On his Thursday night show, Stephen Colbert said that he believes marijuana will be the issue that drives the 2012 presidential election, as gay marriage was in 2004.
With Romney and Obama extremely close in the polls, marijuana legalization initiatives on the ballots in a number of states may drive young people out to the polls when they otherwise may not have. Democrats are hopeful that this will work out in President Barack Obama’s favor, as many young people tend to be liberal.
On his show Colbert joked, “Marijuana support is at a record high, just like its supporters. This is the ultimate grassroots campaign.”
He continued sarcastically, “We all know pot smokers are highly motivated, organized and punctual. There is nothing they would not love more than getting off the couch, putting on pants, and going to gyms packed with judgmental old people.”
All jokes aside, there is some truth to the comedian’s statement. Now more than ever, marijuana supporters are being vocal and proactive about their rights to access the drug. Marijuana legalization initiatives will likely appear on the general election ballot in Ohio, Michigan, Colorado, Nebraska, Massachusetts and Oregon this November, which may inspire more young people to vote in those states.
However, just because a higher than usual volume of stoners may turn out at the polls due to these legalization initiatives, that does not guarantee that they will vote to re-elect President Obama as the Democrats are hoping. Obama is viewed as someone who has let down the marijuana community, and he may be overlooked for a candidate like Libertarian Gary Johnson, who strongly supports legalization of marijuana throughout the country.