Obama would have nobody to blame but himself -- and his war on marijuana -- if he loses the 2012 election.
One year from now, a Republican may very well be sitting behind the desk in the Oval Office. And I’m sorry to say, it probably won’t be Ron Paul.
The 2012 Republican primaries should really be deciding Obama’s “also ran”, with January 2013 finding the man who defeated McCain in the 2008 landslide settling in for his second term. But instead, President Romney, or worse, President Grinch, er, Gingrich, could very well be our Commander in Chief.
And Obama has nobody to blame except himself, and his war on medical marijuana.
Marijuana activists have long been fond of the phrase “Don’t vote for a politician who wants to put you in jail.” And no president has put more medical marijuana users behind bars than Barack Obama.
Since October 2011, medical marijuana in the United States has been under attack by the Obama administration’s Department of Justice, with a little help from our good friends at the DEA. The last four months have seen hundreds of dispensaries in California, Colorado, Montana, Michigan, and Washington raided by DEA agents, threatened by DOJ officials, and evicted by landlords in fear of losing their property to the feds. Governors in Rhode Island, Arizona, Delaware, and New Jersey have stalled the implementation of parts, or all, of their medical marijuana programs for fear of retaliation from the federal government, while lawmakers in some states, like Montana and Michigan, pass bill after bill to gut and render ineffective voter-approved medical marijuana programs.
Political analysts, as well as many within the cannabis community, argue that Obama is simply dodging the questions due to the fact that it is a touchy subject in an election year.
The reality, however, is that by ignoring questions, and escalating his war on medical marijuana, Obama is actually losing more votes than he would if he upset some bible-belt soccer mom because he stopped raiding medical marijuana dispensaries thousands of miles away.
But just how much could Obama be hurt by his war on medical marijuana? Well, lets just take a look at the canidates who are likely to make the 2012 ballot.
The Republican field has been narrowed down to four, but lets face it: The GOP will never put Ron Paul on the ticket as their candidate. It’s just not going to happen. For the sake of this discussion, lets also eliminate Rick Santorum from contention as well, not that it would really matter anyway. He’s just as bad as Romney or Gingrich when it comes to marijuana reform, with all three candidates receiving an “F” (or worse, in Newt’s case) when we rated the Republican candidates on marijuana reform last month.
So now we’re down to two: Newt and Mitt.
First, let’s look at Mitt Romney. Romney not only believes that marijuana is a gateway drug and is “one of the great causes of crime in our cities,” but he also said in 2011 “We’ve got to not only continue our war on drugs from a police standpoint but also to market again to our young people about the perils of drugs.” And lets not forget his answer to an SSDP question about legalizing industrial hemp: “I quite sure what industrial hemp is.”
We should give Romney a little credit, however. From 2002-2006, when Romney was governor of Massachusetts, marijuana arrests in the Bay State declined significantlyfrom the previous administration, and were well below the national average.
Now for Gingrich. I don’t even know where to begin. Honestly, I would have thought he’d be golfing with Herman Cain long before Super Tuesday, not an actual contender for the GOP nomination. Aside from the fact that his name is Newt, he is ridiculously unlikable, and, oh yeah, a complete enemy of all things free and liberal, he’s also the worst possible candidate for marijuana reform, the former Speaker of the House would be more likely to establish a death penalty for marijuana than to reform marijuana laws.
Don’t laugh: In 1996, Gingrich sponsored H.R. 4170: the Drug Importer Death Penalty Act of 1996, which if passed would have imposed the death penalty for anyone caught bringing two ounces of marijuana into the United States. Luckily, the rest of Congress laughed at the idea, and the bill died in committee.
Like Obama, Gingrich has admitted to smoking marijuana in the past, and if elected, would likely continue a tradition of former-marijuana users-turned-presidents being extra tough on marijuana users, a trend that began with Bill Clinton and continues today.
Which brings us to the Democratic nomination for president, incumbent Barack Obama.
Barack Obama is arguably the worst president in the history of the United States towards marijuana users, a title that had previously been shared between George W and Bill Clinton. Yes, you read that correctly: A former cocaine user and two former potheads became the worst three presidents in history towards marijuana.
Where Clinton and Bush’s drug czars campaigned against state-sanctioned medical marijuana laws, Obama has the distinction as being the only president in US history to use federal prosecutors to oppose state-level medical marijuana measures, enforcing the notion that Federal law trumps state law.
So how does all of this translate towards the presidential election?
Lets look at the three most likely scenarios, from least likely to most likely:
Ron Paul vs. Barack Obama – Ron Paul wins in a landslide. Republicans vote for him because he is a republican. Libertarians vote for him because he isn’t a typical Republican. The entire pot-smoking community and the entire Occupy movement casts votes in favor of Ron Paul. Paul legalizes marijuana on April 20, 2013, ends the war on drugs, and the United States enters eight years of prosperity and happiness behind the lucrative, and now legal, cannabis industry. The US becomes the world’s largest supplier of hemp, our dependency on foreign oil is reduced as we convert to hemp-based bio fuels, alcohol related traffic fatalities decline, and police are focused on real crime and real criminals. And then we wake up from our euphoric dream world, because like I said earlier, it just won’t happen.
Newt Gingrich vs Barack Obama – Obama wins by a slight, but uncontested, majority. Like it or not, if Gingrich wins the GOP nomination, it is Obama’s best – and likely only – chance of winning re-election. This country is, luckily, too liberal for Gingrich to ever have a chance. Sadly, the country is also too conservative for Paul to have a chance, too.
Mitt Romney vs Barack Obama – This is the most likely scenario to be presented to voters in November, and it will likely be a victory for Romney. The reason: Cannabis users won’t vote for a politician who will put them in jail. Under this scenario, we’re going to give Romney every state that McCain won in 2008, and we’ll give Obama every state that he won in 2008. That would give Obama the victory, 364-174. But, let’s assume that Obama loses the marijuana-vote in each of the 16 states, and the District of Columbia, where medical marijuana is allowed. That would mean Romney would gain California (55 votes), Oregon (7), Washington (11), Nevada (5), Colorado (9), New Mexico (5), Michigan (10), Vermont (3), Maine (4), Rhode Island (4), New Jersey (15), and Washington DC (3). That’s a total of 131 votes being taken from Obama, who is left with 233, and given to Romney, giving him 305 votes and the presidency. This would mostly be due to marijuana users casting their votes in favor of third party candidate Gary Jonson, primarily taking votes away from Obama.
Under this scenario, the only state Obama would have to convince he’s not anti-marijuana would be California. It’s a good thing they don’t have a huge medical marijuana industry there.