It wasn’t that long ago that politicians, especially federal politicians, would never come out publicly in support of marijuana reform. I always argued that Republicans should get on board with marijuana policy, if for any reason because they are supposed to be the party that champions state’s rights, which absolutely includes marijuana policy. I wasn’t asking Republicans to come out and campaign for marijuana legalization (although it would be nice if they did), but they should absolutely support the idea that if state voters approve something, the federal government shouldn’t be able to block it.
In a sign of the times, Republican Senator Pat Roberts has essentially stated that he agrees with me. Per the Huffington Post:
Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kansas), who is locked in a tough re-election battle, said Saturday that states should be free to legalize marijuana.
During a debate with independent rival Greg Orman, Roberts was asked for his position on marijuana legalization.
“That’s not a federal issue,” Roberts said. “That’s a state issue. If you want to get a Rocky Mountain high, go west. That should be for the Kansas legislature and the governor to decide, not federally.”
This is a very big deal in the political world. To explain why, I offer up this quote from Tom Angell from the Marijuana Majority:
“When a conservative Republican senator from Kansas tells the feds to let states legalize marijuana in the middle of a tight race for reelection, it’s pretty clear that the days when politicians thought they needed to be as ‘tough’ on drugs as possible in order to get elected are over. But Sen. Roberts needs to do more than just talk about change. At the very least he should team up with Sens. Cory Booker & Rand Paul on their effort to stop federal interference with state medical marijuana laws.”