Tomorrow might be the day where a legal, recreational cannabis industry is born. Things are nearing climax in the US with the presidential campaign trail coming to end and citizens taking to the polls on 06 November 2012 to vote on Cannabis legalization. This vote could have major implications for the country’s war on drugs, which ultimately effects the rest of the world’s stance on recreational cannabis use.
Barack Obama could have a second term in which to try and affect many of the yet undelivered promises of his previous presidential campaign; those unmet promises which have helped fuel conservative Mitt Romney’s campaign for the White House throne. The “Yes we can” of years gone by has faded and the optimism it brought has been long diluted by reality.
Obama’s broken promises and false eluding at backing off of weed smokers during his first presidential campaign has scorned many people who’d found hope in ending cannabis prohibition through a president who had openly admitted and used his youthful weed habit to gain votes from the cannabis community. As far as the cannabis community is concerned, Obama is now only the lesser of two evils; Romney offers a grim future for cannabis users. So cannabis orientated voters have little reason to get off the couch and take to the polls.
A campaign TV ad from Obama, which features Harold and Kumar, leaves more questions than answers. Is he trying to discreetly say to stoners that if they vote for him again, he will use his second and last term to make good on freeing the weed as he will not be limited by the political aspirations of another term as president? Or is he just taking the mick with stoners by thinking that to conveniently placed celebrity stoners in a campaign ad will mask the wounds of the first time voters were bitten. Twice shy is the opinion doing the rounds due to Obama’s administration persecuting the medical cannabis industry so furiously it would make even the prior Bush administration blush.
All glazed eyes are now on three States (Washington, Oregon and Colorado) that will be voting for the legalization of marijuana, with criminal prosecution for possession being dropped for adult users. This is where the action is at. In 2010 California came pretty close when their citizens voted on State level legalization. It was a sad day when the vote was lost by 49/51 percent split, but three States simultaneously having this on their November ballots has never been heard of before. Washington, Oregon and Colorado will now be letting their citizens decide for themselves on the legalization of cannabis for recreational use by including various legalization initiatives on their November ballots. The similarities to the action of these States bare a striking resemblance to the actions of States a century ago during alcohol prohibition, as they kicked the failed and counterproductive policy to the curb.
The ins and outs of these legalization policies being taken to the polls have a few kinks that have surfaced in the micro politics of the cannabis movement. These minor conflicts of opinion and interest are a sign of a movement which has grown past just ideals. A healthy growing pain as more voices join the call for change. All in all the legalization push is stronger than ever before in the US.
Odds are looking good that at least one of these three states will soon have a legal cannabis trade, one that puts them in direct contravention of Federal level prohibition of cannabis. This will force the discussion and progress of a sensible cannabis policy even further. There was never going to be a simple switch that took cannabis from being illegal to legal overnight. The migration of States to medical marijuana first and now to legalization has been inevitable for decades. Forcing the hand of the Feds will make things truly interesting. Either the Feds concede the point and legalization expands across the US or they come down hard on these Sates and provide huge martyrs for the cause. One way or another change is coming and whichever man takes the reins this November, he’ll be facing what should be a simple decision. “Do I give the people what they want or do I keep giving them what I want?”
The war has long been lost; the defining battles are now being fought. Remember remember the 6th of November.