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Why Don’t Politicians Recognize That Most Americans Want Marijuana Reform?

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politicans marijuana legalizationI just read an article about how even though public opinion is clearly in favor of marijuana reform, marijuana is ‘almost always a negative with politicians.’ Is there any other public policy issue in America where there is so much support, yet politicians refuse to recognize that support? I can’t think of any. There are no doubt issues that politicians ignore, but do they have overwhelming support like marijuana reform? Why do politicians get away with this?

There is a reason provided in the Oregonian article:

“It’s still a political risk,” said Adam Davis, whose Portland-based firm of Davis, Hibbitts & Midghall frequently conducts polls and focus groups on public policy.

“I think elected officials are held to a higher standard,” Davis added. “They’re paid with tax dollars and people feel they should be doing their job with a clear head.”

So elected officials are held to a higher standard…and they should be doing their jobs with a clear head…Can I take that to assume that no politicians consume alcohol? How many fundraisers and other events do they attend where they drink wine or other forms of alcohol? I don’t think it’s a stretch to assume that they consume alcohol on numerous occasions, while on the clock considering they are always on the clock. Marijuana is undoubtedly safer than alcohol, so I fail to see how this is a valid reason. If a politician consumes marijuana they get pushed out of office. Yet if they get smashed on booze every night there’s no issue. Why?

The fact of the matter is a lot of politicians accept money from opponents of the marijuana industry. Pharmaceutical companies, alcohol companies, law enforcement lobbyists, prison lobbyists, just about anyone who has ever worked with Kevin Sabet – they all fund marijuana prohibition. So it’s not about what the public thinks, or doing what is right, it’s about doing what makes politicians money.

There is one great equalizing weapon that marijuana supporters have to get around the reefer madness coalition that most politicians are a part of – the initiative process. Colorado and Washington politicians didn’t legalize marijuana. Average citizens who were tired of the political minority determining the marijuana laws that they had to live by took matters into their own hands. Unfortunately, not all states have the initiative process. But enough do that if they all passed marijuana legalization initiatives the rest of the states would follow suit. So get active, and don’t let out of touch politicians keep marijuana prohibition in place just so they can line their own pockets.

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42 Comments

  1. it works in the other direction too. State aid means you can’t get medical MJ help unless you can pay for the doctor, meds yourself so its a no-go

  2. I agree brother, I use to like him but his anti potness has persuaded me otherwise! I would love to have a 1 on 1 with, he doesn’t realize that legalizing would mark him into the history book as the man who saved America! One day when hemp has revolutionized medicine and our economy he would be praised as the saviour! But he’s just as close minded as the rest of em! Vote for Jesse Ventura in 2016 and watch how quickly things change!

  3. I think that the fact that it’s illegal despite the overwhelming support for legalization is a testament to how corrupt our government truly is! Cannabis oil cures cancer! They don’t care though, we just need to stand up as one nation and disobey!

  4. Darrell Kilgore on

    Politicians held to a “higher standard” ,from what I have seen of late politicians have no standards at all,in decency or anything else.

  5. What hemp and marijuana threatens are old entrenched industries with huge washington lobbies. It will shake up the economy and hurt entrenched big business which is what is needed, The economy is stagnating and has been for a long time.

  6. Actually yes Hemp and marijuana according to the government will destroy the economy. I can’t see how. It would make more paper and cotton like fibers. Basically it would prevent pollution and make thousands if not millions of jobs. But everything that helps toooooo much is bad according to every politician.

  7. Your summary of the Obama presidency is spot-on. Unless you object, I would like to repost it elsewhere.

  8. Ineligible for any kind of federal aid, including housing. I wonder if it applies to the ability to get Obamacare?

  9. There is a tiny, tiny optimist hidden beneath the dozens and dozens of layers of bitter cynicism, who hopes the 2014 midterms will yield a House majority and a filibuster-proof supermajority in the Senate for the Democrats. Then, we’ll see something. Perhaps instead of an era of “Do-nothing” we’ll have two years of “Do-everything.” And it could happen if the GOP continues acting like petulant children. And maybe, just maybe, Obama will remove cannabis from the CSA.

    We shall see, but I’m in no mood to allow hope to spring, at the moment.

  10. All we can hope for in the future is that we LUCK out and get a politician who will actually do what they promise before getting in office.

  11. I, too, voted for the man — twice — and I’m getting fed up with defending him. I get that he faces the most hateful opposition party any President has been forced to cope with, but that excuse is wearing thin. He doesn’t need permission from the Tea Party to remove cannabis from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act. He can do so through the Attorney General and/or the Secretary of Health and Human Services — both cabinet positions appointed by him. He’s their boss. He could also do something about the domestic spying, but he gives the impression that *he likes it.*

    Frankly, I wish he was *HALF* the leftist radical they dress him up to be. That would have been better than five years of watching him extending limp olive branches that he knows have no chance of succeeding. If they want to call him names, the least he can do is live up to a few of them. Were that the case, we’d have single-payer healthcare, universal background checks, and legalized cannabis. But no — our “socialist” President wants us all to have *private* health insurance. No — the man “coming for your guns” signed a bill allowing them in federal parks and nature reserves. And no — despite his Choom Gang days, his DOJ arrested more people for cannabis in his first term than they did in GWB’s two terms, combined.

    I’m sick of it.

  12. In some states, it certainly does just that. Also, being convicted of drug crimes makes you ineligible for things like federal student aid.

  13. i’am sorry but i don’t think that is true just because you have a drug arrest doesn’t make it so that you can not vote

    but i’am sure the Government would like it to

  14. Ironically Kevin Sabet and Patrick Kennedy have done more to help the legalization movement with their idiotic and hypocritical reefer madness comments. They could have gotten away with it if this is the eighties, but this is 2013 and people are getting wise to the futility of the drug war and the lunacy of cannabis prohibition. Kennedy and Sabet will have to get up earlier than that.

  15. With all the problems that President Obama has had, I’m not so concerned that it hasn’t been legalized just yet. However, I am extremely unhappy over his treatment of the medical marijuana industry. An industry that has had to grow in the underground shadows of the federal government. And because of this, there appears to be a bunch of patchwork state programs that are not protecting patients as they should. Has this created another level of the MMJ industry that does a better job at protecting patients? And within this level, is this where the corruption is being created, because it is hidden?

    So the DEA comes along and swats down the MMJ industry as if it were a pesky fly instead of a business necessary for patients. At Obama’s request, no doubt. Yeah, it appears the President went over to the other side long ago. Major bummer.

  16. What about Kevin Sabet and Patrick Kennedy? They want to turn the general public into your enemy!

  17. Tourism? Heck, I’m already planning a trip to Colorado next year. Was hoping there would be a Medical Cannabis Cup next year in Colorado, but it’s in Washington, I think.

  18. President Obama is the most glaring and the saddest example of all. For someone who joked about HIS pot use during his first campaign…”Yes, I inhaled, that was the point !”. I really thought that after he was elected in 2008, pot and hemp would be legal within 2 years, 4 max… For him to still allow THOUSANDS of American to languish in CAGES for growing, selling and smoking cannabis IS OBSCENE !!! Now every time I get an email from his campaign or any democratic fundraiser seeking my $$$, I say “Sure, as soon as Obama gets pot & hemp removed from Schedule 1, and publicly backs the end of prohibition, I’ll start sending money again !”.

  19. I think way more people smoke pot than polls and surveys indicate. There are also alot of people who smoked pot in their late teens to mid-twenties who stopped because of drug testing at work or change in lifestyle that comes with getting older(marriage/kids/work). I think the number of users and ex-users with a favorable view on marijuana certainly have the numbers to impact an election. More people in Colorado voted in favor of legalization than voted for Obama in that state. If Colorado and Washington show profits from taxing marijuana and a big upturn in tourism dollars then other states will be quick to follow for legalization. They repealed the helmet law for motorcyclists in PA because the law impacted tourism to the state pretty hard. Politicians want to save greenbacks more than the children,

  20. If you knew where Cannabis Lovers congregated – so would the police…. most of the country congregates – in the closet.

  21. There may not be enough “cannabis lovers” to sway an election, but there are enough people who have nothing to do with marijuana but support legalization, anyway. I realize the conventional wisdom of politicians avoiding the issue, but the conventional wisdom no longer applies. Support for legalization is growing so fast that politicians who want to win elections can no longer afford to ignore it. Parents with kids no longer fear marijuana the way they did in the 1980’s & 90’s. Public opinion has shifted 180 degrees in recent years, and savvy politicians ultimately embrace the majority view or they stop being elected politicians.

  22. I’m hoping that Dr. Gupta’s program will help to dispel some of those biases and fears. But you’re right, the cannabis-loving population is small compared to other voting blocks. I guess we need to buddy up with other groups (like the NAACP!).

    Or we could make up a list of names of pretend associations and groups and make the other side BELIEVE that we have a larger coalition than we actually do. Like… The Association for the Betterment of Humanity.

  23. there arent enough cannabis lovers to have an impact on the election. Any politician that comes out in support for cannabis reform will end up scaring away votes from everyone else. Imagine the attack ads during the election scaring voters about the kids! Like an ad saying “this guy wants to force your kids to smoke pot! he wants to make it legal for dealers to push pot on your kids!”. Or something like that. Every cannabis user could vote for that pro pot candidate and it would be a drop in the bucket compared to the votes lost from all those scared parents with kids.

  24. I had stopped voting over 10 years ago because none of the politicians on the ballots were worth a shit. I admit that after that I stopped paying attention and put my head in the sand. Now since Washington and Colorado legalized in their states I started to pay attention again. I registered to vote primarily to vote for a pro-marijuana politician in my states next gubernatorial election. Alot of people don’t vote because the politicians offered don’t represent their interests so you end having to settle for the lesser evil. most people just don’t bother with plus voting at all. many people won’t register to vote to avoid jury duty

  25. I know the 58% of people who vote are mad at the 42% who don’t. I wish I had a solution. I think you especially saw in Colorado that cannabis lovers are a powerful voting block. And I think the activists are trying very hard to get the word out in different venues, both online and off. Always growing the coalition.

    However, it is only possible for me to spend all this time learning about medical cannabis and legalization efforts because I am unable to work. Please keep in mind that most people would prefer to chill on their time off rather than be active in politics. (Survival is a beitch.) And I can’t fault them for that.

    I have noticed that the way African Americans get their coalitions to vote is by taking them to the polls after Sunday mass. If I knew where cannabis lovers congregated, I would suggest something kinda like that.

  26. Not just the 42% of the eligible voters, but those millions that cannot vote due to being stripped of their rights by being convicted of a non violent, victimless drug crime.

  27. they don’t care about the people that need it to live.Watch when they can make money off it they sure will.

  28. Politicians are bought and paid for by lobbyists because of our apathetic, uninvolved citizenry.

    2012 voter turnout was only 58%. And sadly, a large chunk of that 58% are easily influenced by expesnive ad-buys, shameless showboating, and smear tactics.

    When we’re talking about why common-sense policy like cannabis legalization is constantly taking a backseat to moneyed interests, bashing the uninformed voter is not nearly as important as talking about the BIGGER problem, which is the 42% of elligible voters who simply can’t be bothered to vote, and so they don’t pay attention to pertinent issues and current events, let alone understand them properly.

    Think about it — if the 42% of the country that doesn’t vote suddenly decided, as a group, to collectively pull their heads out, pay attention, and engage in the political process, our current system of open bribery through lobbying would collapse. Politicians’ constituencies would be their *actual* constituents, not their corporate leash-holders.

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