Friday, February 11, 2011

Marijuana prohibition is comming to an end: the Liberals need a Plan

Proposition 19 failed, but the issue will likely be revisited in 2012 and this time it will likely pass. Voter turn for mid term elections is always significantly less than when the presidency is up for grabs. For proposition 19 to have stood any chance of winning Democrats, and the young needed to be energized. They were not and stayed away in droves. Even with everything stacked against them, though, the yes campaign still garnered 46% of vote.

Legal production of marijuana in California will make the legislation of marijuana elsewhere in the US all but inevitable and extension in Canada as well. Obama is not going to go to war with California in order to maintain a federal prohibition. Indeed, it was Obama that set the wheels of legalization in motion by declaring that he would not crack down on medical marijuana. For you see, unlike in Canada, in California, for example, one does not have to be afflicted with a particular aliment to be eligible for medical marijuana. A doctor can proscribe marijuana for whatever they see fit. Needless to say, such a system is ripe for abuse and the Bush administration was right to see medical marijuana program as a potential Trojan horse. But Obama let wooden horse to be wheeled into California and other States anyway. In so doing, Obama has allowed the medical marijuana industry in California and elsewhere to grow to the point there is no saving prohibition for Odysseus. There are more medical marijuana dispensaries in LA than Starbucks.

The Liberals need to come up with a plan. Canada needs to come up with a plan. The loss of the billion dollar industry, albeit an illegal industry is going to have an impact.

The natural response, indeed, the only response, is to beat the Americans to the punch. Far from being political poison, political legalization has a lot of upside for the Liberals. It would drive a wedge between libertarians and Theo cons. It would appeal to people who would otherwise would not vote -- most notably young Canadians. It would be popular in the very provinces and regions that the Liberals actually have a chance of making headway, e.g., urban Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec. It would garner a lot of positive international exposure. It would leave the Conservatives defending discredited Reefer Madness arguments. Above all else, the lynch pin in the opponents arguments, viz. that the US will not stand for it, is quickly be worn away.

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