Why Surging Support For Marijuana Is Hurting the GOP and Will For Years to Come

As the movement to expand access to marijuana grows across the country, the Republican Party, with the exception of its kooky libertarian wing, has a bad case of reefer madness. Gov. Rick Perry, who’s no stranger to moments of mental madness, equated marijuana use to murder, while Gov. Chris Christie has more or less said he’d prefer dead kids to stoned kids. During the 2012 election, Mitt Romney promised to “fight tooth and nail” against pro-marijuana legalization.

While national polling shows more than 55% of Americans support pot legalization, Republicans remains strongly opposed, and in fact, more than two-thirds of Republicans voted against legalization in Colorado and Washington.

With Republicans likely to remain opposed, marijuana could emerge as a big cultural wedge issue winner in both the 2014 and 2016 elections. The GOP holds a majority in the House of Congress and is threatening in the Senate come November, but in state elections, marijuana on the ballot has big potential to harm Republican candidates. In January, the Florida Supreme Court approved a proposed constitutional amendment that would legalize medical marijuana, assuring that the initiative will appear on the state’s November ballot. The referendum on pot may, in turn, determine the winner of the state’s gubernatorial race. According to the most recent Quinnipiac University poll, 70 percent of Floridians favor medical marijuana, which augers well for Democratic challenger Charlie Christ, given Gov. Rick Scott opposes the bill. There is considerable evidence that vote turnout rises when pot is on the ballot, especially for young voters who would naturally favor a candidate who supports it.

– Read the entire article at AlterNet.