Three Reasons Why Obama May Carry Colorado
President Obama has mostly called off the dogs on marijuana users, but stays clear of endorsing legalization.
Next week, an amendment to legalize marijuana in Colorado may help him anyway. Washington state also will vote on decriminalizing it.
It is hard to imagine what impact that could have, although it might take awhile. Sociologist-criminologists like Edwin Schur, in Crimes Without Victims, have been arguing since the mid-1960s that labeling things a crime tends to make people believe it should be illegal. He applied labeling to homosexuality and abortion as well.
The Colorado vote could mean it will play an important role in determining who wins the presidential election, whether it passes as expected or not. It has a small lead in polls.
It is reasonable to assume it will get younger voters to cast ballots.
That’s not necessarily to say go to the polls, because many people will be voting by mail this year, and thousands already have. Being able to truly vote in secret, like downloading a sexy book on a Kindle, may help it pass.
Twelve years ago Coloradans voted to permit the sale of medical marijuana. Not much happened in the first few years because it remained, and still does remain, illegal.
Then it took off in California, and now it has in Colorado.
There are more medical marijuana dispensaries in Denver than Starbucks. The district attorney in the nearby university city of Boulder won’t even prosecute those caught with small amounts because juries won’t convict them.
That hasn’t stopped most other state and local officials, including Gov. John Hickenlooper, from trying to thwart the people’s will. Judges have prevented them from shutting most of the dispensaries down.
A Huffington Post poll this week found 59 percent of Americans approve of legalizing marijuana. A marijuana advocacy group has asked a federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., to stop the government listing it as a dangerous drug.
The state also is susceptible to wildfires - Obama visited this year during the worst blazes - and other disasters. Gov. Romney’s promise to shutdown FEMA may strike some here as strange.