By Scott Morgan
"Someone has to finally stand up and level with the American people. Someone has to lead. I will.” So says newly announced Republican Presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty, who believes that people who are dying from serious illnesses deserve to be arrested if they use the marijuana for relief:
Gov. Tim Pawlenty vetoed a bill to legalize marijuana for terminally ill patients late Friday evening, saying he sides with law enforcement opposition to the bill.
Joni Whiting, whose testimony of finding marijuana for her dying daughter brought tears to many legislators’ eyes, had harsh words for Pawlenty.
"The governor thinks I’m a criminal for allowing my daughter some comfort during the last months of her life," she said. "I don't know how he sleeps at night, but I do know I'm not giving up until others in my daughter's situation are protected." (Minnesota Independent)
If nothing else, Pawlenty can at least be remembered as having taken a bold stand for what he believed in, which in this case was the right to imprison people with months to live. It's a sickening position to take, but at least he did it for a legitimate reason (some cops told him to). Ok, this is hard to spin, actually.
A 2010 poll showed Republican support for medical marijuana at 72% (and that's without narrowing it down to only covering dying patients in a failed attempt to stop stupid Tim Pawlenty from vetoing it). Marijuana policy in general isn't exactly the top issue among voters on the right, but it's gained tremendous momentum in recent years. Ron Paul and Gary Johnson have proven that supporting reform of marijuana laws can create significant support from previously alienated republican voters, and their growing bandwagon will be eager to discuss subjects such as Pawlenty's bone-headed opposition to even the strictest possible medical marijuana law.
The number of swing votes tied directly to the marijuana policy debate has never been larger than it is today and if the GOP is serious about winning back the White House in 2012, it really might be a good idea to choose a candidate who is better than Obama when it comes to fixing harsh marijuana laws. That person is not Tim Pawlenty.