Tuesday, Nov. 7 was widely touted as a big win for the anti-Trump resistance, as progressive Democrats put a substantial whoopin’ down on Republicans across a swath of key elections held around the nation. It was also rather telling, in terms of the medical marijuana issue, as documented by veteran activist Tom Angell in an article published in Forbes the next morning. It would seem that taking a vigorous pro-pot stance is no longer the box-office poison it was just a few years ago.
The main events were held in New Jersey and Virginia, where pro-pot Democrats Phil Murphy and Ralph Northam seized their respective states’ governorships by healthy margins. Angell quotes Murphy’s victory speech: “The criminalization of marijuana has only served to clog our courts and cloud people’s futures, so we will legalize marijuana … And while there are financial benefits, this is overwhelmingly about doing what is right and just.” Chris Christie’s exit as governor in January 2018 finally opens the door to some form of decriminalization measure to be signed into law, assuming Murphy remains consistent on the issue, which hasn’t always been the case for Democrats.
Both candidates made a point of mentioning how both states have about the same 3-to-1 racial disparity in marijuana arrests of blacks versus whites. (In Jacksonville, it’s more like 2-to-1.) This point rang especially loudly in Virginia. Angell also quotes Northam, in a letter to the Virginia State Crime Commission, which sounds like a gang but apparently is not: “Virginia spends $67 million on marijuana enforcement—enough to open up another 13,000 pre-K spots for children,” he wrote.
Ever since the Women’s March in January, progressives nationwide have been salivating for a chance to effect some serious pushback against the president and his army of lunatic goofballs, and the Nov. 7 action offered the first real signs of success going forward. It’s ironic that medical marijuana took such a prominent role in that success, since the issue centers on concepts usually associated with conservatives—individual liberty and states’ rights. It’ll be interesting to see if Democrats continue their advocacy, and what kinds of dividends it creates in the crucible of 2018.
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