• Marijuana and the Democratic National Convention

    by  • September 4, 2012 • Blog

    Democrats, and political observers of all persuasions, will see a Yes on 64 campaign ad during the Democratic National Convention.

    Despite being ignored and trivialized by both Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama, marijuana law reform will not be ignored during this year’s Democratic National Convention.  In spite of the deafening silence from the two major presidential candidates, marijuana will be an issue during this year’s general election campaign as marijuana legalization will be on the ballot in Washington, Oregon and the crucial swing-state of Colorado while medical marijuana measures will be placed before the voters in Massachusetts, Arkansas and Montana.

    Colorado activists, hoping to regulate marijuana like alcohol, will air a campaign ad for Amendment 64 during the Democratic National Convention.  Recent polls demonstrate that Colorado voters support ending cannabis prohibition and may very well be poised to end the failed policy this November.  Concentrating on the common-sense notion that cannabis is safer than alcohol, the Yes on 64 ad, “It’s Time” starts with President Obama’s famous “Beer Summit.”  The ad:

    By utilizing Harold & Kumar, is President Obama signaling that his marijuana policy is “evolving”? Or is he just blowing more smoke?

    President Obama, on the other hand, appears to be hoping to solidify his young base, that overwhelmingly supports ending cannabis prohibition, by utilizing John Cho and Kal Penn in promoting DNC coverage.  Cho and Penn star in the Harold & Kumar movie series, popular with the cannabis community.  Unfortunately, for President Obama, cannabis law activists are not pleased with the President courting the cannabis community while waging a federal war against medical cannabis that exceeds the scope of his predecessor , George W. Bush. Hopefully, the use of Harold and Kumar signifies that President Obama will evolve on marijuana policy if he gets a second term, but cannabis reform activists certainly aren’t holding their collective breath.

    Tom Angell, media relations director for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) was quoted by the Denver Westword Blog voicing his displeasure with President Obama’s marijuana policy and his use of Cho and Penn,  “Under Obama’s marijuana policies, Harold and Kumar could easily be two of the 850,000 marijuana arrests that happen in this country every year. See also: young Barry Obama during his Choom Gang days. If the rampant marijuana arrest policies that Obama’s federal grant programs now fund had gotten to them at some point, it’s pretty safe to assume they wouldn’t be going to Charlotte to witness any balloon drops this week.”

    The President’s DNC promo featuring Harold & Kumar:

    Whether marijuana continues to be trivialized by the two mainstream candidates, it is clear that cannabis law reform is a serious political issue that will not go away. Sooner or later, or national policy leaders will be forced to tackle the issue as activists and voters at the local and state level will always ensure that cannabis law reform remains at the forefront of every election cycle until the failed policy of prohibition is finally repealed.



    Anthony Johnson is the executive director of the National Cannabis Coalition and our parent division, the American Victory Coalition. He also serves as a Board Member of Show-Me Cannabis Regulation, an organization working to end cannabis prohibition in Missouri. As President of the University of Missouri Law School ACLU Chapter, Anthony co-authored the measures that legalized medical cannabis possession and decriminalized personal possession for all adults within the city limits of Columbia, Missouri, in 2004. Following law school, Anthony practiced criminal defense for two years before working full time in the political field to help improve and protect civil liberties. You can follow Anthony on Twitter and also friend him on Facebook by following the links below as he posts mostly about civil liberties and politics with dashes of sports, music, movies and whatnot.


    Twitter Facebook