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  1. Balzafire
    Fist-clenching Tea Party activists would not seem natural allies of laid-back, tie-dyed hippies. But if California's voters approve a ballot proposition decriminalizing marijuana, then small-government advocates may find common cause with Cheech and Chong.

    The Obama administration has vowed to "vigorously enforce" federal drug laws in California regardless of the California vote. That would set up precisely the sort of state-versus-federal showdown that Tea Party activists seem eager to fight.

    Indeed, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli has become a Tea Party favorite in large part because of his lawsuit contending that a Virginia law exempts residents of the commonwealth from Obamacare's individual mandate. What's more, many Tea Party activists favor a constitutional amendment that would allow two-thirds of the states to nullify federal mandates.

    The Tea Party movement runs parallel to the Republican Party, which traditionally has taken a very firm law-and-order, just-say-no approach to the drug question. But the Tea Party movement also has a strong libertarian streak, and its live-and-let-live approach to issues of personal morality troubles social and religious conservatives who think government should manage people's private lives.

    For that matter, several of conservatism's patron saints -- from Milton Friedman to William F. Buckley -- took a more laissez-faire approach to marijuana than some right-wing drug warriors would like. What's more, knee-jerk opposition to anything President Obama does may soften the right's disdain for the pot culture.

    If the California measure passes and the administration declares open season on head shops, then states'-rights federalists and free-market libertarians might jump into the trenches alongside Grateful Dead groupies, Rastafarians, and hippie holdovers. It's said that politics makes strange bedfellows. Drug policy, it seems, might make even stranger ones.

    By Staff Reports
    October 29, 2010


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