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Younger Voters Are Key To Electing Pro-Medical Marijuana Candidates

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vote for marijuanaYounger Oregon Voters Key To Electing A Pro-Medical Cannabis Attorney General

By Anthony Johnson

Younger voters — not surprisingly — are the key to many elections dealing with monumental social change. To understand this, one need not look any further back than the election of Barack Obama as the first African-American President of the United States. Regardless of my feelings — or those of any other cannabis activist — about his policies, the historical importance of his election is undeniable. Young voters flocked to Obama’s historic campaign: 66% of voters between the ages of 18 and 29 voted for him; John McCain, on the other hand, managed to muster only 31% of the youth vote. In 2008, 51% of young voters turned out to vote in the presidential election. In 2010, only 24% of young people turned out, helping lead to the Tea Party wave that swept elections across the country.

The 2012 elections may once again hinge on the participation of young people. One of the first important tests for the youth vote will be the Oregon Democratic nomination for Attorney General, written aboutextensively on this site. Ellen Rosenblum, the favored candidate of the Oregon cannabis community has stated that she supports the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act and believes that minor marijuana cases should not be the focus of Oregon’s law enforcement resources. Her opponent Dwight Holton, on the other hand, helped lead the federal crackdown against Oregon medical marijuana providers as a US Attorney, called Oregon’s medical law a “train wreck,” and makes no such promises about prioritizing other crimes above minor marijuana offenses.

The last day to vote in the Oregon primary is May 15th and, while young voters will likely be more supportive of Judge Rosenblum, there is a legitimate fear that the youth turnout during this primary election will more closely resemble 2010 mid-term election numbers than the 2008 general election turnout. It is imperative that everyone who cares about common-sense cannabis laws and believes that violent crimes should be prioritized over non-violent cannabis offenses, spread the word about Judge Rosenblum’s candidacy.

The Citizens for Sensible Law Enforcement (CSLE) released a press release today about the importance of the youth vote in electing Judge Rosenblum. The press release included polling that demonstrated that Oregon’s youth vote greatly favors sensible cannabis laws and are not swayed by the Reefer Madness propaganda that has greatly influenced older voters.

CSLE’s work corroborates the results of dozens of polls across the nation. Recent polling sponsored by National Cannabis Coalition, for instance, reveals that young voters — as well as a super-majority of Oregon Democrats — favor an end to the usual prohibition policies of wasting law enforcement resources arresting, prosecuting and jailing people for cannabis. According to NCC’s poll, 81% of all voters between the ages of 18-34, regardless of party affiliation, agree that “Enforcing the marijuana laws is a waste of police time, resources, and jail space. We should focus police on more important priorities like violent crime.” A whopping 84% of all Democrats — regardless of age — also agree with the statement, realizing that the state of Oregon should not be wasting valuable resources and tax dollars locking up people for cannabis when we have more important issues to tackle. An astounding 91% of Democrats between 18-34 agree that our current cannabis laws are a waste of resources and would like to see our limited resources utilized to tackle more pressing issues.

With polling results such as ours and CSLE’s, it is very likely that Dwight Holton has seen similar polling, and that polls like these are responsible for sparking his backtracking from his previous incendiary comments and generally hostile position toward medical cannabis. However, it appears that cannabis law reformers in Oregon, and elsewhere, have been burnt too many times before to fall for Holton’s sudden about-face.

These cannabis law reformers recognize that Judge Rosenblum’s candidacy is important for Oregon medical marijuana patients and supporters, but also for activists across the country. They understand that we are faced with a unique opportunity to defeat a Drug Warrior who helped lead the federal government’s crackdown against medical marijuana states and elect a supportive candidate whose victory will elevate the clout of the cannabis law reform community across the country. Please do what you can to help Judge Rosenblum in this monumental campaign for Oregon Attorney General.

You can donate directly to Judge Rosenblum’s campaign or agree to volunteer. If you wish, you can donate to NCC, helping us run ads supporting her candidacy through our parent organization’s PAC, the American Victory Coalition PAC. If you lack the time and money to assist this important campaign, then simply do what you can to help spread the word. The future of the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program (and possibly programs across the country) is in our hands.

The full text of the CSLE’s press release:

Holton’s Anti-Medical-Marijuana Stances Out of the Democratic Mainstream

PORTLAND, May 7 — The controversy over marijuana will damage Dwight Holton’s chances to become Oregon’s attorney general, according to a group working for his defeat.

In particular, younger voters, who strongly support proposals to fully end the prohibition on marijuana, could punish Holton for his positions against Oregon’s medical marijuana law. But Holton has trouble with all Democrats on the issue, too.

Bob Wolfe, a director of Citizens for Sensible Law Enforcement (CSLE), said, “Holton’s hostility to medical marijuana in Oregon sends a pretty clear signal to progressive and younger voters. They support our state law and most want marijuana legalized entirely. Holton’s reefer madness is a huge liability.”

Wolfe added, “If younger voters turn out for this primary, Holton is in deep trouble.

CSLE today released polling crosstabs from a 2011 survey to underscore the power of the marijuana issue among Oregon Democrats and younger voters.

In that survey, voters aged 18-29 (of all party affiliations) rated “medical marijuana” very positively, an average of 70 on a scale of 0-100. Among all registered and likely Democratic voters, medical marijuana earned an average rating of 66, peaking at 74 among self-described “liberal Democrats.”

The April 2011 survey also showed comparable support for ending the prohibition on marijuana completely, as is proposed by Initiative Petition 24, which has more than 110,000 signatures toward qualification for the November 2012 ballot. For instance, 68% of Democrats said they would vote for a constitutional amendment to remove criminal penalties for marijuana for adults over 21 years of age. “Liberal” Democrats were nearly 4-to-1 in favor at 79%. Young voters of all political stripes supported the idea with 62%.

Mid-May primary elections have much lower turnout, often less than 50 percent of all registered voters. Younger voters often skip the primary elections in droves, skewing the electorate much older.

However, every Oregon voter receives a mail ballot, and has two weeks to cast it. CSLE thinks the publicity around marijuana could inspire just enough younger voters to cast ballots this year to make the difference.

Holton’s Opposition to Medical Marijuana Goes Way Back

Holton’s hostility to medical marijuana dates back to his term as interim U.S. Attorney, when he threatened medical marijuana service providers and their landlords with property seizure, warning that medical marijuana “will not be tolerated.” He then led raids on medical marijuana grow sites in Southern Oregon. In March this year, Holton called the state medical marijuana law a “train wreck” and pledged to work with Republicans to gut it.

Holton has recently tried to soften his position, but advocates for the medical marijuana law do not trust him on the issue, and have launched a campaign to defeat Holton in this primary election.

The CSLE campaign against Holton includes radio spots now running statewide and an online campaign.

Source: National Cannabis Coalition

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4 Comments

  1.  As they are the prime target in the “War on Drugs” they are advised to fight to end this prohibition.  After all, this prohibition can cause these young folks major problems.  The vast majority of drug arrestts are for people under 30.

  2. The states OMMP law is great. Short of full legalization it makes a lot of sense. Regressive republican lite candiates like Holton should go to Texas or other repressive states and leave Oregon alone.  If you have a qualifying condition get your card and join the thousands that support the law and need the medicine http://www.ommpcard.com

  3. malcolmkyle on

    Some simple facts:

    * Prohibition has been a slow but relentless degradation (death by a zillion cuts) of all our cherished national institutions, that will leave us crippled for numerous generations. 

    * The USA federal government is now the most dangerous and corrupt corporation on the planet.

    * Colombia, Peru, Mexico or Afghanistan with their coca leaves, marijuana buds or poppy sap are not igniting temptation in the minds of our weak, innocent citizens. These countries are duly responding to the enormous demand that comes from within our own borders. Invading or destroying these countries, thus creating more hate, violence, instability, injustice and corruption, will not fix our problem.

    * Just as it was impossible to prevent alcohol from being produced and used in the U.S. in the 1920s, so too, it is equally impossible to prevent any of the aforementioned drugs from being produced, distributed and widely used by those who desire to do so. 

    * Prohibition kills more people and ruins more lives than the drugs it prohibits.

    * Due to Prohibition (historically proven to be an utter failure at every level), the availability of most of these mood-altering drugs has become so universal and unfettered that in any city of the civilized world, any one of us would be able to procure practically any drug we wish within an hour.

    * Throughout history, the prohibition of any mind-altering substance has always exploded usage rates, overcrowded jails, fueled organized crime, created rampant corruption of law-enforcement – even whole governments, while inducing an incalculable amount of suffering and death. 

    * Apart from the fact that the DEA is the de facto enforcement wing of the pharmaceutical industry, the involvement of the CIA in running Heroin from Vietnam, Southeast Asia and Afghanistan, and Cocaine from Central America has been well documented by the 1989 Kerry Committee report, academic researchers Alfred McCoy and Peter Dale Scott, and the late journalist Gary Webb.

    * It’s not even possible to keep drugs out of prisons, but prohibitionists wish to waste trillions of dollars in an utterly futile attempt to keep them off our streets.

    * The United States jails a larger percentage of it’s own citizens than any other country in the world, including those run by the worst totalitarian regimes, yet it has far higher use/addiction rates than most other countries.

    * In the near future, Obama, Biden, and every single last one of the so called ‘drug warriors’ will all stand trial for serious crimes against humanity.

    * As with torture, prohibition is a grievous crime against humanity. If you support it, or even simply tolerate it by looking the other way while others commit it, you are an accessory to a very serious moral transgression against humanity.

    * The United States re-legalized certain drug use in 1933. The drug was alcohol, and the 21st amendment re-legalized its production, distribution and sale. Both alcohol consumption and violent crime dropped immediately as a result, and very soon after, the American economy climbed out of that same prohibition engendered abyss into which it had foolishly fallen.

  4. Voting just for pro-marijuana candidates is as dumb as North Carolina’s Republican party focusing only on Gay Marriage in North Carolinas Amendment One. Think about the bigger pictures.

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