"if i am elected president of the united states, i'm going to pardon all non-violent federal convictions for marijuana," said former nm governor gary johnson in an address to the international drug policy reform conference last week. the conference was hosted by several advocacy groups, including l.e.a.p. (law enforcement against prohibition) and the a.c.l.u.
in his speech, johnson cited last month's gallup poll that found, for the first time, a majority of the u.s. population favors outright legalization of marijuana. he cited the discrepancy between public sentiment and public leadership on the issue.
"50% of americans support legalizing marijuana. amongst the universe of politicians, 0% of the universe of politicians support this notion....can you think of any other area of public policy where there is that kind of disconnect? i can't."
the chasm between policy and popular opinion has widened exponentially in the last year, since the obama administration spun away from the official tolerance articulated in the ogden memo, in favor of drug enforcement policies from the bush era. adopting a fusion of anti-drug and anti-terror policy, a venomous hydra of prosecution that now includes military-trained d.e.a. squads of dubious international legality and the domestic targeting of state-legal medical marijuana dispensaries.
according to the latest f.b.i. data, more americans are arrested for drugs than any other crime,
with marijuana accounting for more than half of these arrests.
all this, as gary johnson notes, against the backdrop that a record majority of americans are now in favor of legalization. last year, another gallup poll found 70% of americans in favor of prescribed medical marijuana to relieve pain.
yeah, the american people get it. in a world where this kind of hypocrisy reigns, sometimes you got to light one to ease the pain.