Pot’s political problem
Rahm Emanuel is the major of Chicago. He was Obama’s right hand guy during his first presidential election. He is a political animal. Let’s not kid ourselves, Emanuel likes the trappings of power. Major of a big American city is a pretty sweet gig. If you want to stay top dog however, then there are a few things you have to do. Yes, yes, sell your soul is one of them, but that goes without saying. You have to keep enough votes onside and you have to raise new money for the next election. Add in connections and you are the next Major of whichever city you are looking to use to further your own personal story.
Emanuel won his election with big finance money and the black vote. If you look at his policies on pot he has had to slightly tilt to the black vote by liberalizing the rules, proposing tickets instead of jail time for cannabis users with less than 15 grams in their possession. That is good for pot smokers, but by doing this he runs the risk of annoying the police.
The police have done nicely out of cannabis. Huge numbers of non violent criminals bump up crime prevention statistics, which in turn show the need for the police and makes the argument without having to beg for increasing the law enforcement budget. Cool new toys and lots of over time thanks to that wonderful little plant. Why would the police want to have a nice easy number taken away from them just so the hippie kids can get stoned and patients can get medicine? If Emanuel goes with his brain, (the science on pot shows it is non toxic and helps with many illnesses) then he would legalize it. If he does, then he probably cements his relationship with pot smokers but he loses support from the police. If you don’t have the police on side then you will not be able to run your city. This in turn will affect your financial supporters, who will be less likely to give you money come the next election.
See the mess? He is caught. He probably doesn’t care about marijuana. I’m sure he is more of a cocaine and hookers kind of guy but to make his life easier, he goes along with the police version of reality. I bet there are Chicago cops who had cop grandfathers who made the same argument during alcohol prohibition. We have elected officials that don’t want to touch marijuana because it just makes life easier to keep things the way they are. Pot activism is the only way to change things. In Europe we will have to get our act together. Get a coalition of pro pot activists in each European country and act in a coordinated fashion.
Given the choice, a politician will always do the easier thing. The police like enforcing pot laws so things remain the same. We do have a huge number of people that are pro pot. When we finally work as one, the politicians will follow us, until then, we have been divided and conquered!