Mr. President : Legalize Marijuana and You’ll Get the Youth Vote and Win the Election.

by on August 7, 2012 · 43 comments

in Civil Rights, Culture, Health, History, Popular

A Majority of Americans Support Legalization of Marijuana Now for the First Time

This is an Open Letter to President Barack Obama Calling on him to legalize marijuana.

If you legalize marijuana, Mr. President, you’ll get the youth vote and win the 2012 Presidential election. It’s as simple as that. However you do it, Mr. President, if you legalize cannabis, you’ll then do for the young of this country what you did for the Mexican-American and Latino populations, and then what you did for the gay and lesbian communities earlier this year.

How is this so?

It just so happens, that here in the midst of campaign 2012, the issue of marijuana legalization and the status of medical cannabis have perhaps paradoxically both become highly charged topics. Legalization initiatives are on three state ballots, there’s a whole array of other reform measures up for vote, and there’s polls that show a majority of Americans support straight-out legalization of pot – all that makes this year 2012 an historic year for marijuana reform.

But you wouldn’t know it by watching the campaigns of Governor Romney and President Obama. Both candidates continue to avoid talking about marijuana legalization, and Romney even chastised a reporter in Colorado recently for bringing up the subject – it’s on the state ballot. Both candidates apparently believe it’s a non-issue. Yet they do so at their own peril. As the more likely candidate to support marijuana reform, Obama, would win if he came out publicly for its legalization.

They won’t be able to ignore it much longer. For, everywhere we look, we’re surrounded by the so-called controversies – whether legal, moral, or medical – involving smoking a 2,000 year old herb, that grows as a weed.

Check these out:

  • San Diego area US Attorney Laura Duffy weighed in on a proposed ballot measure to regulate medical marijuana collectives in Del Mar, by threatening to prosecute State and City employees who issue land use licenses to medical marijuana collectives. The local ACLU told Duffy to back off.
  • A marijuana dispensary here in San Diego is suing the federal government in a direct legal challenge to the Feds current crack-down on California medical cannabis dispensaries.
  • The recent hoax by Americans for Safe Access that snared several newspapers with the false report that the US Attorney in San Diego was going after pharmacies for illegal sales of drugs was intended to draw attention to the irrational crack-down;
  • There have been more traditional types of protests against the crackdown up and down the State of California in late July; there were demonstrations in San Diego; Los Angeles and Oakland.
  • The City of Los Angeles in late July passed a resolution banning all marijuana dispensaries to a great outcry and threats of more legal action and civil disobedience.
  • When President Obama attended a recent fund-raiser in Oakland , there was a protest of herb supporters outside the site;

  • While city, county and state – and even Washington – budgets are stretched thin, California, other states and federal resources continue to be wasted in investigating, prosecuting and imprisoning violators of the drug laws – pushing them into already packed jails; and now dispensary deliveries are being prosecuted as “sales”.
  • There are also growing concerns that another generation – legally forbidden from using marijuana – is turning to dangerous alternatives, like pills and such things as bath salts.
  • More young people smoke pot than cigarettes, the Center for Disease Control reports. This trend began in 2011.
  • Meanwhile, Latin American leaders – their countries at the front lines of a failed War on Drugs – call for legalization of certain drugs, like marijuana for personal use. (For more details, see below.)
  • There are current estimates of 20 to 30 million pot smokers in America, helping to float a $30 billion illegal and legal market; nearly 96 million American adults have used marijuana.
  • Finally, there is just the wholesale hypocrisy of the promises the President made during his 2008 campaign with this recent Federal crackdown on medical cannabis and their clinics. Four years ago, he spoke out in favor of marijuana reform law, pledging to cease utilizing “Justice Department resources to try and circumvent state laws” on medical cannabis – which he has since broken.

Could it be – contrary to popular punditry – that the economy isn’t the only key issue in this Presidential campaign, but that a very significant issue now is that of the legalization of marijuana?

Back to the basic premise of this Open Letter: if President Obama legalized marijuana, he would get the youth vote and win the election in November; okay, assuming that if he did that – legalized marijuana or medicinal marijuana – however he did it – and putting aside the question of whether he would then get the youth vote – isn’t it just too politically risky for the President to come out for pot? Why would he risk the election on this drug issue?

The answer to this query is “no”, an emphatic no –, and here’s the crux of the issue – it is now no longer politically risky for President Obama to come out publicly in favor of legalizing the herb – either for straight legalization or a more qualified one for medicinal cannabis.

The reasons that it is no longer politically risky coming out in support for pot are multiple; there has been a significant shift in American public opinion on legalization; state governments are more and more moving to decriminalize and enact other reforms; there’s the abject failure of the drug war; the calls for legalization for personal use by many if not most Latin and Southern American leaders; there’s pressure for reforms from the medical and scientific communities; and the fact that even the White House is interested in medicinal herb for returning soldiers with PTSD.

Shift in Attitudes for Pot Legalization Reflected in Polls

First, Americans in recent years have gone through a tidal change in how they perceive marijuana and its legal status. There’s been a dramatic turn in public opinion where now most Americans are okay with its legalization. This is first time in our modern history that there has been this kind of level of public support – massive public support – for ending the prohibition of cannabis and replacing it with a much more humane system of legalization and regulation. It could be the end is near for America’s nearly century-long prohibition of marijuana.

American opinions can be viewed by what they say in polls, and the state politicians they support who are moving – many of them – on the state government level – to decriminalizing marijuana. And what do the polls tell us? There have been a number of national high profile polls that demonstrate that Americans strongly favor ending the war on weed.

Gallup took a poll in the Fall of 2011, and reported that for the first time ever in all their polling since 1969, more Americans support the legalization of the adult use of cannabis than support its prohibition. This is a dramatic shift in opinion. In contrast, in 1969, in Gallup’s first survey on voters’ attitudes toward the herb, they found only 12 percent supported legalizing it. Even in the late Seventies, public support for cannabis legalization never went over 30 percent in polls, even though this was a period when a number of state legislatures decriminalized minor marijuana possession charges to fines, and reduced related felonies to misdemeanors.

Over the last ten years, this tidal shift in American opinions has been reflected in Gallup’s increasingly year-to-year attitudinal increase in support. It’s not just Gallup polls. Rasmussen Reports conducted polls and posted their results this past May. They affirmed the Gallup findings. Rasmussen found that 56% of Americans supported “legalizing marijuana and regulating it like alcohol or cigarettes”, with only 34% against. Rasmussen reported that this attitude was shared in every age group they polled – even those 65 or older.

A Canadian poll also confirmed these trends. Polling firm Angus Reid reported in June that a good majority of American voters – both Democrats and independents – supported legalization. Angus Reid has conducted four such polls, all in consecutive fashion and all reported over 50% of Americans in support of legalizing pot.

There’s even a recent Rasmussen Reports poll in Colorado – one of the states where legalization of marijuana is on the November ballot – that shows 61 percent of voters support cannabis legalization versus 27 percent who don’t.

State Legislators Move on De-Criminalization

With the current Federal crack-down and ostensible stall in Congress of pot reform, it’s clear that the response to this tidal shift in public and voter opinion is not being reflected in Washington, DC. But it is finding resonance among state legislators. Across the country many politicians are responding for the first time to the growing clamor to reform pot laws. They’re figuring out that being pro-pot gets votes. Marijuana reform is in the air in Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Colorado, Texas, Montana, North Carolina, Washington, Chicago, and New York City.

Consider these:

  • Pot legalization is on the November ballot in three states: Colorado, Washington, and Oregon. Colorado’s Amendment 64 is seen as having the best chance of passing; it would simply treat marijuana like alcohol in terms of regulation, requiring licenses for producers and sellers, a 21-age limit for buyers, and tax revenue for government. The first $40 million generated will go – if it passes – to public school construction.
  • Rhode Island state lawmakers voted in June by more than 2 to 1 to approve legislation decriminalizing the possession of marijuana (now a civil fine) for anyone age 18 or older.
  • Last Spring Connecticut lawmakers from both major political parties supported legislation authorizing the limited legalization of cannabis.
  • New Hampshire legislators – including Republicans – voted overwhelmingly for a medical marijuana law reform, which was then vetoed by Gov. John Lynch, a Democrat.
  • In contrast, Democrats in other states – including Colorado, Montana, North Carolina, and Washington – have recently adopted pro-marijuana reform language into their party platforms.
  • Iowan Democrat Party delegates at their June convention passed a resolution supporting medicinal cannabis.
  • Texas Democrats endorsed legalizing weed with this resolution: “Marijuana is no more dangerous than alcohol or tobacco. … There is no evidence that marijuana is a “gateway” drug leading to the use of more lethal drugs. … Texas Democrats urge the President, the Attorney General and the Congress to support the passage of legislation to … regulate its (marijuana’s) use, production and sale as is done with tobacco and alcohol.”
  • New York Governor Andrew Cuomo publicly endorsed a plan to draw down the annual 50,000 pot arrests made by New York City police.
  • Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel now backs a municipal legislative effort to decriminalize marijuana possession offenses. The Chicago City Council responded in a huge vote in favor: 43 to 3.
  • And don’t forget that 14 states – including California and Massachusetts – have already decriminalized marijuana, where penalties for possession are greatly reduced, but continue a ban on production, distribution and sales.

There has been some movement in Congress. A handful of politicians from both parties – including Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Barney Frank (D-MA), Steve Cohen (D-TN), James Moran (D-VA), Ron Paul (R-TX), Jarel Polis (D-CO), Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), and Peter Stark (D-CA) – have been supportive of marijuana reform laws. And importantly none of them have experienced any kind of substantive negative backlash from their constituencies for their pro-pot stances.

In 2011 Barney Frank and Ron Paul introduced the first federal legalization bill – but it hasn’t gone anywhere. Another one of Frank’s bills on pot enforcement by the Federal government has been stalled since 1997.

“Congress is several years behind the general public on this,” said Rep. Jarel Polis, a pro-pot reform Democrat from Colorado. But change is occurring even in Congress. When he first came to Washington three years ago, only “a handful” of legislators would stand up for pot reform, Polis added, but today, most Democrats support it.

On the other side of the Congressional aisle, many Republicans don’t support marijuana reform. One of the few Republicans who does, Dana Rohrabacher from California, admitted, “I’ve been very disappointed with my fellow Republicans on this issue.” He believes that more of his GOP buddies would vote for reform if there was a secret ballot, as many of them are small-government advocates and states-rights proponents, and think enforcing marijuana laws is a waste of tax monies, but are afraid to say so in public.

The Dis-Connect in Washington, Lack of Support for Recent Crack-Down, and a Failed Drug War

Despite these stirrings in Congress to make pot less criminal, the disconnect in Washington grew to high relief just recently, when the House of Representatives voted 262 to 163 to kill a budget amendment that called for an end to the use of taxpayers’ monies spent to force states to act in compliance with federal laws and against state-approved medical cannabis projects.

And more, as has been obvious in recent months, the US Justice Department nation-wide crack-down on medical marijuana providers and dispensaries – all allowed under state laws – has US Attorneys busy shuttering cannabis shops up and down California. In Delaware, the Feds have gone even further. In their efforts to block state authorization of medicinal cannabis programs, the Feds have even threatened to arrest and prosecute state employees involved in their state’s regulation of medical-pot providers.

Yet, Americans don’t support the administration’s recent clamp down on medical marijuana. According to a Mason Dixon poll of likely US voters conducted in May 2012, virtually no Americans support the crack-down. 74% think that the Obama administration should “respect the medical marijuana laws” in those states that have legalized its use, cultivation, and distribution. This high number included 3 out of 4 Democrats and two-thirds of all Republicans. Only 15 percent support the crack-down.

Everyone but Washington knows that the Drug War is over – that it has failed. That Angus Reid poll cited earlier also found that two-thirds of Americans believe the drug was is futile. The U.S. government still arrests people for using pot and other illicit substances. But no one continues under the illusion that somehow Washington will “win” the war. It is a waste of precious humans, of scarce dollars and other resources, like credibility.

European Countries Ignore US Pressure and Latin American Leaders Want Legalization

American pot smokers have long known that certain European countries – like the Netherlands – have much more open and humane policies towards marijuana. Governments on that continent proved long ago that they are independent of the US with respect to drug laws and policies; they have historically ignored pressure from the US on this issue. The Netherlands, Portugal, Britain, and Switzerland have various forms of legalization.

The big news, however, is from leaders of Latin American countries and how they now perceive the war on drugs.

Consider the views of the leaders – past and current – of Mexico – a country that is embroiled in efforts to physically eradicate drug lords and their empires and has suffered more violence than any other country for these military actions. Former president Vicente Fox is from the most conservative main party – the National Action Party – and as head of government, years ago proposed the decriminalization of the personal use of cocaine, heroin, and cannabis. His proposal was met with such a howl of protest by – not Mexican legislators but by American ones – that the proposal went down in flames.

Recently, Vicente Fox declared: “Prohibitions don’t work, and the last remaining frontier of prohibition is drugs, and we should question ourselves why drugs.” He currently advocates “legalization all the way — all drugs and in all places.” In 2009 Mexico decriminalized personal possession of cocaine, heroine, LSD and pot.

The current President, Felipe Calderon, stated in June that he wants the US to implement “market solutions” as a way to avoid the violence taking place across his country in the drug war that he himself has vigorously pushed during his administration.

After his election this summer, president-elect Enrique Pena Nieto publicly admitted that the war on drugs is “not working,” and while not in favor of legalization, he advocates for a new debate on how to deal with drug trafficking, as he believes there is now “more drug consumption, drug use and drug trafficking” than there were even after years of the fighting them. Pena Nieto criticized Washington for spending decades in attempts to curtail illicit drug use, pushing a drug war, that by almost every “measurable objective” he says, has failed in America.

Other countries throughout Latin America have been creating drug reforms. In 2009, Argentina’s Supreme Court issued a ruling that that stated punishing citizens for personal use of marijuana was unconstitutional. Also that year, current drug policies were denounced as an expensive and deadly failure by the prestigious and influential Latin American Commission on Drugs and Democracy. The former presidents of Mexico, Columbia, and Brazil sit on the Commission and all came out publicly advocating for decriminalizing drug use.

Since then, the presidents of Costa Rica and El Salvador called for drug law reform and open discussion of legalization. And at the April Summit of the Americas attended by President Obama, the Guatemalan president who had made the fight against crime the hallmark of his campaign, helped to raise the issue of legalization during the meeting. He agrees that the drug war had failed – and more – he believes “consumption and production should be legalized.”

Uruguay’s President Jose Mujica just this past June proposed legislation to legalize pot, and called on other nations to consider legalization. Under his proposal, the government would sell pot to Uruguayans, and use the monies for drug treatment and rehabilitation. The president explained: “We are doing this for the young people, because the traditional approach hasn’t worked.”

Uruguay’s defense minister advocated for the measure, citing the violence caused by prohibition creating “more problems than the drugs themselves.” Here’s the minister’s enlightened quote:

Financial “corruption is affecting Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala, on a greater scale, and now it is coming to Ecuador and Brazil. We don’t want our country to follow this route.”

It is telling what is going on in Colombia right now, the site of that April Summit of the Americas. This month, their government gained authorization from the nation’s Constitutional Court for the decriminalization of personal use of cocaine and marijuana. Treatment would be offered, not prison. Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said the goal of this proposal is to halt profits made by violent drug gangs and cartels:

“If that means legalizing and the world thinks that’s the solution, I would welcome it.”

That country’s former president also weighed in:

“We cannot be condemned to live in war because Americans do not want to talk about it. No one speaks in favor of the war on drugs.”

Obama of course was at that Summit of the Americas and he was embarrassed by these open calls for legalization by his Latin American counterparts. He criticized the idea of legalization, but did seem willing to look at whether US government drug policies were “doing more harm than good in certain places.” President Obama also added:

Given the pressures a lot of governments are under — under resourced, overwhelmed by violence — it’s completely understandable that they would look for new approaches, and we want to cooperate with them.

One of the reasons for Obama’s embarrassment is because his administration has been upping the ante in the drug war, increasing direct American participation in the anti-drug efforts. A DEA agent killed a Honduran citizen in June during a raid, as armed US personnel have increased their on the ground involvement and are getting into fire fights with narco-traffickers.

Drug Czar Says White House Is Interested in Medical Marijuana … for the Troops

Perhaps cracks are beginning to appear in the Obama’s armored White House stance on legalization. Recently, his drug czar, Gil Kerlikowske, came out and said that the White House is …:

“interested in the potential marijuana may have in providing relief to individuals diagnosed with certain serious illnesses. That is why we ardently support ongoing research into determining what components of the marijuana plant can be used as medicine.”

Kerlikowske made these comments on the White House website in response to a petition requesting that the Obama administration change its rules to allow disabled vets to use medical cannabis as treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder.

In his statements, the drug czar continued to emphasis that smoked marijuana has not proven to have any medicinal value. This is a perspective positively and directly in conflict with the American Medical Association. The AMA, the largest physician organization in the county, has declared that there is indeed medical value to pot, and they have called for the reclassification of marijuana to allow for the development of new drugs.

The Schedule I Classification of Cannabis Is a Lie – the Science Says So

The present classification of cannabis as a Schedule I substance under federal law, means it is viewed legally as lacking any therapeutic value and possessing health risks on par with those of heroin. This mis-classification is no longer a subject of legitimate debate – like global climate change.

This mis-classification and mis-characterization of marijuana is no more scientifically accurate and tenable. The University of California did a 12-year study that was FDA-approved and cost millions of dollars; it concluded that results of their study on smoked marijuana indicate that it can be useful in pain management and other benefits.

Dr. Igor Grant of UC San Diego, the program director, summarized what the UC Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research concluded in the May issue of Open Neurology Journal:

Based on evidence currently available, the (federal) Schedule I classification (of cannabis) is not tenable; it is not accurate that cannabis has no medical value, or that information on safety is lacking.

Response of Medical Community

The American Medical Association, in stating in 2009 that marijuana has medical value, voted overwhelmingly in favor of calling for the reclassification of marijuana to allow for the development of new drugs, and issued a report with claims that:

“smoked cannabis reduces neuropathic pain, improves appetite and caloric take especially in patients with reduced muscle mass, and may relieve spasticity and pain in patients with multiple sclerosis.”

A recent scientific study published in Open Neurology Journal in June 2012 states that the placement of marijuana atop the Drug Enforcement Agency’s schedule of controlled substances – a category reserved for drugs that have no medical value – is “not accurate” and “not tenable”. Scientists instead found that while marijuana has some potential for abuse, “its profile more closely resembles drugs in Schedule III (where codeine and dronabinol are listed.)” “The continuing conflict between scientific evidence and political ideology will hopefully be reconciled in a judicious manner,” they added.

A good part of the scientific community favors legalization. Consider the following scientific aspects of cannabis – we’ll never hear this from the mainstream corporate media:

  • Cannabis use is associated with lower mortality risk in patients with psychotic disorder;
  • The enactment of statewide medical marijuana laws is associated with fewer incidences of suicides;
  • The effects of cannabis smoke on the lungs are far less problematic than those associated with tobacco;
  • Cannabis use is associated with only marginal increases in traffic accident risk.

Youth Vote for Marijuana

Among election campaign gurus, it’s been fairly common knowledge for awhile that if there’s one group that’s a key demographic for pr0-marijuana advocates, it’s young voters. A 2010 Newsweek survey found 64 percent of all young voters are more likely to vote if marijuana is on the ballot. A poll in Oregon demonstrated that more young people were likely to vote for a pot-related initiative than the race for governor, up to almost one third of those polled.

Getting the youth to the voting booths in November is certainly a Democratic Party national goal, as historically, young people vote for that party. But now we have their issue: pot, and if the President came out in support he would ensure their vote. Even before the 2010 elections, there was mainstream speculation that the Democrats were looking to the pro-pot youth vote to pull them to victory in the 2012 election. Back in 2010, California’s Proposition 19 was being held up as an example for other states to emulate in their efforts to stimulate the youth vote.

Ocean Beach voters – often very youthful – came out strongly for Prop 19 in 2010, and OB precincts had some of the highest proportion of voters backing pot legalization from throughout the City of San Diego.

Yet California votes rejected the herbal legalization measure in 2010, even though young people voted for it 2 to 1, according to the LA Times:

Support was strongest among voters between 18 and 24, who went for it 64% to 36%. Voters between 25 and 29 narrowly backed it, 52% to 48%. But voters under 30 made up just 13% of the electorate, about the same as is typical in a midterm election. In presidential election years, these voters are at least 20% of the turnout.

It should be noted that more California voters supported Prop 19 than they did the Republican candidate for governor.

The implication is clear: if pro-pot initiatives are on the ballot, more young people vote, and they tend to vote Democratic. And if President Obama came out publicly and authorized the legalization of pot or at the very least, advocated for its legalization with definitive policy pledges, the young people would vote for him – and he would win.

We’re not the first to believe this could happen; some even think Obama has legalization up his sleeve for an October Surprise. (Here is one guide to whether pot politics could make an impact in the swing states considering new marijuana rules.)

Conclusion

The American people have changed; the tidal turn in opinion on the legalization of marijuana has finally matured – most believe it is okay to have it legal.  Pot reform laws will be on the ballots as state legislators respond to the change in voters’ minds on this issue.  The leaders of the countries on the front lines of the failed Drug War call for legalization of personal use. The medical and scientific communities clamor for its legalization.

Because it is time for Obama to live up to his 2008 campaign promise, it is time for him to get in tune with the shift in attitudes about marijuana with the public and even state legislators, it is time for the costly and largely ineffective War on Drugs to end, and it is time to allow for the public consumption of an organic herb and not allow another generation to go down the road of ugly substitutes.

President Obama – legalize marijuana and you will get the vote of young people across the country – and you will win the 2012 election and achieve a second term. It’s that simple.

{ 40 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar morgino August 7, 2012 at 11:38 am

I think Penn just about covers my feelings here. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wWWOJGYZYpk

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avatar jay tea August 7, 2012 at 11:46 am

Bull crap , Ron Paul would legalize Marijuana and did enough youth show up to nominate him? Gary Johnson will legalize marijuana , are the youth gonna vote for him now?

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avatar Mike Parent August 7, 2012 at 12:03 pm

Probably, because they can’t stand Romney or Obama. The GOP nominating process, coupled with MSM bias is what did Dr Paul in, not the other candidates. FWIW, both Dr Paul and Gov Johnson would make a better President than either Tweedle Dee or Tweedle Dum.
Dems and Reps, different pages from the same bad book!

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avatar RB August 7, 2012 at 12:09 pm

Why do anything Mr. President. Those more interested in Marijuana than JOBS are going to vote for you anyway.

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avatar Chapelo August 7, 2012 at 3:05 pm

Well, I don’t see the GOP doing anything about jobs. They seem more interested in chasing after social issues, ie gay marriage, abortion and restricting the rights of minorities to vote.

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avatar RB August 7, 2012 at 4:29 pm

The GOP jobs plan is to extend the Bush/Obama (2010 he supported the extension) tax plan for all, build the pipeline, bring back FDR’s Glass-Steagal rather then Dodd- Frank regulation, allow the trillions of corporate profits made and taxed overseas to be brought back to stimulate the economy, delay or suspend Obamacare and allow hiring without uncertainty, and end the green job fantasy program that only creates jobs overseas. This would be a good start

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avatar Patty Jones August 7, 2012 at 9:19 pm

RB, you talk like the two (Marijuana than JOBS) are mutually exclusive.

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avatar Danny August 7, 2012 at 2:01 pm

Gary Johnson & the people will end the #warondrugs & legalize marijuana; his Google+ profile: http://bit.ly/omBlWP

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avatar Danny August 7, 2012 at 2:08 pm

Also, take this presidential web quiz: http://www.isidewith.com Tells one which candidate best suits their world view; Gary Johnson is coming out on top!

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avatar Malcolm Kyle August 7, 2012 at 2:30 pm

Marijuana is used by the majority of top sportspeople everywhere:

* “I just let him know that most of the players in the league use marijuana and I have and do partake in smoking weed in the offseason” – Josh Howard, forward for the Dallas Mavericks. Howard admitted to smoking marijuana on Michel Irvin’s ESPN show.

* “You got guys out there playing high every night. You got 60% of your league on marijuana. What can you do?” – Charles Oakley (Chicago Bulls, New York Knicks, Toronto Raptors, Washington Wizards and Houston Rockets)

* “I personally know boxers, body builders, cyclists, runners and athletes from all walks of life that train and compete with the assistance of marijuana,” —WWE wrestler Rob Van Dam

* Some of the best cricket players of all time, like Phil Tufnell and Sir Ian Botham, have admitted to regularly using marijuana to deal with stress and muscle aches. In 2001, half of South Africa’s cricket team was caught smoking marijuana with the team physiotherapist. They were celebrating a championship victory in the Caribbean.

* “At least a good 50 [US] Olympic athletes” use marijuana regularly before they stop in time for testing.” —Stephany Lee

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avatar Steve August 7, 2012 at 9:27 pm

That all makes sense to me. Think about it, when ever some athlete says they are “In The Zone”, how do they describe it? They say it feels like they have tunnel-vision, like everything else is moving in slow motion, etc. And guess what, whey you play sports when you’re stoned, that’s exactly how it is.

Michael Phelps + weed = Many Gold Medals
Santonio Holmes + weed = Superbowl MVP
Randy Moss + weed = future Hall of Famer

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avatar Jillian Galloway August 7, 2012 at 2:54 pm

It’s about time our government recognized that a lot of Americans like to get high on something other than alcohol. If our legislators really cared about keeping people safe then they would legalize every recreational drug that’s safer than booze.

That would retain alcohol as the most harmful recreational drug legally available while at the same time give people the right to legally choose safer alternatives to alcohol.

If the government really cared about keeping children safe then why is it bending over backwards to make them unsafe?

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avatar Amy August 7, 2012 at 4:46 pm

I see so many people still referring to the use of marijuana as “getting high”, which is simply not the case anymore. While there are still people who use marijuana as a drug there are a much higher number of people using it as a medicine. When you see a person go from being in a wheelchair and non verbal to walking, swimming, talking and laughing, you see how it can improve the quality of life for so many physically and mentally ill people. This is not the 1970′s where people just want to have something to party with. So many Americans have actually felt the medical benefits of marijuana and without it they would be miserable and in pain. THe government knows they would make more money if it was legal so its time for them to make the change.

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avatar Chris August 9, 2012 at 7:38 am

While it’s true marijuana is a beneficial medicine, MOST people smoke marijuana to get high. They still receive medical benefits, and these benefits may be the main reason they continue to smoke instead of using other methods to get high like alcohol, but it shouldn’t be insinuated that the majority of cannabis users are smoking purely medically. I am not saying marijuana should not be legal medically; on the contrary, I think if and when marijuana is legal there should be a way for people who really need it to have it paid for by insurance, but most people don’t smoke marijuana as medicine, or at least not entirely. Anyone who is a part of the marijuana culture will tell you that. There are enough lies in politics as it is, and if and when a study shows that this is true, no one should be able to say we ever denied it.

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avatar Scotty Knows August 7, 2012 at 5:12 pm

Do we need more brain-dead liberals?

Can they get dumber?

Yes they can…nabis.

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avatar nauss August 8, 2012 at 7:44 pm

did you know people from all walks of life use cannabis regularly? Doctors to lawyers to teachers all use cannabis either a medicine or as a way to relax, multiple studies have confirmed that Cannabis is much much safer than alcohol or tobacco, so why don’t you actually learn something before you start spouting misinformation.

Or maybe go have a drink and see what that does to your brain ….

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avatar David August 9, 2012 at 7:01 am

I think you’re entitled to your own opinion, I’m liberal, you aren’t. Thats fine. The thing you obviously dont know though, is that:
1: The majority of Americans have used or regularly use Cannabis. Yet our society flourishes.
2: Not has Cannabis only saved the lives of millions of Cancer and Aids patients, it has not once killed a single person in 10,000 years of recorded use by humans.
3: A lot of your precious little right wing stars (Bill o’ Riley, (sorry if thats not the correct spelling)) have also tried Marijuana, yet you salute them.
4: Many of the rumors you hear about Cannabis are very incorrect and are lies in the form of propaganda made by the government. You just fall into their trap, people like Nauss, the r/trees community, and I… were the ones strong enough to climb out of that trap.

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avatar Truth in Haiku August 9, 2012 at 7:41 am

Scotty Knows nothing.

He is ignorant and dumb.

He might just need bud.

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avatar Rick August 7, 2012 at 8:16 pm

Dear Scotty Knows,

Many pot smokers have their eyes and ears open.

Peace

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avatar Krymsun August 7, 2012 at 9:13 pm

Medical Marijuana Patients Get Their Day in Federal Court with the Obama Administration
July 30th, 2012

D.C. Circuit to hear oral arguments this October in lawsuit challenging marijuana’s federal classification

The United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit agreed to hear oral arguments in Americans for Safe Access v. Drug Enforcement Administration, a lawsuit challenging the federal government’s classification of marijuana as a dangerous drug with no medical value. The D.C. Circuit will hear oral arguments reviewing the scientific evidence regarding the therapeutic value of marijuana which are scheduled to take place Tuesday, October 16, at the E. Barrett Prettyman United States Courthouse in downtown Washington, DC.

If the rescheduling lawsuit is successful and marijuana is reclassified, federal defendants will then gain the basis for a medical necessity defense.

http://www.safeaccessnow.org/article.php?id=7260

See also:

http://www.procon.org/headline.php?headlineID=005106

http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2012/08/01/620211/federal-court-will-review-marijuanas-classification-as-a-dangerous-drug-with-no-health-benefits/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/01/medical-marijuana-rescheduling-case_n_1728596.html?utm_hp_ref=politics

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avatar doNatas August 8, 2012 at 12:11 am

Drug reform: Obama’s chance to reignite support

President Obama promise of “Hope” and “Change”

I respectfully suggest that you issue their full pardon to all cannabis prisoners

Mr. President Obama, I am hereby respectfully requesting that your exercise your executive privilege as President of the United States and that you grant full pardons, vindication and subsequent removal of their felony convictions of all cannabis prisoners
LEGALIZE IT, DON’T CRITICIZE IT!
LEGALIZE FREEDOM because
LEGALIZE FREEDOM because

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avatar shawn soto August 8, 2012 at 10:24 am

the youth group forgot about
………………………………………….tax weed

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avatar David August 9, 2012 at 7:05 am

Indeed, it should be taxed, of course it will be. Have you seen the predicted savings?
Here: http://www.blogcdn.com/www.dailyfinance.com/media/2010/06/califgoingtopotmeintcom-1276787252.jpg

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avatar truth August 8, 2012 at 11:10 am

Group Claims Responsibility For Hoax Press Release From U.S. Attorney Duffy

http://www.sandiegoreader.com/weblogs/news-ticker/2012/jul/31/group-claims-responsibility-for-hoax-press-release/

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avatar truth August 8, 2012 at 11:36 am

Also your state laws map needs updating here’s a 2012 map.

http://www.mpp.org/states/Screen-Shot-2012-06-19-at-1-22-34-PM.png

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avatar Harold Fine August 8, 2012 at 12:36 pm

Believe Obama on Medical Marijuana

2008:

“I would not have the Justice Department prosecuting and raiding medical marijuana users. It’s not a good use of our resources.”
- Barack Obama

“Voters and legislators in the states—from California to Nevada to Maine—have decided to provide their residents suffering from chronic diseases and serious illnesses like AIDS and cancer with medical marijuana to relieve their pain and suffering,”

“Obama supports the rights of states and local governments to make this choice— though he believes medical marijuana should be subject to [U.S. Food and Drug Administration] regulation like other drugs,”

- Ben LaBolt, then campaign spokeshole and current head of Obama SuperPAC Priorities USA – creator of the infamous totally false Romney attack ad, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PMkmxJ3P9Tw&feature=youtu.be

Now:

I wonder where all the storefront medical marijuana dispensaries in OB went?

Obama’s War on Pot
In a shocking about-face, the administration has launched a government-wide crackdown on medical marijuana
http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/obamas-war-on-pot-20120216

Top drug reformer: ‘Obama is worse than Bush’ on marijuana policy
http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/04/20/top-drug-reformer-obama-is-worse-than-bush-on-marijuana-policy/

BELIEVE.

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avatar CLU August 8, 2012 at 8:06 pm

You’re forgetting the biggest reason. Cannabis is the largest cash crop in the country. There is more cannabis grown (illegally and legally) than corn + wheat combined. If Obama were to legalize it, he could TAX it.

Right now, whether he likes it or not, there is buying and selling of marijuana going on. And our country isn’t making a dime off of it. Obama, you are sitting on an untapped GOLDMINE. You can tax weed as much as you want! Throw a 20% tax on it for all we care. Right now that money, which could be going to our schools and back into our community is going into the hands of criminals, organized crime, mexico, etc.

Experts say 1% of the population spends $200/week on drugs. In NYC alone, that’s 80k people. Spending $16 million a week. $832 million a year. That’s over $800 million sitting in stash houses. If there was a 20% tax on it and it was legal, that’d be $160 million dollars. in NYC alone. (Yes I realize $200/week is a lot, but that’s 1% of the population. When you average in the casual cannabis users, I’d say this number is seriously lowballing it)

We’re actually losing money going after the people buying and selling cannabis. We’re cutting our police departments – laying off cops – because we can’t afford to pay them. And the ones we’re keeping are spending time going after people for cannabis related crimes. Cannabis! The ONLY drug you can’t overdose on. You literally cannot die from using marijuana. You can walk into a gas station, supermarket, drug store, etc., and buy enough alcohol to kill you in one sitting. You can buy one bottle of pills and not even need to take all of them to kill yourself! With a prescription (from a doctor who gets a cut from the big pharmaceutical companies), you can get roxycodone (legal heroin), adderall (legal meth), etc. You can buy a pack of cigarettes for gods sake and kill yourself with it! (Apparently smoking 20 at once can be toxic enough to kill you – there are 21 in a pack.)

Let’s think about what groups are going to vote for and against this. Realistically:
BIBLE BELT-. I’m sure the super religious folk won’t be cool with it, but they’re not voting for you anyway. But then again, the bible belt is perfect cannabis growing weather. Think about the money that would pour into their economies. I think you could sell ‘em.
ARMED SERVICES-You’ll get the support of the armed services too – everyone I know who’s come out of the army and marines smokes, it helps with PSTD.
WALL ST-Wall St will be for it – another market to invest in, plus with the amount of cocaine done on Wall St you’ve gotta assume they’re using marijuana to come down

or by age:
18-35 – College kids….actually, pretty much everyone aged 18-35 is going to vote for you if you legalize marijuana. And honestly, most of those people won’t feel like dragging their asses out to vote in November.. it’ll be cold, our one vote won’t make a difference, whatever. But you can bet your ass if we’re voting for or against pot, we’re going. For most of us in the 18-35 age group, buying pot is the ONLY crime we commit. If we could legally buy and use marijuana, we’d be law abiding citizens (and our ranking on the “percent of citizens incarcerated” list would fall from our current #1 spot).
35-65 – were around in the 70′s. either still smoke.. wouldn’t mind smoking if they could find it… wouldn’t mind a toke here and there.. (or think it’s the devil’s herb. hate to tell you, but you already lost these ones when you supported gay marriage). These people are hard working, and are probably stressed. Hello hurting middle class. They probably have families to support, and I bet they’d be thankful if they didn’t have to worry about little Johnny getting arrested for smoking a bowl…. or if Mom could grab a gram while she was out running groceries to unwind after a long week of work (wine gives her a hangover and makes her wake up in the middle of the night)
65+ – have health problems that marijuana helps with. Or are retired and want to relax.

Plus – huge (personal) reason to legalize it – at least for medical reasons – IT CURES PARKINSONS! It replaces the missing dopamine and parkinsons patients do not have ANY symptoms. They are normal. Youtube it. My Dad has Parkinsons, and his doctor told him that marijuana is better to use than his pills (the pills eventually give you the shakes, not the actual disease) and he highly recommends he use it, he can tell my dad how much and the best way to use it (vaporizer or eat it) the only thing he legally can’t do is tell him WHERE to get it. So, I have to go out every couple of months and meet up with a sketchy drug dealer and hope I don’t get caught. To get my dad’s medicine. WTF America – how does this make sense.

I could go on and on, but I think I’ve proved my point. Legalize it, tax it, fix the economy, and win the election. Think of it like a high school student body election. It would be like telling your classmates “if I win, no more school on fridays! and class starts 2 hours later!”. Imagine as high school president you really could make that happen. You’d be the coolest kid in school. Mr President, right now you can really make that happen.

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avatar Bliss Cannabis August 9, 2012 at 12:35 pm

Amazing article. I really enjoyed it. Especially the ending, “Because it is time for Obama to live up to his 2008 campaign promise, it is time for him to get in tune with the shift in attitudes about marijuana with the public and even state legislators, it is time for the costly and largely ineffective War on Drugs to end, and it is time to allow for the public consumption of an organic herb and not allow another generation to go down the road of ugly substitutes.

President Obama – legalize marijuana and you will get the vote of young people across the country – and you will win the 2012 election and achieve a second term. It’s that simple.”

Thank you! I hope President Obama wakes up soon to the realities of the situation. He has an opportunity to make a real CHANGE. October surprise? Maybe. :)

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avatar halmason August 9, 2012 at 10:03 pm

SCREW THE FEDS !!!!!!Taking back the states one by one ! Prohibition in reverse !

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avatar Matt August 12, 2012 at 6:39 am

Legalize pot, tax it like cigarettes, and focus on drugs that are actually dangerous. California was able to raise around 6 million dollars in the matter of 3 years. Imagine how much money could be raised if it were nationally taxed and regulated. Not only by having the government tax pot, the hemp could be utilized in making other goods, such as clothing, rope, the plants could be processed and aid in making alternative fuels. Legalizing Marijuana could be the saving grace of our country! It would also put A LOT of drug dealers out of business, people would be more willing to purchase it legally at a store rather than taking a risk of buying it from some dealer.

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avatar Jose September 4, 2012 at 5:22 pm

Why are so many people hell bent on paying taxes?

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avatar atibs August 12, 2012 at 6:53 pm

great article!!

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avatar blah blah August 17, 2012 at 6:53 pm

Please tell me how it is – in any way – the government’s place to make any god given right illegal. This plant is as common as tobacco and obviously a gift given to humankind by our mother planet. I believe it should be as legal as alcohol – laws included. Human pain is a constant growing force just as medication bills are. Mother nature has offered mankind a simple solution…I give you a natural pain killer and the blessing of fire; use them wisely and with moderation. IN GOD WE TRUST.

**love thy rock**

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avatar blah blah August 18, 2012 at 4:43 pm

**obviously not my real email…seriously didnt think it’d get posted tho. :P Guess I shoulda thought of that before i used an email someone else owns. Oh well—copywriters are liars so let them lie and die. Take Care. Btw it was posted on my facebook before here so….ta-da. :]

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avatar blah blah August 18, 2012 at 5:06 pm

i also want to apologize to the owner of the email address…it was inconsiderate and ignorant of me to post on your accord. -K

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avatar mintrosie August 27, 2012 at 12:38 pm

this is a brilliant article … one that Mr. Obama should read … and anyone eying the presidency should read as well…

included in a complete national legalization of marijuana needs to be the pardoning and clearance of current prison sentences for those hundreds of thousands of non-violent prisoners serving time for growing, possessing, and selling pot … good people rotting in jail simply due to ‘pot crimes’ … (http://hashexpress.wordpress.com/the-hash-express-news-2010/marijuana-prison-statistics/ ). hopefully the legalization of marijuana will be a get out of jail free ticket for them … with a long awaited rejoicing, and even compensation if things go well …

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avatar Frank Gormlie August 27, 2012 at 12:51 pm

Mintrosie – very good points – the pardoning and clearance of current prison sentences for those hundreds of thousands of non-violent prisoners serving time for growing, possessing, and selling pot … good people rotting in jail simply due to ‘pot crimes’

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avatar Jose September 4, 2012 at 5:20 pm

Obama doesn’t care about the youth vote because Romney would be as bad if not worse.

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avatar Petep September 17, 2012 at 11:29 am

Well I’m here to say I’m in my 30′s and I have never voted!!!! And the reason that I haven’t ever vote is because what I do believe in they are against!!! I grew up coming out of a American Indian family that grew to modern American family!!! All my life my grandfather believed in Mary Jane Now every other person hides the issue that they smoke. And now I see the younger generation smoking incent because of the totally belief of Mary Jane. There use of that product is really killing them as them same as liquar. Have u ever drank vodka or gin and not making a crazy face. It because it’s truly not suppose to be drank!!!!! Drink water and tell me how refreshing that is.

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avatar MAR October 9, 2012 at 10:21 am

All I can say at this time is that “I’m really ambarassed of my USA Government”. I really don’t like the idea of other countries looking at my country as failures. Our Gov. needs to realize that they are wrong. Those countries show to be greater by admitting their wrong. I would think that our politicians who are highly educated in some of our highly respected schools would be in agreement with Mexico, and all the other countries. I don’t know why our government always disagree on legalizing marijuana. They (the gov.) are teaching our young kids what hypocricy is and are showing signs of being ignorant. Oh, and I truely do believe that the pres. candidate that supports legalization will win this Nov.. The young and old will surely vote for that candidate. People are tired of the present laws on drugs knowing that they have not work and that they have only destroyed many individuals.

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