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July 2012
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How one state’s vote for President could change the future political climate for marijuana

At Salon: Obama's Pot Problem

After holding the party convention in Denver and handily carrying this traditionally Republican state in 2008, Obama could be jeopardizing his reelection bid with a dismissive and even hostile approach to marijuana reform, a top issue for tens of thousands of local residents, including many of the activists who powered his last campaign.

Even if President Obama wins the election, if he loses Colorado and it appears to be because of his position on marijuana, then the entire political world will sit up and take notice.

You can already see the faint beginnings of the mad scamper away from prohibition by politicians…

See also: If Chris Christie is soft on drugs… by Rich Lowry.

If Chris Christie, arguably the toughest Republican in the country, is open to new approaches, there’s hope for everyone else.

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51 comments to How one state’s vote for President could change the future political climate for marijuana

  • Randy

    Nice article by Lowery. He’s been reform friendly for some time now. More and more are coming around from both the Right and Left.

    Faster, please!

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  • claygooding

    Christie is a drug warrior following the ONDCP playbook line for line,,speaking of it’s failure while increasing funding for law enforcement and now pushing for a change from imprisonment to forced rehab and knowing the end results will be the same,so saying Christie is soft on drugs is too much of a lie for most advocates to repeat.

    After all,,sharing knowledge and herb has gotten us this far and it will take us the rest of the way.

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    • Tony Aroma

      What he said. Christie is a drug warrior through and through. Just look at the state of NJ’s mmj program. He just wants to lock people up in a different kind of jail.

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      • Duncan20903

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        They’ve actually gotten one producer that is now growing plants blessed by the Legislature. You say that the Pillsbury dough boy Governor has been stonewalling and it’s because he’s got an (R) behind his name? So how in the heck did New Jersey get an authorized producer up and running but the goddamn District of Columbia Council is still not even really close?

        Two dates to consider, January 11, 2010 and December 11, 2009. The former being the date New Jersey Legislature passed the law and the former being when Congress gave D.C. their tacit blessing to implement a medicinal cannabis patient protection law. Also consider that New Jersey didn’t have to say “mother may I” to Congress in order to implement their law. That same request delayed the District’s program by almost 6 months.

        Remember that it’s not easy to find a conservative in D.C. unless they’re doing their job. D.C. is an extremely blue voting population. IIRC the voters split is 90/10 Democrats/Republicans. As far just about every city wide elected office in D.C. Election Day is the date of the Democratic primary.

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        • claygooding

          But the first patient has not been able to purchase their medicine and until then Christie will find some way to derail the program,,bet a toke.

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    • This is the same drug war different look from an actually old perspective. I have heard it many times spoken about in Corrections-how the pendulum swings between the “get tough on crime, lock em up and throw away the key” then the pendulum swings and treatment and therapy are favored for awhile to soothe the wounds until the pendulum swings again and it’s time again to get tough. This scenario has played again and again for years in the Dept of Justice and the management of prisons.

      The prohibition of the hemp plant and the criminalizing of its users has been the basis for holding it all together, as it’s their biggest money maker. It makes officials sound Official. Best yet, the money never stops because the crime keeps growing.

      Treating recreational users of drugs like hard core addicts and sending the whole kit and kaboodle for salvation is just a horrid abuse of power and an extension of the war on drugs.

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  • Francis

    The wheels are coming off the bus; the house of cards is beginning to collapse; and more and more passengers are heading for the lifeboats as the fact that the ship is sinking becomes undeniable (not to mix metaphors or anything).

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  • kaptinemo

    From the first article; I’ve got a major problem with this kind of thinking:

    “James, who briefly helmed Rep. Jared Polis’ primary campaign in 2008, urged caution against what she acknowledged was a growing level of support for the third-party candidate in response to the Obama administration’s aggression.

    “I think a lot of people are trying to support Gary Johnson, but it’s the wrong move right now,” she said. “We’ll be cutting off our nose to spite our face if we allow Romney to win this election, because it would be the end of the marijuana industry. At least under Barack Obama there is some pretense for the industry to exist.”

    Obama has already shown what he thinks of cannabists. namely, nothing but contempt. He unleashed his dogs on us without a single thought to blowback…and now that that blowback is happening, and building force, the Dims (not a typo) are beginning to realize what a hornet’s nest they kicked.

    Vote for the man who kicks us 7 times in hopes that he’ll only kick us 5 times after we help elect him?? Ms. James ought to look up the word ‘Judenrat’ before she talks like that again. Some Jews back then thought they could ameliorate the worst predations of the Nazis by cooperating with them. They wound up in the ovens anyway. We’ve been catching Hell from both Dims (again, not a typo, they have to be stupid not to realize what they’ve done) and Reps for decades. There’s no arguing with this mad, murderous beast of a DrugWar; rabid dogs are put down, not rehabilitated.

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  • greg

    If the shooter at Aurora is proven to have ever even handled a joint. MJ is dead in Colorado.

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    • Randy

      If he is an MJ user, some one will surely try to use this politically, but those tactics seem to have little impact these days.

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      • Maria

        *warning: pure, off topic speculation follows*

        It’s more statistically likely based on a number of factors (his age, gender, ethnicity, and education level) that he was on some sort of prescribed medication or combination of medications. Or that he had been medicated in the recent past.

        However, even if he was it means squat for causation. A lot of people are on medication for a vast range of mental illness (and I do mean a lot, most people would be surprised by how many.) They rarely go around heinously slaughtering others while in the full grips of what is now thought to be a full on delusional episode (based on his reported words/actions during the act and his arrest.)

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        • Servetus

          More speculation, if the wacknoid (thanks, dc) turns out to be a narcissist on the scale of Norway’s Breivik, or Serbian President Milošević, then it doesn’t matter what Holmes ingested. The trick is to make the public understand the situation by advancing a theory of motive first.

          Just to turn the tables, if he’s on a prescription pharmaceutical, Big Pharma needs to feel the irritation of drug hysteria, if only to remind them that two or more can play their despicable little game.

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        • Cliff

          Speaking of massacres by people on legal drugs:

          From Wikipedia:

          “In one of his scheduled meetings with his psychiatrist, Eric Harris complained of depression, anger and to possessing suicidal thoughts. As a result of this, he was prescribed the anti-depressant Zoloft. He subsequently complained to feeling restless and to experiencing a lack of concentration to his doctor, and in April, he was switched to a similar anti-depressant drug— Luvox.[13] At the time of his death, Harris had therapeutic Luvox levels in his system. Some analysts, such as psychiatrist Peter Breggin, have argued that one or both of these medications may have contributed to Harris’s actions. Breggin claimed that side-effects of these drugs include increased aggression, loss of remorse, depersonalization, and mania.[14] A subsequent study conducted by the Institute for Safe Medication Practices identified Luvox as being 8.4 times more likely than other medications to be associated with violence.[15]

          If only Eric Harris had been able to medicate on cannabis, maybe he would have just got thrown into rehab instead of murdering his classmates and a teacher. / snark

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    • Dante

      “If the shooter at Aurora is proven to have ever even handled a joint. MJ is dead in Colorado.”

      Surely, the shooter handled alcohol as well. And oxygen. And milk.

      So we can ban all those things because they “caused” this crazy person to go berzerk?

      Nonsense.

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    • YES….Very astute and quite correct….question is will the prohibition people let a good crises opportunity pass them by….true or not !

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  • cy Klebs

    I respect that Bambi only responds to pressure. But 1 fact I don’t like is how peachy keen Willard is about drugs-screening. Let indeed warn all would be tyrants who strive to contrive sobriety into unilateral disarmament!

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  • ezrydn

    Pardon me but the old “Fool Me Once” kicks in, Big Time here. Since Omama took office, I’ve been lied to, kicked around and laughed at. And maybe I should consider more? Based on what? No, not this time. NOW, it’s time for REAL Change the country needs. Being in Forex, I see the US from a different perspective. The USD is taking a hellova beating right now, while Nero fiddles on the golf course.

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  • claygooding

    A Presidential order for the DOJ to remove cannabis from Schedule 1 of the CSA to any other level would buy my vote..promises and hints ain’t buyin shit.

    PS:Promises and hints will fertilize my garden to try for bigger buds.

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  • primus

    The Republican convention next month could be interesting, when they realise that Romney can’t beat Obama, but Paul can. Then they must decide whether to cede the election to Obama by selecting Romney. Tough call from here.

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    • darkcycle

      No, Primus. You forget who controls the parties in this country. They aren’t going to let R.P. within shouting distance of that convention. No R.P. delegates will make it through. And I hear they’re trying to draft a pledge in R.P. leaning States, to abide by the party decision. And they’re trying to attach real criminal penalties to breaking that pledge. There is no way they will let Paul close to the buttons and knobs.

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      • Windy

        They may not have a choice. Romney is possibly facing some real criminal issues and may be disqualified. If the GOP nominates Romney instead of Paul the GOP will be shooting itself in the gut, it won’t die right away but will suffer a well deserved long, painful and lingering death.

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    • I think if Ron Paul is faced with no input into changing the platform of the Republican party, and simultaneously being snubbed for the position, that he may very well (being the man of principle that he is) put his support behind G. Johnson as the only bastion left to promote his ideas of Governance.

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  • claygooding

    Mexico’s Drug War: A New President Outlines A New Strategy Likely To Produce Old Results

    http://tinyurl.com/ca665dd

    In the “old days” of Mexico’s Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), the party of President-elect Enrique Pena Nieto, a systemic culture of government corruption ensured that the drug cartels would be more or less left alone in exchange for hefty bribes at multiple levels, and as the drugs flowed north into the U.S. there was relatively little violence. ‘snip’

    But it is Pena Nieto’s goal to eventually recall the armed forces, some 40,000 troops, from Mexico’s streets and return them to their barracks. To this end, he plans to expand Mexico’s federal police by at least 35,000 officers. ‘snip’

    Calderon has claimed 90 percent of victims of the drug war were engaged in criminal activity, but fewer than five percent of the homicides have ever been investigated, political activist and author Tom Hayden wrote in an article titled, “Mexico’s Election: A Vote for Peace, a Plan for War,” for the Nation magazine. ‘snip’

    The tragic reality is that it is the everyday people — shop-owners, laborers, farmers, and yes, those seeking to cross the border into the U.S. illegally in search of a life free from destitution and death — that are being victimized, for refusing to pay extortion fees, to become drug mules, or who were just in the wrong place at the wrong time (which increasingly is becoming anyplace and anytime).

    Never fear Gil,,the war goes on and your budget is safe.

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  • Duncan20903

    .
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    Another glimmer of hope in Albemarle County, Virginia. For those not familiar with Albemarle County just picture the classic stereotype of right wing, ignorant country bumpkins and you won’t be off much, if at all.

    Virginia Drug Possession Case Highlights Flawed Drug War Policies
    By Aviva Shen
    Jul 20, 2012

    In a local case exemplifying changing attitudes on the War on Drugs, a jury found a farmer in Albemarle County not guilty of marijuana possession on Wednesday evening.

    54-year-old Philip Cobbs was summoned to court to answer for two marijuana plants spotted on his 37-acre farm by a helicopter.
    /snip/

    While the jury ultimately found Cobbs not guilty, it took half a day to find 7 people out of 25 who were neutral enough on drug laws to serve as jurors. Many potential jurors had to be dismissed because of their strong disagreement with national marijuana laws.

    Sneathern, who in the past has prosecuted drug possession cases for the Commonwealth, observed that the law is still “playing catch up” to “a massive sea change in public opinion about small amounts of marijuana.”
    /snip/

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    • Matthew Meyer

      C’mon, Dunc. Albemarle is the home of the University of Virginia, and many rich folks have old estates there. It’s conservative but with a serious twist. Your description might fit Nelson County a little better.

      Agreed this is a good sign, after the stupidity of wasted resources on two plants.

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      • Duncan20903

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        I dunno Matthew, the basis for my impression of Albemarle County is the 4 decades of my life spent in close proximity to that County. Perhaps I missed the part where the minority of the County that is Charlottesville has overwhelmed the majority of the County that is not. Perhaps you’re forgetting that the more urban, dare I say ‘liberal’ population of Charlottesville is much more transient than the rest of the County?

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    • Francis

      Why did they need to find jurors who were “neutral” on the drug laws? I thought we were entitled to a “jury of our peers”? Well, at least half of those peers believe that cannabis prohibition is at least a misguided policy (and many of them believe that it is a deeply unjust and destructive policy). And did they really want jurors who were “neutral” with respect to the drug war? If so, how many prospective jurors were dismissed for being too supportive of cannabis prohibition?

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      • Duncan20903

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        Damn Francis, I thought for some reason that you were an attorney. Surely someone with a J.D. wouldn’t confuse the Magna Carta with the Bill of Rights from the U.S. Constitution, would he? The jury of peers is a British thing, not American.

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        • Francis

          Hey man, cut me some slack. I don’t do criminal law. But it’s my understanding that you ARE entitled to an “impartial” jury. So the point still stands. A policy that would exclude half of all Americans from jury service in MJ cases seems very problematic.

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        • darkcycle

          I guess it’s kind of like asking me what Freud would say, or how your messed up toilet training resulted in your fear of …whatever. I don’t DO Dr. Freud. How the f*ck would I know?
          Plus, all those old documents are confusing. They all contain words. Many of those words are the same.
          ;)

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        • Duncan20903

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          What was Siggy’s preferred delivery method for cocaine? I seem to be under the impression that he took the mainline, but examination of facts under that impression finds no foundation for the belief.

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        • kaptinemo

          What really gets me is the stunt the prosecutor pulled:

          “The prosecutor’s closing statement warned the jury against nullification, which allows jurors to find a defendant innocent because of their dislike of a law.”

          Not being a lawyer, I’d be tempted to say that was ‘obstruction of justice’. US vs. Moylan says exactly the opposite.

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      • The concept of having a jury is nullified by stacking the deck. Really doesn’t matter where it came from Duncan, if it needs fixin. I can appreciate the historical values though.

        If a prosecutor wants 12 clones of himself sitting in the box, I say the entire concept becomes compromised.

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  • Tammerlin Drummond: A case of misplaced priorities

    http://tinyurl.com/bqbpgua

    This idea that getting high should take a back seat to other more important election time issues is the door to trivializing the war on drugs.

    Its simply not true at all. In fact it is the largest issue never tackled in an election.

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  • Irie

    And it just continues…http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ryan-grim/the-drug-war-has-now-spre_b_1693267.html “The Drug War Has Now Spread to Africa, and Here is Why”.

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  • mr Ikesheeny

    I to shift gears a bit am very concerned that the system will promulgate SS “deform” without repeal of pot-prohibition. I fear if Gov. etch-a-sketch is elected as part of the grand bargain that seniors collection of SS would be made conditional on a drug screen. Rather have myself ridiculed now than later, for these awful ideas!

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  • darkcycle

    And at Alternet: A great piece with a strongly worded title.
    http://tinyurl.com/d548pfr

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  • mr Ikesheeny

    The Senate minority whip and Boehner still haven’t clapped Bambi on the shoulder. Talk about a hot day in January! How can the AG complain of vote suppression!

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