Pot & Politics: An Edge for Obama?
Will President Obama benefit if marijuana legalization drives young voters to the polls? The Atlantic’s Elspeth Reeve makes the case for why this approach may work. Not only did more young people smoke pot versus cigarettes in 2011, but marijuana initiatives are working their way onto the ballots of key swing states this year.
Colorado, which has approved medical marijuana use since 2000, has a new amendment that will allow adults to possess up to an ounce of marijuana or six plants.
In Ohio, marijuana supporters are collecting the signatures required to place two amendments on the ballot which will allow for medical marijuana.
Michigan has a municipal measure in Detroit that will allow adults ages 21 and up to possess less than an ounce of marijuana on private property. If passed, a marijuana amendment could be on the state ballot in November.
Despite these movements, marijuana charges still carry harsh penalties. College students, for example, can face expulsion or lose a scholarship if caught smoking pot. Which makes me believe that America isn’t relaxed enough about marijuana usage to make this a smart issue for Obama to stand behind.
Reeve also neglects to question whether marijuana legalization may turn off voters. While Obama is “down” with the young voters, a strong whiff of marijuana could make Obama just a little too hip for the older demographic.
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