One of the themes of the first International Cannabis Business Conference was the fact that legalizing and regulating marijuana cuts across political ideologies. The conference was kicked off by a keynote of one of the top conservative commentators of today, Andrew Sullivan, and one of the most prominent progressive elected officials, Congressman Earl Blumenauer. Representative Blumenauer has been joined by conservative anti-tax activist Grover Norquist in efforts to reform our cannabis laws and the conservative National Review first endorsed repealing marijuana prohibition more than four decades before The New York Times.
The joining of political ideologies to support the regulation, legalization and taxation of marijuana is occurring in Oregon's election cycle, as the Cascade Policy Institute, a libertarian-leaning think tank has just announced its endorsement of Measure 91, an effort that will regulate marijuana substantially similar to how the state manages beer and wine. This endorsement adds to a very impressive list of supporters and is very telling, as not only does it accentuate the notion that ending cannabis prohibition crosses political divides, but also because the think tank didn't endorse the previous marijuana measure on the ballot in Oregon. From the Cascade Policy Institute:
Cascade Policy Institute's Board of Directors recently voted to support the latest marijuana legalization initiative, Measure 91, which will be on Oregon's November ballot.
While Cascade has always supported the decriminalization of cannabis on both philosophical and practical grounds, this is the first actual ballot measure in which the organization sees the positive features outweighing the negative features.
There is a simple reason to support the Measure 91: consenting adults should be allowed to make informed decisions about cannabis use on their own, without undue interference by the state. Measure 91 promotes this goal through a formal sales licensing process as well as through the Section 6 'exemptions' that allow small amounts of cannabis to be owned and exchanged by unlicensed individuals without taxation.
As cannabis law reform advances, we need to always remember that ending prohibition isn't a partisan endeavor. Conservatives and liberals can both get cancer and can utilize cannabis to help them survive through chemotherapy. People across the political spectrum understand that we can better prioritize our law enforcement resources to fight serious and violent crime. And people of all stripes want good jobs and adequate funding for education, public safety, drug prevention programs and drug treatment services. It is time to end marijuana prohibition and it is great to see people from every demographic joining this important cause.