Should marijuana be included in Oct 3 presidential debate?

On October 3rd, 2012, American voters will be treated to the first presidential debate of the election cycle. Vital issues such as foreign policy, the economy, job creation, healthcare, and clean energy will surely be discussed at length. And they should be. The United States still seems to be floundering for reforms in many areas, with Americans out of work and struggling to survive and the Middle East teeming with uprisings against U.S. interests.

President Barack Obama and GOP candidate Mitt Romney will have much to debate and will certainly offer campaign promises to rectify the issues on the table. But will the issue of marijuana law reform – which touches all of the aforementioned issues – even be mentioned at the debate?

A recent Politico article reported marijuana support is high in the pivotal state of Colorado, where the Oct. 3 debate will be held: “At the same time as voters in Colorado head to the polls to cast a vote for president, they will also be addressing ballot questions on abortion and ‘personhood,’ as well as the decriminalization of marijuana — so it is likely that the two presidential candidates might be asked about them.

The marijuana issue ‘is hugely popular with younger voters. … If they come out strongly and the Obama campaign doesn’t do anything to antagonize them on this issue, they could have a real impact,’ [Dr. Sam Kamin, a professor of law at the University of Denver] said. “There’s a huge push online to get youth voters energized around that proposition, those are the exact same voters that had a lot of enthusiasm for the president four years ago.”

And Colorado isn’t the only state which could decide the election. Currently, 17 states – including the District of Columbia where federal elected leaders live – enjoy state-run medical marijuana programs. There are pro-marijuana organizations nationwide with large memberships. States like Missouri, Arkansas, Oregon, and Washington are set to vote on marijuana reform this November.

Aside from the common knowledge of the drug marijuana, another valuable resource derived from the cannabis plant is hemp, one of the strongest and most resilient fibers known to man. Somehow, this eco-friendly, massively useful, self-replenishing commodity got lumped into the War On Drugs and has been denied to American farmers for cultivation. Strange, considering how devastating this drought has been on U.S. crops in 2012. Cannabis, however, does not seem to be largely affected by the drought, as the Obama Administration has taken advantage of the brown, dead farmlands to spot and eradicate flourishing marijuana crops.

By ending marijuana prohibition and allowing it to become a traded and regulated commodity in the United States, the industrial hemp market will thrive, creating millions of badly-needed American jobs while eliminating the expense of importing hemp. Biofuels created from hemp will decrease U.S. dependence on foreign oil. Regulated medicinal marijuana will remove the monopoly now enjoyed by violent drug cartels who are only too happy to sell to children (along with their other drugs, hence, the “gateway theory”).

Jim Lehrer will serve as moderator of the October 3rd presidential debate. It remains to be seen if he will pose the entirely relevant subject of marijuana law reform to the candidates.

Cannabis sativa – or marijuana as it’s commonly known – is proven to kill cancer cells; bring relief from chronic pain; relief from tremors caused by multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, and Parkinson’s disease; ease nausea caused by cancer and AIDS treatments, slow the onset of Alzheimer’s disease; and myriad other maladies. It is not fatal in any achievable dose and can be eaten or vaporized rather than smoking it, which carries risks of respiratory effects due to burning the plant material.

Marijuana has been under some form of federal prohibition since 1937. The Nixon Administration officially made marijuana and its derivatives illegal, despite compelling scientific evidence provided by the 1972 Schaffer Report (view the actual report here) which was commissioned by President Richard Nixon himself to prove marijuana was dangerous.

Public support for marijuana and industrial hemp (which is related to the drug marijuana but itself has no psychotropic potential) has risen sharply in recent decades, given the advancement of information available on the internet. Contrary to the rhetoric of prohibitionist organizations like the Office of National Drug Control Policy, the Drug Enforcement Agency, and even the White House itself over the years, marijuana – or cannabis as it’s properly named – has been proven to be relatively benign in nature while also representing a renewable and highly profitable cash crop.

A 2011 Gallup poll revealed more than 50% of Americans support marijuana law reform.

Let’s review:

Industrial hemp will provide jobs, environmentally-friendly products like paper, textiles, building materials, biofuels for vehicles, and seeds which are amazingly high in protein.

A legalized and regulated marijuana drug market will enable doctors to prescribe it to suffering patients for countless ailments and conditions, thereby removing the involvement of violent drug cartels and reducing access to our nation’s youth.
So, will the subject of marijuana law reform be raised during the upcoming presidential debate?

Only a responsible moderator who wants Obama and Romney to address all vital American issues will be in control of that decision. With a little simple research and some patriotic bravery, it could happen. And it could change the face of the 2012 election.

via : Examiner

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