There is an expression, what goes around comes around. We may get to see an example of this in our upcoming presidential election. President Obama, no great friend of the cannabis community, may well need Colorado stoners to turn out on election day. Let’s check in with Reuters. “Throughout his presidency, Barack Obama hasn’t exactly been a friend to marijuana users. Sure, he has acknowledged smoking pot as a young man, but he has disappointed marijuana advocates by opposing its legalization, regulation and taxation like alcohol. And the Justice Department’s occasional crackdown under his administration on medical marijuana dispensaries, which 17 states and the District of Columbia allow, has angered others.
So now, with Obama facing a stiff challenge from Republican Mitt Romney in the November 6 election, it’s ironic that his chances of winning the key state of Colorado could hinge on marijuana legalization, supported by a growing number of Americans. At issue is whether Obama will get a boost from young voters expected to be among the most enthusiastic backers of a Colorado ballot initiative that would legalize possession of up to an ounce of pot for recreational use – and give the state the most liberal marijuana law in the nation. The initiative is a reflection of Colorado’s unique blend of laid-back liberalism and anti-regulation conservatism that helped make the state the birthplace of the Libertarian Party.
It’s a state where people of different political stripes see marijuana laws as an example of government needlessly sticking its nose where it doesn’t belong. It’s also a proving ground for advocates who see legalization as a way to ease crowding in prisons, generate much-needed tax revenues, create jobs and weaken Mexican cartels that thrive on Americans’ appetite for illegal drugs. The Rocky Mountain State already allows the use of marijuana for medical purposes such as severe pain relief, and some communities have embraced it enthusiastically. The prevalence of medical marijuana dispensaries in Denver has moved pot into the mainstream in Colorado’s capital city. In Denver County, home to about 600,000 people, one in every 41 residents is a registered medical marijuana patient.
It’s unclear precisely how the U.S. Justice Department – whether led by Obama or Romney – would respond if Colorado, Washington or other states legalize marijuana for recreational use. Both politicians oppose legalizing the drug. But in a close presidential election in which Colorado could be a tipping point – and with polls showing Obama has up to a 30-point edge over Romney among voters age 30 and under – the state’s marijuana initiative could be a factor if it inspires waves of young voters to cast ballots on November 6.
“This is an issue that is really meaningful to young people, people of color, disenfranchised communities,” groups that typically lag in registering and showing up to vote, said Brian Vicente, 35, executive director of Sensible Colorado, a group seeking less restrictive marijuana laws. “Democrats and Obama need these groups to win,” Vicente said. “The path to the White House leads through Colorado. We feel we can motivate these groups.”
It’s a much longer and more detailed story, and you can find it here.
[image: Google images Colorado]
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