MSM Looks at Marijuana’s Political Future

Every day there are more and more stories in mainstream media outlets about Prop 19 and the growing national movement to end marijuana prohibition. That alone is a promising development. But what’s even more telling has been the way the tone of the coverage is starting to shift from asking, “Should marijuana be legal?” to, “Is marijuana going to be legal? And if so, when, where, and how?”

Check out just three examples from today:

Wall Street Journal: “Democrats Look to Cultivate Pot Vote in 2012”

Democratic strategists are studying a California marijuana-legalization initiative to see if similar ballot measures could energize young, liberal voters in swing states for the 2012 presidential election.

NPR: “Has the US Reached a Tipping Point on Pot?”

California’s Proposition 19, if approved by voters, will legalize possession of small amounts of marijuana legal for the first time in the United States. Many other states have relaxed their marijuana laws. Is this the tipping point when marijuana follows alcohol and gambling from criminal offense to harmless pastime — and source of new tax revenue?

New York Times: “Will California Show the Way on Marijuana?”

Like it or not, the tens of millions of people in California serve as a laboratory for new legislation, and their state sets a legal example that the rest of the states might follow. So, even if you do not live in California, pay attention to Proposition 19: maybe someday marijuana may come to a store near you.

In July, I wrote about the growing belief among political strategists that candidates can benefit from supporting marijuana reform. Just last week, the Oregon Democratic Party endorsed Measure 74, the ballot question that would add state-licensed dispensaries to that state’s medical marijuana law.

17 thoughts on “MSM Looks at Marijuana’s Political Future”

  1. I would have expected the Tea Party to endorse the legalization of cannabis. Smaller gov’t and more freedom and cannabis is more freedom. I think cannabis will become legal no matter who or what party uses it as an issue. 27 days till Nov 2nd.

  2. no the tea party is just radical republicans. Originally they might have supported this. but since sarah palin and crew moved in its nothing but a place for the radical right to hang out. Not the independant movement to reduce government it was founded to be. which both republicans and democrats are against hence the republican infiltration of the tea party.

  3. about damn time. seriously! our generation of young people, myself included are SICK and TIRED of lies and BS everywhere we turn. we KNOW that alcohol is worse than marijuana. i’ve had friends put into the hospital for alcohol poisoning, but NEVER NEVER NEVER for marijuana. do an experiment and you’ll see, i’ve done plenty for the sake of proving my anti-marijuana friends wrong. they can never finish or come close to marijuana, because marijuana is safer!
    Obama, still won’t get my vote because of the way he has acted toward our marijuana initiative since he’s been in office. he’s still letting raids go on and publicly dismissed our online community.
    and why are the alcohol companies donating money to stop the marijuana initiative because the drivers may be under the inflluence? doesn’t that go both ways?? oh my god!

  4. guys, there is a difference between a tea party candidate and a liberetarian. unfortunatly the far right GOP has latched on to the tea party movement as a sinking ship strategy.

    you have to read between the bs of a tea party candidate and do the homework on their past. it’s different state by state depending on the strength of the party in that state.

    for instance, NY is a leftist utopia, what little Republicans there are are spkit just like everywhere else, but since our population is minute compared to the Dems, Paladino has declared himself a tea party candidate to push Rick Lazio aside in the primaries. It has unfortunatly become a tool in winning elections to be a tea party leader unfortunatly. if you are not in the movement, on the outside looking in, you just see the name on the billboard not he man or his convictions.

    this is leading to all the missunderstanding of the party and it’s Libertarian roots and that is why you see the left attack adds asking “why the contradictions”. The one’s that contradict the philosophy are more then likely Far Right wolves in sheeps clothing.

    IMO, the Tea Party movement is similar to the Pro MJ movement in that it will take a couple generations for the ‘heart’ of the movement to grow with idealist who understand the true meaning of what it represents, until then the extreemists that have latched on for the votes, because face it, we do lean just shy right of the middle, are going to get the face time in the MSM because they have then most money to get their faces out there.
    It’s a true grass root movement and most of the Libertarian idealist dont have the capital or GOP backing to out flank the OldGuard when it comes to the Idiot Box. Why do you think most of the winners so far have been last minute campains…to maximise the small funds involved.

    To put it bluntly, the original Libertarian Tea Partiers are for legalization, most just cant recognize who they are.

  5. Hey man, Im a tea party member and I support legalizing. I support getting rid of prohibition on all counts of drugs. I just cant vote for a person or people that support a “Universal Health care” or a FEW other of Obama, Ried, and Pelosi’s legislation. I think abortion should be legal up to end of 2nd trimester. I think gay marriage should be legal IN ALL STATES. But I just want to have my guns, I want freedom of speech, freedom to REVOLT if I want (bring up arms for the dee dee dees) and I do think that war is sometimes the only way.

    Although, I am a Conservative, I am not a christian. As a matter of fact, I think I hate God more than I like (I dont understand how raping and killing kids is a “chosen path” or that a God would let something like that happen.)

    If you want change in your marijuana laws, STOP BITCHING, and read this months High Times, or just research one name, Gary Johnson. He is a conservative, just not a far right one. We need a new classification for a party, limp wristed conservative <-might be taken?

    Gary Johnson for President 2012!
    Impeach Obama, he lied. He said Decriminalization at minimum. That is lying to get votes. Votes that probably won him the House.

  6. The Marijuana Reform Movement IS the grassroots base
    that got President Obama elected.

    And he scoffs at us. And he won’t be laughing when ALL
    Marijuana advocates/consumers refuse to vote for him.

    I say we give Obama an ultimatum. Gather signatures in protest and hand a petition to them at the White House.

    Either support reform as part of his 2012 campaign, or he
    can forget about running a second term.

    We can do it. Over 100 million people smoke Marijuana in
    this country. WE ARE A FORCE..

    If we’d ONLY… get off the effen couch…

  7. Holy Smokes. Get the Federal Government out of my life. Give me Liberty. Don’t Tread on Me.

    Universal Life Church of the Holy Smokes.

  8. Gary Johnson keeps avoiding the topic of the presidency, saying
    that he basically has no plans to run for president.

    We know that Gary Johnson isn’t supporting reform for his health.

    It’s a political strategy. He is using the momentum from the Marijuana Reform movement to build the very political base
    of grassroots supporters that would be needed to elect him
    as our President in 2012.

    There is no doubt in my mind that HE WILL run for President.

    And I will be voting for him. As a proud New Mexican I must
    say that Mr. Johnson has done our great state a proud service.

    Viva La Johnson 2012!

  9. # 9 I voted fr gary when he won governership in NM. It was the only other time I voted in my life other than this past election where I voted for Obama. ( I have an eye for talent, all my guys win….but I digress)

    Johnson is not ready for prime time this time around. His pro legalization stance is what I want but if I were going to bet, I’d bet pot becomes legal nationwide even before he wins in 2016, and so he will have to run on his record and stance on other issues in 2016. besides, if pot aint legal by 2012, I’ outta this fuckin’ country!

  10. Legalization is an issue that invites strange political bedfellows. The categories of Dem/Repub and liberal/conservative do not necessarily determine position on this issue.

    Miron has written that the Tea Party, if true to its ideals, should absolutely support legalization. Sarah Palin supports defacto decriminalization. Barney Franks to Ron Paul support legalization. Even that crazy Mormon Beck says that we need to throw everybody in jail or legalize–his way of saying that the status quo is unsatisfactory.

    There are only 2 lebels that matter: prohibitionists and anti-prohibitionists.

    Those who remain neutral are on the prohibitionist side by default as they are maintaining and paying through their taxes for the status quo.

    Admittedly hackneyed, I’ll say it anyway: Let’s wait to insult the alligator after we cross the stream. Similarly, we need to invite anyone and everyone into the anti-prohibitionist tent who will join us regardless of party. We need to be promiscuous in jumping in bed with any strange bedfellow that supports the repeal of marijuana prohibition.

  11. any candidate that supports legalization in 2012 will be president. If i was old enough to run for President i’d
    start a massive write in campaign over the internet. i might just do that anyway just start a few years earlier!

  12. @JJ, I to am a conservative and I feel the same way you do. I have voted Republican my whole adult life but I find myself moving towards the Tea Party movement for the same reasons you stated. It should be my choice to smoke if I choose, not the government.

  13. Thanks for the links, Mike.

    Hey, I’m blocked from the NPR site for some reason. Would some civic-minded soul be interested in pasting these voter links into NPR?

    Voter registration for California (deadline: October 18)
    w w w . .
    (just fill out the form and mail it in).

    California request a ballot by mail (deadline: October 26):
    w w w . .

    To vote early (like, Today!) contact your county election official at
    w w w

    Connecticut (deadline: 4:00 p.m. on October 19):
    Voter info at
    Or get the registration form at

    Massachusetts (deadline: October 13, BUT you have to request the form and get it mailed back in by October 13, so don’t delay!):

    Michigan (deadline: October 4):

    Ohio (deadline: Oct 4):

    Oregon (deadline: October 11):

    South Dakota (deadline: Oct. 18):

    Utah(deadlines: by mail, October 2; in-person, October 17):

    Vermont (deadline: Oct 19, but there are some extensions; check the site)

    Students can usually register as a citizen of either your hometown or your college residence town. Share the voter registration info through your student newspaper, twitter, etc.

    Five minutes. Register. Vote. Change the world. We can do it right now.

    Pass it on

  14. What!? Obama lied to get in office?!!? Get outta town I didn’t know a lifelong politician whose never had experience doing anything but campaigning would be capable of such a thing. His stance on reefer reform is one of many things he outright lied about on his way to the WH. And now the story from the WSJ is what I feared would happen all along. Dems are realizing that backing mj reform is a good way to get themselves elected, much like our beloved B. Huesein did. After they get into the office, they will no longer care about anti-prohibition legislation and it will continue to be status quo.
    The end of prohibition is starting to gain significant momentum and now is the time it needs to happen. Vote yes on Prop. 19 if you can, and if you can’t write your representatives and tell them your stance on this issue, if they don’t listen vote them out.

  15. I’m that swing voter all the politicians need. Someone take a chance and back federal legalization. You may just steal my vote.

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