If you asked the average voter what President Obama’s stance on medical marijuana, or even marijuana in general they would probably say he supports it. Sadly this is one fact that is keeping the mainstream voters from fully realizing what has been going on in the cannabis reform community for years now.
On the one hand, we have President Obama who has raided more medical marijuana facilities in his past four years than President Bush had done in his full eight years. On the other we have people such as Elizabeth Warren who was recently highlighted in the media spotlight after speaking just before Bill Clinton at the Democratic National Convention. In an interview on Monday with Boston’s WTKK-FM Warren talked about why we need to legalize medical marijuana.
“You know, I held my father’s hand while he died of cancer, and it’s really painful when you do something like that up close and personal. My mother was already gone, and I was very, very close to my father. And it puts me in a position of saying, if there’s something a physician can prescribe that can help someone who’s suffering, I’m in favor of that. Now, I want to make sure they’ve got the right restrictions. It should be like any other prescription drug — that there’s careful control over it. But I think it’s really hard to watch somebody suffer that you love.”.
The points made by Warren hits a note that has often been lost in the mainstream media coverage of medical marijuana, being that marijuana is literally a medicinal wonder drug that we have only just started to utilize and understand. I’ve said it before and I will say it again, you don’t have to use marijuana to understand its benefits. Many Democratic candidates and their constituencies completely agree with them, but when it comes to having cannabis be a platform issue it has been historically ignored time and time again. The upside is that the times we live in are changing, and we don’t need the Presidents support to create real change surrounding the draconian cannabis laws we have now.
Warren is currently running in Massachusetts for the United States Senate seat currently held by Republican incumbent Scott Brown. Massachusetts just so happens to be one of the states with medical marijuana going up for a vote this November. The proposed law would eliminate state criminal and civil penalties for the use of medical marijuana by patients diagnosed with a “debilitating medical condition,” such as cancer, glaucoma, HIV or AIDS, Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s, ALS, hepatitis C or multiple sclerosis.
A recent poll also found that 59 percent of voters support the proposed Medical Use of Marijuana law, which gives Warren the upper hand in potentially defeating Scott Brown. According to a report from the Associated Press, “Brown said he sympathizes with people who are suffering but said the proposed law is too broad. The measure calls for the state to register up to 35 nonprofit medical treatment centers to distribute the marijuana”. Last time I checked, 35 non-profit medical treatment centers is pretty conservative compared to some other states with little to no regulation that have let there medical marijuana models run rampant.
Reason magazine recently published an article that stated “A poll conducted earlier this month by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research on behalf of the Marijuana Policy Project finds that 76 percent of Americans want President Barack Obama to end his crackdown on medical marijuana in states where medicinal use of the plant is legal”.
By advocating for the legalization of medical marijuana, Warren is setting a standard that the rest of the Democratic Party needs to come around on if they ever want to regain the support of medical marijuana patients. Many Democrats will argue that the President does needs to support serious cannabis reform before they are comfortable going out on their own to say that prohibition of marijuana has failed and will continue to fail until our local representatives stand up and do something about it. This is why it is imperative for voters to not only recognize, but support the local representatives like Elizabeth Warren who are willing to take a stand against their own party leaders in the name of social justice, civil liberties, and ending prohibition once and for all.
Published with special permission from the National Cannabis Coalition