Does Drug Policy Reform Have a Bigger Popular Mandate Than Obama?

The Marijuana Policy Project's Bruce Mirken notes that the majorities supporting the marijuana decriminalization measure in Massachusetts and the medical marijuana initiative in Michigan (65 percent and 63 percent, respectively) exceed the share of voters who went for Obama in each state (62 percent and 55 percent respectively). In those states at least, you could say marijuana reform has a bigger popular mandate than the president-elect. In retrospect, this is not so surprising: National polls have long indicated that a large majority of Americans think 1) patients who can benefit from marijuana should be able to obtain it legally and 2) people should not go to jail for smoking pot. (So far they do not take the next logical step, which is to recognize that people who simply help others smoke pot should not go to jail either.) Obama already has promised to call off the DEA's medical marijuana raids. In light of the popular support for drug policy reform, is it too much to hope that he will step back generally in this area and (as the Constitution requires) allow states to experiment with different approaches?

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  • Me.||

    That's because they know they'll need to get high to get through the next four years.

  • Elemenope||

    That's because they know they'll need to get high to get through the next four years.

    Well, with the last eight blotted out by an alcohol-induced blackout, I do believe that would be a real step for progress.

  • ||

    The key reform would be to repeal the Federal Controlled Substances Act and allow each state to make its own rules.

    The problem is that there's zero will in Congress for repealing CSA.

    Also, from a pure policy standpoint, this will simply lead to a lot of bootlegging from states with lax laws into ones with more restrictive statutes.

  • Elemenope||

    The problem is that there's zero will in Congress for repealing CSA.

    Also, from a pure policy standpoint, this will simply lead to a lot of bootlegging from states with lax laws into ones with more restrictive statutes.


    Aren't there also some treaty encumbrances to worry about?

  • ||

    There's no question that reform is more popular than Obama. I work with quite a few staunch republicans who voted yes on question two.

  • Me||

    Elemenope | November 5, 2008, 10:36am | #
    That's because they know they'll need to get high to get through the next four years.

    Well, with the last eight blotted out by an alcohol-induced blackout, I do believe that would be a real step for progress.

    So my choice is to either spend it drunk or high? What a wonderful country.

  • Geoff Nathan||

    I'm more worried that he'll renege on his promise to lay off the medical marijuana raids. Once he's actually in power the FBI and DEA will probably lobby heavily against, and I doubt he'll be able to stand up against them.
    It'll be similar to Clinton's disastrous 'don't ask--don't tell' policy that ensures we can only hire a subset of the competent people we could use in the Armed Forces.
    (anecdote) I know at least a couple of folks who didn't want to take a chance on joining, and of course there's the firing of 'linguists' who could actually speak, say, Arabic, but were gay, which I guess affected their ability to understand bomb-making discussions. (/anecdote)

  • Robert Goodman||

    Why is this at all surprising? You could say the same about any number of single issues.

  • Elemenope||

    Once he's actually in power the FBI and DEA will probably lobby heavily against, and I doubt he'll be able to stand up against them.

    Not for nothing, but doesn't he give orders to their boss?

  • nobody special||

    But but but it's for the children and cops!

  • ||

    yes we cannabis

  • ||

    I expect that the drug war will continue with all of the idiocy and atrocities that goes with it. Being "soft on drugs" is not the path to power.

    Maybe we'll see it de-emphasized, but federal money will still go to Podunk Iowa's multi-jurisdictional anti-drug task force, complete with automatic weapons, armored vehicle and the SWATish complete disregard for citizens rights and safety.

    In the '70s I was absolutely certain that marijuana would be legalized, taxed and regulated like alcohol in ten years. I was an overly optimistic fool in my youth. Skepticism and cynicism guide my predictions nowadays.

  • jtuf||

    So about 5% of the voters in Michigan voted Republican and like pot. Time for an LP membership drive in Ann Arbor.

  • ||

    Pres. Obama's first chance to reach across the aisle: Get on board with Rep. Rohrabacher's bill to prevent feds from enforcment against any state that passed medical marijuana law.

  • ||

    "It'll be similar to Clinton's disastrous 'don't ask--don't tell' policy that ensures we can only hire a subset of the competent people we could use in the Armed Forces."

    Just like Ronnie and Nancy Reagan's "Just Say No to Drugs" war on some drugs testing kicked many quality soldiers out of the service when recruiting was easy and reservists didn't get deployed more than 2 weeks a year.

    When I joined in 1979 we were singing "Jodys" about smoking dope and such. I responsibly used cannabis with NCO's and there were never problems related to that until Reagan decided that dope fiends would help the Commies win, what a maroon.

    Now, if you pee hot you still get deployed and then get punished when you return.

  • TallDave||

    74% is one hell of a mandate.

  • ||

    The key reform would be to repeal the Federal Controlled Substances Act and allow each state to make its own rules.

    Better still, go to the supreme court and have them rule that it's unconstitutional on its face. The 18th amendment was repealed, and there's no constitutional authority today for the drug war.

    -jcr

  • ||

    doesn't he give orders to their boss?

    Sure, but do you think he'll do something that might actually cost him something politically? It's possible, but I haven't seen any indications of courage on his part to date.

    -jcr

  • SIV||

    I'm more worried that he'll renege on his promise to lay off the medical marijuana raids.

    Uh, he already did.

  • ||

    A comment to "Me" who wonders whether the choice is "drunk or high", I offer another choice... North Korea.

  • ||

    As a California holder of a medical marijuana recomendation I would just like to say that each state should have its own choice but the Feds really just need to back off when they DO make the choice. It's really screwed up when you can legally, grow, buy, and possess weed in the state but if the Feds want to ruin your day, as well as possibly your crop, they just can. Hopefully Pres. Obama will take care of that little snafu!!

  • ||

    legalize and tax it.

  • Kaiser||

    Tom Burke

    Hopefully Pres. Obama will take care of that little snafu!!





    I wouldn't hold your breath. There hasn't been single president, republican or democrat, to do anything but increase the war on drugs since it's inception. One problem we face, as was brought up in the documentary "In Pot We Trust" is that no one alive today actually remembers a time when not just marijuana but all drugs were legal.

  • ||

    Prohibition did not work with booze, it just let the mob get established.Now the gangs have used the same idea and we are fight wars against terror and yet these gangs terrorize our neighborhoods.Abortion still happened when it was illegal and many young girls died or were ruined.It should be clear the war on drugs is not a war and can not be won by force and exsists so local police and agents can boost their budgets.Its time pot should truily be controlled. Growing,distribution,selling and taxing gives more jobs and more revenue for something MILLIONS of americans do and want to do without the worries of being a criminal.This also takes a huge bite of monies from the gangs and gives back the right of pursuit of happiness and total controll of our own bodies.

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