Washington, DC (TFC) – The GOP is not known for brilliant campaigning. In 2012 they nominated a man for president who was so boring, he made watching paint dry as exciting as The Final Four. That same idiocy is on display thanks to recent comments made by official or presumed presidential candidates regarding cannabis.
In an interview with Hugh Hewitt, possible GOP nominee John Kasich related cannabis to heroin by calling the drugs, “a scourge in this country.” Kasich also voiced his opposition to Colorado and Washington legalizing cannabis. His view on cannabis goes against a demographic his party should be going after if they expect to take the Whitehouse.
According to a recent Pew Research poll, 68% of Americans between the ages of 18 and 34 want marijuana to be legal. In 2012, Barack Obama received 67% of the votes from people in the same age bracket. Young people could lead the country as Republicans if they vote for the GOP, yet the current crop of presidential hopefuls are ruining a great opportunity to get elected.
Chris Christie, who has destroyed any chance of one day becoming president, took an extreme stand against state’s rights. On the same show where Kasich made his ill-informed comments, Christie said, “Marijuana is a gateway drug. – we need to send very clear leadership from the White House on down through the federal law enforcement. Marijuana is an illegal drug under federal law. And the states should not be permitted to sell it and profit from it.”
The belief that marijuana is a gateway drug is a lie spread constantly by prohibitionists. Even the federal government says, “most people who use marijuana do not go on to use other, “harder” substances.” They cite a person’s social environment and meeting people who take hard drugs as factors in abusing hard drugs. Christie’s ignorance towards cannabis is a losing game Republicans like him are playing, and if they continue down the road of stupidity they won’t get elected.
Even young people in the Republican Party have started to recognize current cannabis laws need to be changed. In a different Pew Research poll, 63% of Republican millennials support marijuana legalization. These people are the future leaders of the country, and getting them to vote for your party is key to winning future elections.
In Texas, a number of bills have been introduced to legalize, or decriminalize recreational and medical cannabis. One group, Texas Young Republicans, voted to support decriminalization in the state, by a rate of over 75%. Speaking to the Dallas Morning News, policy director of the Texas Young Republicans, Brian Bodine spoke of the “different reasons,” members of the organization support decriminalization; including, “personal liberty and responsibility,” but Bodine made one point all Republicans should pay attention to. According to Bodine, “-there are some that want to see the incarceration rate go down, there are some that want to save money, and then use that money for other law enforcement purposes.”
Currently, more than half of all prisoners in federal jails are incarcerated on drug offenses, the majority of those are there for marijuana. The number of prisoners has increased nearly 790% since 1980. In the 2011 fiscal year it cost more than $28,000 to jail each inmate in federal prison.
The War on Drugs started by Nixon and amped up by Reagan; two Republican presidents have contributed to the country’s massive debt, and the loss of millions of lives through drug war violence, or the permanent poverty caused by current drug laws that prevent economic opportunities for Americans who at one point in their lives, had a bag of weed in their pocket. Those people could be working, paying taxes, and contributing to the economy. The money used on the drug war could be used for education, housing, or the rebuilding of America’s broken infrastructure, but Christie, Rubio, and Kasich believe federal money should be continuously wasted on a drug war that has never worked, and won’t ever work.
The GOP claims to be a party of state’s rights and individual liberty. In the 2012 election cycle the party bemoaned Obamacare for stripping Americans the right to chose their healthcare, but then and now, the party is showing massive hypocrisy when it comes to cannabis. They are telling Americans their liberty is negotiable. They are saying they will fight for the freedom to choose their healthcare plan, but when it comes to what medicine they can use to treat their ailments or diseases, Americans will be threatened with jail.
Rubio threw his dunce cap into the ring by claiming states should not be allowed to write federal law. Colorado and Washington did not do that; they learned marijuana criminalization has failed all over the country and decided to end the madness. Rubio also went to the same tired excuse by saying, “I don’t believe we should be in the business of legalizing additional intoxicants in this country,” which of course is the antithesis of liberty. If Rubio truly believes in it he should know the government has no right to dictate what intoxicants are good, which ones are bad, and what drugs a person should be putting into their bodies. The more informed know cannabis has not killed a single person in recorded history while pharmaceuticals, tobacco, and alcohol kill thousands each year.
The GOP is full of stubborn idealogues who are too stupid to know they have a huge demographic problem. Women refuse to vote for them, so do minorities and young people, and when it comes to the issues of importance for those voters, the Republican Party is completely out of touch with Americans. Marijuana legalization is one of the most passionate causes for the young people the party should be appealing to, and by making ridiculous comments about cannabis, whatever fool they nominate is sure to lose.