Medical marijuana professionals will face a difficult decision this fall that could affect their very livelihoods: Obama or a Republican presidential candidate (most likely Mitt Romney)?
In the past, choosing between a Democratic and Republican president was a no-brainer for the MMJ crowd. Democrats in general have more favorable views toward medical cannabis, and Republicans typically oppose it.
It’s a bit more complicated this time around.
The medical marijuana industry is up in arms over the Obama administration’s crackdown on cannabis businesses, and they fear this is just the start of a larger campaign. Some MMJ professionals are now threatening to boycott Obama in the upcoming election. Romney – who appears headed for the GOP nomination – can’t be much worse, even though he has publicly said he opposes medical marijuana legalization.
With that as the backdrop, Obama attempted to explain – and defend – the crackdown on the medical cannabis industry in an interview that was published in Rolling Stone last week. The president said his hands are tied because he “can’t nullify congressional law.” Obama also insinuated that he is concerned primarily with the larger, for-profit operations that are selling to recreational users.
As we noted last week, the industry doesn’t seem to be buying it, with some observers accusing the president of lying and others calling his explanation “nonsense.”
While this further complicates the presidential election for MMJ professionals, voting for Romney could backfire in a big way. The current crackdown has been brutal, but it’s worth noting that the medical cannabis industry is much bigger under the Obama administration than it’s ever been. If the president is trying to rein in an industry that many casual observers believe had gotten out of control, that’s much better than a president trying to stamp out the industry entirely. While Romney probably wouldn’t dismantle the industry – the genie is out the bottle, after all – having a president who is against the very idea of medical marijuana might not be the wisest choice.
Part of the problem is that both Obama and Romney have been so vague on the issue. Perhaps that will change in the months to come as the election season heats up, but we doubt it. Of course, the clear-cut choice for MMJ professionals is Ron Paul, who is an ardent supporter of medical cannabis legalization. But Paul is trailing Romney badly in the delegate count, and the chances he’ll win the GOP nomination are slim.
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