How Obama Could (But Won't) Boost His Chances in Colorado
Reuters reports the ballot initiative in Colorado to legalize marijuana could make or break Obama's chances in the state. Colorado is considered a swing-state for Obama.
At issue is whether Obama will get a boost from young voters expected to be among the most enthusiastic backers of a Colorado ballot initiative that would legalize possession of up to an ounce of pot for recreational use - and give the state the most liberal marijuana law in the nation.
Young voters are not the only Coloradans who believe the initiative should be passed: [More...]
It's a state where people of different political stripes see marijuana laws as an example of government needlessly sticking its nose where it doesn't belong.
It's also a proving ground for advocates who see legalization as a way to ease crowding in prisons, generate much-needed tax revenues, create jobs and weaken Mexican cartels that thrive on Americans' appetite for illegal drugs.
Denver has 600,000 residents. One of every 41 Denver residents has a medical marijuana card.
Denver has 400 medical marijuana dispensaries. Consider that Starbucks has only 350 coffee stores in the entire state.
But in a close presidential election in which Colorado could be a tipping point - and with polls showing Obama has up to a 30-point edge over Romney among voters age 30 and under - the state's marijuana initiative could be a factor if it inspires waves of young voters to cast ballots on November 6.
Brian Vicente of Sensible Colorado says, "This is an issue that is really meaningful to young people, people of color, disenfranchised communities," groups that typically lag in registering and showing up to vote."
"Democrats and Obama need these groups to win," Vicente said. "The path to the White House leads through Colorado. We feel we can motivate these groups."
Denver isn't the only place in Colorado the medical marijuana has been booming. In conservative Colorado Springs, there are more dispensaries than churches.
Taxes on medical pot brought in $5 million for Colorado in 2011. If the legalization measure passes, it is expected to bring in $20 to $80 million a year in tax revenues. Under Colorado law, the
Advocates of the initiative say legalization:
[will] ease prison crowding, help cash-strapped governments, provide jobs and weaken drug cartels.
The groups supporting the measure are not just pot smokers: "local civil rights and union leader"
In 1969, Gallup conducted a poll asking voters whether marijuana use should be legal. Only 12% said yes. Last October, the percentage of those approving had risen to 50%.
According to Reuters, a national Rasmussen poll last week had support of legalization at 50%.
If not now, when? My support for the legalization measure will become more vocal here at TalkLeft as election seasons moves into high gear.
|< Sunday Morning Open Thread | George Zimmerman Returns to Jail, Will Seek New Hearing >|