I just read an article about how even though public opinion is clearly in favor of marijuana reform, marijuana is 'almost always a negative with politicians.' Is there any other public policy issue in America where there is so much support, yet politicians refuse to recognize that support? I can't think of any. There are no doubt issues that politicians ignore, but do they have overwhelming support like marijuana reform? Why do politicians get away with this?
There is a reason provided in the Oregonian article:
"It's still a political risk," said Adam Davis, whose Portland-based firm of Davis, Hibbitts & Midghall frequently conducts polls and focus groups on public policy.
"I think elected officials are held to a higher standard," Davis added. "They're paid with tax dollars and people feel they should be doing their job with a clear head."
So elected officials are held to a higher standard...and they should be doing their jobs with a clear head...Can I take that to assume that no politicians consume alcohol? How many fundraisers and other events do they attend where they drink wine or other forms of alcohol? I don't think it's a stretch to assume that they consume alcohol on numerous occasions, while on the clock considering they are always on the clock. Marijuana is undoubtedly safer than alcohol, so I fail to see how this is a valid reason. If a politician consumes marijuana they get pushed out of office. Yet if they get smashed on booze every night there's no issue. Why?
The fact of the matter is a lot of politicians accept money from opponents of the marijuana industry. Pharmaceutical companies, alcohol companies, law enforcement lobbyists, prison lobbyists, just about anyone who has ever worked with Kevin Sabet - they all fund marijuana prohibition. So it's not about what the public thinks, or doing what is right, it's about doing what makes politicians money.
There is one great equalizing weapon that marijuana supporters have to get around the reefer madness coalition that most politicians are a part of - the initiative process. Colorado and Washington politicians didn't legalize marijuana. Average citizens who were tired of the political minority determining the marijuana laws that they had to live by took matters into their own hands. Unfortunately, not all states have the initiative process. But enough do that if they all passed marijuana legalization initiatives the rest of the states would follow suit. So get active, and don't let out of touch politicians keep marijuana prohibition in place just so they can line their own pockets.