Marijuana advocates who are registered to vote in American elections to be held November 7, 2000 have the unique opportunity to vote directly against the drug war.
Third-party presidential candidates Ralph Nader and Harry Browne, in contrast to major party candidates George W Bush and Albert Gore, have publicly stated that they oppose the drug war and would work to completely revise the way America views and regulates drug use.
Green Party for Decrim
I interviewed Green Party candidate Nader, and his vice presidential running mate Winona LaDuke, in California two years ago. At the time, Nader was willing to publicly advocate hemp, but would not comment on full legalization for all uses of the marijuana plant.
“Hemp is the single most useful plant the earth has given us,” Nader said. “It can replace the poisonous, fossil fuel economy with a sustainable economy based on a plant that provides fiber, construction materials, clothing, food, oils and other important industrial uses.”
LaDuke, a highly regarded Native American activist and author, also praised the cannabis plant, noting that her tribal family on Minnesota’s White Earth reservation had a long tradition of relying on plants for most of their needs.
During this year’s presidential campaign, as Nader and LaDuke draw larger campaign rally crowds than any other presidential candidates, the Green Party and its top two candidates have begun advocating decriminalization or legalization of marijuana, especially for medical and industrial uses. The Green Party in Europe is also generally in favor of legalizing marijuana.
Libertarians vs the drug war
Libertarian Party presidential candidate Harry Browne and his running mate Art Olivier have made it very clear that opposing the drug war is a primary tenet of the Libertarian Party.
At last summer’s Libertarian convention, California medical marijuana user Steve Kubby was almost selected as the party’s vice presidential candidate, despite the fact that Kubby, who is currently on trial for growing medical marijuana, may have been unable to travel outside California to make campaign appearances.
Libertarian Party founder David Nolan told me in August that his party views the drug war as the clearest indication that America’s constitution has been comprehensively violated by a tyrannical regime run by the major political parties.
“Most Libertarians aren’t people who even use illegal drugs,” Nolan noted. “Our core philosophy is that freedom was the major reason for the first American Revolution, and that the government has absolutely no right to regulate personal, private behavior. We advocate letting people be free to make choices about what they do with their own bodies.”
Browne and Nader have been handicapped by corporate media censorship, and by decisions of the Republican-Democrat-corporate cabal that controls the presidential debate commission. Brown, Nader and other third-party candidates demanded participation in the presidential debates, but when Nader showed up at the first presidential debate in Boston, he was prevented from even entering the debate hall.
Most major television networks and newspapers refuse to cover the Browne and Nader campaigns. As many as 12,000 people show up at Nader rallies; media outlets do not broadcast reports on the rallies, but they routinely broadcast video of Bush and Gore rallies, even though far fewer people show up at those events, which are usually attended by hand-picked audience shills.
Some marijuana advocates worry that a vote for Nader will take votes away from Gore, leading to inadvertent assistance to George W Bush. Others argue that they believe George W Bush’s promise to respect “state’s rights” in regards to medical marijuana laws, and they contrast Bush’s statement with Al Gore’s assertion that medical marijuana is a fraud.
Those who believe that George W Bush’s marijuana policies would be better than Gore’s have forgotten that Bush’s family is allied with pharmaceutical companies that helped contrive and continue marijuana prohibition, that Bush’s father headed the Central Intelligence Agency, that Bush’s mother led the opposition to California’s Prop 215 and Maine’s medical marijuana law, and that Bush’s brother Jeb, as governor of Florida, is incestuously allied with private anti-marijuana organizations and runs a draconian drug war junta supervised by a former prot?g? of White House drug Nazi General Barry McCaffrey.
Vote for freedom
A vote for Nader or Browne, along with other Green and Libertarian candidates in the November elections, will send a message to pundits and policymakers. It will also have a more practical effect. If Browne and/or Nader receive more than five percent of the vote, they will qualify for millions of dollars in federal election funding in the next election cycle.
Money is the mother’s milk of politics, and with it, these courageous alternative candidates might have the financial resources available to buy advertising that more widely disseminates their opposition to the drug war.
Ralph Nader: www.votenader.com
Harry Browne: www.harrybrowne2000.org