2 Presidential Hopefuls Back Medical Marijuana; MJ Lawyer Enters Key Race

Medical cannabis is grabbing the spotlight in the political world, with two underdog presidential candidates railing against the government’s MMJ raids in Oakland this week. Several other individuals with ties to marijuana also announced plans to seek public office on the state and national levels.

The public displays of support for medical marijuana push the issue into the public discourse and alert the public to the plight of cannabis businesses regardless of whether the candidates win.

Here’s a wrapup:

  • Ron Paul, who’s seeking the GOP presidential nomination (but is trailing badly), criticized the raids, saying in a speech last night at the University of California Berkley that he supports states when it comes to medical marijuana legalization. “If you had states’ rights in California, you wouldn’t have the feds bugging you and coming in here and invading and telling you what you can do with your own body,” Paul said during the rally, according to KTVU. “I’m consistent and I am truthful.”
  • Gary Johnson, the former governor of New Mexico who is seeking the Libertarian presidential nomination, expressed “outrage” over the Oakland marijuana raids, saying that President Obama has flip-flopped on medical cannabis during his term in office. “I would like to think America is not a place where the federal police come knocking on the doors of legitimate businesses and private homes just to ‘enforce’ laws that make no sense and to shut down private enterprises that are, in fact, reducing harm and offering an alternative to the dangers of the illegal drug trade,” Johnson said in a statement this week.
  • Bruce Margolin, a noted marijuana lawyer in California, officially threw his hat into the ring this week for the U.S. Congressional spot representing the state’s 33rd district. Aside from serving as director of the Los Angeles chapter of NORML for nearly 40 years, Margolin worked closely with the sponsors of California’s medical cannabis law, known as prop 215.  He is a big proponent of overhauling the nation’s drug policies, saying the current strategy has failed and favoring education and treatment over incarceration.
  • Charles Rountree, who owns the New Mexico medical cannabis dispensary GrassRoots Rx, has entered the state Senate race. Although Rountree is downplaying his ties to MMJ, he would likely work to bolster the marijuana industry in the state, and he openly supports a bill that would allow residents to grow hemp that is free of THC.