A question that I have been researching lately is whether or not the Tea Party supports marijuana legalization. I tried contacting top Tea Party bloggers to see how they felt, but alas, my correspondence has gone unanswered. Whether you like the Tea Party, or despise them, no one can debate whether or not the Tea Party is a growing force in American politics. They are expecting to get some victories this November, and further establish their agenda. If that proves true, they could be very influential in the 2012 election as well.
I figured the best place to start with this research was to look at the top of the Tea Party organization. I am not a Tea Party member, but it seems to me that Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck are as close to the ‘leaders’ of the Tea Party as it gets. By design, the Tea Party is a decentralized, grass roots political movement, so ‘leaders’ may be hard to pinpoint. However, I think it’s reasonable to say that the ‘face’ of the movement would certainly include Beck and Palin.
Here’s what Sarah Palin had to say in June on Fox Business:
"If we're talking about pot, I'm not for the legalization of pot," Palin said, as Politico first noted. "I think that would just encourage especially our young people to think that it was OK to just go ahead and use it." But she went on to say that police should not focus on arresting people who use marijuana recreationally.
"I think we need to prioritize our law enforcement efforts," Palin said. "And if somebody's gonna smoke a joint in their house and not do anybody else any harm, then perhaps there are other things our cops should be looking at to engage in and try to clean up some of the other problems that we have in society." She added that marijuana use "relatively speaking" is a "minimal problem" in the country.
What a political answer! If you take out all of the BS, you really only need to focus on one line of her quote, “If we're talking about pot, I'm not for the legalization of pot.” Anything else she says is just political rhetoric. She knows that many Libertarians support marijuana legalization, and she doesn’t want to alienate anyone. However, the fact that she can’t answer with a resounding, “Yes, I support marijuana legalization,” is pretty solid proof that she doesn’t support marijuana legalization.
What about Glenn Beck? He is quite a bit more confusing. In an interview on Fox, he stated, “I'm a libertarian. You want to legalize marijuana; you want to legalize drugs – that's fine.” But while that quote sounds good, if you look at the rest of the interview, it’s hard to tell if he’s really sincere in that belief. In the same interview he says emphatically, “I think marijuana is bad for you.” Quite frankly, it’s hard to ever know if Glenn Beck means what he says, or if he is just trying to be as explosive and over-the-top as possible.
From what I can tell, the Tea Party doesn’t support marijuana legalization as much as they support less government and personal liberties. The fact that marijuana legalization falls under that umbrella would be the only way they fully support it (only by default). But does that default support mean that they are making it a part of their platform? Is the Tea Party campaigning on behalf of marijuana reform? From what I can tell, the answer is no.
This is interesting to me because it is such a good cause to pick up. It deals with the issue of state’s rights, state sovereignty, and as I state previously, personal liberties. Social conservatives within the movement might not be as inclined to support the reform, but certainly fiscal conservatives should support it. It would save so much money from avoiding unnecessary prosecutions, not to mention the taxing potential, that it is a no-brainer for political activists that want sensible fiscal policies.
What do TWB readers think? Are there many TWB Tea Party members out there? What do you see on the ground, and what do you think? Have you seen any outward support for marijuana legalization within the movement? Or just personal attitudes that aren’t necessarily representative of the majority of Tea Party members? I look forward to reading the comments. If members from the Tea Party Express are out there reading this, CHECK YOUR E-MAIL AND ANSWER MY QUESTIONS!!