I was lucky enough to attend a wonderful event put on by the Marijuana Policy Project this past week. I have always viewed marijuana legalization as one of the issues I feel is most important to myself and young people as a whole. As I stood at this great event, I looked in the eyes of Montel Williams, a medical marijuana user and supporter, as he tearfully spoke about the issue dear to his heart. It hit me, standing in the company of some wonderful medical marijuana supporters, that this issue is one of the most essential issues of our time. Blocking sick people from attaining necessary medicine is evil and unfathomably unfair when rationally considered. But when politicians agree they must block sick people from using marijuana as medicine, when so many politicians themselves used it for mere recreation, it is an entirely different level of low. The level of political hypocrisy on this issue is absolutely infuriating. The political class believes they could do things as young people and were able to still have productive lives but if “regular” people use marijuana they will need some sort of correction or law enforcement help. Frankly, it should be a national outrage the way the federal government continues to intervene in this issue of state’s rights regarding marijuana policy. President Obama and his utter disregard for states’ rights and the 10th Amendment has been a callous, degrading use of federal power. The unbelievable, infuriating, insane problem with the government’s handling of the medical marijuana issue is their blatant and disrespectful hypocrisy.
The medical marijuana movement is dealing with a very aggravating double-edged sword when it comes to current policy. In recent times there has been a wonderful push for medical marijuana as so many people are coming to the realization that decriminalizing or legalizing marijuana is a safe, sensible, cost-effective, humane, and just policy. It is wonderful that states are changing their laws and some politicians are coming around to these ideas, albeit slowly. Young people overwhelmingly support the decriminalization of marijuana and drug policy is being a serious issue on college campuses with wonderful organizations like Students for Sensible Drug Policy. But unfortunately, the rise in sensible drug policy supporters has been countered by the federal governments emerging role in state intervention. The unbelievable truth is that President Bush was much more lenient with his marijuana policy than President Obama. Additionally, members of Congress, many who have admitted to using marijuana, are still remaining firm in their anti-marijuana stance. We must look ourselves in the societal mirror and ask: are we seriously punishing sick people for using medicine? Are conservatives that demeaning in their attempts to legislate morality? Are liberals this spineless that they won’t stand up to other issues of “choice?” 80% of Americans supported safe access to medical cannabis, and 74% are against the enhanced raids according to recent polls. But the “leaders” of the country, the benevolent politicians who head our wonderful government, continue to push their hypocritical stance on marijuana. George Bush, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, Howard Dean, Newt Gingrich, John Kerry, and Sarah Palin have all admitted to marijuana use yet the conversation has not seen any substantial federal change.
The issue of federal intervention into states which passed medical marijuana has reached an all-time level of absurdity. Let’s paint an image for anyone who fails to understand the significance of President Obama’s drug policy insanity: President Obama intervening in state’s which passed medical marijuana is equivalent to President Romney overturning same-sex marriage legislation in state’s which passed it. The Obama Administration has zero respect for the decision of voters in specific state’s that passed medical marijuana legislation. Supporters of medical marijuana and drug decriminalization have unfortunately grown accustom to disappointing Presidents who admitted to smoking marijuana previously in their lives but remaining stringent on drug policy. We have all heard the story a million times. But the story of Barack Obama was supposed to be different. President Obama admitted to smoking marijuana and doing cocaine while in college. Also, during his senate and presidential run he openly supported medical marijuana for patients and agreed the federal government should not intervene with state’s rights regarding marijuana issues. Unfortunately, this President has become the most ardent anti-marijuana President in recent memory. During the Obama Presidency, the Department of Justice has conducted over 200 DEA raids on medical marijuana businesses in 6 states. President Bush conducted a mere 70 in eight years.
Due to the fact he has turned his back on both these policies, President Obama would normally just be another hypocritical president who fails to run a sensible drug policy. But the most infuriating part is the Obama campaign continues to actively court the marijuana-user vote and appear as the “cool” president. President Obama is actively campaigning for the votes of people he ruthlessly prosecutes all across the country. There is nothing “cool” about President Obama’s drug policy. It is a national outrage, something so far beyond hypocrisy, and a classless, spineless use of executive power. While President Obama has been an absolute disappointment in regards to drug policy, Mitt Romney offers the same exhausted policies of his predecessors. Unfortunately, a new winner in November does not mean a new policy. Neither candidates offer anything substantial on drug policy, but at least Mitt Romney doesn’t act like he wants the pro-legalization vote.
The issue of medical marijuana should see broad-based support from people of all political ideologies. Christian, social-conservatives should view this as an issue as imperative to their cause as anything. Young people being erroneously jailed for non-violent acts where they are churned around in the prison system, influenced and hardened by actual criminals, and prevented from acquiring jobs when they get out. These drug policies simply multiply criminals in jails and ruin lives of young people and their families. This should be a major issue for all people concerned about the future of our society and the position of 2+ million non-violent drug offenders currently sitting in jails. Similarly, liberals can and should not parade around the issue of choice when they have been completely negligent in covering their beloved President’s atrocious drug policy. If they are such ardent supporters of a woman’s “right” to choose they should not be aghast at any adults ability to choose to take marijuana as medicine. If abortion is an issue that should be made by a woman under the purview of her doctor, why can’t medical marijuana be an issue in the same capacity?
While it remains unfortunate that the issue of medical marijuana is absent in the presidential campaigns, the medical marijuana movement is alive and well. As the Feds continue their tyrannical raids on medical marijuana facilities, more and more people are becoming aware of the medicine that is medical marijuana. This issue will be won by people supporting liberty and it is essential libertarians fight for medical marijuana legalization. As young people grow older and assume larger roles in society and as the older generation arrives at the notion of sensible drug laws, the tide will turn. This is a winnable fight that has the most noble cause imaginable: helping sick people. This issue will not be solved politically until the anti-marijuana stigma has been broken down and liberty and legitimate medicine becomes so popular the politicians are forced to abandon their hypocrisy.