On November 4, Florida voters will have the opportunity to vote on an amendment to their state constitution, Amendment 2, to establish a medical marijuana program in that state. This vote is especially important as it would be the first southern state to legalize medical use, and would likely encourage other states in the region to take a serious look at the use of marijuana as a medicine for seriously ill patients.
Why A Constitutional Amendment?
Fearful that the conservative Republican state legislature would have passed legislation overriding such a change, if it were simply a state law changed by voter initiative, People United for Medical Marijuana, the sponsor of this proposal, elected to try to include the policy changes as an amendment to the state constitution. Amendment 2, the Use of Marijuana for Certain Medical Conditions initiative, must therefore receive 60 percent of votes cast to be enacted as a constitutional amendment, a high goal and a real challenge for any proposal to meet. That decision is one that may be instructive for future voter initiatives, with most polls currently showing we will win a majority of votes, but likely less than 60 percent.
The poll revealed that 56% of Delawareans support legalizing marijuana while just 39% were opposed. Individuals over the age of 60 and self-identified conservatives were the only demographic groups without majority support.
Commenting on the poll, University of Delaware political communications professor Paul Brewer stated, “I would say the numbers suggest solid support for fully legalizing marijuana in Delaware. The results also reflect what’s going on in public opinion at the national level, where the trends show a growing majority favoring legalization.”
Pro-legalization state Senator Bryan Townsend said he hopes this data helps compel the state to move forward on broad reforms.
“The poll just shows there is broad support for this,” said Sen. Townsend (D-Newark), “I hope this is a wake-up call to the General Assembly that a majority of Delawareans support us moving in this direction.”
The data coming out of Delaware is in line with the ongoing trend to support marijuana legalization at the national level. Clearly, seeing the path blazed by Washington and Colorado has only embolden residents of other states to support similar reforms.
You can read more about this poll here.
“We endorsed Cory Booker during his election campaign in 2013 and we are honored to do so again,” stated NORML PAC manager Erik Altieri, “Senator Booker kept the promises he made to champion crucial criminal justice and marijuana reform issues in his first term. If re-elected for a full six year term this fall, he will be a strong crusader for rolling back our failed war on cannabis at the federal level. We encourage New Jersey voters to support him in his campaign.”
In an previous interview with Huffington Post, Booker laid out his view on marijuana policy and the drug war:
“Medical marijuana, heck yes. I do not understand that there are drugs that are more toxic, more dangerous and more challenging, in drugs stores around my state, yet we single out this one drug and we say you can’t even have it in a medical fashion, at a time when I see prescription drugs from Adderall to you name it being used widely across our nation…
The reason I said I want to go beyond that…is because of the drug war.
We have seen so much of our national treasure being spent in the national drug war and in my opinion have turned human life into incarceration, trapping into poverty…
What I’ve seen in Newark is a massive trap in this drug war, and its not just a trap for the individuals being arrested, it’s a trap for taxpayers, communities and towns. We’re not making our nation safer with this assault on this drug war, we are not making our state less addicted to substances. We need to change, radically change, the conversation and begin to talk about drugs, especially drugs like pot, in a different way.
This is a conversation that no matter what I do, Mayor, Governor, Senator, I want to be one of the people, hopefully, trying to lead the national conversation away from this insanity that we have now.”
During his first year in office, Sen. Booker joined forces with Kentucky Senator Rand Paul to introduce an amendment to an appropriations bill that would have prohibited the federal government from spending taxpayer money to interfere with state medical marijuana laws. The measure ultimately did not come up for a vote, due to political maneuvering unrelated to the marijuana issue, but it marks the first time in recent history the issue was brought up in a positive way in the upper chamber of the US Congress. We fully expect, if re-elected, that Senator Booker will continue to be one of the most prominent and effective champions for federal reform in the Senate.
NORML PAC has endorsed Representative Earl Blumenauer (OR-03) in his campaign to be re-elected to the US House of Representatives.
“Rep. Blumenauer has been a supporter and proponent of marijuana law reform since his days in the Oregon State Legislature decades ago,” stated NORML PAC Manager Erik Altieri, “In Congress, he has introduced and championed bills that would dismantle our federal war on cannabis and we encourage voters in his district to re-elect him for another term so he can keep pursuing these important policy changes.”
As Congressman, in addition to being a primary sponsor or co-sponsor on all federal pro-marijuana law reform measures, Blumenauer published an in-depth report titled “A Path Forward: Rethinking Marijuana Policy” which calls for an end to federal prohibition and advocates for many of the reforms NORML has been fighting for all these years.
Rep. Blumenauer has also been a notable presence at the federal marijuana hearings this year being held by the Committee on Government Oversight. You can watch him call out ONDCP acting director Botticelli below:
One of Rep. Blumenauer’s re-election campaign ads focuses on marijuana law reform and calls for allowing states the freedom to set their own marijuana policies and pursue legalization:
Nearly fifteen years after the release of “Because I Got High”- a song well known for poking fun at overzealous reefer madness rhetoric – Afroman is ready to jump headfirst back into the marijuana limelight. Only this time, as an advocate for legalization.
The grammy nominated artist recently teamed up with NORML and Weedmaps to launch a remake of his hit song, turning the hip hop classic into a positive legalization anthem for the 2014 elections. The remix is a new and entertaining way to drive the narrative surrounding the benefits of cannabis law reform, as well as the medical benefits of the plant itself. With election day right around the corner, his latest project is geared towards keeping up the momentum for all the marijuana law reform efforts taking place across the country, and especially upcoming ballot initiatives.
On November 4th, two states and the District of Columbia will be voting to legalize marijuana, and Florida will be voting on a medical marijuana amendment. The timing couldn’t have been better to take, and remake the canna-cult classic. The 2014 version of “Because I Got High” not only challenges old stereotypes, it also seeks to build support and enthusiasm for the three measures proposing to create a regulated pot market for adults, age 21 and over.
Through digital engagement, this song pushes an important political message to a younger, social media savvy voting block, energizing the demographic known to be the among the biggest supporters of ending marijuana prohibition. From glaucoma to funding school construction, the song highlights many of the social, medical and economic benefits of legalization in a fun and informative way.
“NORML is thrilled to have brought Weedmaps and Afroman together to create this unique cultural collaboration merging art, entertainment, and activism into a single campaign that highlights many of the positive benefits of cannabis, and raises awareness for for the legalization initiatives coming up in the 2014 November elections,” said NORML Director of Strategic Partnerships Sabrina Fendrick.
Check out the video and share with all your like-minded friends. Together, we can #SmokeTheVote!