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How Should Marijuana Legalizers Vote For President? Pragmatically

Dr. Jill Stein, Green Party Candidate for President

Dr. Jill Stein, Green Party Candidate for President

I attempted to make this point in a previous post, but I didn’t convey it very well. Today I received a tweet from a listener who suggested I consider Dr. Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate who won the nomination of her party recently, fending off a challenge from Roseanne Barr. (You may not have taken her seriously, but I never thought the guy from Hercules in New York would be governor of California, so I didn’t count her out.)

So I’m considering it. And I’m considering just who we in the marijuana nation should vote for in the presidential race, especially since LZ Granderson thinks we’re all “idiots”. I think it’s quite rational to factor in whether the man who wants your vote for president would continue to allow body-armored law enforcers with automatic weapons and grenades to break down your door, shoot your dog, terrify your kid, seize your assets, end your scholarship, ruin your career, imprison your family, murder your grandma, and stuff you in a cage for decades for the flower they think you’re growing in the basement.

Whether legalization should be your only consideration, however, is what LZ was critiquing, and I tend to agree that it is simplistic to base one’s vote on just one issue. I’ll say that to one-issue reproductive-rights, gun-rights, and Evangelical voters, too. It’s a big complex world out there and you have to consider how issues are networked. For instance, if I voted for a candidate who’d legalize weed but end net neutrality, I’d be worse off, overall. If I voted for a guy, say, a long-time representative from Texas who’d let Oregon legalize pot farming but also would have no qualms with my home state of Idaho re-criminalizing abortion, my nieces would be worse off. See what I mean?


As rap names go, R-Money ain't bad.

So let’s start with who not to vote for, and that’s Mitt “R-Money” Romney. Besides his recently admitting marijuana isn’t “an issue of significance” to him, and turning his back on wheelchair-bound patients who use cannabis, I just can’t fathom a vote for a guy who bullies the gay kids and ties his dog to the roof of the car on 12-hour trips. That’s enough for me, but I’m willing to listen to arguments for him. I just don’t see how R-Money helps our cause at all, and if you think Obama’s gone hogwild with the medical marijuana crackdown, consider that’s US Attorneys acting with a wink and a nod from the president; imagine them with an outright go-ahead.

There still stands Rep. Ron Paul, raising money and campaigning when his chance of winning the Republican nomination is worse than the chance of Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin signing a law tomorrow to legalize mescaline. Oh, how the RevoLutionaries are going to crash my comments section, telling me how much he supports marijuana legalization. He doesn’t – he supports states rights to do such things and that the federal government has no jurisdiction in drug policy. I guess a President Paul would work out well for me in Oregon. but I would weep for my friends in the Red States..”

Ron Paul

Ron Paul

Sorry, Paulbots, he’s another guy I have to put in the not to vote for column. If you can explain to me why I want to live in a country with no federal minimum wage, no occupational safety and health standards, no labor unions, no anti-trust enforcement, no estate tax, no tax credits for elderly or child care, no birth citizenship, no funding of family planning, no flag burning, and support of state abortion bans, gay marriage bans, offshore drilling, weakened Social Security, school prayer, teaching creationism, guns everywhere and anywhere, and zygotes defined as citizens in exchange for my state and a few others having the opportunity to legalize weed, I’ll listen.

So then we’re left with President Obama and the major third-party challengers, Libertarian Gov. Gary Johnson and Green Dr. Jill Stein. Given that you can’t vote for Romney, Obama’s been terrible for the marijuana nation, and a third party candidate is not going to win, what do you do?

My friend Cheyanne helping Gov. Gary Johnson get from the hotel parking lot to the event we were both appearing at in Austin, as I take the photo from her car.

My friend Cheyanne helping Gov. Gary Johnson get from the hotel parking lot to the event we were both appearing at in Austin, as I take the photo from her car.

Yes, Libertarians and Greens, you must face up to the fact that your candidate is not going to become president. All the fervent wishing and desperate hoping will not change the electoral and financial math. That does not diminish the importance of these parties and their candidates running for president. We desperately need more voices than just Republicans and Democrats. (Full disclosure: I’ve appeared at a number of events with Governor Johnson, including moderating a panel including him and former Alaska Senator and presidential candidate, Mike Gravel.)

The fact they are called “third parties” should tell you something. If we lived in a parliamentary system, like Canada or England, multiple parties would exist and coalitions would form and our politics would look very different. But we have a “winner takes all” system and when you research game theory, you’ll find such a system guarantees the kind of duopoly we find in Republicans and Democrats, or an outright monopoly, like we find in Republicans and Democrats on quite a few issues.

Learn how the math of our electoral process demands that we adopt “range voting” and where it’s completely safe to vote third party for president in 2012 by continuing the rant at RadicalRuss.com…


About Author

Executive Director: Russ Belville has been active in Oregon marijuana reform since 2005, when he was elected second-in-command of the state affiliate, Oregon NORML. After four years with Oregon NORML, Russ was hired by National NORML in 2009, working as Outreach Coordinator and hosting the NORML Daily Audio Stash podcast until 2012. Since then, Russ launched the 420RADIO marijuana legalization network and is the host of The Russ Belville Show, a live daily marijuana news talk radio program. Russ is also a prolific writer, with over 300 articles posted online and in print in HIGH TIMES, Huffington Post, Alternet, The Weed Blog, Marijuana Politics, and more.


  1. This is a superb essay. Romney/Paul is unthinkable, but Obama Democrats are joined at the hip with the Repubs when it comes to protecting private wealth and increasing the authority of the govt & corporations while diminishing freedoms and liberties of the people.
    The major difference between these either/or parties is racial. Democratic racism seeks to displace our Euro-American cultural root in favor of a multi-cultural idea that eschews non-colored Americans. Republican cynicism exploits the racial divisiveness of affirmative action and racial quotas by exacting concessions to their demands for wealth accumulation and militarization of society — concessions that the race-mongers are happy to make.
    Affirmative action and quotas are, in fact, mechanisms to assure a proportional representation of races in all segments of society and economy. To correct this malpractice, the county needs proportional representation of political parties. To this end, I think it is crucial to vote for candidates other than those from the Demo-Republican Fusion.
    Your vote counts more when you vote third party. Dr. Jill Stein, Green Party candidate for President, would be an excellent choice. She can win! Maybe not directly, but in the quantity of her votes.
    Are you dissatisfied with the failure of the two-party system? Invest your vote! Vote third party!

  2. Explain to me the difference in behavior of the two parties once in office. Wars? Drug wars? Budget busting? They talk different and do the same. Welcome to the interzone my friends. Leave your sanity at the border.

  3. Why vote for Paul or Gary Johnson? Well they can do the math. As to minimum wage laws? Well if you set them high enough you can keep people who are sub par performers – the mentally ill say – out of the job market. If a person is worth $2 an hour setting minimum wage at $7 an hour denies the person work experience. And with that experience the person might move up. Unintended consequences. Besides we are supposed to have a limited Federal Government. Or hasn’t pot prohibition improved your understanding.

  4. My thought process goes like this. Why vote for someone who has no chance of winning? In doing so, yes, your not supporting Romney or Obama, but at the same time why not vote for the better of 2 evils, so that the pure evil guy doesnt win? I know Obama has let down the entire cannabis community but at the same time I’m positive that nothing will get better under Romney. At least Obama has some human compassion unlike his opponent. Do we really want Mr. Billionaire robot as POTUS. I DON’T. To be honest the mere thought of president Romney scares the sh*t out of me.

  5. Ron Paul understands and favors the 2nd Amendment and would restore ALL gun rights that have been unlawfully, unconstitutionally infringed by statutes which created such violations of the Constitution as requiring registration of some kinds of guns and bans on others, restrictions on carrying and/or transporting arms, and permits to carry concealed, etc.; he also recognizes the States’ legislative power to nullify federal laws within the boundaries of their States as long as the States continue to uphold the Constitution’s protections of individuals’ unalienable rights. Frankly, I cannot understand why anyone would not prefer Ron Paul over EVERY other candidate.

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