The medical marijuana movement in America isn’t going away, but the fruits of its labor may be on the decline. The Obama administration seems dead set on stomping out states’ rights on the issue of medicinal cannabis, despite campaign promises not to “[use] Justice Department resources to try to circumvent state laws on this issue.” Even at the state level, resistance to these kinds of laws appears to be at a high–no pun intended. Here in Colorado, dispensary bans have cropped up all over in the last year. Similar efforts by the federal government made in states like California and Oregon seem to be a sign of a silenced, but still vehement, majority in favor of legalizing pot.
But where is that majority in Colorado? Legalize 2012’s effort to bring the question of legal marijuana for all onto our ballot this November could be quashed by a lack of signatures–the group has less than two weeks to collect enough support for their initiative; they’re optimistic, but might still miss the deadline.
And even if they did get the initiative onto the ballot, would it pass? Could it pass? Supporting cannabis legalization is still political poison–there’s a reason Ron Paul, a strong supporter of legal marijuana, hasn’t touted his pro-pot position on the Republican campaign trail often. We won’t see many public officials supporting an amendment like the one proposed.
But if by some miracle of voter turnout the initiative did pass, it would still be in violation of federal law. Medical marijuana crackdowns are bad enough as it is; imagine if everyone, by state law, had access to cannabis.
Barack Obama and his staff are clearly against even bringing it up for discussion. At their latest online town hall meeting, there was overwhelming support from the community to talk about weed legalization. Those questions were dismissed as “inappropriate” by the staffers in charge of selecting talking points. These actions and others by the White House make it clear that a chance at ending federal prohibition of marijuana is at best a pipe dream, for the time being.
Are we fighting a losing battle? Of course, anyone who believes that marijuana prohibition is an affront to freedom would say we aren’t, that we must persevere. And I have to agree–pot was legal once, and it can and will be again. However, 2012 is not the year we will see it happen. We may not see it in the next four years if Obama is reelected, and we definitely won’t see it in that time frame if a Republican nominee takes the White House next January. But, in time, it will happen.