If legalization is so important, why aren’t more marijuana groups donating money to Bernie Sanders, when he is the most progressive candidate? Sanders has called for marijuana to be completely removed from the Controlled Substances Act, putting it on par with alcohol and tobacco. This is the ultimate goal for recreational users, and for medical users who don’t want to pay exorbitant prices or have to move to states where it is legal now. Why then aren’t we putting our money where our mouth is?
Backing A Single Horse
While Bernie Sanders is our best bet for marijuana law reform, he isn’t the only hope for change. All remaining candidates for Democratic nomination have stated they are for reform to a greater or lesser degree. Furthermore, as with any candidate, there is the possibility at this point that he won’t even win the Party’s nomination. Then there is always the Republican candidate to defeat.
Rand Paul was a huge favorite with pro-marijuana voters, and garnered far more donations with a softer stance than Sanders, but he’s out. All that donation money was for naught. The lesson has been one sorely learned by potential contributors.
While established PAC’s have large industries with millions of dollars put aside to lobby and donate to candidates to buy favor, the legal marijuana industry is just getting started, and mostly by small family owned businesses. With the pinch of the IRS and banking laws, the taxes they earn for the government are staggering taken as a blanket of all the businesses, but their actual take home profits aren’t as impressive after paying for what should be deductible business overhead expenses. Even so, their pockets aren’t as deep as the lobbies buying votes against legalization.
Once Peter Lewis, CEO of Progressive, left the board of Marijuana Policy Project in 2010, the clout of the lobbying groups has been much lower, as have been donations. Without the affluent members of society backing the cause with money as well as words, there is little campaign support money to be contributed.
Where It Counts
When dealing with limited resources, we have to put them where they will count the most. The powers of a President are limited, thankfully, and he can only sign law, not write it. The power to write laws, and ultimately pass them, comes from Congress. It is there that this battle must be fought. Sanders could sway and promote legalization, even issuing orders to the DEA and DOJ about not prosecuting, but unless Congress writes the law, he can’t sign it. Congress is filled with life-long politicians who get elected over and over.
Right now, legalization groups are focused on lobbying Congress and donating to the election campaigns of members who will fight our cause. Congress has the power to change the Schedule of cannabis, or remove it entirely, as do the President and the head of the DEA, but wiping it off the law books regardless of its status is in the hands of Congress alone. That is where our final battle lies, and that is where our troops have to muster. Bernie Sanders can help lead us there, but he can’t vanquish that horde alone.
Do you think electing Bernie Sanders will help the legalization movement? Do you think not electing him will hurt it? Let us know on social media or in the comments section below.