The very first time I ran for office was in 2008 ~ I could not have been more proud to see my name on the same ballot as Obama. Young people like me are the heart and soul of the Obama Generation. While folks fret about the slow pace of change, I remind them it wasn’t “Yes HE can, it was Yes WE can.”
That said, it is becoming increasingly difficult for this argument to pass the straight face test when Obama himself is advocating to end medical marijuana dispensaries instituted by a vote of the people.
This is particularly true given the flipping and flopping on the part of the DOJ on what their actual policy is regarding medical marijuana patients. It is causing many oung Obama supporters to seek out candidates like Ron Paul and Gary Johnson because they support outright legalization, despite economic policies that are in direct conflict with the Golden Rule values of this country.
In the wake of Congress’ refusal to address the ongoing economic crisis, Americans have taken to the streets across the country demanding government be accountable to the people. At the same time President Obama acknowledges frustration #OccupyWallStreet protesters have with politicians who don’t listen, however, he has directed the Department of Justice to start dismantling medical marijuana dispensaries in California ~ dispensaries that were instituted by a vote of the people.
For state lawmakers, this issue will not end in California, it begins there. In my home state of Maine, the people brought forth an initial ballot initiative allowing medical patients to grow and consumer marijuana and then another more recent one allowing dispensaries. One of those dispensaries is now open in one of the northernmost towns in the state while another is set to open shortly in the state’s largest city of Portland, a portion of which I represent. Clamping down on the California dispensaries creates uncertainty in other places. Rhode Island, for example, elected not to move forward with their dispensaries at all.
This all comes at a time when it is increasingly clear that the War on Drugs has been an epic #FAIL. While many argue prohibition was originally brought on by a PR campaign against hemp products, the presumed policy goal was to reduce addiction across the country. In 1914, 1.3% of our population was addicted to drugs. That year, Congress passed the Harrison Anti-narcotics Act outlawing opiates. Fifty-six years later, 1.3% of the American population was still addicted to drugs. In 1970, Nixon began the War on Drugs. Today, 1.3% of Americans are addicted to drugs.
Not only did we start out with an almost non-existent percentage of Americans addicted, we have done nothing to reduce it any further. This is in light of the fact, the United States imprisons 1,009 people per hundred-thousand population, far more per capital than any other country in the world. For comparison, the closest country is Russia at 528 people per hundred-thousand. Further, in 1970 more than 85% of murders were solved whereas in 2008, it was just over 70%.
Addiction rates have remained the same, incarceration rates have skyrocketed and yet we are solving 15% fewer murders than we were at the beginning of the War on Drugs.
Setting aside the need for a robust, honest public policy debate about the efficacy of the War on Drugs, millions of Americans have voted to install medical marijuana dispensaries in their states. This was not a top-down decision, but one where individuals went to the polls and made a conscious decision that decriminalizing cannabis for medicinal use would do more good than harm.
Whether someone is a town selectman or the President of the United States, the people have clearly spoken in certain states and that alone should be reason enough to leave well enough alone.It is time for Obama to stop the DOJ crusade against medical marijuana patients and start a crusade against the very people who have bankrupted this country.
And in case the President is unclear about who those people might be, the Obama Generation and other voters are lining the streets across the country to light the way to the real source of corruption: Wall Street.