Besides a few champion reformists on both sides of the aisle, neither the Democrats or Republicans, especially on the national level, are known for being friendly to cannabis law reform. But with our nation's Senate minority leader, a Republican, co-sponsoring legislation to end hemp prohibition, while the majority leader and president, both Democrats, remain mum, we obviously have a problem.
Quick note: There are multiple pieces of legislation currently on the table that would revise our nation's cannabis policies; legislation ranging from a complete end to cannabis prohibition on the federal level, to allowing medical cannabis to be used as a defense in federal court. These measures, though mostly bipartisan, are sponsored by Democrats.
So, clearly not all federal lawmakers are so desperately out-of-touch.
But, despite these lawmakers stepping up and putting forth legislation that our citizens clearly want, the nation's most powerful democrats: Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and Barack Obama, all remain silent. Even Mrs. Pelosi, who has publicly criticized Obama for his attacks on medical cannabis, has done nothing further to back up her criticism.
And it really doesn't make any sense, especially when it comes to medical cannabis or hemp legislation. Polling shows support for medical cannabis to be over 80% in the U.S.. More conservative polls show it around 74%. There's absolutely no excuse for politicians to not get behind this issue. It's especially ridiculous for Democratic leaders, as their constituents support reform at a considerably higher rate. Even more important is that Independent support is also high, and anyone with half a political mind knows that independent voters decide elections.
When taking this all in to consideration, it quickly becomes confusing why Democrats don't get behind a push to legalize medical cannabis on the national level. It's an absolute mind-fuck that they won't support industrial hemp legalization.
If there was ever a time to get behind reform that Americans want, and can desperately use - such as legal hemp production - now is it.
In the U.S. House, H.R. 525 was filed recently, which would end our federal hemp prohibition. The measure has bipartisan support, with 31 co-sponsors. In the Senate, a companion bill, S.359, also has bipartisan support. This includes being co-sponsored by Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnel.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is not only not a sponsor, he's made no public statement regarding the measure. Same with Nancy Pelosi, and same with President Obama. They're taking an opportunity to finally bring change when it comes to hemp, and instead are squandering it, making themselves look out-of-touch and behind-the-times.
And it'll cost them.
We aren't saying that Republicans are better than Democrats in regards to supporting reform - because we wouldn't have much to back that up - but there's no denying that this situation is enough to anger voters, especially those who see how ridiculous it is for anyone to stand in the way of something as useful and increasingly non-controversial as hemp (any controversy left on hemp production is childish at best, especially when you can go to your local Wal-Mart and buy a pack of shelled hemp seeds).
Joseph McKinley, a 25 year old law student currently attending the University of Nevada, and a registered constituent of Senator Reid's, let us know that this would absolutely effect his vote; "I'm not a one issue voter, and never have been, but if Republicans are going to lead on this [hemp legalization], and the Dems are going to sit on their hands, then something needs to be done in protest. That protest may have to be our vote."
Despite us understanding that being a one-issue voting nation can be dangerous, it's hard to blame him, or anyone else who has "protest vote" in mind.
Before this step is taken, advocates need to make a full effort to reach Democratic leaders, letting them know just how important this issue is to them, and how embarrassing it is that they refuse to acknowledge the need for change, meaning that they're responsible for the problems caused, and the solutions ignored, by continuing this prohibition.
You can find some helpful tips in assembling a letter to politicians, by clicking here.
Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi:
San Francisco office: 90 7th Street, Suite 2-800
San Francisco, CA 94103
Phone: (415) 556-4862
Washington D.C. office: 235 Cannon HOB
Washington, D.C. 20515
Phone: (202) 225-4965
You can also e-mail her.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid:
Washington D.C. office: Washington
522 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Phone: 202-224-3542 / Fax: 202-224-7327
Toll Free for Nevadans: 1-866-SEN-REID (736-7343)
You can also call him at one of his three Nevada offices,which are listed here.
You can also contact Senator Reid by filling out his online form here.
President Barrack Obama:
You can find multiple ways of contacting President Obama by clicking here.