With the second presidential debate tonight, it’s fair to ask why neither candidate will meaningfully address marijuana policy.
It’s not because of lack of public interest. Last January, when YouTube asked viewer’s to submit questions for President Obama, the most popular questions concerned marijuana policy.
At a time of budget deficits, the cost of arresting, prosecuting and incarcerating defendants in marijuana cases is ripe for debate.
The tens of thousands of young people who wind up with a criminal record for marijuana have an impact on their ability finish school and find employment – and unemployment is this year’s hot button issue.
Marijuana is a foreign policy issue as well. Our neighbors in Mexico and South America are tired for fighting America’s war against marijuana. The profits from the U.S. marijuana market feed the violent drug cartels. Sure the drug gangs would still have cocaine and heroin, but knocking 40% off any organizations’ income would be a real blow.
Republicans preach state’s rights on issues like abortion, health care, education and the environment.
Three states have ballot initiative to legalize marijuana – Washington State, Oregon and Colorado – with two likely to pass. Why are the state rights supporters silent on marijuana ballot initiatives?
So far, for the mainstream candidates, real discussions about the decriminalization marijuana are taboo.
I am sure that the pollsters have told Obama and Romney (and anyone else hoping to be elected) that the time is not right to come out in favor of decriminalization – even if they believed that the idea made sense.
Like admitting to atheism, coming out in favor of legalization of pot, is political taboo. Whatever their inner thoughts might be, it’s not something any mainstream candidate is ready to admit.