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Well, it looks like the Weed Wars are back in California. We will likely see an initiative to legalize marijuana on the ballot in 2016 and it could be an issue that even affects the presidential race.
Rolling Stone has a long piece on the issue in their upcoming edition. I think it gives a good indication of the types of arguments the pro-legalization side will make. Their strategy is similar to that of gay marriage proponents: You should vote for this because…shut up. This is inevitable and so there’s no point in stopping what is bound to happen.
An excerpt from the article:
A successful legalization vote in California, advocates believe, would force a national reckoning on marijuana law – and a cultural tipping point similar to what we’ve seen in the acceptance of gay marriage. “When California goes in 2016, that will be the determinative moment,” says Holcomb. “I don’t think Congress can ignore the issue.” In the December spending bill, Congress took the historic step of blocking the Justice Department from busting state-level medical-marijuana operations. Similar protections, Holcomb says, could be extended to state-legal commercial pot.
I think much of the article is wishful thinking — it’s Rolling Stone, after all — especially the scenario of a Paul-Clinton match up in which Paul beats Clinton (figuratively, not sexist) on this issue. Like I said, though, this is a good preview of what we’ll hear in the coming years.
The author points out that opponents have reason to be hopeful as well. In California, marijuana is already quasi-legal and so it takes the urgency out of the issue. They can take advantage of that complacency and turn it into a win. Is the GOP returning to “rum, Romanism, and rebellion”?