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RNC vs DNC - Will Medical Marijuana Decide The Election?

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ASA Poster by Americans For Safe Access
This week, as the average American begins to pay close attention to the Presidential race during the party conventions, my organization, Americans for Safe Access, is preparing to flood America - and especially swing states - with a poster that asks the question, "Can Broken Promises Lose an Election? 1 Million Medical Marijuana Patients Will Decide." This message is controversial, and many liberals who support President Barack Obama as well as compassionate use are asking why we are targeting a President who once made the boldest pro-access statement in history.

We are sending a message to President Obama and his supporters because he is our President, and his decisions have grave consequences for medical cannabis patients. His administration has rejected our petition to overturn the federal definition of marijuana as without "accepted medical use in the United States" - a decision that we will challenge in court on October 16th. Obama's administration has raided more medical marijuana facilities in three and a half years than Bush's administration did in eight. And his appointed US Attorneys are shutting down dispensaries left and right, including model operations whose medicine is a lifeline for patients.

ASA has been accused of creating a propaganda campaign that will help Mitt Romney. But that's not the reality on the ground. We are hearing from our grassroots - and reading in polls - that medical marijuana patients and their loved ones are considering voting for third-party candidates or not voting at all. This trend is most pronounced in the medical cannabis states that are also swing states, like Colorado and Nevada. In a close election, a few percentage points peeled off to a third party could make the difference in the Electoral College, and we want to wake Obama up to that fact.

Medical marijuana does not have to be a partisan issue - lawmakers on the Republican side of the aisle have supported and led efforts to respect state laws on compassionate use in state capitols and in Congress. Republicans and Republicans-turned-Independents such as Ron Paul and Lincoln Chaffee have vocally supported medical cannabis access and efforts to reschedule cannabis in the Controlled Substances Act - a position we will advance in court just weeks before the election.

Patients Are Fed Up

Medical marijuana patients are sick and tired of being sick and tired. We don't want our issue to be treated like a criminal justice issue, but as a healthcare issue. We need leadership that respects our medical needs. Obama's biggest mistake was trying to deal with medical cannabis in a pief memo. He should have put together a team of agencies along with governors of medical cannabis states to find a long-term solution.

This is not in my control, it is in Obama's hands. If I tried to rally support for Obama, I wouldn't get very far, because the patients and their supporters who tell pollsters they support third-party candidates wouldn't listen. If Obama doesn't wake up to the needs of medical marijuana patients with an indication that his hard line could be softened, these votes will be lost.

That is why I and other medical cannabis supporters are distributing posters throughout the nation. We want Obama's campaign to know that the reason they aren't meeting their volunteer goals in deep-blue counties, or are uncomfortably close in polls in key swing states, is because people who would otherwise be strong supporters are finding this President's policies on cannabis too hard to swallow. And we want Republicans to know that our movement is not just a wing of Democratic party: we are looking for compassionate leadership where we can find it.

Obama can make the difference

It's not too late for the President to turn this around. We want to hear that the Obama administration's historically harsh crackdown on medical cannabis access will be reconsidered, and only then we can begin efforts at rallying supporting in states like Colorado and Nevada. With polls showing the public's overwhelming acceptance of state compassionate use laws, and with an outdated Controlled Substances Act the subject of our court battle in October, there is no reason for President Obama to go down in history as America's latest hardline drug warrior.

If the subject of our posters bothers you, please e-mail the Obama campaign and not me. I am just articulating the sentiment of the one million legal medical marijuana patients. Only Obama can ask for their votes.


Founder and Executive Director, Americans for Safe Access. Nationally recognized activist in the global justice movement, and guest lecturer at University of California at Berkeley and George Washington University. Steph Sherer is the founder and (more...)

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RNC vs DNC - Will Medical Marijuana Decide The Election?


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In her last days, my mother was on 8 prescription ... by Robert James on Wednesday, Aug 29, 2012 at 5:33:18 PM
But you show deep ignorance of the medical issues.... by BFalcon on Wednesday, Aug 29, 2012 at 9:13:48 PM
Back in the mid '90's my mothers cancer was spread... by JON LARSEN on Thursday, Aug 30, 2012 at 1:02:13 PM
Thank you Steph Sherer, very well stated!!... by Brad Forrester on Wednesday, Aug 29, 2012 at 5:53:33 PM
I would hope that anybody who has a "single bone t... by BFalcon on Wednesday, Aug 29, 2012 at 9:16:24 PM
No one is voting for Obama.  He is the same a... by Don Caldarazzo on Wednesday, Aug 29, 2012 at 10:46:49 PM
Which one?... by BFalcon on Thursday, Aug 30, 2012 at 12:29:05 AM
War on Terror, and, most  obviously, THE WAR ... by Don Caldarazzo on Thursday, Aug 30, 2012 at 9:16:21 AM
Are not really the wars, just called that. Would y... by BFalcon on Thursday, Aug 30, 2012 at 7:59:16 PM
really wars just called that.  Just costing, ... by Don Caldarazzo on Thursday, Aug 30, 2012 at 10:54:55 PM
To tell those who might want to not vote Democrati... by BFalcon on Thursday, Aug 30, 2012 at 11:19:56 PM
Dr. Dahlia Wasfi's speech (Parts of it) to Congres... by Deborah Dills on Thursday, Aug 30, 2012 at 9:29:29 PM
The one war is the Military-Industrial complex pro... by Rob Kall on Thursday, Aug 30, 2012 at 3:54:42 PM
I see an absolute abyss called Ryan/Bachmann and I... by BFalcon on Thursday, Aug 30, 2012 at 8:03:40 PM
 the Duopoly candidate in the blue shirt inst... by Don Caldarazzo on Thursday, Aug 30, 2012 at 10:51:30 PM
You would know that there is no Duopoly. And if i... by BFalcon on Thursday, Aug 30, 2012 at 11:22:41 PM
I've supported the decriminalization of marijuana ... by Kyle Griffith on Wednesday, Aug 29, 2012 at 6:40:14 PM
I will not throw my vote away for either of the pr... by Jose Gonzales on Wednesday, Aug 29, 2012 at 7:53:48 PM
getting absolutely nothing done in 50 years.  ... by Don Caldarazzo on Wednesday, Aug 29, 2012 at 11:01:06 PM
I am hopeful that  marijuana legalization pas... by Deborah Dills on Wednesday, Aug 29, 2012 at 9:10:31 PM
Years ago we offered neurofeedback to an engineer ... by Siegfried Othmer on Wednesday, Aug 29, 2012 at 11:40:44 PM
I really wonder WHY Obama did this. Not only did h... by lwarman on Thursday, Aug 30, 2012 at 12:21:26 AM
I assume that Obama made a promise early in his fi... by Kyle Griffith on Thursday, Aug 30, 2012 at 6:03:05 AM
Obama has hammered the medical MJ field because he... by Poor old Dirt farmer on Thursday, Aug 30, 2012 at 3:58:04 PM
My personal line in the sand would be if Obama sta... by Kyle Griffith on Thursday, Aug 30, 2012 at 4:59:43 PM
about seeing a million angry marijuana users organ... by John Sanchez Jr. on Thursday, Aug 30, 2012 at 6:43:11 AM
There tens of millions of Americans on prescriptio... by Rob Kall on Thursday, Aug 30, 2012 at 4:02:41 PM
They gave him six million for his book, which he "... by Tommy Wright on Thursday, Aug 30, 2012 at 5:31:14 PM
That person should be firmly in favor of legalizin... by Tommy Wright on Thursday, Aug 30, 2012 at 5:37:43 PM
Jill Stein of the Green Party supports the legaliz... by eesabi on Thursday, Aug 30, 2012 at 10:17:00 AM
Wouldn't it be great to have a medical doctor as p... by intotheabyss on Thursday, Aug 30, 2012 at 7:24:30 PM
With all of the rhetoric surrounding the marijuana... by Hugh Yonn on Thursday, Aug 30, 2012 at 10:44:34 AM
Maybe 2024... if even *that* soon.I've been paying... by Michael Muirhead on Thursday, Aug 30, 2012 at 5:40:11 PM
I'm in Canada. I've been writing letters to le... by Michael Muirhead on Thursday, Aug 30, 2012 at 6:20:02 PM