January 24, 2014

Week in Review: Avalanche of Support for Marijuana From Obama, High-Profile Politicians

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By Chris Walsh

If the cannabis business hadn’t already crossed into the realm of legitimacy, a good case can be made that it has now.

Four prominent political figures across the country publicly supported some aspects of the marijuana industry over the past week. The list includes President Barack Obama, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

Here’s why this is significant:

a) It’s now completely acceptable for politicians from both parties to publicly support cannabis or drug reform in general.

b) Elected leaders are starting to finally acknowledge their constituents, who overwhelmingly favor medical marijuana legalization and are increasingly supporting recreational cannabis as well.

c) It will encourage other lawmakers and high-ranking officials to consider marijuana legislation – both medical and recreational – which could generate more support for legalization bills.

d) It puts political pressure on the federal government to reform its cannabis laws.

rechandbookhorizontal300 Week in Review: Avalanche of Support for Marijuana From Obama, High Profile Politicians Additionally, the fact that three Republican governors – who all happen to be in the conversation for the GOP presidential nomination – came out the very same week in support of drug policy change shows just how important marijuana has become in the national discourse.

Here’s a recap of the remarks made this week:

- In an interview published Sunday, Obama said that allowing Colorado and Washington to move forward with their recreational marijuana programs is “important,” adding that he believes cannabis is no more dangerous than alcohol. While Obama stressed that legalization in the two states will be difficult, it’s particularly notable that the commander in chief of the country made such favorable remarks about cannabis.

- On Tuesday, Christie – who hasn’t exactly helped foster New Jersey’s medical marijuana program in the past – said he will work to “end the failed war on drugs.” He didn’t specifically mention marijuana, but his comments could indicate he is in favor of decriminalization (which might then lead to legalization). One observer called his remarks “revolutionary stuff,” while drug reform advocates said it’s a promising step in the right direction.

- On Wednesday, Jindal said he would support the legalization of medical marijuana in Louisiana as long as distribution is tightly regulated and supervised. He’s now one of the most high-profile elected officials in the South – long a bastion of anti-MMJ sentiment – to publicly back the idea of medical marijuana.

- On Thursday, Perry said he thinks states should be allowed to decide whether they want to legalize cannabis. He then insinuated that, as governor of Texas, he has worked to implement “policies that start us toward decriminalization” and keep people from going to prison.

These comments come a week after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat representing Nevada, voiced his support for medical marijuana legalization.

Yes, these are politicians. What they say publicly is not always what they actually believe, or what their policies reflect. So it’s best to take some of this with a grain of salt.

But each of these elected officials decided it was worth the risk to address this controversial subject.

That in itself is a sign of how mainstream marijuana has become. At this rate, cannabis could even help tip the scales in the 2016 election.

Chris Walsh is editor of Marijuana Business Daily


10 Comments:

  1. It’s great to hear. Even if it does sound like the villagers accepting their low lying fate, as the dutch boy has already taken his finger from the hole in the dam and there is no stopping the crushing force of these flood waters. This is impacting the global economy on the daily now, and we thank you Mr. Walsh for your continued dedication.

  2. seeing a LOT of these “takes”. VERY promising! Living in the Chicago area, I came across this one as well… Similar to yours, but also different.

  3. Most of us anticipate the end of Marijuana as a Schedule 1 Controlled substance, but we need to frame the discussion as to how marijuana will be regulated in the future. I don’t think there is any appropriate place in the Controlled Substance schedule for cannabis.

    As such we should advocate cannabis be completely removed from the schedule and let the states regulate as they do alcohol.

  4. I was just wondering if anyone else noticed that the 2 teams going to the major sporting event “The Super Bowl” are from the only 2 states that have legalized marijuana laws. Colorado’s Denver Broncos and Washington’s Seattle Seahawks? HMMMMMMM. Just saying.

  5. Great article!
    Yes the “Bud Bowl” has been noticed by us in Ky as well. lol!!
    GO GO end of prohibition!!

  6. The Bud Bowl! I love it and I had just smoked a bowl right before I saw your comment. And to quote Jon Stewart I believe said it. Everythings better on weed,man.GO GO end of prohibition!!And the feds getting on board with Washington and my state of Colorado on making it legal in all the states. Make us truely united on weed and country. USA

  7. Cannabis aka marijuana , hemp etc is the most useful plant on the planet. Food, clothing, shelter, medicine, insight. Henry Ford even built a car out of it. The people have awakened to all the laws spread by the prohibitionist.

  8. the only way we can keep all the new businesses competitive is to preserve the right of mm patients to produce their own free of the “Best government money can buy” interferences and big money monopolies.

  9. When the President is in favor of Marijuana use and cannabis use, can anyone do anything otherwise? Legalization of marijuana is only a matter of time (whether I like it or not is completely a different question)

  10. How hard will it be to open a dispensary after the law legalizes weed here in California? (November 2014)
    I am looking to change my career and have had 2 store fronts previously.
    I am also a patient for the last 3 years

    Any info to help me?

    Thanks, Holli

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Comments are moderated by our editors who do their best to approve comments ASAP. As Marijuana Business Daily is focused on business, we approve comments that are specifically relevant to industry professionals. General opinions and questions about cannabis may not be posted.

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