Washington is one of three states (with Oregon and Colorado) which will have an initiative on marijuana legalization on the ballot in November, and as Reason 24/7 noted its Republican Senate candidate, Michael Baumgartner, became the first state-wide candidate to endorse the measure. Washington’s governor is not running for re-election, but both the Democrat and Republican vying to replace him oppose the initiative, with the Republican candidate, Rob McKenna, going so far as to say legalizing marijuana is not a states’ rights issue and that there’s “federal supremacy when it comes to laws like this.” Bizarrely, McKenna won’t even say what he’d do if the initiative passed, given his antagonistic stance, writing it off as not having a chance to pass. A poll taken in the state last month shows the initiative enjoying support from 57 percent of respondents.
Baumgartner, meanwhile, is down some 20 points in the polls. His low-key campaign got some attention over the summer when he responded to an article linking his position on abortion to Todd Akin with a “fuck you” there’s a war going in Afghanistan response. The candidate is one of a growing number of Republicans opposed to the war, though any growing support among elected Republicans (or Democrats, for that matter) for marijuana legislation is still a long ways away, especially considering the conventional wisdom still believes higher youth turnout in favor of marijuana legalization ought to help the president, despite his clear status as a drug warrior.
In fact, Barack Obama’s supporters are pushing the delusion that he could very well end the war on drugs after his re-election, or even that he’s already begun to do so. This, of course, could not be further from the truth. So much for “empathy”.