Any political observer can tell you how important the base is in an election. A mainstream politician in the two party system must have the backing of most of his or her’s party base. The is especially true of Presidential elections.
Without his Democratic base, President Obama will lose his bid for reelection this fall. Of course, he’ll get many Democrat votes just because he’s not a Republican, he’s the incumbent Democratic President, etc. But in a race that is likely to be close, he cannot afford to lose Democrat votes.
So news out of San Francisco can’t be seen as good for the President as the city’s Democratic party is calling on him to back off the medical marijuana crackdown began in the state last fall. A press release from Americans for Safe Access details the announcement and reads in part:
San Francisco, CA — The San Francisco Democratic Party gave a blistering rebuke to President Obama’s assault on the medical marijuana community. A resolution was adopted yesterday by the party’s Central Committee (DCCC) demanding that President Obama, Attorney General Eric Holder, and U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag “cease all Federal actions in San Francisco immediately, respect State and local laws, and stop the closure of City-permitted medical cannabis facilities.” The resolution was co-sponsored by 21 DCCC members including: its author Gabriel Haaland, Assembly member Tom Ammiano, State Senator Leland Yee, Supervisors David Campos and David Chiu, former State Senator Carole Migden, and former Supervisor Aaron Peskin.
At least 5 permitted San Francisco dispensaries have been forced to close in the last few months as a result of the Obama administration’s heightened attack in California. The operators and landlords of these and several more dispensaries were threatened with federal criminal prosecution and asset forfeiture in an effort to shut down access points for the city’s tens of thousands of qualified patients. San Francisco has been especially hard hit since October, when California’s four U.S. Attorneys escalated an already vigorous federal campaign against medical marijuana.
The DCCC argues that, “the U. S. Attorneys in California are not targeting individuals and organizations that are operating outside of the law, but instead are aggressively persecuting a peaceful and regulated community, wasting Federal resources in using a series of threatening tactics to shut down regulated access to medical cannabis across the state of California.” The DCCC also accuses the federal government of “depriving…the State of California [of] much needed tax revenue.”
The DCCC resolution comes as President Obama deflects concern and anger over his aggressive enforcement practices in today’s issue of Rolling Stone. Backpedaling, President Obama is claiming that “there haven’t been any prosecutions” of medical marijuana patients, but he has ignored the broader negative effects of his campaign and the need to treat medical marijuana as a public health issue. “With a highly contentious bid for the White House, Obama should think twice about being out of step with his party and the 80 percent of Americans who support safe and legal access to medical marijuana,” said Steph Sherer, Executive Director of Americans for Safe Access, which is part of the SF United campaign.
More and more people are wondering what exactly Obama hopes to gain with his policies on medical marijuana. At the very least the issue will be a distraction his campaign can ill afford.