Pubdate: Mon, 14 Jul 2014
Source: News-Item, The (PA)
Copyright: 2014 The News Item
Author: Rob Hotakainen, McClatchy Washington Bureau


WASHINGTON- In the topsy-turvy world of marijuana politics,
conservative Republican Rep. Doc Hastings of Washington state is the
unlikely hero of the moment, lauded for trying to protect medical pot
users from federal arrest.

In Florida, liberal Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz is
portrayed as the unlikely villain, a politician willing to send sick
marijuana-using patients to prison.

Both found themselves in television advertisements that ran in their
home states last month, part of a new trend in the increasingly hot
pot wars.

While marijuana lobbyists once were content to play nice in their
media messaging, the new ads reflect a confrontational style aimed at
exposing records and getting elected leaders to board the pot
legalization bandwagon-or at least get out of the

The ads are tougher and more visceral, often featuring pleas from ill
people who want to use marijuana legally. They portend a new strategy
that promises to be on display in the upcoming congressional elections
and the 2016 presidential race, when pot might emerge as a sleeper

Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton is already under pressure to
side with her husband, former President Bill Clinton, who recently
reversed course by saying states should be allowed to legalize without
federal interference.

"He's testing the waters for her, and he's smart to do that.... I'm
begging her people to get her to say something," said Adam Eidinger,
the chairman of the D.C. Cannabis Campaign, which has turned in 55,000
signatures to get legalization on the November ballot in Washington,

With Washington state and Colorado already selling recreational pot
and 23 states allowing the drug for medical reasons, Eidinger warned
that politicians who ignore the issue do so at their own risk. He said
it was "unbelievable" that Hillary Clinton's new book didn't mention
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