Our story thus far: President Barack Obama, late of the pot-smoking Choom Gang back in the day, says that marijuana is no "more dangerous than alcohol," that black and Latino kids are arrested disproportionately for drug crimes, and…well, nothing.
The commander in chief of the federal War on Pot can't be bothered to do a damn thing about something he knows shouldn't be a federal crime.
From my latest article at Time.com:
What does it say about our elected representatives when even a president who grants that marijuana is no "more dangerous than alcohol," jokes about his past drug use, and faces no more elections in his lifetime is terrified to go along with a massive and still-growing majority of Americans?
That we can't look to them for anything resembling leadership. The campaign to legalize marijuana — and thus expand personal freedom while minimizing the massive harms that attend to prohibition regardless of the substance being banned — is decades old and has always had to fight first and foremost against establishment politicians and media outlets. Colorado's liberal Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper staunchly opposed legalization, which ultimately passed by a 55 percent to 44 percent margin. In 2010, when California put legalization on the ballot (it failed), virtually every daily newspaper editorialized against such a move.
Thankfully, citizens and some brave pols are so cowed and are pushing for change.
Temporary, odd-bedfellows arrangements have helped to avert military action against Syria last summer, register opposition to mass surveillance by the National Security Agency, call for auditing the Federal Reserve, and preserve all manner of Internet freedom from government regulation. Theschool choice movement is a perfect example of this dynamic as well.
In an America where a record 60 percent of us agree that "the government has too much power" and political independents grow in number, this sort of "permanent non-governing minority" that comes together over a single issue and demands change, represents the future of American politics at all levels. Citizens, it turns out, are more than ready to step and demand change when our leaders are too feckless to lead.