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Does the Tea Party Support Marijuana Legalization

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A question that I have been researching lately is whether or not the Tea Party supports marijuana legalization. I tried contacting top Tea Party bloggers to see how they felt, but alas, my correspondence has gone unanswered. Whether you like the Tea Party, or despise them, no one can debate whether or not the Tea Party is a growing force in American politics. They are expecting to get some victories this November, and further establish their agenda. If that proves true, they could be very influential in the 2012 election as well.

I figured the best place to start with this research was to look at the top of the Tea Party organization. I am not a Tea Party member, but it seems to me that Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck are as close to the ‘leaders’ of the Tea Party as it gets. By design, the Tea Party is a decentralized, grass roots political movement, so ‘leaders’ may be hard to pinpoint. However, I think it’s reasonable to say that the ‘face’ of the movement would certainly include Beck and Palin.

Here’s what Sarah Palin had to say in June on Fox Business:

“If we’re talking about pot, I’m not for the legalization of pot,” Palin said, as Politico first noted. “I think that would just encourage especially our young people to think that it was OK to just go ahead and use it.” But she went on to say that police should not focus on arresting people who use marijuana recreationally.

“I think we need to prioritize our law enforcement efforts,” Palin said. “And if somebody’s gonna smoke a joint in their house and not do anybody else any harm, then perhaps there are other things our cops should be looking at to engage in and try to clean up some of the other problems that we have in society.” She added that marijuana use “relatively speaking” is a “minimal problem” in the country.

What a political answer! If you take out all of the BS, you really only need to focus on one line of her quote, “If we’re talking about pot, I’m not for the legalization of pot.” Anything else she says is just political rhetoric. She knows that many Libertarians support marijuana legalization, and she doesn’t want to alienate anyone. However, the fact that she can’t answer with a resounding, “Yes, I support marijuana legalization,” is pretty solid proof that she doesn’t support marijuana legalization.

What about Glenn Beck? He is quite a bit more confusing. In an interview on Fox, he stated, “I’m a libertarian. You want to legalize marijuana; you want to legalize drugs – that’s fine.” But while that quote sounds good, if you look at the rest of the interview, it’s hard to tell if he’s really sincere in that belief. In the same interview he says emphatically, “I think marijuana is bad for you.” Quite frankly, it’s hard to ever know if Glenn Beck means what he says, or if he is just trying to be as explosive and over-the-top as possible.

From what I can tell, the Tea Party doesn’t support marijuana legalization as much as they support less government and personal liberties. The fact that marijuana legalization falls under that umbrella would be the only way they fully support it (only by default). But does that default support mean that they are making it a part of their platform? Is the Tea Party campaigning on behalf of marijuana reform? From what I can tell, the answer is no.

This is interesting to me because it is such a good cause to pick up. It deals with the issue of state’s rights, state sovereignty, and as I state previously, personal liberties. Social conservatives within the movement might not be as inclined to support the reform, but certainly fiscal conservatives should support it. It would save so much money from avoiding unnecessary prosecutions, not to mention the taxing potential, that it is a no-brainer for political activists that want sensible fiscal policies.

What do TWB readers think? Are there many TWB Tea Party members out there? What do you see on the ground, and what do you think? Have you seen any outward support for marijuana legalization within the movement? Or just personal attitudes that aren’t necessarily representative of the majority of Tea Party members? I look forward to reading the comments. If members from the Tea Party Express are out there reading this, CHECK YOUR E-MAIL AND ANSWER MY QUESTIONS!!

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16 Comments

  1. I was impressed that Palin recognized that smoking marijuana wasn’t as big of a deal as many people believe it to be (just goes to show that even idiots are learning the facts about weed). Glenn Beck, on the other hand, is far too busy trying to dismantle Obama’s “socialist regime” and instilling as much fear as possible to the American public to take a real stand on a reasonable and relevant issue like marijuana.

    Glenn Beck, you’re bat-shit crazy and you need to chill out and light a spliff.

  2. The problem you have is that you’re trying to lump the Tea Party into one group. You can’t really do that. The Tea Party isn’t really a single group focused on a single type of politics, but is instead a hugely disparate group of people who’ve come together on two major issues (and two issues only): the size of government and the universal health care (Obamacare) plan. Anything else they talk about is extracurricular.

    Palin is a leader of one facet of the Tea Party, namely the more Joe Sixpack (idiot) Republicans and their Islam-hating, warmongering neo-con wing. All the ones who’re mad that Democrats are in office (as we all know, Democrats are the epitome of evil) and that the “leftists” are “ruining America.” These are the Tea Party types who show up to the occasional rally and will probably vote Republican no matter what anyway.

    Then there are the Glenn Beck libertarian types. These are psuedo-libertarians, since they don’t really believe in personal liberty nor in most of the Jeffersonian ideals. Rather, they are the small government, less taxes, leave us alone libertarians. They’ll also probably vote Republican for fear of “throwing away their vote.”

    The rest are mostly real libertarians (of the Jeffersonian stripe) and personal liberty advocates. Most of us saw the Tea Party for what it was right away: a good way to get a message out, but a way that wouldn’t last for very long. We now see that the TP has been taken over by the other two groups and is a hopeless cause, like all other political parties always become.

    Most of us, by the way, no longer vote in national elections. We focus locally and work towards nullification and secession rather than reforming Washington (a lost cause).

    We would, by the way, and have for decades fought for the legalization of all “illicit” drugs. Two major reasons are behind this:

    1) the first is personal liberty – what you do to yourself is your business, so as long as you’re not hurting anyone else, who cares if you’re killing yourself with something?

    2) economics make fighting the War on (some) Drugs a wasteful, attrition-filled battle that does nothing for anyone but cause harm. Removing the law from the situation almost instantly changes the landscape and removes not only most of the drug cartels and so forth (criminals), but it also would remove a large number of the drugs like crack, since they would become less and less compelling to users as their market share decreases. That would happen because crack, as an example, was explicitly formulated to make it easier to move the more expensive and harder-to-hide cocaine around.

    For those of you who demand that “support” mean “adamantly pushing that and only that”; such as your question as to whether the Tea Party “supports” marijuana legalization since no one is making it their only issue… well, that’s just ludicrous. Sorry, but political philosophy is not a one issue deal. It’s a total slate of issues which, for anarchists/libertarians like me, boils down to personal liberties versus the common good.

  3. Leonard Krivitsky, MD on

    Cannabis is less physically addictive than caffeine, while the so-called “gateway drug” theory is a complete fantasy, and it was just recently called “half-baked” as a result of a scientific study. CNN reported that Cocaine use has dropped sharply, by 30% since 2002, which is really good news. I worked in addiction medicine for years, and this is what I can advice on the matter: Any suppression of Cannabis use will be immediately followed by an increase in alcohol/hard drug/prescription drug abuse! You don’t believe me? Then maybe you will believe the Big Alcohol lobby that is financing the Cannabis Legalization opponents for exactly this reason. Right now Cannabis is just simply perceived as a much safer alternative to alcohol/hard drugs, which is precisely how it should be perceived. To have a society in which there is NO psychoactive substance use is an illusion, and it will be good for our government to realize this. So then, it becomes a matter of “safer choices”, just like with the sex education. And Cannabis is, without a shadow of a doubt, a much safer choice than alcohol or hard drugs! Just very recently a research study in addiction medicine has determined that Cannabis may actually serve as an “exit” substance for recovering alcoholics/hard drug addicts! And there is another extremely important property of Cannabis that the prohibitionists would love to keep secret: Cannabis use suppresses violent urges and behaviors and, as one prestigious textbook says, “Only the unsophisticated think otherwise” Then, of course, there is a potential for Cannabis in chronic pain, where other drugs may be ineffective (or physically addictive), with very important potential implications for our wounded veterans, many of whom have chronic pain. It is also worth noting that Cannabis may have certain preventative value for such devastating conditions as cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. And all this comes with no danger of overdoses or induction of a physical dependence! Let’s be very happy that the cocaine abuse rate is dropping. Let’s not interfere with these dynamics, and then we can possibly achieve what has already been achieved in the Netherlands where the drug overdose rate is 85%(!!) lower than in the US, and that is with much more liberal Cannabis possession laws than in this country! Maybe it is time to give up “dogma” about Cannabis, and to start listening to the experts, if we really want to lower the alcohol/hard drug use in this country, and the accompanying dependencies and overdoses!?

  4. “The Tea Party isn’t really a single group focused on a single type of politics, but is instead a hugely disparate group of people who’ve come together on two major issues (and two issues only): the size of government and the universal health care (Obamacare) plan.”

    “We would, by the way, and have for decades fought for the legalization of all “illicit” drugs.”

    Sounds like more than two issues (and two issues only) to me. The Tea Party will lose in the general election, guaranteed. Of course they don’t support marijuana legalization. minorities like marijuana, and the Tea Party does not like minorities plain and simple. Anyone that is for the legalization of all drugs is a fool. how would heroin legalization make the world a better place? it wouldn’t

  5. you will eat your words you ignorant liberal dumbass no one likes communism and thats what obama hussein is red communism

  6. We can not afford to throw away votes by making the tea party enemies. Simple they want smaller government. The Drug War is big government. $50,000,000,000 is spent every year on a drug policy that has resulted in drugs being easier and cheaper to get while black market drug violence tears apart our big cities. Plus prohibition is unconstitutional federally. 2 simple arguments that will sway the 35% of Republicans to our side every time. The rest of the big government Republican politicians will need to be dragged kicking and screaming away from their defense contractor pork.

  7. Doesnt matter if you are a Dem or GOP or Libertarian or a Teaparty affiliate its still illegal,we have a Democratic president who doesnt give a crap about medicinal or otherwise and yes the Drug war is a waste of taxpayer money.I just love how each party blames the other or a certain person for the current laws.How about everyone vote on election day in 2012 not dem or repub but vote for Americans and use common sense about it.I vote to legalize Cannabis for better regulation and for THE PEOPLE WHO ACTUALLY NEED IT!

  8. I am a Tea Party Supporter and an occasional rally attendee. I support legalization.

    BTW- I just cited this blog post on this site.

    http://politix.topix.com/stmt/H7S0NVGC01SKQ4BK

    Nice pIece. I like it. Especially the second to last paragraph. There are social conservatives (religious right) who are also Tea Party. But that isn’t their reason for being Tea Party. They are simply also fiscal conservatives.

    My assessment as to the reason why the Tea Party doesn’t embrace legalization is that through no fault of its own, marijuana legalization has too much baggage for the Tea Party if it wants to be taken seriously, and right now, “taken seriously” means being “dismissive” of legalization. And it alienates a bigger group of likely voters, the grandparents that never toked. It just needs a little bit more time.

  9. Tea Party Supporter here too, I personally spoke up that I thought medical marijuana was less harmful than pain pills. Nobody gave a hoot. Still friends… Don’t assume, go to a meeting and see, we oppose big government, PERIOD!

  10. The Tea Party is not one organization it is made up of many little groups. Each group is Independent of each other. The reason you can’t get a response is that there is no uniform Tea Party position on it. The only uniform position is smaller government and lower taxes. Each member is independent citizen some feel very strongly in favor other don’t want the end of prohibition. But if you go to Tea party rallies you’ll find many on your side. Especially if you support personal Liberty and are willing to support their efforts. If you come spewing hate and myths you’ll hit a roadblock. You have to admit a lot of people who support the end to prohibition treat Tea Party members as an enemy. And that’s what the Ruling Class want. We have the same goal some issues may differ But with a little effort will end prohibition of Cannabis. A little hint most Tea Party people love the free market and so does the Cannabis movement. The Cannabis Movement wants government off their back so does the Tea party. If you look you will find a lot of common ground.

  11. Sir if has been taken over then why is it under attack by the GOP and Democrat leadership? It is not a monolithic group. We are for personal Liberty, lower taxes, free markets, and small government. What we are not for is Mob rule, Socialism be it Fascism or Communism. Your contempt of “Joe Six pack” is very telling. I don’t think you even know what a neo-con is. You are not what you say you are. Maybe you a Anarchist maybe a Stateist I really don’t know. But what I do know you are full of hate and have no business making assumptions of people you hate out of hand and do not even know.

  12. Hmm you “seem to know a lot that isn’t so.” You paint the Tea Party as Racist without being able to point to a single word or instance of racism. But then again you might want to believe that because you want to believe others can have a opposing view without race coming into it. you use it to shut people down and so end a argument you might not be able to win.

  13. No inhale Glen Beck is wrong on this one issue that is for sure. But he is coming at it from a history of abuse. So is like the ex-smoker. Now you mock his anti big Government but ask your self who imposed the prohibition? That’s right a Government that imposes itself in the personal lives of it’s people. Now it tells you if you beg harder Maybe just maybe they will let you have a little. But you’ll have to pay a high price for it. And if we don’t like the way it’s working we will take it away.

  14. if the Tea Party is a branch of the Republican Party then why are the leaders of that party trying to destroy it. No my friend you speak of that which you do not know. The Tea Party is a Movement independent of The GOP. Yes it will caucus with the Republican party because it is the only party comes closest to their views. But are leaning that it really doesn’t. The Republican and the Democrat leadership Have already become a ruling class. They work together to keep power out of the hands of people. We want a end to the status quo. and a return to the Republic. Where the people can rise and fall (sorry but Freedom has it’s price) without government interference. And that means different things to many people. But the overwhelming majority will be on the side of ending the prohibition if explained right.

  15. Timothy don’t lower yourself to his level. He will not hear you. He’s stuck in his hate and love of ignorance.

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