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Pot Matters: The ‘Should You Vote?’ Libertarian Dilemma

Three Senate Candidates Who Could Affect Marijuana Legalization
Photo by Getty Images

How are you going to feel the day after the election if you vote for Gary Johnson and the result is that Donald Trump is elected President?

Many of the supporters of Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party Presidential candidate, are young adults who are generally liberal, fans of Bernie Sanders, and prone to vote Democratic … except something about Hillary Clinton bothers them. They don’t like the choice between Trump and Clinton and want to make a statement about their values and about the two-party system. In other words, they think voting for Johnson will enable them to have a clear conscience the day after the election because they didn’t compromise their values.

And they’d be wrong, because it’s the results that matter and the result of that decision would be President Donald Trump.

Trump will be the worst thing that can happen in this election for marijuana reform, criminal justice reform, civil liberties, and economic prosperity in the United States.

Trump has vowed to stop the flow of illegal immigrants into the United States by sealing the southern border with a wall, and bragged that this will also stop the flow of illegal drugs across the border as well. Now, this has been tried before (Operation Intercept is a notable example) and failed. So what do you think he will do next to make good on his promise?

Look at Trump’s rhetoric and stated preferences for restoring law and order to the nation’s cities. Not that our cities are lawless, actually, but that Trump pretends they are to justify his extreme law and order policies. Trump wants to extend New York City’s Stop and Frisk program to other cities, especially Chicago (for a start).

The Stop and Frisk program in New York is one in which police officers stop suspicious people on the street and subject them to a pat-down search, based on the concern that they might be carrying a weapon. The US Court of Appeals has ruled this practice to be unconstitutional, in part because of its disproportionate impact on minorities. While Trump claims this policy has had a successful impact on lowering crime in New York city, the historical trend he refers to started long before Stop and Frisk was implemented, and the after the program was implemented the incidence of crime in New York followed trends prevalent though out the nation.

While Stop and Frisk did not lower crime in New York, it did accomplish something else. It gave New York City one of the highest arrest rates for marijuana possession in the nation. There is a minor technicality about marijuana decriminalization in New York the rest of the country is unaware of. While possession of small amounts of marijuana are indeed decriminalized, this does not apply to marijuana that is used or displayed in public. In other words, marijuana in someone’s pocket is decriminalized but when it is out of their pocket it is still a crime and the individual is subject to arrest.

Thus, when stopped and frisked, individuals are then told to empty their pockets, and when they remove marijuana from their pocket they are arrested for public possession. The arrest is of dubious legality, but that doesn’t get in the way of the individual being taken in the custody.

The Stop and Frisk program is part of a general strategy in which police forces crack down on minor offenses (such as marijuana possession) as part of a show of force, a demonstration of authority, which is supposed to discourage the commission of other crimes. Trump likes it because he likes ideas that sound strong.

While Trump has made some generally benign comments about marijuana legalization and indicated support for medical marijuana laws, this get-tough approach to law enforcement should be an issue of concern for anyone supportive of marijuana’s legalization. Furthermore, as the election grows closer Trump’s rhetoric pushes the idea of respect and deference to law enforcement (which, if you haven’t noticed, tends to be against marijuana’s legalization).

The most likely way for Trump to get elected President is for the millennial generation of young adults to withhold their votes from Hillary Clinton—and right now this is the primary source of support for Libertarian Gary Johnson. Governor Johnson has the best position on marijuana legalization of any candidate running for President. Voting for him, ironically, could bring about the worst outcome for supporters of legalization—a law and order authoritarian in the White House in favor of expanding police powers of search and seizure. (Oh, and by the way, Trump is also likely to appoint the anti-legalization Governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie, as Attorney General.)

People should always vote their values. But the issue here is whether the outcome of your vote expresses your values. Voting for Gary Johnson will make it more likely that Donald Trump wins the election. Where’s the value in that for supporters of marijuana’s legalization?

Last week in Pot Matters: The Best Case for Legalization

 

6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Logan Lorn

    September 26, 2016 at 6:50 am

    This article is just a plug for Hillary, a notorious liar who certainly is not to be trusted. She is very pay to play (see the Clinton Cash documentary), and a notorious globalist who as Secretary of State helped cause even more massive destabilization in the middle-east than the last few persons to abuse the title of President. Blood, lies, and criminality all on her hands. Skeletons in her closet go back so far it’s pathetic.

    But I really don’t like seeing High Times do the same sort of thing that certain Republicans have done in previous elections, by trying to tell people to hold their nose and vote for the candidate they are plugging because of “throwing away your vote”. Surely there will never be a chance of a third party ever amounting to much if no one ever tries! And right now, if you follow things close enough, the concern is not just a dirty two party system, it is that increasingly this two party thing often really is two sides of the very same coin. A one party system of crony elites.

    As for Trump. I think the guy has been called just about every name in the book. People throw all sorts of stuff around just to see what sticks. I doubt he is as bad as some say, or as great as some think. What he seems to be is a winner, and we need winning after 8 years of lies and B.S. claims of winning. Yet Chris Christie as a likely attorney general is something I sure don’t want to see. Yet Trump has made it clear that cannabis should be a state issue whereas Hillary said very non-commitedly (keep that door open for money to talk!) a wait and see how things go in places where it already is being tried.

    Face it, when it comes to our cannabis issue, the choices are not comming out as strong as we would like. And democrats had 8 efn years for Obama to reschedule and just can’t seem to bother. But he sure has time for golf and for Muslims. But not so much time for Americans. A bad salesman with a b.s. smile. The “war on drugs” continues.

    The “war on drugs” is a cash cow for some. And no matter who is in office it will still rest upon the shoulders of cannabis activists to open the door further and help stop the persecution of people over cannabis. Ground up, grass roots. So vote your conscience no matter what.

    As for me, I’ll never vote Hillary. We should have learned from the Bushes that we don’t need any more DYNASTIES!

  2. Avatar

    Mardasee .

    September 26, 2016 at 10:46 am

    Vote for Trump and risk our right to smoke marijuana. Or vote for Hillary and save our right to smoke marijuana as she drapes the window that Obama built and starts WWIII. I made up my mind. I’m voting for Trump knowing I can still grow and smoke marijuana in secrecy rather than vote for Hillary and have her burn up the planet.

    • Avatar

      Swamper

      September 26, 2016 at 11:53 am

      Until Trump’s ego and childishness pisses off some country who decides to send in some nukes. If Trump becomes president, there won’t be another U.S. election, ever.

      • Avatar

        Logan Lorn

        September 26, 2016 at 1:06 pm

        Swamper, you are fantasizing. Replace Trump’s name in your statement with anyone. It’s fantasy. Your fantasy. No proof.

        But the fact is, if that serial liar Hillary drags her decrepit body into the Presidency, tries to outlaw guns (oh great, now we can also have THE WAR ON GUNS!), continues submitting to the Muslim Brotherhood (even many in the middle-east know they are a terrorist organization that specializes in creeping Sharia) continues pay-to-play, and more, you can rest assured that countries who think the U.S. is stupid and weak may very well react aggressively, try to further test what they can get away with. Especially terrorism will be more precarious since respecting women, particularly infidel women, isn’t real high up on their list. Even if that woman calls herself the President.

        Where as Trump comes off like a bull dog, an alpha male that makes politicians think twice. And there are third party candidates (Libertarian Party among others) that with real dedicated grass roots fighting, over many years, might grow into a viable third party if people worked at it instead of buying into b.s. from both parties about throw away voting with third parties. With Hillary, voter fraud becomes a great issue of national defense as progressives play at social engineering through using illegal immigrants to vote, as well as the dead and other tricks that Saul Alinsky would approve of.

        I think, despite his faults, Trump has at least some sense of what a bad deal is and means for America. Where as Hillary and her interests seem far more concerned about what’s a bad deal for her own self and personal agenda. If she gets in office, the consolidation of power will be strong enough that I personally will probably distrust anyone of either two main parties running after her , for the rest of my life, as likely bought puppets of lobbyists, and the U.S. party i.e., criminal syndicate (two party sides that are part of the same coin) wrapping itself in the flag and stealing, twisting, and remaking what Democrats and Republicans used to be about.

  3. Avatar

    Scott A Reed

    October 1, 2016 at 2:39 pm

    It saddens me to know they got to you guys too 🙁

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