Obama, Romney or Johnson? Medical Marijuana Industry Faces Difficult Decision in Nov. Election

Photo for medical marijuana election

Campaign season is in full swing, with the three main presidential candidates giving daily speeches across the country and TV networks airing a seemingly endless loop of attack ads.

But with just two months left until the election, many medical marijuana professionals are still unsure which name to check in the ballot box. And the decision won’t get any easier in the days leading up to Nov 6.

Here’s the problem: The only candidate who is certain to back the medical marijuana industry – Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson – stands very little chance of actually winning come November. Recent polls indicate that just 1% to 5% of likely voters will cast their ballots for Johnson as president. That could change, but the odds are extraordinarily slim that Johnson will win – meaning a vote for the Libertarian candidate could end up being more symbolic than anything.

That leaves Democratic incumbent Barack Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney. Here, the industry faces another problem: Democrats are traditionally the party of choice for medical marijuana supporters, but many MMJ professionals are livid at Obama for the widespread crackdown on cannabis businesses under his watch. They feel betrayed by the president and cringe at the thought of backing him in the election. The future of the industry would be very murky if Obama remains in charge, as his policies towards MMJ have been vague and uneven.

However, the alternative could be far worse. Romney has steered clear of talking specifics when addressing medical marijuana, but he is clearly against the legalization of MMJ in general. He could choose to continue the crackdown but – like Obama – at least let some MMJ operations continue to exist. Or he could try to dismantle the industry entirely.

So the question becomes: Which is the lesser of two evils?

The industry is split on the issue. The United States Medical Marijuana Chamber of Commerce officially endorsed Obama this week, but the organization itself is not very well known in the industry and it’s unclear just how much influence it has. The National Cannabis Industry Association and other MMJ advocacy groups have not recommended a candidate yet to their members, and it’s unclear if they plan to do so (NCIA says it “is not endorsing any candidates at this time”).

Of course, the other option is to refrain from voting entirely. Some professionals have indicated that they’ll take this route, saying it serves as a way to punish Obama without directly supporting Romney. This strategy, however, won’t really accomplish much for the industry.

The only thing that’s crystal clear right now? Medical marijuana supporters face some tough decisions in the weeks ahead.

Image credit: Kristin_a via flickr

8 comments on “Obama, Romney or Johnson? Medical Marijuana Industry Faces Difficult Decision in Nov. Election
  1. William A Wigle on

    I am unhappy with both of the candidates of the GOP, and the DEM. parties. That mean that I will vote Libertarian for Gary Johnson. He may not win, but I will be voting my conscience. and maybe if enough of us do the same, then you can never tell, he might miraculously win. If not we may just help, to start a new party, that we can believe in.

  2. Marc on

    I am supporting Obama again even though he has not done everything he could for MMJ, ending wars and Obamacare ended up being a gift to the insurance industry. Romney would be much worse, more borrowing from China to pay for tax-cuts for the rich, war with Iran and more religion in our government. Mr Johnson has some good ideas, but no chance of winning. If Romney wins? It will be the end of MMJ period,with thousands of Patients and their Care-givers in prison. I suggest backing Obama is the smart choice if you want to keep the green rush that the election of Obama created.

  3. Jack on

    the party of choice for medical marijuana supporters, but many MMJ professionals are livid at Obama for the widespread crackdown on cannabis businesses under his watch. They feel betrayed by the president and cringe at the thought of backing him in the election.”

    The US Attorneys in Cali took it upon themselves to disregard Obamas leave the mmj dispensaries alone order.

    They’ve admitted it –and it looks like the main reason is hat the mmj industry makes large profits.

    “Wagner broke the Department of Justice’s near silence with regard to the crackdown during a candid, hour-long talk and question-and-answer session last Tuesday at a Sacramento Press Club luncheon. The $30-a-plate affair took place on the 15th floor of 1201 K Street, and inside, Wagner admitted that the cannabis cleanup was the idea of the four U.S. Attorneys in California, not Washington, D.C.

    The four were upset because of what Wagner called “flagrant” marijuana sales in the state. So they declared war on medical marijuana last October, sending out hundreds of forfeiture-warning letters to dispensaries across California. His office is in the process of seizing at least one dispensary in Sacramento, while officials have closed more or less every dispensary in Sacramento County.

    He reiterated that they’re not going after patients and caregivers, rather interstate transporters, huge pot farmers and illicit dispensaries grossing tens of thousands of dollars per day in cash.”

    But Obama has been defunding public land raids in Kentucky and Oregon.
    Obama Has Already Quietly Begun Revising the Government’s War on Drugs – The Daily Beast

  4. Norcanna on

    This article is so misleading. Berry AKA Oboma has betrayed the industry and flat out lied closing down dispencery after dispencery. Bush NEVER closed down a single dispencery ( a republican ). Arnold the Govonator never went after dispenceries and let them operate he too was a republican. The medical marajuana law passed in California with republicans -like myself- voting for it. In fact it would have never passed unless republicans approved it in the golden state. Republicans tend to allow state rights remain state rights. Meaning they ALLOW the states to govern themselves. While democrats tend to demand more and more from people and states. How else can a democrat elected fund all the social programs they want? Through tax and tax is a controlling means. Gays like pot smokers are as loyal as the stockhome syndrome people that followed Manson on his murderous rampage. You all , like the gays, keep voting democrat because you are told to and have been told that they ( dems) support you, love you just want you to be treated with respect and equality….then they turn the tables on you and you’re left just holding an idea of hope and change. Yet, time after time you will vote for them again because the right ( repub) are so scary and stuff. So sad I feel for the gays and pot smokers–I honestly think at this point with everything that went down from California to Montana you all are CRAZY! gays can’t wed in Cali and medical patients can’t get their smoke…we have a state ran ,owned and controlled by democrats and a president who is a democrate …now why do you, like the gays, have nothing to show for all your hard work to keep MMJ alive and accessible ? Because of poor choices you make, like voting Democrat. Keep drinking the cool aide . Mitt all the way this Bozo screwed everything and everyone up.

  5. Troy on

    Lol your answer is to support Mitt? gtfo son, your logic is straight DUMB. Romney is a super tyrant, and hates pot PERIOD!

    Obama? Voting for the lesser of 2 evils is still voting for evil.

    I’ll vote Gary Johnson and keep a clear conscience. Enjoy your tyrant, idiots.

  6. Jack on

    Gary Johnson has no chance of winning and will only take votes from Obama.
    Obama is our only chance at legalization. Blaming Obama for the actions of law enforcement and legislators determined to disregard his orders is stupid and exactly what the DEA and prohibitionists want.

    Romney hates mmj and promised to fight tooth and nail to shut down the industry.
    Obama is not the problem , US attorneys, and the local councilmen are.

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