The Democratic and Republican conventions are over. American have less than 100 days to decide who to vote for to become President – Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Gary Johnson or Jill Stein.
For once, the choice of the marijuana voter is made more difficult by the fact that none of the candidates is supportive of maintaining absolute marijuana prohibition.
Trump and Clinton are hovering in that “states’ rights/laboratories of democracy” limbo where they explicitly say they would allow the legal and medical programs in the states to continue and implicitly mean that they aren’t going to open the floodgates on federal legalization anytime soon.
Johnson and Stein are far better, offering a vision of ending federal prohibition and enabling further legalization at the state level. They both, however, suffer from the electoral structure of our Constitution that makes their winning the Oval Office less likely than Peter Dinklage winning American Ninja Warrior.
Sometimes in these situations it’s better to figure out who you absolutely don’t want to win. In this particular situation, that person is Donald Trump.
While Donald Trump has recently said he’s fine with state-level legalization and medical marijuana, he’s also recently said, “In this race for the White House, I am the law and order candidate.”
Sound familiar? “I pledge to you that the new Attorney General will open a new front against the filth peddlers and the narcotics peddlers who are corrupting the lives of the children of this country,” said the 1968 Republican nominee for President. “And to those who say that law and order is the code word for racism, there and here is a reply: Our goal is justice for every American.”
Once elected, Richard Nixon launched the War on Drugs as a method to infiltrate and decimate his enemies on the political left and within the civil rights movement.
Trump has also kept by his side the odious governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie. You may remember him on the campaign trail saying, “If you’re getting high in Colorado today, enjoy it, [because] as of January 2017, I will enforce the federal laws.”
Rumor has it that Trump may select Christie as his Attorney General. Christie is also on Trump’s transition team that will select the secretaries of various cabinet positions, heads of various departments and bureaus, and judges to fill positions on federal district courts, appeals court, and at least one vacancy on the Supreme Court.
You may recall that during the 2008 Presidential race, Barack Obama said, “I would not have the Justice Department prosecuting and raiding medical marijuana users. It’s not a good use of our resources.”
Yet it was Barack Obama’s Department of Justice that orchestrated more raids against medical marijuana providers than his predecessor, George W. Bush. That’s because people at DEA and a few US Attorney’s offices still believed in enforcing federal laws.
In his second term, Obama shifted to believing “It does not make sense from a prioritization point of view for us to focus on recreational drug users in a state that has already said that under state law that’s legal.” Yet still, Assistant US Attorney Earl Hicks prosecuted the Kettle Falls Five, state-legal medical marijuana patients growing cannabis in a state where recreational use is made legal.
So that’s what we got from the Department of Justice underlings with a president who has actually smoked pot in his lifetime and says the feds should butt out of state marijuana issues, and an Attorney General’s office that has issued memoranda stating that targeting state-legal marijuana operations should not be a priority.
Imagine what we get under a Trump Presidency (a guy who doesn’t even drink, much less toke) and Attorney General Chris Christie (a guy who viscerally loathes pot smokers)? Who do you think Christie will suggest for heads of the FinCen and FDIC that will decide cannabusiness banking regulations? Or FDA and NIDA that will handle applications to research cannabis? Or EPA and Dept. of Agriculture that will set standards for cannabis pesticides and hempseed importation? Or CDC and NIH that will evaluate the results of legalization on public health? Or NHTSA that will make cannabis and driving recommendations? Or the US Parole Commission that will decide which decades-long pot prisoners get released?
Imagine the new head of the Office of National Drug Control Policy: Drug Czar Kevin Sabet.
Then wrap your mind around the fact that under President Obama, Republicans in Congress have blocked so many of his judicial nominations that there stand empty 71 seats on federal District Courts, 9 seats on the Courts of Appeals, and of course, 1 seat on the Supreme Court.
Then consider that the 5-4 conservative Supreme Court Trump sets could easily become a 7-2 court, since three Justices will be in the 80s during Trump’s first term. That’s the court that would hear the ultimate appeals for cases on the religious uses of ganja, medical use of cannabis, and whether or not states like Kansas, Nebraska, and Oklahoma can overturn Colorado’s recreational legalization.
So if you’re in one of the so-called “red” or “blue” states (states either Trump or Clinton are guaranteed to win, like California for Clinton and Texas for Trump), maybe you vote for Johnson or Stein to make a protest vote for someone who supports outright legalization.
But if you’re in one of the ten so-called “swing” states that could go either way and upon which this election will be decided (Nevada, Colorado, Iowa, Wisconsin, New Hampshire, Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania), you should really think long and hard about voting for Hillary Clinton to stop Donald Trump.
Last week’s Radical Rant: If You Want Legal Marijuana, There’s Only One Candidate to Vote For
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