My views on marijuana legalization are evolving, says … Ken Cuccinelli

posted at 6:31 pm on February 7, 2013 by Allahpundit

Via Reason, a big deal potentially for two reasons. One: It’s not unusual for a candidate who identifies predominantly as a libertarian, like Gary Johnson, to endorse legalization. It is unusual for a guy who’s more closely associated with mainstream conservatism, albeit of the tea-party wing, to signal he’s keeping an open mind. As I was reading the story, I was trying to come up with the names of prominent Republicans who support lifting the ban on weed and I drew a blank. There must be some (I’m not including Tom Tancredo since he’s no longer in Congress), but it’s interesting to me that it’s easier to call to mind big-name GOPers who back gay marriage, like Dick Cheney and Ken Mehlman, than it is those who support legal marijuana. The polls don’t really explain that, either; if you believe Gallup, support for legalization is now basically at parity with support for prohibition. (If you believe Quinnipiac, there’s actually majority support to legalize it.) Lots of political space here for Cuccinelli to make his mark if he’s so inclined, in other words, although it sounds like he isn’t — yet.

Two: The moral of the story on immigration reform is that demographic realities have forced the GOP to consider ideas that were anathema just five years ago. It’s not just Latino voters from whom the party needs more, though. Romney narrowly won voters aged 40-64 on election day and won handily among voters 65 and over, but was roundly crushed by The One in the 18-39 group. Per Gallup, 18-29-year-olds support marijuana legalization to the tune of 60 percent. If you’re a famously conservative Republican running for governor in a purple state won by Obama, you’re naturally worried about the youth vote carrying Democrats to victory in a close election. Time to maneuver:

“I’m not sure about Virginia’s future [in terms of marijuana legalization],” the newspaper quoted Cuccinelli saying. “But I and a lot of people are watching Colorado and Washington to see how it plays out.”

Cuccinelli’s marijuana comments surprised U.Va. political science professor Larry Sabato, whose class Cuccinelli address.

Sabato noted “Cuccinelli stressed he wouldn’t be recommending changes anytime soon. But he praised states such as Colorado for experimenting with marihuana legalization, saying this was federalism in action. He said twice his views were ‘evolving” on the subject.”

“The students were as surprised as I was,” Sabato added, observing that based on their reactions “his views made him more appealing to them.”

Federalism is indeed the path to striking a bargain with younger voters on liberal social policies they support but which social conservatives frown upon, and needless to say it’s a comfortable fit for Cuccinelli’s advocacy for states’ rights. The GOP’s problem is that if they start flipping on things like pot and gay marriage, they risk bleeding away older voters even while they’re picking up younger ones. Federalism might be a way to maximize gains with the latter while minimizing losses from the former. Rubio appears to be betting on that too: He told BuzzFeed a few days ago that while he supports traditional marriage, he opposes the Federal Marriage Amendment on federalism grounds. Even Obama is a cafeteria federalist on certain hot-button social issues that could pose problems for his party. His official stance on gay marriage, remember, is that he supports it but that the states should decide. And while he continues to crack down on marijuana users, he did nod at federalism in December when he said the DOJ will go easy on enforcing federal drug regulations in states like Colorado that have legalized the drug.

Exit question: Where will the two parties be on marijuana relative to each other in 2016? Will the Dem nominee fully “evolve” on weed, a la O on gay marriage, and embrace legalization or will he/she hedge? And if he/she does, will the GOP nominee embrace the federalist approach to try to steal some Democratic thunder with younger voters?


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Evolving = Lack of Principles

INC on February 7, 2013 at 6:34 PM

I agree.

I do not want my tax dollars going to investigate, prosecute, and incarcerate some idiot that wants to fry their brain. I could care less. It’s a free country.

That money could be spent on violent crime and theft.

commodore on February 7, 2013 at 6:36 PM

Cuccinelli is awesome. Hope he wins here in VA.

crrr6 on February 7, 2013 at 6:37 PM

Wait until the GOP starts “evolving” on gun control.

These dopes don’t have a conscientious bone in their miserable bodies, every one of them is focused only on keeping their jobs. I hate politicians.

Bishop on February 7, 2013 at 6:38 PM

I was trying to come up with the names of prominent Republicans who support lifting the ban on weed and I drew a blank.

George Shultz was in favor when he was Reagan’s Secretary of State.

rbj on February 7, 2013 at 6:40 PM

Opiate of the Masses…

Real time….

BigWyo on February 7, 2013 at 6:41 PM

Like it or not, the persuadable young people in this country are persuadable on only two issues – gays and pot. 2012 is proof enough that they don’t give a flying fig about the economy, jobs, and federal spending.

But start musing that the drug wars have been a waste of time, and people will listen. After all, Cuccinelli burned the gay-rights bridge a looooong time ago.

KingGold on February 7, 2013 at 6:42 PM

It will be legalized.The big question will be the work place.

docflash on February 7, 2013 at 6:43 PM

I agree.

I do not want my tax dollars going to investigate, prosecute, and incarcerate some idiot that wants to fry their brain. I could care less. It’s a free country.

That money could be spent on violent crime and theft.

commodore on February 7, 2013 at 6:36 PM

So you think violent crime and theft are separate issues from drugs? Interesting…

Shump on February 7, 2013 at 6:45 PM

Like it or not, the persuadable young people in this country are persuadable on only two issues – gays and pot. 2012 is proof enough that they don’t give a flying fig about the economy, jobs, and federal spending.

Lot of truth to that, sadly.

Allahpundit on February 7, 2013 at 6:46 PM

Legalize it, reallocate the portion of law enforcement budget to school security.

lester on February 7, 2013 at 6:50 PM

It will be legalized.The big question will be the work place.

docflash on February 7, 2013 at 6:43 PM

I can’t go to work drunk.

tdarrington on February 7, 2013 at 6:55 PM

There clearly is a streak of libertarianism/federalism within the younger voters, many take the same small government stand on social policy as they do on fiscal policy. This can’t be ignored, nor should it; they are asking for the free-market place of ideas to solve many of todays social issues.

Tater Salad on February 7, 2013 at 6:56 PM

On the subject of the 18-39 demo: It’s never too late to start talking about tax reform (be it flat or fair) to young adults, especially during “tax season.” I would expand the message to include privatizing Social Security, but that may spook grandma and grandpa.

Jeddite on February 7, 2013 at 6:57 PM

So you think violent crime and theft are separate issues from drugs? Interesting…

Shump on February 7, 2013 at 6:45 PM

The guy sitting in his basement smoking a joint isn’t committing a violent crime. The crime comes from the black market of prohibition.

tdarrington on February 7, 2013 at 6:57 PM

The War on Drugs is a whopper of a failure, pot being the worst of it. Legalize it, allow it to be sold like any other legal product and tax it accordingly.

You don’t see no-knock gun raids or border crimes for alcohol and tobacco.

Common Sense on February 7, 2013 at 6:59 PM

By the way Reason is very influential within the younger conservative thinkers and shouldn’t be ignored.

Tater Salad on February 7, 2013 at 7:01 PM

I agree.

I do not want my tax dollars going to investigate, prosecute, and incarcerate some idiot that wants to fry their brain. I could care less. It’s a free country.

That money could be spent on violent crime and theft.

commodore on February 7, 2013 at 6:36 PM

Ok, as long as he fries his brain then dies, and doesn’t spend taxpayers money for lengthy rehabilitation or hospital stays.

rplat on February 7, 2013 at 7:06 PM

Most Conservatives would agree that prohibition of alcohol didn’t work….that prohibition of guns won’t affect crime…but bring up drugs…..???

I don’t believe the government has any right to stop me from putting any substance into my body. They can draw the line when my actions affect someone else in a negative way.

BierManVA on February 7, 2013 at 7:08 PM

Evolving = Lack of Principles

INC on February 7, 2013 at 6:34 PM

The Notorious G.O.P on February 7, 2013 at 7:12 PM

Exit question: Where will the two parties be on marijuana relative to each other in 2016?

By 2016,Colorado and Washington will have been legalized for a few years. Maybe enough time to see if thise issue is still worth debating, one way or the other.

Lab rats.

MichaelGabriel on February 7, 2013 at 7:13 PM

BierManVA on February 7, 2013 at 7:08 PM

Stop trying to use logic on conservatives. You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him give up irrational control over social behaviors.

tdarrington on February 7, 2013 at 7:18 PM

My only problem with legalizing MJ up here in Washington state is that it will be a whole year before I’ll finally be able to go to the store and legally buy some and I fear they’ll be sold out!

FloatingRock on February 7, 2013 at 7:18 PM

The GOP is rapidly becoming the party of no principles other than opportunistic pandering-gotta get those Hispanics and those potheads.Sickening!

redware on February 7, 2013 at 7:21 PM

Evolving=new revenue streams.

Mr. Arrogant on February 7, 2013 at 7:25 PM

redware on February 7, 2013 at 7:21 PM

What “principle” are you championing by prohibition? Certainly not free markets, freedom or liberty. What do you stand for beside the state?

FloatingRock on February 7, 2013 at 7:28 PM

There clearly is a streak of libertarianism/federalism within the younger voters, many take the same small government stand on social policy as they do on fiscal policy. This can’t be ignored, nor should it; they are asking for the free-market place of ideas to solve many of todays social issues.

Tater Salad on February 7, 2013 at 6:56 PM

What a bunch of nonsense. There is little evidence that younger voters on the whole give a rat’s ass about small government, especially not when it comes to fiscal issues. They didn’t care a lick about debt, deficits, unemployment, growth, monetary policy, trade policy, farm policy, etc.

And how exactly is allowing child murder a small-government social policy? How is forcing citizens to pay for the birth control of others a small-government social policy? How is trampling on the First Amendment rights of religious institutions a small-government social policy? Because these are the things younger voters supported in 2012.

Libertarian streak, my ass.

steebo77 on February 7, 2013 at 7:28 PM

So you think violent crime and theft are separate issues from drugs? Interesting…

Shump on February 7, 2013 at 6:45 PM

Every time I want a joint I beat the sh!t out of another old bat. Then I steal her bingo money.

katy the mean old lady on February 7, 2013 at 7:32 PM

There is little evidence that younger voters on the whole give a rat’s ass about small government, especially not when it comes to fiscal issues.

steebo77 on February 7, 2013 at 7:28 PM

Ron Paul filled stadiums with thousands of young people all over the country in ’12, something that Obama and Romney could not do.

FloatingRock on February 7, 2013 at 7:33 PM

Ron Paul filled stadiums with thousands of young people all over the country in ’12, something that Obama and Romney could not do.

FloatingRock on February 7, 2013 at 7:33 PM

Obama got 60% of the 18-29 vote; Romney, 37%.

steebo77 on February 7, 2013 at 7:36 PM

steebo77 on February 7, 2013 at 7:36 PM

Nevertheless there is plenty of evidence that a lot of young people care about things that you falsely claim they don’t. Ron Paul’s stadiums full of young people are the proof.

FloatingRock on February 7, 2013 at 7:40 PM

I was trying to come up with the names of prominent Republicans who support lifting the ban on weed and I drew a blank

…were you high?

KOOLAID2 on February 7, 2013 at 7:40 PM

And how exactly is allowing child murder a small-government social policy?

Because at a base level, abortion is a medical procedure. The federal government shouldn’t be in the business of making medical procedures illegal. The feds need to make a legal definition of the moment life begins, then prosecute termination of life as murder.

tdarrington on February 7, 2013 at 7:41 PM

The GOP’s problem is that if they start flipping on things like pot and gay marriage, they risk bleeding away older voters even while they’re picking up younger ones.

Why? They’re not crafting legislation to force older voters to smoke pot or get a gay marriage.

If older voters truly believe in federalism and are true conservatives, then I can’t envision them deciding they are no longer voting.

ButterflyDragon on February 7, 2013 at 7:43 PM

2012 is proof enough that they don’t give a flying fig about the economy, jobs, and federal spending.

Why would young voters care about those things? Having a stronger economy means nothing to them if they have to get a job to participate in it.

Kazinski on February 7, 2013 at 7:45 PM

If older voters truly believe in federalism and are true conservatives, then I can’t envision them deciding they are no longer voting.

ButterflyDragon on February 7, 2013 at 7:43 PM

Exactly. A lot of the older voters smoke weed.

katy the mean old lady on February 7, 2013 at 7:49 PM

If older voters truly believe in federalism and are true conservatives, then I can’t envision them deciding they are no longer voting.

ButterflyDragon on February 7, 2013 at 7:43 PM

John McCain and Mitt Romney couldn’t envision it either.

Estimated 6.6 million fewer white voters showed up to vote in 2012

sharrukin on February 7, 2013 at 7:53 PM

sharrukin on February 7, 2013 at 7:53 PM

Old people voted for Romney, it was young people who didn’t.

FloatingRock on February 7, 2013 at 7:59 PM

All you tight-assed social cons make it real hard for a fella to wanna keep hanging out around here.

I don’t care if you have guns, dope or who you bed down with.

Let me keep my money and associate with whomever I please and I’m happy to return the favor.

And BTW, your church’s Hot Line to the Almighty is no better than mine, either, so lighten the F up.

Bruno Strozek on February 7, 2013 at 8:00 PM

Old people voted for Romney, it was young people who didn’t.

FloatingRock on February 7, 2013 at 7:59 PM

Young people generally don’t vote for anybody except American Idol and Barack Obama, which is somewhat repeating myself.

sharrukin on February 7, 2013 at 8:02 PM

The GOP’s problem is that if they start flipping on things like pot and gay marriage, they risk bleeding away older voters even while they’re picking up younger ones.

False fear.

rrpjr on February 7, 2013 at 8:03 PM

Because at a base level, abortion is a medical procedure. The federal government shouldn’t be in the business of making medical procedures illegal. The feds need to make a legal definition of the moment life begins, then prosecute termination of life as murder.

tdarrington on February 7, 2013 at 7:41 PM

The feds arbitrarily deciding the moment at which life begins kind of flies in the face of that whole libertarian notion of rights preexisting any government. If the government can act on its whims in that department, why not in others? (e.g., what does it really mean to “own” something?)

You also contradict yourself when you say 1) that government shouldn’t ban any medical procedures, but 2) should prosecute termination of life. Many medical procedures can be used to deliberately bring about the end of life. Prosecute them, but don’t ban them? Huh?

steebo77 on February 7, 2013 at 8:03 PM

All you tight-assed social cons make it real hard for a fella to wanna keep hanging out around here.

I don’t care if you have guns, dope or who you bed down with.

Bruno Strozek on February 7, 2013 at 8:00 PM

I don’t think the vast majority of social conservatives want government to prevent anyone from owning guns or associating with whomever they want. Marijuana’s probably a different story (although there’s a wide range of opinions there).

Social conservatives are primarily concerned with protecting freedom of religion, stopping the murder of the unborn, and standing against gay marriage (although there’s a wide range of opinions about civil unions, benefits, etc.).

The reflexive bashing of social conservatives, while demonstrating a severe misunderstanding of who they are and what they believe, does a lot to turn people away from libertarian causes even though there’s a lot of common ground.

steebo77 on February 7, 2013 at 8:10 PM

Like it or not, the persuadable young people in this country are persuadable on only two issues – gays and pot. 2012 is proof enough that they don’t give a flying fig about the economy, jobs, and federal spending.

Lot of truth to that, sadly.

Allahpundit on February 7, 2013 at 6:46 PM

I concur sadly.. :)

Dire Straits on February 7, 2013 at 8:15 PM

Like it or not, the persuadable young people in this country are persuadable on only two issues – gays and pot. 2012 is proof enough that they don’t give a flying fig about the economy, jobs, and federal spending.

Lot of truth to that, sadly.

Allahpundit on February 7, 2013 at 6:46 PM

I concur sadly..:(

PS..Fixed..:)

Dire Straits on February 7, 2013 at 8:19 PM

I have no problem with legalizing and taxing MJ in a manner similar to alcohol. But, other, stronger drugs (e.g. cocaine) must be more forcefully forbidden. MJ is a “gateway” drug, of that I am sure.

tngmv on February 7, 2013 at 8:24 PM

He’s only being honest – hell, Sarah Palin even stated that, with all our other problems – putting a priority on enforcing marijuana laws is not the greatest idea for these times.

LEGALIZATION / DECRIMINALIZATION IS THE CONSERVATIVE PRINCIPLE.

In Conservative doctrine – each man is responsible for his own actions and has the freedom to do as he wishes as long as he’s harming no others.

As long as we enforce stupid laws against ganja – then libbies will enforce their own prohibitionist laws against things we like.

Get rid of all PROHIBITIONIST law!

It’s the conservative thing to do!

HondaV65 on February 7, 2013 at 8:27 PM

The reflexive bashing of social conservatives, while demonstrating a severe misunderstanding of who they are and what they believe, does a lot to turn people away from libertarian causes even though there’s a lot of common ground.

steebo77 on February 7, 2013 at 8:10 PM

I see your point and will add that the “true cons” and their purity tests are turning folks away also..:)

Dire Straits on February 7, 2013 at 8:29 PM

I have no problem with legalizing and taxing MJ in a manner similar to alcohol. But, other, stronger drugs (e.g. cocaine) must be more forcefully forbidden. MJ is a “gateway” drug, of that I am sure.

tngmv on February 7, 2013 at 8:24 PM

And what do you think is the gateway to marijuana?

LOL – it’s A L C O H O L

A legal substance.

HondaV65 on February 7, 2013 at 8:29 PM

Can we just get it over with and legalize beastiality and sex with whomever or whatever we want?

……either that or GROW A PAIR and start screaming like a banshee at these idiot politicians for having NO freaking moral principles.

God help us survive those that “lead” us.

PappyD61 on February 7, 2013 at 8:37 PM

It will be legalized.The big question will be the work place.

docflash on February 7, 2013 at 6:43 PM

At some point in this fiscal nightmare will D.C. be willing to LEGALIZE EVERYTHING just to be able to tax it?

Cocaine?

Meth?

Hash?

PCP?


After all, what is off limits to a power hungry and cash strapped Beltway ruling class?

PappyD61 on February 7, 2013 at 8:41 PM

I dare someone in one of these Congressmens’ districts to ask this question (with video recording):

Jim McDermott

Jan Schkowski

Alan Grayson

Sheila Jackson-Lee

or Nancy Pelosi

“If I’m in love with my 14 year old spider monkey and I want to marry it, If I pay a fee at the local, state or Federal level shouldn’t I be able to do that?”

I shudder to think what responses we’d get.

PappyD61 on February 7, 2013 at 8:44 PM

Eventually, someone will have to rule over the “potheads” because when they are stoned, they won’t be able to run the country when their time comes. So the leadership will have to outsourced.

b1jetmech on February 7, 2013 at 9:03 PM

The reflexive bashing of social conservatives, while demonstrating a severe misunderstanding of who they are and what they believe, does a lot to turn people away from libertarian causes even though there’s a lot of common ground.

steebo77 on February 7, 2013 at 8:10 PM

Point taken.

The hackle-raising radar may have been a wee bit too finely tuned this evening.

Bruno Strozek on February 7, 2013 at 9:04 PM

I see your point and will add that the “true cons” and their purity tests are turning folks away also..:)

Dire Straits on February 7, 2013 at 8:29 PM

What’s the alternative? Run to the Lo-Vo crowd and support BIG goverment?

b1jetmech on February 7, 2013 at 9:04 PM

What “principle” are you championing by prohibition? Certainly not free markets, freedom or liberty. What do you stand for beside the state?

FloatingRock on February 7, 2013 at 7:28 PM

It’s not often that I agree with you.

John the Libertarian on February 7, 2013 at 9:37 PM

I agree.

I do not want my tax dollars going to investigate, prosecute, and incarcerate some idiot that wants to fry their brain. I could care less. It’s a free country.

That money could be spent on violent crime and theft.

commodore on February 7, 2013 at 6:36 PM

Should private employers be forced to hire individuals who fail a drug test? Should potheads be permitted to drive on our highways while high — given that few states have laws defining THC impairment? Should we who will remain sane be allowed to shoot schiziod pot users? If a pothead can’t get employment, should they be allowed to collect unemployment benefits?

It may be a free country, but the Democrats so far have yet to fail in finding a way to charge Republicans for its use.

unclesmrgol on February 7, 2013 at 9:54 PM

Good for him. I’m more of a libertarian-minded conservative and young as well. I had every intention of voting for him before but this just makes it better.

My philosophy is I don’t care what you put into your body as long as you don’t harm anyone (besides yourself obviously) it’s fine by me. Keep drug testing and DUI laws, both alcohol and tobacco are legal intoxicants, both cause bodily harm including death and yet millions of people around the country drink and smoke daily.

If someone wants to get clean there is always AA, NA, etc.

SgtSVJones on February 7, 2013 at 10:12 PM

b1jetmech on February 7, 2013 at 9:04 PM

Point taken..GOP has to do a better job of getting out the GOP message..And quit the “circular firing” squads among ourselves (GOP)..:)

Dire Straits on February 7, 2013 at 10:23 PM

My views on marijuana legalization are evolving, says … Ken Cuccinelli

Finally, these repubs may be coming around to liberty. I have never smoked pot but anybody should be able to do it if they so desire, and any other drug they want, as long as they aren’t coercive towards someone else.

So you think violent crime and theft are separate issues from drugs? Interesting…

Shump on February 7, 2013 at 6:45 PM

They are absolutely separate. Could you tell me how they are equal?

air_up_there on February 8, 2013 at 12:34 AM

Libertarians need to get out of my party. Go run your own canidates on yout plarform Oh, I see you have tried that and it doesn’t work so you will just try and take over the Republican party. No thank you

Bullhead on February 8, 2013 at 12:40 AM

Libertarians need to get out of my party. Go run your own canidates on yout plarform Oh, I see you have tried that and it doesn’t work so you will just try and take over the Republican party. No thank you

Bullhead on February 8, 2013 at 12:40 AM

I’m a libertarian and I certainly don’t want to take over the Republican party. I hope it ceases to be. They prevent constitutional conservatives from winning.

air_up_there on February 8, 2013 at 12:50 AM

I’m a libertarian and I certainly don’t want to take over the Republican party. I hope it ceases to be. They prevent constitutional conservatives from winning.

bull crap

Bullhead on February 8, 2013 at 12:52 AM

Drugs are so good NOT http://triblive.com/news/westmoreland/3443235-74/drug-overdose-students#axzz2KHfE0iiO

Bullhead on February 8, 2013 at 12:51 AM

“Good” is irrelevant. Good has nothing to do with the liberty to do what you choose. If that were the case, we would all be advocates of Bloomberg’s ban on greater than 16 oz drink ban. Or we would all be okay with Michelle Obama telling us what we should eat. Seat belts, helmet laws, etc., etc. The list could go on and on. What’s “good” for you has nothing to do with it. Liberty is choosing what you want to do (as long as it doesn’t affect someone else) regardless if it’s good for you or not.

air_up_there on February 8, 2013 at 1:03 AM

:)Should private employers be forced to hire individuals who fail a drug test? Should potheads be permitted to drive on our highways while high — given that few states have laws defining THC impairment? Should we who will remain sane be allowed to shoot schiziod pot users? If a pothead can’t get employment, should they be allowed to collect unemployment benefits?

It may be a free country, but the Democrats so far have yet to fail in finding a way to charge Republicans for its use.

unclesmrgol on February 7, 2013 at 9:54 PM

drug testing is social regimentation,wonder what political institution promoted that??

should pot heads be permitted to drive?? I think the law all ready covers that, I think its called impaired driving!!

shoot pot users?? why?? if your so sane,you should know that there are millions upon millions of people who smoke weed every day.if you haven’t shot one of the ”schizoid pot users ” by now,i think you haven’t a clue who a pot user is.

svs22422 on February 8, 2013 at 3:17 AM

Hey…I may be an exception rather than a rule, but I’m conservative and support reversal of il-legalization of marijuana.

It’s not that I’m rabid for legalization so much as I am against its il-legalization.

Saltysam on February 8, 2013 at 9:06 AM

Gotta get those drug heads to vote for you so I am sure your views are still revolving.

SgtRed on February 8, 2013 at 12:48 PM

unclesmrgol on February 7, 2013 at 9:54 PMdrug testing is social regimentation,wonder what political institution promoted that??should pot heads be permitted to drive?? I think the law all ready covers that, I think its called impaired driving!!shoot pot users?? why?? if your so sane,you should know that there are millions upon millions of people who smoke weed every day.if you haven’t shot one of the ”schizoid pot users ” by now,i think you haven’t a clue who a pot user is.svs22422 on February 8, 2013 at 3:17 AM

He’s not worried about that cause in his benevolence, he’d also ban secondhand smoke of any kind to include jailing tobacco users. At least shooting them on sight saves the expense of jailing. We went round and round on this just before captain ed joined hotair

AH_C on February 8, 2013 at 9:58 PM