Medical Marijuana Emerging as Major Campaign Issue

Medical Marijuana Emerging as Major Campaign Issue
Posted by CN Staff on August 09, 2002 at 08:01:27 PT
By Jim Burns, Senior Staff Writer
Medical marijuana has been the subject of local petition drives and received marginal political attention over the years, but the issue is beginning to take a higher profile, if a Georgia Republican congressional primary election is any indication. The medical marijuana issue became the subject of a fierce television ad campaign launched by the Libertarian Party this week in a suburban Atlanta congressional district.
Libertarian Party congressional candidate Carole Ann Rand is running the ad in her campaign against Rep. Bob Barr (R-Ga.). The spot features a multiple sclerosis victim lashing out against Barr over the use of marijuana in treating her disease."This is unprecedented," said Alan St. Pierre, executive director of the National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws Foundation (NORML). "There has never been an ad used by a candidate or an incumbent that has taken the issue of marijuana and... made it front and center." The 30-second ad is running on several major cable television channels in the district, and Rand said another round of advertisements would run next week as well. The ad is also available on her campaign website.The spot opens with multiple sclerosis patient Cheryl Miller lying on a stretcher and a narrator asking, "Why does Bob Barr want this woman in jail?" Miller, who lives in New Jersey, then introduces herself as a medical marijuana user and says, "Bob Barr thinks I should be in jail for using my medicine. Why would you do that to me, Bob?""This issue is definitely coming into play in a way that we've not seen before," said St. Pierre. "We now have a crop of politicians that are either in place or running for office that no longer use absurd statements to try to explain their prior marijuana use. This issue, unlike in the prior three, four or five election cycles is really in play."NORML also thinks the ads indicate that the "structure" that has been surrounding legalization of marijuana appears to be crumbling."We now have many, many candidates that are running all around the country that are making the drug war a part of their plank. Most of those candidates are from the Libertarian Party because they have this as a major part of their plank," said St. Pierre.The American Public Health Association has also supported medical marijuana for therapeutic purposes, but the group is taking a wait-and-see attitude as to whether the issue will become a major force in American politics, according to spokesperson Kelly O'Brien.But O'Brien said the APHA is pleased that the Georgia ad campaign is being run because people need to know more about the issue. "I'm not sure that it means it's a national swell, but we're hopeful that it is certainly becoming more and more of an issue, especially an issue in congressional campaigns," said O'Brien. "This is a good indication that its visibility is rising."The Libertarian Party includes the ads in what it calls the party's 'Incumbent Killer Strategy,' which targets for defeat congressional Republicans and Democrats who are opposed to relaxing restrictions on marijuana for medical use.Newshawk: Nicholas Thimmesch - CNSNews.comAuthor: Jim Burns, Senior Staff WriterPublished: August 9, 2002Copyright: 1998-2002 Cybercast News ServiceContact: shogenson cnsnews.comWebsite: Articles & Web Sites:The Libertarian Party Miller in TV Commercial The Winner Is ... vs. Linder: Great Republican Train Wreck Target 'Drug Warriors' for Defeat
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on August 09, 2002 at 10:07:03 PT
John Check This Link
Scroll down and you will see how the Democrats stand.
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Comment #2 posted by John Tyler on August 09, 2002 at 09:58:37 PT
Does anyone know where the Dems. stand on this issue now? Is there position evolving? Are there Dems. in the wings waiting to come on stage with new ideas? 
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Comment #1 posted by E_Johnson on August 09, 2002 at 09:11:42 PT
Like I try to tell fellow Democrats
The Dems I know say, Oh medical marijuana, how many people does that affect? Oh medical marijuana -- single issue voters, who cares about them?On the face of it this is a single issue and people who vote on the basis of this one issue could be called single issue voters. You can't build a political party on single issue voters so sure, why not ignore them...But when Gore lied about the IOM report on MTV Choose or Lose, that really lifted the issue up from being a single issue. Lying about publicly funded research is a meta-issue that deserves more attention than any single issue. Using public funds and public positions and violating the separation between the branches of government -- that behavior by medical marijuana opponents also lifts the issue up from being a single issue.This is turning into a struggle for democracy itself.The bigger issues in this single issue are making it a big damned deal to a lot of people who might otherwise not care that much because it doesn't affect them directly.People in LA who go past the LACRC protest site -- a lot of those people have nothing whatsoever to do with marijuana and never will. BUT guess what -- those people do feel passionately about the value of their vote and the compassion and discretion exercised by those in power.So people who don't care at all about marijuana as an issue have been drawn into this struggle with more passion than the Democrats are capable right now of understanding.The DNC should pay some attention to something other than Al Gore's relationship with Joe Lieberman!Because the tide is changing and they are going to end up washed out to sea if they don't get with the program.
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