The last few months have seen President Obama take a rather hardline approach to medical marijuana. ’08 Candidate Obama stated “I’m not going to be using Justice Department resources to try to circumvent state laws on this issue.” In 2012, however, President Obama has back-tracked and launched something of an anti-marijuana crusade (an electoral move) even as America grows more and more accepting of marijuana use each year.
“What I specifically said was that we were not going to prioritize prosecutions of persons who are using medical marijuana,” said Obama in a recent Rolling Stone interview. “I never made a commitment that somehow we were going to give carte blanche to large-scale producers and operators of marijuana – and the reason is, because it’s against federal law. I can’t nullify congressional law.”
Hiding behind U.S. congressional law—that’s some change we can all get behind. More status quo. Well, perhaps it’s time for congressional law to change.
In a Mason-Dixon Polling & Research poll published yesterday, three-quarters of American voters (74%) would like Obama to respect individual state medical marijuana laws. The poll was nationwide, featuring 1,000 registered likely voters, and commissioned by the Marijuana Policy Project. Even assuming a 3-4% margin of error—which is typical in statistics—that is a pretty impressive show of support for marijuana.
According to the Marijuana Policy Project, “The poll informed voters that medical marijuana is legal with a doctor’s recommendation in 16 states as well as the District of Columbia, and in some of those states it is legal for licensed and tightly regulated individuals to grow and sell marijuana to qualifying patients. Respondents were then asked if President Obama should respect the medical marijuana laws in these states, or continue to use federal resources to arrest and prosecute individuals who are acting in compliance with state medical marijuana laws.”
“These results are consistent with the clear and growing body of evidence that documents substantial voter support for the legalization of medical marijuana,” said Larry Harris, a principal with Mason-Dixon Polling & Research.
75% of Democrats, 67% of Republicans, and, notably 79% of Independents stated that President Obama should respect state medical marijuana laws. According to the MPP, “Even among the least supportive group (those identified as over 65 years of age), 64% were in favor of respecting state law.”
A states’ rights argument on the subject puts marijuana legalization efforts in an odd position. Yes, it aims to keep the federal government off the backs of state growers, sellers and users. But what is really needed is a federal law against marijuana prohibition, similar to what occurred with the repeal of alcohol prohibition with the Twenty-First Amendment to the Constitution on December 5, 1933. Regulate marijuana instead of prohibit. Make it legal to those over the age of 18 years old, for instance. It will save the government a great deal in spending and bring in billions in tax dollars. Hell, the GOP should be all for legalization because it would add a few more billion to their perpetual war machine.
“The results of this survey demonstrate that there is virtually no support in the country for the Obama administration’s crackdown on state medical marijuana laws,” said Steve Fox, director of government relations for the Marijuana Policy Project. “Across all demographic and ideological groups, the American people strongly believe the president should respect state medical marijuana laws, as he promised he would when he campaigned to be president. It is clearly time for President Obama to stand up to the members of his administration who are carrying out the morally wrong and politically unpopular policy of denying patients safe access to this beneficial medicine.”
Read the full poll and demographic breakdown at mpp.org.
[Image via ThatsGoodWeed.tumblr.com]