Pubdate: Mon, 16 Apr 2012
Source: Daily Bruin (UCLA, CA Edu)
Column: In the know
Copyright: 2012, ASUCLA Student Media
Author: Rohan Viswanathan


More than a year ago, Proposition 19 failed at the polls. If passed, 
it would have decriminalized marijuana and allowed the government to 
regulate and penalize marijuana use and distribution in an effort to 
generate additional revenue for the state government.

With a general election period approaching this November, it seems 
reasonable that California lobbyists will look to the federal 
government for support in order to decriminalize marijuana nationwide 
and raise internal revenue.

Small groups have also sprung up throughout the United States, 
primarily in California, advocating for marijuana legalization. One 
of the most prominent groups and the state's largest medical group, 
the California Medical Association, has also endorsed the 
legalization of marijuana.

But if a proposition like this is drawn up, once thing is certain: 
President Barack Obama will not support it.

In a press conference in Colombia on Saturday, Obama said he would 
engage in a debate regarding legalizing drugs, but elaborated that 
his administration will not support any bill to legalize them.

Obama's recent comments mark a significant shift from his 2008 stance 
when he said steps should be taken to reform and legalize drugs. 
However, after four years in office and with re-elections 
approaching, his stance has been altered.

California lobbyists endorsing the legalization of marijuana or other 
drugs can try to create a new proposition to be voted on once again 
this November, but it will most likely suffer the same fate as Proposition 19.

The biggest ally for legalizing drugs would be Washington itself, and 
with Obama's anti-marijuana legalization stance firm, California 
voters may see this as a reason to reconsider their support for Obama 
in the upcoming election.

Obama's firm denouncement of legalizing drugs and his departure from 
his original stance has highlighted an area of complication for his 
campaign during this election year.

If voters feel Obama's changing stance on drug legalization is any 
indication of his stances on other issues, he may face opposition 
once his re-election campaign commences.

Potential third party candidates such as Ron Paul and Gary Johnson 
have voiced their support concerning the legalization of marijuana, 
and have clearly made it known that if they are elected, they will 
take measures to legalize the drug nationwide. The support for these 
third party candidates may possibly take away necessary votes from Obama.

Though Obama may continue his agenda of anti-drug efforts in order to 
lower the trafficking rates, he may soon run out of time if these 
lobbyists garner the support of another presidential hopeful.

This may be the time for candidates to carefully structure their 
campaigns and evaluate every issue, the least of which will be the 
lingering question of marijuana legalization.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom