CLINTON VS. TRUMP
Is It Tweedledee or Tweedledum?
It seems all but certain that the Presidential nominees for the Democrats and Republicans will be Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Not exactly everyone’s favorite candidate but seems like they were the favorites of enough to be in the presumptive position of being their party’s nominee.
The position of both of these candidates on marijuana issues is somewhat illuminating and I do mean somewhat. Neither has taken a defining stand and have issued a few issue obscuring statements. The Marijuana Policy Project published a candidates’ guide early this year and if you want to see what they found out about Clinton and Trump CLICK HERE.
The big question here is how will these two Presidential-Want-A-Bes use this issue to advance their candidacy to the American voter and how will the marijuana issue effect their candidacies.
The answer to the above questions lies a lot with the media and what issues they chose to focus on. Will it be Clinton’s email imbroglio or Trump’s four bankruptcies? Maybe the media will actually look into their stance on issues that really matter – don’t hold your breath on that one.
If they do, marijuana has never made it on that list. Even though Colorado and Washington had legalization measures on their ballot in 2012, the question was most notable because of its complete absence. Even though California and at least four other states will most likely have legalization measures up for grabs, it may still be treated as the skeleton in the closet that no one wants to see.
There has never been an issue of such magnitude and cost in both terms of human lives and dollars spent than the War on Drugs and marijuana prohibition that has been so marginalized, trivialized and ignored. $50 billion a year, millions in prison, thousands dead, constitutional rights trampled and so much more and yet the size of a candidate’s hand gets more coverage – way more coverage.
Even if it continues to be treated as the bastard child in the attic by the media and the candidates themselves, the marijuana legalization issue could still play a decisive role in determining who wins the Presidency. The issue of marijuana legalization is a make or break issue for those in favor of ending marijuana prohibition but really isn’t for those opposed to legalization. Proponents will tend to overlook the position of a candidate on many other issues if they are in favor of legalization. Not so much for those opposed to legalization as other issues usually trump marijuana legalization.
We are not talking here of large percentages of the voters but in the neighborhood of 2 to 3% at most. In most races 2% is not enough to make a difference but in those all-important swing states 2% can be the different between victory and defeat. Swing states like Ohio, Colorado, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, Virginia, and Florida are too close to call and a shift of 2 to 3% can make turn a winner into a loser and a loser into a winner and the outcome of the Presidential election.
Right now neither Clinton nor Trump have a definitive positon on the issue that is going to cement the loyalty of marijuana voters. Whether the candidates issue defining position statements will have to do with the media and with pressure we are capable of exerting on them and the media to make this issue an issue.
The candidates are aware of the significance of this issue to a small, but significant number of voters, but talking positively about marijuana remains scary because of the ferocious opposition of law enforcement and government agencies whose lifeblood depends on the continuation of the War on Drugs and the $50 billion dollars taxpayers fork over every year to pay their six-figure salaries. So the candidates talk criminal justice reform and other not-quite-so-threatening rhetoric but never get into the specifics of just how criminal justice reform will be achieved.
The only major party candidate who has really come out strongly and specifically on our side is Bernie Sanders who has introduced a bill in congress to remove marijuana completely from the Controlled Substances Act. Ms. Clinton has only said she supports medical marijuana and that marijuana should be moved from Schedule I to Schedule 2 to in order to facilitate research. Donald Trump has not said anything about removing or rescheduling. The key to ending marijuana prohibition is the complete removal of marijuana from the CSA and only Sanders gets it.
Sanders has also stated he would vote for the legalization initiative in Nevada and just last week said "If I were a citizen of California, I would vote to legalize marijuana.”. Unfortunately Sanders doesn’t vote in Nevada or California and they are not betting on him in Nevada to win the Democratic nomination either.
Sanders is going to the Democratic convention in Philadelphia with a lot of clout with all the delegates he has accumulated and more importantly the overwhelming support of young voters which the Democratic Party absolutely needs if it is to win the Presidency and especially retake control of the U.S. Senate. I doubt however if he is going to use that clout to push the party and Clinton in more supportive direction on the marijuana issue. Income inequality, campaign finance reform and climate change are at the top of his list and as much as I would like to see marijuana at the top, I cannot in good conscious argue that marijuana law reform is more important than those.
From the few statements on marijuana made by both Clinton and Trump, it seems like they will both continue the Obama administration’s essentially hands off policy in states that have enacted recreational and/or medical legalization as long as the states have strong and effective state regulatory programs. With MMRSA and possibly AUMA in place, California will have those strong and unfortunately onerous regulations in place.
Federal police agencies have so traumatized Americans over the last 75 years with their reefer madness stories of murder and mayhem that people are understandably cautious in voting for any laws allowing implementation of marijuana distribution. Clinton and Trump are but reflections of this squeamishness, so maybe we shouldn’t be too harsh on them, but they want to be our leaders and they should not be timid about leading on this issue – especially considering that polls show upwards of 55% of Americans support legalizing marijuana.
We are not the 99% but we are the 2 to 3% and the majority of the 99% now supports us. We can make the difference in who occupies the oval office come January 2017.
I would be remiss if I did not mention former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson and our own Judge Jim Gray who are seeking the Libertarian Party nomination for President. These two are without any doubt stalwarts of ending marijuana prohibition and the War on Drugs. With the dissatisfaction of millions of voters with the choice of either Clinton or Trump, these two are certainly a viable alternative.
It is a shame and speaks how rigged our electoral system is that these two do not get the recognition they and the American voter deserve.
Speaking of elections I would like to put in a plug for my candidacy to represent the 42nd Assembly district on the Riverside County Democratic Central Committee – the grassroots of the Democratic Party in Riverside County. The 42nd District runs from Hemet to Beaumont and then down the I-10 Freeway to LaQuinta. If you are a Democrat and live in the 42nd Assembly District, you will find my name in the list of candidates for the Riverside County Democratic Central Committee. You can vote for up to six candidates, but it is perfectly OK to vote for only one and I would sure appreciate being at least one of your votes.
For more information about my candidacy and to obtain a flyer to distribute to other voters in the 42nd Assembly District CLICK HERE. Thanks for your help and support.
on Drug Policy
or Major Disappointment
on Internet Radio Show
The long awaited and much anticipated UN General Assembly’s Special Session on Drugs came in with a bang and went out with a whimper and you can hear all about the bang and the whimper on the newest edition of Marijuana Compassion and Common Sense at www.blogtalkradio.com/marijuananews. Drug law reformers were looking to use this Special Session to develop a new direction using harm reduction protocols and doctors, nurses and social workers for dealing with drugs rather than the criminal justice system with their cops, attorneys and prison guards.
The cops won.
What lead up to the Special Session, what happened at the Special Session, what were the results of the Special Session and what comes next after the Special Session will be discussed and reviewed by Michael Krawitz, Director and Founder of Veterans for Medical Cannabis Access and Dale Gieringer, Director of CaNORML.
Krawitz and Gieringer were in attendance at the Special Session participating with hundreds of other NGOs and drug law reform advocates. Hear their eye-witness reports on the ground-level action and interactions as Marijuana Compassion and Common Sense TAKES YOU THERE. To listen to the show now CLICK HERE or go anytime 24/7 to www.blogtalkradio.com/marijuananews.