Last week the Republicans held their convention and officially nominated Mitt Romney for president. Tonight the Democratic National Convention will get underway. Similar to the RNC, the Democrats will have many high profile speakers, including former President Bill Clinton who will speak later in the week. We hope the bizarre Clint Eastwood chair incident will teach the Democrats an important lesson and stay on message, engaging the public on the issues that are important. As many issues including the economy, abortion, and foreign policy will be discussed, marijuana reform and the war on drugs are not likely to be mentioned.
On the 2008 campaign trail President Obama took a friendlier tone to medical marijuana than the recent federal raids suggests. In all fairness, we at marijuana.net have called him out on what appears to be a policy shift, or at the very least misleading. However, he does still respect patients and has vowed not to arrest any patients. He has kept that promise. While politics as usual will not be enough for patients and activists, that may be what we have here. Many analysts believe a second Obama term would see a friendlier atmosphere toward medical marijuana. Some even believe he could finally reschedule. Of course no one knows for sure what the president may or may not do.
However, we are pretty certain a Mitt Romney presidency could be disastrous for medical marijuana patients and legalization advocates. Mitt Romney infamously walked away from a wheelchair bound patient who was asking if Romney would arrest him for using medical marijuana. Romney sidestepped the question and never fully answered it. However, in an uncharacteristic move Romney stated his views on marijuana reform very directly in a video we recently uncovered. Addressing a crowd Romney utilized the typical and outdated talking points that marijuana is a gateway drug and that leads to an entrance into “the drug culture”. He went on to say that medical marijuana was an excuse to legalize totally. While many activists believe in legalization, there are many patients out there who rely on medical cannabis. Their quality of life would be severely damaged without it.
The issue may not creep up too much as the candidates will surround themselves in very scripted atmospheres. Unless one of the debate moderators decides raise the issue it is unlikely we will get to hear an exchange between Romney and Obama on the issue. While many have not been thrilled with the president’s approach, patients should be terrified of what Mitt Romney has said. Also in the video we mentioned above, is Romney swearing to fight medical marijuana “tooth and nail”. We have not heard him take a passionate stance on much or even address issues directly so it is surprising that this is the issue Romney would take his stance on.
However, can we even be sure he believes in this anti-marijuana stance, as the elastic politician has successfully secured the GOP nomination while simultaneously flipping his position on almost every relevant social issue. Perhaps marijuana will join abortion, TARP, the auto bailout, government healthcare, the stimulus, Ronald Reagan, global warming, and the many other issues Mitt Romney has altered his view on. The Mitt Romney we watched on television Thursday addressing the attendees of the Republican National Convention looks nothing like (except in hair style and choice of suit) the candidate who ran against Ted Kennedy for the US Senate in 1994, won the Massachusetts governorship in 2002, or even ran against John McCain in the 2008 primaries. The silver lining for patients is that Mitt Romney is never married to his words and clearly reads polls. With 75% of the country supporting medical marijuana, there is a good chance he will abandon an anti-marijuana policy.