'Just Say Now': Left-Right Coalition Launches Campaign To Legalize Pot

By Wanderer · Aug 3, 2010 · ·
  1. Wanderer
    'Just Say Now': Left-Right Coalition Launches Campaign To Legalize Pot

    A transpartisan coalition of prosecutors, judges, cops, students, bloggers and political operatives on both sides of the aisle launched a campaign Tuesday to bring an end to marijuana prohibition, focusing on ballot initiatives in 2010 and 2012. The campaign, "Just Say Now," gets its name from Nancy Reagan's iconic anti-drug slogan from the 1980s that has become synonymous with the government's black-and-white approach to drug policy.

    "The stars are aligning in a very interesting way with Tea Party activists, who are generally libertarian," said Aaron Houston, head of Students for Sensible Drug Policy, on a conference call Tuesday afternoon announcing the formation of the coalition. "On the right and left it's a very popular issue."

    The campaign will be backing marijuana initiatives in 2010 in Arizona, Oregon, California, Colorado and South Dakota. The group will back initiatives in Nevada and elsewhere in 2012.

    Support for marijuana legalization has steadily increased over the past decade. As Mexico has descended into chaos fueled by the drug trade - a business overwhelmingly dominated by marijuana trafficking, despite the common perception that cocaine and heroin drive the war - public opinion has turned further sour against the drug war. With deficit concerns in the headlines and a stagnant economy refusing to create jobs, one time opponents of legalization are eyeing marijuana's tax revenue and job-creation prospects - conditions that helped repeal alcohol prohibition during the Great Depression.

    Marijuana has been part of the national consciousness since the mid-1960s, the first drug other than alcohol to be so thoroughly a part of American culture. Cocaine and heroin rose at the end of the 19th Century but largely went deep underground until the 1970s; use of those harder drugs, meanwhile, has always been confined to smaller portions of the population. Marijuana, meanwhile, has been smoked by scores of millions of Americans, including the last three presidents. Medical marijuana is legal in 14 states and the District of Columbia.

    The organization Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, made up of cops and prosecutors who've seen the dark side of the war on drugs, will give cover to politicians who come out in support of legalization. Its current president is Neill Franklin, a 33-year police veteran and ran anti-narcotics units with the Maryland State Police.

    Its former president was Norm Stamper, former chief of police in Seattle, Washington, the predecessor of current Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske. "Most police office candidates have used marijuana," said Stamper, noting the hypocrisy of the law. He said that law enforcement officials are becoming less frightened of speaking out publicly against the war on drugs.

    Bruce Fein, a member of the coalition, was Ronald Reagan's associate deputy attorney general and is a prominent civil libertarian. "This is a fundamental issue of states' rights," said Fein.

    A lead organizer of the campaign, Jane Hamsher, founder of Firedoglake.com, went on CNN Monday night to challenge existing notions about marijuana prohibition.

    Ryan Grim
    [email protected]
    First Posted: 08- 3-10 01:53 PM
    Updated: 08- 3-10 01:53 PM
    HuffPost Reporting


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  1. stone420
    So does this mean that in 2010 there will be votes in those selected states to end prohibition in those states? And then another group of states in 2012? How, if at all, would this affect the prohibition of marijuana in canada?
  2. Wanderer
    If one watches the video linked to in the original article, they are using legalization of marijuana as a way to attract the "younger voters." The reason is there is a large population of people, and not sure if this is correct, but it's a huge population of potential voters between 18 and 35 who would come to the polls just to vote on this.

    Once they are in the polls, they will then supposedly vote for the candidate of their choice.

    It's really a thinly veiled get out the vote scheme.
  3. stone420
    ok i see
    so they are going to allow a drug legalization poll to go up just to attract young voters? This seems foolish but does have potential to work. According to the video there is a lot of opposition on the matter. But u could only expect that when were talkin illegal drug legalizing. It also makes no sence how they think this will fight Mexican drug cartels, since they could just set up in California and run even farther north. Also, they would just start selling it cheaper than what it would be if it was legalized and sold in licensed stores, just the same as illegal tobacco and alcohol. This really would not help fight cartels at all.
  4. jerseyshore38
    I'm just curious stone420, whether you live in Canada or America. You say that the cartels would usurp customers from legal weed sources by undercutting their prices to make illegal weed more attractable than store-bought stuff. However, this just sounds a little unlikely. I asked you if you live in Canada simply because you brought up the issue of illegal tobacco and alcohol. If you're saying look at how rampant illegally sold tobacco and alcohol are, clearly the same will happen with weed, you must be from another country. As far as America is concerned, there is nearly no black market at all for illegal tobacco and alcohol. Perhaps I misunderstood you?

    Additionally, there is no way cartels could undermine legitimate sources of marijuana should it become legalized. Consider medicinal marijuana for a second; the quality of medical weed far surpasses that of mid-quality weed brought in by Mexican cartels. Were weed to be legalized, it would be put under rigorous inspection as it is intended for human consumption. Thus, legalization would create a market for weed with such quality and "purity" (if you will) that no cartel could hope to match it.

    Also, trying to lower prices to below those found in store-bought marijuana would just make the whole process economically infeasible. Marijuana would, essentially, cease to become such a huge cash crop, at least in the illegal sense. If i completely misunderstood what you said, I'm sorry.
  5. stone420
    I do live in Canada yes. Its ok that u mightve misunderstood me, maybe i didnt make it clear enough. There is a black market here for illegal tobacco and alcohol here so thats why i thought it would be the same elsewhere. For example, on the news a while ago it said that 68% of the cigarette butts outside of a government building in Ottawa were illegal tobacco butts. That is really quite shocking.
    That is a very good point though about quality, i never thought of that. So the probability of the cartels trafficking pot that is cheaper than store bought dope is unlikely then, but it wouldnt stop the cartels from setting up in areas where it is legal and then taking it across borders and movng even farther up the country.
  6. day_sleeper
    People need to be very wary if this is to attract younger voters. It may be as happened in the uk after reclassification the 'government' will just find a way to reverse the rule after they got the votes!
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