Why The Republican Takeover is Good for Marijuana

As it should be, ladies and gentlemen, the lion has roared and who shall not listen? The Drug War is hoisted by its own petard. Plus a few other gloating turns of phrase. One other that comes to mind is: Kevin Sabet and his Sensible Alternatives to Marijuana crew can go pound salt. Or suck an egg. The point here is that marijuana decriminalization is a wave crashing across the US of A and while it’s great to enjoy success, we must remain vigilant until the last. (I’ll put a stop to the clichés now.)

Legal marijuana’s popularity continues to grow. To drive that point home (sorry), look at poor old Florida. While Oregonians, Alaskans, and District-of-Columbians enjoy their first legal puff in 70-plus years, Florida missed passing medicinal marijuana by a mere ~2.5% of the vote. ~57.5% in favor vs. ~42.5% against allowing sick people to feel better. (It takes 60% of the vote to pass a constitutional amendment in Florida.) That’s a landslide in most elections.

What is to be done about the unenlightened minority? In Florida, the opposition was funded by Sheldon Adelson, billionaire Republican casino magnate who owns the Sands in Las Vegas. This angry old sack of protoplasm gave $2.5M to oppose marijuana for sick folks. While nothing can be done about scum like this, the people he is attempting to influence can be brought around to the light. But, we must hurry.

Why hurry? When alcohol prohibition ended, the country was just wrapping up the Great Depression. People were focused on their own family’s economic well-being, not what their neighbor was doing. They were looking for opportunities, ways to help themselves and the economy. Faced with years of violent Prohibition failure that did nothing to curb the flow of alcohol, but instead only enriched the criminals who ignored the prohibition, they had had enough of trying to control what people did privately, to themselves.

Does any of this sound familiar? If we are to complete what we have begun, we must do so by 2016. Wealth hurts the movement. The Great Recession is at its end. When people get rich, they get fat and sassy and they resume attempts to manage social issues.

Sheldon Adleson’s millions in Florida is offered as exhibit A in support of my argument. At several points in the lead-up to the election, polls showed Floridians as high as 88% in favor of MMJ!1 Adelson’s money made the difference in the end.

If you are feeling like there is a cloud over the nation with the Republican election victories, there is an ironic silver lining for you: The Republican takeover of the senate ensures two years of lame-duck presidency; I would not expect much to change between now and the next election cycle. That means two more years of modest economic growth. For marijuana decriminalization, that’s a good thing: it buys us pot advocates more time to educate the public and advance the cause. Let’s get back to work. Time’s a wastin’.

1. http://www.quinnipiac.edu/images/polling/fl/fl07282014_flchq5.pdf

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