With the Presidential race now kicking into high gear, it is inevitable that we’ll continue to be subject the political side shows and sparring matches between the candidates who are vying for the opportunity to be top leader of the free world. Some would say that it’s debatable whether or not any of it even matters, as many speculate that the whole system is rigged anyways. For some, it is difficult not to concede, to be apathetic, and give up any sort of hope or trust in the election process and our elected officials.
But the 2016 election year seems to be different than many others in recent memory. After enduring two terms of the George W. Bush presidency, which began with a controversy over vote recounts in Florida, and another two terms under the supposedly progressive policies of Barack Obama, Americans seem ready for something completely different. Not long after Republican President Bush took office, our country became obsessed with fighting terrorism, following the infamous 9/11 bombing of the World Trade Center. Ever since, we’ve been trading our freedom for security and taking whatever we can get from Washington.
Though many other events have contributed to our collective malcontent as well. When the housing market crashed and billions of dollars were provided to bail out Wall Street, it was demonstrated once again that profits matter much more than people do in our country. Then the Occupy movement emerged and the #BlackLivesMatter campaign sprang up, both in response to the systemic injustices that plague the poor, criminalize minorities, and essentially serve to enslave all of us. We continue to see how the “system” has been built to primarily benefit the rich and powerful and leave the rest of us languishing beneath crushing debt and struggling just to get by.
Lately, the primary focus in the Presidential race has been on the two Democratic contenders, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. Most of the Republican candidates are either too wrapped up in religious speculations, like Carson, Cruz, and Rubio, or just seem way too boisterous, ignorant, and xenophobic to be taken very seriously (like you know who). The only Republican candidate with any sort of sense, compassion, or concern for the general public has already dropped out of the race since the recent Iowa Caucus left him sitting in fifth place amongst twelve of his peers. Although Rand Paul is probably the most progressive of the Republican candidates vying for the White House this year, we won’t have a chance to hear him debate with the Democratic nominee when the time comes.
For many Hybrid.Life readers, the decision of who to vote for when it comes time to elect our next President will come down to who is most supportive of cannabis legalization. Though, in the end, it may be a choice between who is most likely to either take marijuana off the schedule of controlled substances or merely reclassify it. If Hillary Clinton has her way, it seems that she would rather see cannabis rescheduled as a Schedule II drug, along with cocaine, methamphetamine, oxycodone, and Adderall, as the Huffington Post noted in article about the subject in late 2015. Although her rival Bernie Sanders could help to effectively end cannabis prohibition if he is elected and follows through with his plan to take it off the schedule of controlled substances all together and allow the states to make their own laws.
The fact of the matter is that the states are making their own laws already, almost as if marijuana weren’t even scheduled as a controlled substance anyways. Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past ten or fifteen years, you know that almost half of the states in America have passed legislation to allow for medical marijuana and four have legalized recreational weed more recently. And even though the federal government could intervene, the agencies that typically enforce drug laws in our country have been relatively lenient. However, local law enforcement and state police forces in states that have introduced more sensible regulations regarding cannabis aren’t necessarily following suit. The injustice of prohibition continues on as cops take advantage of the grey area that has been created by medical marijuana laws all across our country.
Throughout the rest of this election year, we’re sure to see and hear much more about the role that cannabis related issues with have in our political discussions. As more and more states continue making medical marijuana provisions, and others join the ranks of recreational cannabis destinations, public perception towards this very useful and beneficial plant will be transformed. It seems inevitable that prohibition will end and that cannabis should be taken off the schedule of controlled substances, but that isn’t going to happen if we don’t work to help make sure of it. We must continue the conversations, sign petitions, vote for pro-cannabis ballot measures in our respective states, and support the Presidential candidate who is most likely to make real and lasting change.