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A key reason that Marijuana legalization passed in WA State was the support of communities of minorities, such as LGBTs, Hispanics and African Americans.   These communities are sick of police discrimination, sick of ruined lives due to being arrested for normal behavior.

As Jon Stewart points out “We (waste) spend $8 billion a year, and we lock up only minorities for marijuana usage”.  (And kick kids out of college into prison.)

There are many wrongs in society that are complicated to solve, and that we can’t easily change via ballot initiatives.    The difference is that the wrong of illegal pot is a wrong that fixing LOWERS THE DEFICIT TWO WAYS, by causing us to both waste less in prison spending AND collect much more in tax revenue.  

(And gives the police more time to stop real crime, which, yes, saves society even more money.  So, there are no money arguments against this civil rights issue.)
  More below on the Four Corners of the US strategy.

States are competitive when it comes to tax revenue.
A few more states legalize, and all states will legalize.

Let’s use the initiative and referendum process to redress the ancient wrong foisted on us by the racist Republicans who outlawed cannabis, and gave it a (supposedly sinister) Spanish name of marijuana, in an intentionally racist gesture.

There’s a huge benefit for liberals (besides the civil rights issues):

We get young people to vote, and they remember who the good side is – us.

And let’s remember President Obama’s “Fierce urgency of NOW”.  

 Look, the same party doesn’t often win 3 elections in a row, and instead of Obama the former/future stoner, we could have a Puritan Repub in the White House in 2017.    We need to start now, and force the politicians’ hands.  Yes, force Barack's hands to cement our majority for a generation.

Note how fast WA governor-elect Jay Inslee went from opposing the WA ballot initiative to promising to be “assertive” with the Feds in respecting the will of the people of WA.  One day!

History tells us in the 1920s and 30s, eleven states voted and told the Federal government “We will no longer enforce booze prohibition in our state, we want to use scarce police resources elsewhere”.    In fact, New York repealed Prohibition only 4 years after it started.     There is precedent in the state actions by Washington State and Colorado.  

In fact, state-by-state repeal is our best  only chance.   (You don’t think Boehner is going to upset his paymasters in Big Tobacco and Big Merlot drug lobbies by introducing a Legal Weed bill, calling it H.R. 420?)

Looking for ideas and input on the next states that we should target.

Suggest we use a Four Corners of the US strategy starting in 2013 and 2014 elections.

Will confess right now that I don’t know the ins and outs of getting onto the ballot in all states.    But we need to do it.

If we get just two or three more states to legalize, the rest will follow over time, or else lose their tourism dollars, conventions and tax revenue to more progressive states.

States we can target:
Florida – Amend the FL constitution.    No question that the majority of Floridians have used pot, and would vote for it.   As a major agricultural state, Florida can’t afford to get behind.   Presidents can’t ignore this state.

Ohio – trending our way, we could cement our gains and win the governorship back in 2014 with legal pot on the ballot.   Also large ag state.   Swingingest state, if it passes here, no Presidential candidate can ignore it.

Illinois – President’s home state – and a Heartland state full of heavy metal loving weed users.   Would pass easily.     Hard to ignore biggest state in Midwest, with lots of farmland.

Massachusetts – Just voted in favor of weed, would do so again.

Maryland – Trending the right way with Gay Marriage vote, let’s give the people a chance to vote for something they like just as much.

Nevada – Big Vegas wants it bad for bender tourism, they almost got legalization 8 years ago.

Oregon and California – No worries, these initiatives are being drafted as we speak.   They aren’t going to lag too far behind Washington State and Colorado.   California agriculture depends on it, because it grows where other crops don’t do as well.  (Plus, 15 million consumers can’t be wrong.)

Where else can we get this on the ballot in 2014 (or sooner)?  I’m sick of paying taxes to put my minority brothers in jail for no reason.

If the eight states above vote in favor, we are well on our way to solving this pressing civil rights issue.

   Millions of minority children need our help.  Now.

National Organization to Reform Marijuana Laws (NORML)

MPP

Rick Steves, may have won it for WA

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tipped and rec'd for obvious reasons nt (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bunsk

    “In the beginning there was nothing, which exploded.” Terry Pratchett

    by 420 forever on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 09:55:36 AM PST

  •  I'm gonna ask the same question I keep asking... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kurt from CMH

    What are we going to do aboutthe UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs?

    It sure looks like, according to the treaty, states CAN'T legalize marijuana.

    How do we get around this?

    •  I think this requires research (0+ / 0-)

      to understand how other nations who have some tolerance for marijuana decriminalization have handled it.  I have in mind places like Amsterdam in the Netherlands where marijuana possession is still technically a misdemeanor offense but there is no enforcement against the "Coffeeshops" that sell pot.  Have there been any international sanctions against the Netherlands under the Single Convention for failing to enforce their laws and failing to uphold the Single Convention?

      We have seen what the approach of the federal government has been toward states that have medical marijuana dispensories.  The operative question is whether the federal policy toward marijuana in the states where it has been decriminalized will change.  And, we have to have a debate about what will happen if there is a change-- will marijuana be regulated by an agency like the ATF at the federal level and how will that work between states where it is legal and those where it isn't?

      For at least another hundred years we must pretend to ourselves and to everyone that fair is foul and foul is fair; for foul is useful and fair is not. Avarice and usury and precaution must be our gods for a little longer still. --John Maynard Keynes

      by Kurt from CMH on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 10:44:59 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  a lot of those countries are also ready to end (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Kurt from CMH

      prohibition of cannabis, but are wary of crossing the US. treaties can be amended, if the political will does not exist to block change.

    •  Good question. What did we do about the (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Kurt from CMH, qofdisks

      “In the beginning there was nothing, which exploded.” Terry Pratchett

      by 420 forever on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 12:16:04 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  It won't pass in Ohio (0+ / 0-)

    I hate to throw cold water on your idea, but IMHO, there is no way in hell that legalizing pot will pass in Ohio at this time.  Within this swing state there is a faction of conservative Christians who would come out in opposition to decriminalization with the "gateway drug" argument.  I would prefer we try to work on overturning the gay marriage ban in Ohio before tackling this.  If repealing the gay marriage ban passes, then we might be ready to decriminalize marijuana.

    For at least another hundred years we must pretend to ourselves and to everyone that fair is foul and foul is fair; for foul is useful and fair is not. Avarice and usury and precaution must be our gods for a little longer still. --John Maynard Keynes

    by Kurt from CMH on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 10:49:40 AM PST

    •  Kurt, it ain't your parents electorate (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      qofdisks

      I keep having to remind my 70 something mother that her mother's generation is dead.

      The only generation alive that didn't use a lot of pot is those 70 and older, and they tend to, well, die.

      Conservative Christians are a dying subculture, and aren't near 50% of the entire state.

      Best way to get Gay Marriage, put it on the same ballot with Legal Cannabis -- just
      like WA state did this year.  (Both won, and
      weed got more votes that almost every statewide official.)

      There are plenty of Republican weed smokers in Ohio, I promise you.   It's a crossover issue, and a winner for us.

      Look, it's fine if the ballot measure fails the first time.   In fact, that's what it takes sometimes.   California and Nevada failed before WA and CO passed.

      As Roosevelt said the point is to at least try.   Hope you'll support BOTH Gay Rights and Minority Rights to Weed.

      •  Color me skeptical (0+ / 0-)

        Having lived here just about all my life, I am not convinced that legalizing marijuana will pass at this time.  Like I said, there is a segment of the electorate here in Ohio-- and they're not all over 70-- that wouldn't accept legalization.  I am on the fence myself.  I would only accept it if it came with a hefty tax and it were sold out of state-run stores, much like our liquor store system used to be.  I don't consider marijuana to be a drug without drawbacks; I think it is more like alcohol or tobacco, and should be taxed and regulated as the state sees fit.  The state has to have a way of dealing with the negative effects of an intoxicating drug.

        There are a few things you should know about Ohio.  One thing has to do with casino gambling.  We have four casinos here that will all soon be open.  The ballot issue for legalizing casino gambling passed in 2009. It took four tries over the course of about 4 or 5 years, because both conservative and liberal church groups were against it because of the negative effects of gambling.  What we ended up with was a cartel running the casinos.  I think a lot of Ohioans would be really wary of legalizing pot.  It's not a slam dunk.

        For at least another hundred years we must pretend to ourselves and to everyone that fair is foul and foul is fair; for foul is useful and fair is not. Avarice and usury and precaution must be our gods for a little longer still. --John Maynard Keynes

        by Kurt from CMH on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 01:33:16 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Those Christians are all repentent sinners that (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JEnviro

      love their marijuana.

  •  WV should legalize it. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    qofdisks

    It is the biggest cash crop in the state.

    We had a proud tradition of ignoring Prohibition. A bunch of old folks who tell stories about their parents running moonshine shouldn't object to growing pot (especially since it is their kids doing it).

    We already have a big sin tourism economy based on legal gaming. Maybe the gamling industry wouldn't support it though. A drunk is more likely to gamble away all of his money than a stoner.

  •  The War on Drugs is a nonpartisan issue. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JEnviro

    The sooner we all realize that, the sooner we will end the war.  Rednecks and rural people take drugs and they love their pot.

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