To Weed, or Not To Weed?

Marijuana plant
The ongoing move to legalize the use of marijuana picked up new supporters this week - supporters who say they will press the issue in the November congressional elections and throughout 2011 leading to the 2012 presidential campaign.

The pro-marijuana campaign is called "Just Say Now."

"The stars are aligning in a very interesting way with Tea Party activists, who are generally libertarian," Aaron Houston, head of Students for Sensible Drug Policy, told The Huffington Post, in  announcing the formation of a new  coalition.

"On the right and left, it's a very popular issue," Houston says.

The campaign will be backing marijuana initiatives in 2010 in Arizona, Oregon, California, Colorado and South Dakota. The group will back initiatives in Nevada and elsewhere in 2012.

Marijuana has been smoked by scores of millions of Americans, including the last three presidents. Medical marijuana is legal in 14 states and the District of Columbia.

Support for marijuana legalization has steadily increased over the past decade.

"The organization Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, made up of cops and prosecutors who've seen the dark side of the war on drugs, will give cover to politicians who come out in support of legalization," says Ryan Grim, author of This Is Your Country On Drugs: The Secret History of Getting High in America

Neill Franklin
The group's current president is Neill Franklin, a 33-year police veteran who oversaw anti-narcotics units with the Maryland State Police.

Another member of the group is Norm Stamper, former chief of police in Seattle, WA.

"Most police office candidates have used marijuana," says Stamper, noting the hypocrisy of the law. Law enforcement officials are becoming less frightened of speaking out publicly against the war on drugs, Stamper told The Post.

Will candidates on the November congressional ballot latch on to the marijuana bandwagon or will they pass it by?

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