With two weeks to go until the presidential election, it is no surprise that the race is dominating the news cycle. Other topics have been anxiously awaiting their turn in the limelight but have taken a backseat as the media has left little room for other news. Surprisingly, medical marijuana was able to make it to one of the rare free time slots on major prime time network news.
Last night 60 minutes described what is being called the “Colorado Green Rush”. The coverage highlighted several key areas of the marijuana reform movement. For one, the enormous tax dollars that can be collected score big points with even those who are not passionate about reforming marijuana laws. Additionally, 60 minutes highlighted another key area that shows a cultural shift. Medical marijuana dispensaries in Colorado outnumber McDonalds and Starbucks combined. This is why federal intervention is becoming more difficult as 60 minutes suggested. The will of the people is becoming clear and Colorado residents are increasingly supporting marijuana reform. Colorado has a high number of independent voters who are not keen on federal bullying.
While some of this may be familiar to patients, activists, and those in the industry, national prime time stories regarding medical marijuana help the issue to reach people who are not as familiar with the medical marijuana movement. Social media and the internet may cover this topic daily, but the mainstream news is only finally realizing the social and economic impact of the “green rush”. Additionally, while perhaps not perfect, the reporting does seem to shifting toward more fair and open minded coverage. There is less snickering and scare tactics in most mainstream news coverage of marijuana reform. A second Obama term or a Romney presidency will almost certainly have to deal with medical marijuana, so even more major news coverage is to be expected after the November election.
Many of the political pundits have called the upcoming vote as a “pocketbook election” as the state of the economy is still the number one issue on voter’s minds. If that is the case then it may only be a matter of time and awareness before the American people decide against marijuana incarcerations and leaving tax dollars on the table. Inevitably we seem to be moving towards “pocketbook green laws”.