If You Think Supporting Marijuana Legalization Is Political Suicide, You're Wrong

Longtime readers know I've been banging this drum for a while, but I think I hit it pretty hard in this new piece at Huffington Post. Check it out and let me know what you think.

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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Your right on three of four factors

Scott,

Some  factors which can influence a politician's view on marijuana legalization are polls on the subject: colleagues position on pot. the media's coverage of the issue and scientific studies that reveal the truth about pot's medicinal value and health risks have made it easier to speak honestly about the war on pot.

 

One factor that still is an uphill battle is the lobbying money that fills politicians coffers from the alcohol industry. The influence of campaign donations from special interests groups played a huge role in the defeat of Prop 19 in California, last year.  An Anti-DWI organization that I work for has attempted for years just to pass laws to put health messages on the bottles of alcohol. Our efforts have always been defeated as the alcohol industry has fought vigorously to protect their market share. If something as innocuous as health messages can't be passed into law, then it would appear that a product that has the potential to take away a significant share from alcohol's  market will be even more difficult to legalize. The alcohol industry has millions to fund lobbyists. The print and TV media doesn't want to alienate it's advertisers, by giving reformers a platform for legalization. But as more politicians like Dennis Kucinich, Barney Frank Ron Paul and Gary Johnson come into the fold, the media has forced to cover their legislation and POV.

  This battle of prohibitionists vs. reformers is so financially lopsided and the general public is unaware of the special interests that profit from the status quo, that the link between the alcohol industry and the drug war must be part of  the education process for the movement to succeed in getting politicians to change their views. I hope you will write  about the unsavory connections between the Broadcasters, our elected leaders and the Alcohol  industry.

There is one more reason pols

There is one more reason pols see the marijuana issue as poison. Fear of being portrayed as "soft on crime' generally and the fear of being accused of "coddling criminals". The recognition that something isn't a crime if it's not criminalized goes right out of the mind as soon as the idea that all people who engage in that behavior are criminals inserts itself. It's a psychological catch 22, since the two ideas seem logically exclusive (though they are not, it takes a couple of coherent steps to get there, and most people go with their first initial thought). Also, as soon as a label is applied to a person or group, all of the connotations, all of the emotionally loaded baggage that comes with that label applies. The initial response is emotional and powerful and can be easily manipulated by a cynical and adept pol. Willie Horton comes to mind. Getting them past this, and the fear of having this used against them will be hard.

Good piece, Scott, as usual. For some reason the Huff post doesn't recognize me all of a sudden, but I tried to chime in there as well.

Drug Prohibition Casts a Malevolent Shadow

Drug prosecutions have a ripple effect on the families of those arrested.  The more drug busts, the more alienation is produced.  Drug raids are dangerous.  Botched raids can create legal and public-relations tidal waves.  Drug wars already cost everyone too much money.  These basic facts are known to millions.  Among other things, it’s why public disgust with the drug war continues to rise, along with more calls for big changes. 

Because it’s a collective problem, it works to expose the ways innocent people are hurt by prohibition, in addition to focusing on the person whose life is disrupted or even eliminated in a drug raid.  Where context allows, anti-prohibition political messages should allude to the fact that drug war collateral damage is a fate all people will eventually share, if they don’t already.

As it is now, politicians who reach out to those concerned about this pointless war will not be disappointed.  The pols will be greeted as rescuers and heroes.

Giordano

Peace

Everything should be settled peacefully for those civilians and for the sake of the country

Peace

Everything should be settled peacefully for those civilians and for the sake of the country
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why no discussion of Gov. Rick Perry?

Scott, I hope you will consider a Part 2 segment and discuss Republican Governor Rick Perry (possible Presidential candidate) who has said that states like California should be allowed to legalize marijuana without federal interference.  This is very much in line with the most historical marijuana reform bill introduced into Congress, H.R. 2306. 

It makes absolutely no sense to discuss an obscure Democratic State Senator from Indiana (who only introduced a bill to study the impact of marijuana legalization on her state) when we have a likely Presidental candidate who is widely favored by the Republican Party and is, like Ron Paul, against federal interference in state marijuana laws.

http://motherjones.com/mojo/2011/07/what-rick-pery-learned-ron-paul

Rick Perry?

Nope, not a candidate I can support; Perry's no Ron Paul (not even close) so I'll stick with the real Ron Paul.

Not the point I'm trying to make

Scott is trying to emphasize how safe it is for politicians to support legalizing marijuana.  Well, we have a very prominent socially conservative Texas Republican Governor orchestrating a National Day of Prayer on August 6th but yet very outspoken for allowing states to decide their own marijuana policies without federal interference.  Isn't this groundbreaking!!!  What better example to show that it is not political suicide than this??  My hat off to Ron Paul.  Rick Perry probably wouldn't have made this move had Ron Paul not been so influential in his Party and in Presidential election campaigns.  Gary Johnson can take some credit too.  I hope Ron Paul and Gary Johnson repeatedly push Rick Perry on this issue when they have the Primary debates.  But this is the direction we need to be going in folks!!!!

Show us the Pros & Cons

It's just a matter of justifying the pros and cons on legalizing the use of marijuana.  If there's really no benefit at all, then why support?

Yeah! You're Wrong If You

Yeah! You're Wrong If You Think Supporting Marijuana Legalization Is Political Suicide!

Harmful Effects

Essentially, marijuana or drugs are pain killers but as we can see these things kill our children, thus our future.

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