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Monday, September 10, 2012

Paul Ryan's Take on Marijuana: Worthless or Desperate?

Posted By on Mon, Sep 10, 2012 at 7:31 AM

What you got?
  • What you got?

Scooping up votes in swing states is how Paul Ryan serves Mitt Romney best. And what better dissatisfied liberal bloc for the Republicans to court than marijuana supporters, stunned by President Obama's total betrayal?

Hence the vice presidential candidate's stance in a college town in swinging Colorado, which will vote on legalizing marijuana at the November ballot, striking a libertarian tone to questions about marijuana enforcement. "It's up to Coloradans to decide," Ryan told Colorado Springs's KRDO. "My personal positions on this issue have been let the states decide what to do with these things.... What I've always believed is the states should decide."

Except not really, of course. Ryan as recently as May voted against an effort to weaken federal law enforcement's war on state-legal marijuana. So why would he even bother with such blarney -- is it merely craven, or does the GOP tickets' pitch to "weedheads" prove they're "desperate"?

Ryan's timing is dead-on. Marijuana is a hot issue in Colorado, which could be the first state in the union to legalize marijuana in November. Enough to win over pro small government, socially liberal Colorado?

Here's the brief exchange involving marijuana from the interview:

Singer: In Colorado we have medical marijuana. Under a Romney-Ryan ticket, what happens?
Ryan: It's up to Coloradans to decide.
Singer: So even if federal law says marijuana is illegal, you're saying?
Ryan: My personal positions on this

issue have been let the states decide what to do with these things.

This is something that is not a high priority of ours as to whether or

not we go down the road on this issue. What I've always believed is the

states should decide. I personally don't agree with it, but this is

something Coloradans have to decide for themselves.

Ryan's tepid pot talk -- which both echoed Obama's famous contradicted words and advocated no course of action or policy change -- set fire to the Internet over the weekend.

Not so much the Republican platform: A Romney spokesperson reassured voters that the GOP ticket oppose marijuana legalization.  And Ryan's record would appear to belie his "personal positions." Ryan in May voted against a measure to "let the states decide," opposing fellow Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher's move to defund federal involvement in medical marijuana where the drug is legal.

Medical marijuana advocates are visibly upset with Obama, and cannabis organizers like Americans for Safe Access hope to make medical marijuana an issue in the 2012 presidential election. Only Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson, a former Republican governor of New Mexico, has proposed an alternative to the drug war status quo.

Unfortunately for those hoping for a real change, there's absolutely no connection with Ryan's brief words and the permanent record. "Romney has

failed to declare a similar promise to Americans, so it's not clear

that a Romney Administration would have a different enforcement

policy than what we're seeing today," said ASA spokesman Kris Hermes. "Ryan is also dodging the question of what a Romney/Ryan

administration would do about medical marijuana at the federal


"How desperate do they have to be to court the weedhead vote?" mused

Mickey Martin, the East Bay cannabis activist and man behind edibles

legend Tainted, Inc., who described Ryan's words as "such a big fucking

lie, I do not know whether to laugh or cry."

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About The Author

Chris Roberts

Chris Roberts has spent most of his adult life working in San Francisco news media, which is to say he's still a teenager in Middle American years. He has covered marijuana, drug policy, and politics for SF Weekly since 2009.


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