Today Students for Sensible Drug Policy and the left-liberal website Firedoglake launched Just Say Now, a campaign aimed at mobilizing young voters to support marijuana legalization. According to a press release from Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), "Organizers aim to drive turnout for the mid-terms to support marijuana initiatives on the ballot...in Arizona, Oregon, California, Colorado and South Dakota" and "to get initiatives on the ballot in 2012 presidential battleground states." Firedoglake founder Jane Hamsher says "young people want marijuana to be legalized in overwhelming numbers" and "are much more likely to turn out to vote if marijuana is on the ballot."How I wish a similar alliance could be had in NZ between the Greens, ACT, and the sane parts of National/Labour.
Although LEAP says Just Say Now "has united a powerful group of strange bedfellows" and Ryan Grim calls it a "left-right coalition" at The Huffington Post, the cast of characters is pretty familiar to anyone who follows the drug policy reform movement. The campaign's advisory board includes LEAP Executive Director Neill Franklin, former Seattle Police Chief Norm Stamper, Criminal Justice Policy Foundation President Eric Sterling, Scott Morgan of StoptheDrugWar.org and Flex Your Rights, Salon blogger Glenn Greenwald, and Michael Ostrolenk , co-founder of the Liberty Coalition. The only conservative I see is Bruce Fein, who served in the Justice Department during the Reagan administration and in recent years has distinguished himself as a vigorous critic of the Bush adminstration's extravagant claims to executive power, writing for The Washington Times and Politico.
A little more support from conservatives, as opposed to progressives or libertarians, would be helpful and should not be that hard to arrange (easy for me to say, I know). Prominent conservative critics of marijuana prohibition include syndicated columnist Kathleen Sullivan, several National Review editors, former Secretary of State George Shultz, and former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson. Republican antiprohibitionists should leap at the chance to bash Barack Obama's record in this area.
Last week I discussed California's marijuana legalization initiative and related polling data.
My preference ordering has legalization with a low excise tax as most preferred; however, legalization with a high excise tax beats prohibition as well and might also earn broader voter support. There are of course other alternatives that also beat the status quo.