October 12, 2015—The fight over the presidency could benefit marijuana law reformers, and Rand Paul has a lot to gain from this trend, says Paul Armentano, the deputy director of the marijuana-advocacy group NORML.
While data doesn’t demonstrate that the imposition of marijuana-specific ballot initiatives is directly linked to a higher turnout of young voters, candidates who back a less harsh approach to marijuana-related laws could end up bringing a greater number of voters to their side in 2016.
According to ATTN’s own report, Rand Paul is the only Republican candidate who’s been active in making the case for marijuana law reform. To Armentano, a more anti-drug war approach could benefit more candidates greatly.
“Too many politicians in both parties continue to deny the reality that public and scientific opinion are in direct conflict with federal marijuana policy, … In the 2016 presidential race, it is inherent that the candidates from both political parties recognize that advocating for marijuana law reform is a political opportunity, not a political liability.”
Currently, half of the country supports legalizing recreational marijuana. With states ignoring the federal authority by passing their own marijuana laws, the subject appears to be a hot topic for candidates who are serious about reaching out to common Americans. To Armentano, no “candidate would be harmed by a true, very bold public embrace of medical marijuana.”
During the last GOP Convention in California, the Republican Liberty Caucus of California along with the Los Angeles chapter put together a “California & Cannabis” panel, bringing some experts in the field to discuss marijuana policy in the Golden State.
During the event, the president of Coalition to Reduce Spending, Jonathan Bydlak, talked about how Republican candidates seem to be finally admitting that the war on drugs is a failure.
According to Paul Armentano, supporting marijuana law reform is a winning cause and candidates would be crazy not to see the opportunity.
“The 2016 Presidential hopefuls ought to be more concerned with positioning themselves to be on the right side of history than on trying to appease a vocal minority that is woefully out of touch with both changing public and scientific opinion.”
If his predictions are correct, candidates like Paul have a lot to gain by simply being more vocal about the negative and unintended consequences of the drug war.
Do you believe more candidates should follow the lead by pushing legalization as part of their agenda for 2016? Share your thoughts below!
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