25356/poll-finds-4-americans-think-winning-war-drugs/

6 Lake Research, June 2013 www.thedailychronic.net/2013/21911/new-jersey-voters-ready-to-decriminalize-marijuana-poll-finds/

7 Epic-MRA, September 2013 www.thedailychronic.net/2013/25604/majority-supports-marijuana-reform-michigan/

8 Sooner Poll, September 2013 www.thedailychronic.net/2013/25668/poll-oklahomans-ready-marijuana-law-reform/

9 Pew, March 2013 www.people-press.org/2013/04/04/majority-now-supports-legalizing-marijuana/

10 HuffPost/YouGov, April 2013 www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/19/marijuana-poll_n_3112263.html

11 Fox News, February 2013 www.foxnews.com/politics/interactive/2013/05/01/fox-news-poll-85-percent-voters-favor-medical-marijuana/

12 Public Policy Polling, September 2013 www.retrieverweekly.com/news/support-growing-for-marijuana-policy-reform-in-maryland-1.3078911#.UmGDKFBJP3o

13 Public Policy Polling, September 2013 www.sunshinestatenews.com/blog/medical-marijuana-amendment-solid-shape-new-poll

14 New England Journal of Medicine, May 2013 www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMclde1305159

15 Sienna Research, May 2013www.siena.edu/uploadedfiles/home/parents_and_community/community_page/sri/independent_research/SNY0513%20DrugPolicyCrosstabs1.pdf

16 Reason-Rupe, May 2013 reason.com/assets/db/13687576664698.pdf

17 Public Religion Research, April 2013 publicreligion.org/research/2013/04/april-2013-prri-rns-survey/

18 Behavior Research Center, April 2013 www.brcpolls.com/13/RMP%202013-II-08.pdf

19 Public Policy Polling, April 2013 www.mpp.org/states/district-of-columbia/PPP_DC_Marijuana_Survey_Results.pdf

20 DHM Research, March 2013 www.thedailychronic.net/2013/16678/missouri-poll-finds-majority-support-for-regulating-marijuana/

21 Public Policy Poling, March 2013 www.mpp.org/states/minnesota/MinnesotaResults.pdf

22 Public Policy Polling, March 2013 www.thedailychronic.net/2013/16243/north-carolina-voters-support-low-priority-marijuana-law-enforcement/

23 Public Policy Polling, 2013 www.mpp.org/assets/pdfs/states/PPP-Texas-Poll-2013.pdf

24 QMark Research, January 2013 acluhawaii.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/dpagmarijuanapolicyfindings.pdf

25 U. of New Hampshire, January 2013 www.thedailychronic.net/2013/15476/poll-almost-80-of-new-hampshire-voters-support-medical-marijuana/

26 Research and Polling, February 2013 www.thedailychronic.net/2013/15826/poll-shows-new-mexicos-growing-momentum-for-marijuana-policy-reform/

27 Pew, March 2013 www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2013/08/13/americans-skeptical-of-value-of-enforcing-marijuana-laws/

28 Esquire/NBC News, August 2013 nbcpolitics.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/10/15/20960588-the-new-american-center-why-our-nation-isnt-as-divided-as-we-think?lite

Source: The Compassion Chronicles

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About Author

"Rick Thompson was the Editor in Chief for the entire 2-year run of the Michigan Medical Marijuana Magazine, was the spokesman for the Michigan Association of Compassion Centers and is the current Editor and Lead Blogger for The Compassion Chronicles. Rick has addressed committees in both the House and Senate, has authored over 200 articles on marijuana and is a professional photographer." Rick Thompson Is An Author At The Compassion Chronicles and focuses on all things Michigan.

54 Comments

  1. I love the hypocrisy of being accused of using inflammatory language by a person that says “polarizing words dripped with blood.” I will give your criticism all the attention it deserves.

  2. Dear mystery Guest: I’m dying to know what you have to say… If you are having trouble with Disqus software, feel free to post a question.

  3. Sorry, the GOP could declare their “highest” priority is full legalization before the next election (very unlikely) and I still wouldn’t vote for any of them. Extreme conservatism has become a religion, not a political philosophy, and I think some of their fringe elements are as threatening to world peace and global stability as Al Queda.

  4. Marijuana advocates and friends make up the largest Affinity Group in the Nation and could guarantee 5 or more points in any election, anywhere, that is enough to swing primaries and elections. We would support any candidate that will advance our righteous cause.

  5. A congressional intervention sounds like a lot of fun, but a better idea would be to just put cannabis in their water supply. Surely the Chinese can help us with that? :-)

  6. Ok — We’ve just been through a mess than was caused by Republican members of the House and Senate. It was reported in both the press and by a couple of Congress folks that many of those who voted were drunk. Drunks are mean – as well as too inebriated to competently carry on business. There are even bars on both floors. So since many of these people are “high functioning” alcoholics, we need to make a deal where we get marijuana legalized or we start a fight to get Congress sober and keep Congress sober throughout their votes. If the switch to MJ, at least they might be mellow and the country run better.

  7. I believe this issue should transcend party lines. Further I believe this is an issue that is best decided by the states themselves.

  8. Why dont Republicans make it about states rights and not drugs. Let the ppl in the states make the laws for their lands. If you dont like a law vote it out or move to a state with more ppl who share your ideals.

  9. *You* are going to throw stones about being partisan?
    LOL — I’ve read your posts. Glass houses, pal.

  10. This article is an example of how not to use politics in the legalization movement. It seemed the guy was trying to stay neutral, but his democrat polarizing words dripped with blood.
    Do we really want legalization to become a wedge issue? I absolutely loved Mason Tavert’s campaign. He reached out to all factions in a state that is considered by most as a battle ground state. He did not allow party bashing, or the use of polarizing words. He made it simple and boring, and I have yet to hear Rs and Ds bash each other over legalization in Colorado. Think about it, politicians love to make something a wedge issue; and it seems like wedge issues never die. If you can find a better model for legalization than Mason Tavert’s, I would be the first to sign up.

  11. Capital markets absolutely LOVE, LOVE, LOVE debt, so I don’t know how you fit that in to your national debt theory. This unsustainability that you mention is just one viewpoint. Don’t believe everything the economists and politicians tell you, okay? Macro-economic theories are just that… theories. It’s not like provable science.

    And I agree with you — throw all the bums out after two terms! Or now! Don’t keep reading, get to work! :-)

  12. “Reagan proved that deficits don’t matter.” — Vice President Dick Cheney
    BTW, I don’t consider funding that keeps people from freezing to death “pork spending”

  13. You might want to check your facts regarding the shutdown, it wasn’t the Republicans that caused the problem in the first place. I offer this factual information as a long-term Independent who’s been a weed supporter for years.

    The national debt has grown out of control, is unsustainable, and has put the country in the deepest financial hole in history due to mindless spending and pork add-ons whenever any legislation is introduced, including the current continuing resolution.
    What we need is term limits (2 max!). That would ensure a perpetual changeover of all representatives and a better opportunity for introducing/passing common sense legislation regarding legalization and safety for law-abiding dispensaries and patients.

  14. I think our Guest is speechless.
    At this point, I think I’m just entertaining myself with these posts, but I’m laughing anyway…

  15. Damn glad to bring this to you, Scott and everyone. Thanks for supporting guerilla media!

  16. stellarvoyager on

    While a few individual republican legislators may support legalization, or at least letting states choose for themselves whether to legalize, the GOP itself has been one of the biggest obstacles to sensible cannabis laws for generations, and I see no improvement any time soon. In my state, every pro cannabis initiative has passed with only democratic support. All republican state legislators were opposed, whether it was dispensaries, reducing criminal penalties, or legalization for recreational use. Like with gay marriage, the GOP will likely be left in the dustbin of history on cannabis law reform, clinging to their irrational fear and hatred of cannabis users as the rest of the nation moves in a new direction. Yes, many democrats also have a lousy record when it comes to cannabis. But speaking statistically, you are far more likely to get sensible cannabis policies from a state where democrats control the state houses and the governor’s house.

  17. Scott Sherwood on

    Not in my case, it’s more like too much hair. It is thinning at 60 but maybe I’ll try again to make a 3 corner tin foil hat it might fit now…lol

  18. Scott Sherwood on

    Hey, there were times when I felt I needed a tin foil hat, I just couldn’t get it to fit right. It was a 3 corner type. Besides, I can’t wear it outside, it would freeze to my head. I live in Lake Tahoe, 6200 ft. elevation.

  19. Ah, c’mon, you’re no fun! What jobs could corrections officers be retrained to do? Make prison porn?

  20. Dude, you makin’ fun of my tin foil hat? It’s what all poor people are wearing these days…

  21. Scott Sherwood on

    People actually believe we are winning the war on drugs, not many but they are out there. They are the same people who wear tin foil hats. 4% is the margin of error I guess.

  22. I have read about California (and Texas) prisons being overcrowded. Governor Brown had the opportunity to do more than he did, that’s for sure. It’s time to come up with some ideas to re-task the corrections officers so that they will be able to make a living when legalization arrives.

  23. Whatever word you use to describe cannabis will be related to it’s long-time illegality and its description as a drug. You could wear tie-dyed shirts with peace signs and it says the same thing (to the general public). We need a 21st century symbol for pot to update it’s brand from the 1960s. A symbol that brings together the MMJ and legalization movements. You artists get to work on that!

  24. Scott Sherwood on

    Nothing can save the GOP, pro-legalization or not. They have an intrinsic hate for marijuana and drugs in general. The bible thump-er argument doesn’t fly, where in the bible does it say marijuana is bad or any drug for that matter. Yet “on moral grounds” the right is opposed to any form of legalization. They always claim it is “for the children”, they don’t give a crap about “the children”, if they really cared than WIC should be increased, school lunch programs increased, SNAP. It is the other way around, the GOP wants cuts in WIC, SNAP, school lunches. Also promoting charter schools where the kids can be indoctrinated into believing a false reality, the bible. It is the poor and people of color that suffer at the hands of the republican ideals. Don’t even get me started on the Prison Industrial Complex controlled by the biggest union in California. The Corrections officers union lobby spends millions here in CA. Far more than any group and more than all the legalization advocacy groups combined! Put that in your pipe and smoke it. There are over 65 private prisons here in CA and 31 state facilities for a grand total of 175,000 convicts as well as 150,000 on parole. That is only 1% of the states population but who is counting. Because of our usual progressive stance here in CA the Dem’s enacted a new marijuana law, reducing it to an Infraction (lower than a misdemeanor) that carries a $100 fine and no court appearance, just mail in the money.

  25. Yeah, I was just kidding about the Green Party. The legalization fight has to be brought within the two major parties (bummer). And I looked up Ms. Warren’s political platform, and she is against legalization (major bummer). I guess she has to play the game, yeah, or else she wouldn’t be able to get anything done. I’m sure she is not very popular on capitol hill and faces obstacles wherever she looks. But, really, legalization is just a no-brainer.

  26. I fail to see how the GOP can improve it’s position by embracing the cannabis issue. They have already shown their hatred for this country and for the rest of us. I fail to see how suddenly pandering to popular movements will ever repair or conceal their contempt for the rule of law or democratic process. They have repeatedly said that they want to destroy anyone who stands in their way. They ignore the Supreme Court on the issue of the affordable care act and talked of defunding the inth circuit court of appeals since it ruled against them on critical issues. (Spoke of turning the lights out on the Court by not funding the Court’s budget.) Most recently they have given comfort to our enemies by offering to burn the nation down because they didn’t get their way. So can the GOP recover? I hope not since they hate the rest of us and care not at all what happens to this nation. Makes a person very proud.

  27. Sure, just like shutting down the government and then rushing down to the national mall and staring in a photo opportunity there claiming to be helping. Then reversing course when the Vets got on their case with some piece meal band aide. These are the same mentality as the meth addict who steals from you and then comes around and helps you look for your stuff.

  28. “I think Democrats (or those that call themselves Democrats) are always looking for ways to grab more conservative voters (as it appears they are the only ones who vote), and so will not embrace legalization.”
    I respectfully disagree. Seems Dems succeeded in Washington (Chonginton) by a large majority. Maybe that’s a different thing. Part of the problem is that the conservative right is so far in the ozone that a democratic centrist is called a radical commie loving leftist socialist pinko. So do we get a kinder gentler GOP when their rhetoric turns sweet? Tomorrow when they start making nice to the Hispanic vote, who in their right mind should believe them? Fool me once. I do agree that no one is going to take the National Pot Party seriously but the conservative arguments for legalization command are logical and command merit.

  29. I fail to see how the GOP can improve it’s position by embracing the cannabis issue. They have already shown their hatred for this country, the democratic system, the rule of law and the rest of us. I fail to see how suddenly pandering to popular movements will ever repair or conceal their contempt for the rule of law or democratic process. They have repeatedly threatened to destroy anyone who stands in their way. They ignore the Supreme Court on the issue of the affordable care act and repeatedly say it’s unconstitutional. They threatened defunding the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals since it ruled against them on critical issues. (They spoke of turning the lights out on the Court by not funding the Court’s budget.) Most recently they have given comfort to our enemies by offering to burn the nation down because they didn’t get their way. So can the GOP recover? I hope not since they cannot conceal their hate the rest of us and care not at all what happens to this nation. Again and again they have offered to destroy anything that has a position that is against them. I fail to see how any senior, worker, minority, woman of child bearing age or hungry person can be tricked into supporting them. We are now informed that we will forget about all of this in a couple of weeks and begin to consume the dung they spew. They go down to the National Mall and pretend to rescue the very situation they enabled. How can any of this engender trust? They now want to find some other things to say that will help more tools and cranks enter their fold. Sheep and hypocrites all. Go for it America; vote Republican and get more of the same; you deserve it.

  30. I, too, was disappointed by Elizabeth Warren’s comment because it was clearly a politically motivated swipe, as she wasn’t even running against the guy — she was just playing partisan politics, and I had hoped an educated woman like herself would be above that. I can forgive temporary ignorance about cannabis, yes, because that can be cured. But to use an issue she clearly has not made any effort to understand as a blunt weapon (pun intended) to bludgeon a Republican with… I don’t approve.

    In regards to naming a third party that embraces common sense cannabis laws, the name I’ve heard kicked around the most has been the “Marijuana Majority” when referring to cannabis law reform advocates, en masse. And the poll numbers above certainly support that label. However, cannabis advocates (and users) come in all shapes and sizes across the American social spectrum, so while I’m attracted to the idea of cannabis bringing those people from different walks of life together under a common banner, I’m not going to hold my breath.

    As for the Green party, while I agree with a lot of what they stand for in terms of protecting the environment FIRST and handling everything else after, they have not demonstrated an ability to garner, inspire, and drive a “base” of voters. They recruit on too small a scale (mostly former Democrats) and made a spectacle of themselves with Roseanne Barr instead of putting all their efforts behind Jill Stein. Their hearts are in the right place, certainly, but they have problems with their image and their message — they don’t seem to have either.

  31. It is very sad to see that Elizabeth Warren is against legalization… I had high hopes for her. Perhaps she will “evolve.”

    I think Democrats (or those that call themselves Democrats) are always looking for ways to grab more conservative voters (as it appears they are the only ones who vote), and so will not embrace legalization. Most of the public will not be excited enough to vote unless there is an across-the-board effort for legalization. Why would the public be that interested in the medical marijuana issue, when they think it doesn’t apply to them? (I mean, it does, it’s just what a lot of people think.)

    Maybe the Green Party is the only alternative? No one will take a Bud or Pot Party seriously… :)

  32. It’s been said that the Republican Party is made up of three kinds of (white) people: the bible thumpers, the freedom freaks, and the corporate shills. This includes the Tea Party, made up primarily of bible thumpers (partially) and freedom freaks (overwhelmingly).

    Most cannabis advocates are aware of the roadblocks obstructing cannabis legalization. Those roadblocks come primarily in two flavors: corporate interests and moral puritans. Corporate interests like big pharma (project SAM), private prisons, the tobacco and alcohol industries, and law enforcement unions who like big budgets. Moral puritans, aka, bible thumpers — the folks who want government small enough to fit in your bedroom, uterus, and blood stream, who get visibly angry if anyone is enjoying their lives.

    I see a major problem for Republicans attempting to seize upon cannabis as a party-wide, national issue. It will only divide their party, further. In my opinion, the only faction of the Republican Party (as it currently exists) that would fully embrace cannabis law reform is the Tea Party. Which will, in turn, drive most of the bible thumpers and corporate shills up the proverbial wall. Opening up the cannabis “can of worms” would drive *another* wedge between mainstream Republicans and the freedom freak Tea Partiers.

    Not to say there aren’t lots of Democrats who also fall into one, two, even all three of those conservative categories, fully or partially. VP Biden is largely responsible for our nation’s property seizure laws, for example. Obama has been a remarkable disappointment and hypocrite, of course — no debate on that. I was shocked and disappointed when Elizabeth Warren took a jab at a MA Republican who supported cannabis legalization.

    However, it would take me hours to list all the Republicans who are prohibitionists and rehabitionists, starting with the GOP’s 2012 presidential ticket. Romney was caught on camera snubbing a wheelchair-bound medical cannabis patient, and his Private Equity firm, Bane Capital, has been buying up and consolidating rehab centers in anticipation of the “rehab for profit” era Project SAM is trying to bring about. And Paul Ryan, well, let’s just say his voting record in the House as well as his work history aren’t nearly as good as his image — he voted against legislation that would have forbidden the Federal Government from interfering with state cannabis laws, his first political job was as a speech writer for the head of the ONDCP, and pharmaceutical companies from outside his district have contributed heavily to his House campaigns since his career in Congress began.

    There are Republicans like Rand Paul and Dana Rohrabacher, who at the very least, don’t think cannabis users/advocates should be put in prison. I guess that’s *something*. Those are the only Republicans I know of who are, at least, open to the cannabis discussion.

    But then I look at Democrats who are more than “open” and in fact say they actually want to legalize and regulate, like Jared Polis, Gavin Newsom, Cory Booker — three of the Democrats’ most popular rising stars. Democrats eventually whipped their caucus to support marriage equality, despite the fact that Bill Clinton signed DOMA in the first place. I feel as though Democrats will, eventually, do the same on cannabis, and do so LONG before the Republicans put their house in order. Perhaps as early as 2014 and 2016.

    I just don’t see Republicans EVER getting their ducks in a row to embrace cannabis, while Democrats would have to struggle far less to achieve the same in their caucus.

  33. It wouldnt make sense for Republicans take the issue. Marijuana legalization is a liberal issue like abortion, euthanasia and gay marriage. Far more Democrat and Independent voters support marijuana legalization than Republicans. It doesnt fit with the pro family values platform. Republicans have always been perceived as the Drug War party.

  34. Conservatives4Legalization on

    I don’t think the republican party will be hurt in the 2014 elections as much as most think but completely agree that republicans need to come around on marijuana. Considering the growing libertarian wing of the party and that some of the biggest pillars in conservatism are individual liberty, less federal government in our lives and support a states’s rights. Because marijuana is now a mainstream issue I hope to see more debate and more pressure on those running for office to reveal their stance.

  35. The only Republicans interested in legalization are the Tea Party people, and while I’m sure it would help their popularity, the Tea Party brand is looked down on more than the Republican brand (if that’s possible). And the Tea Party will ALWAYS be associated with the Koch brothers — yuck. Double yuck.

    On the other hand… The More The Merrier! (p.s. Great article!)

  36. Where are these 4% of Americans who think we are winning the Drug War? Is that people who speak Spanish, but took a poll in English?

  37. Exactly what I was thinking moonkat51. Sure it could help them get votes but screw them! They are just as bad as any other party. They are both bought out by the rich corporations.

  38. You mean they could run on it like they did jobs and then after being elected, they can ignore it?

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