This week did not provide medical marijuana patients with the news they were hoping for. Mitt Romney picked up precious delegates in the Republican primaries and has all but assured his position in general election. Unfortunately for patients, this means that the two main candidates campaigning for president of the United States do not seem willing to discuss sensible marijuana reform. Advocates and patients were also disappointed to learn that the iconic Oaksterdam University was raided by federal agents.
Marijuana advocates have always had to assume a glass half full position and as always, there were some developments to rise out of the ashes of disheartening news. On Tuesday Mitt Romney won the primaries in Wisconsin, Washington D.C. and Maryland. The victories separate him from the rest of the pack and has produced an almost insurmountable lead for the former Massachusetts Governor. Unless a political catastrophe occurs for team Romney, his lead in the delegate count (658 to Santorum’s 281), 1,144 needed in total) should be enough to secure the nomination. The election is now likely to shift from Republican infighting to the inevitable battle between President Barack Obama and former Governor Mitt Romney.
Unfortunately for medical marijuana patients these are two candidates who do not appear ready to address the issue of reform with the American public. President Obama has sidestepped the issue several times over the past few months and Mitt Romney has repeatedly made it clear that he does not support medical marijuana. The good news is that another major political figure has reignited the issue of medical marijuana. Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson appeared on “The Colbert Report” earlier this week and was more than willing to engage in many social issues such as gay marriage and marijuana legalization. Johnson may not have a particularly great chance at capturing the presidency, but he may offer a third party option that can generate more excitement than we have seen in recent years. Any exposure the former New Mexico governor gets could put pressure on both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney to explain why they are not supportive of compassionate relief.
Another blow to the medical marijuana community came in the form of a federal raid of Oaksterdam. Federal authorities have not disclosed the exact reasons as to why they raided the university. Reports do indicate that the IRS was involved, so the potential for profiting or tax issues could have caused the raid. The university was set up to try and help legitimize marijuana and to promote education and safety. There is still hope for a future University as supporters have vowed to reopen “The Princeton of Pot.” Supporters also suggested the federal government would be better off allocating resources toward the horrific shooting on the Oikos University campus.
The medical marijuana community has endured much more than a raid and presidential candidates ignoring them. Many are forced to illegally acquire medicine and deal with the risk of being arrested if they seek relief. The resiliency that the community has shown for decades is not easily shaken and will certainly not be deterred by stubborn political candidates or a building being closed. Education is more than lectures in a brick and mortar building, and it cannot be suppressed.