Marijuana Love Unites Blue and Red States
Following legalization of marijuana in Colorado and Washington, other states are eager to do the same, and it doesn't see to make a whole lot of difference whether they are red or blue. As The New York Times pointed out recently, legalization pushes are underway in both Oregon-a very red state and Alaska-a very blue one.
In a separate article Tuesday, the newspaper noted that a desire to reduce drug-related prison sentences is uniting tea party stalwart Sen. Rand Paul (R., Ky) and U.S. attorney general Eric Holder.
Holder likes the idea of reducing sentences for drug-related offenses because he sees it as a civil rights issue. African Americans are disproportionately the victims of strict drug sentencing laws. Paul, on the other hand, is tired of what he sees as wasteful government spending to incarcerate non-violent lawbreakers.
On Monday, Huffington Post tapped into this groundswell of antipathy for locking people up for drug-related offenses. It featured a story and video about a man named Robert Duncan, titled 'I'm Going To Prison For Working At A Pot Shop That Was Legal In My State.'
There is something about Duncan's story-or perhaps it's the Huffington Post's decision to make him their cause celebre--that is a bit cloying. He is white, handsome, young and well spoken. He is referred to by the Huffington Post as a Pot Shop Worker. Duncan says he will try and earn an MBA online during his two year stint in prison. Indeed, the prison term seems tailor-made to enhance his resume.
Still, just because it is easy to create a sympathetic figure and attract so much attention to the wasted money and resources we expend as a nation to locking people up for minor drug offenses doesn't mean we shouldn't make the most we can of this political low-hanging fruit.
Any issue that brings Rand Paul and Eric Holder together is worth milking for all it's worth.