Palin Pick Makes Medical Marijuana a Problem Issue For McCain
September 5, 2008
Source: Stop The Drug War
We know she used marijuana when it was legal in Alaska. And we know that she hypocritically claims to oppose legalization. But Sarah Palin is also governor of a state that’s had a medical marijuana program for ten years. How does she feel about that?
Does Sarah Palin share John McCain’s open hostility towards seriously ill patients who use marijuana on the advice of their doctors?
Frankly, I highly doubt Palin agrees with this. It’s bad politics for her in Alaska and, for that matter, everywhere else as well. If pressed, she’ll be forced to take the party line, but that won’t go well for her. Palin can’t conveniently defend federal supremacy over state medical marijuana laws because she’s already argued that her own past marijuana use was legal in Alaska. She can’t defend medical marijuana raids without labeling herself a criminal.
The point isn’t that there’s anything damaging about her admitted marijuana use or that people who admit trying marijuana become obligated to support medical access. Neither is true. The point, rather, is that Palin’s personal story highlights the absurdity of bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. telling people all the way up in Alaska what sorts of petty drug laws they ought to have. She doesn’t want to go there. It’s a terrible jumping-off point for initiating a defense of federal authority to arrest sick people.
That’s why the Obama campaign would be smart to apply pressure here. Public support for medical marijuana is overwhelming and the video of McCain literally turning his back on a wheelchair bound patient is compelling. This debate polarizes independent and libertarian voters in Obama’s favor, while forcing McCain to defend another unpopular Bush policy. Biden’s obnoxious drug war background also becomes a counterintuitive asset, as he can ably deflect any shrill attacks from the law & order crowd on the right.
As the democrats clamor for opportunities to puncture the narrative of McCain/Palin as a “reform” ticket, there is nothing to lose, and potentially much to gain by directly challenging McCain’s deeply unpopular views on medical marijuana.