Rant & Rave: Scott Gessler and Medical Marijuana

June 2012

Rant: Scott Gessler is out of control.

As 5280’s Natasha Gardner chronicled in her April profile of Scott Gessler, Colorado’s Secretary of State has had a contentious relationship from the get-go with his county clerks. He’s at it again. Under the guise of “preserving the uniformity of elections,” Gessler’s office recently issued a ruling that would change how county clerks mail ballots to inactive voters.

Gessler says he wants to make sure no one is voting twice, which is logical enough. Unfortunately, he’s presented little hard evidence that this problem actually exists. You could argue that Gessler is merely following anti-voter-fraud efforts in states like Michigan, Wisconsin, Missouri, and Florida, an important endeavor in a presidential election year. That’s only until you realize that the other thing our Republican activist has in common with the people leading these efforts is—go figure—party affiliation.

It’s a general rule of thumb that the fewer people who vote, the better conservatives fare. And pursuing devious political ends behind a curtain of faux high-mindedness is as American as apple pie. Instead of legitimate policy distinctions and thoughtful debate, we get tricks. This is nothing new. We can expect this to continue until the last ballot is cast. It’s up to the voters to figure out which threats are real and which ones are imaginary. One thing is certain: Anyone who thinks absolute truth comes from either side of the political aisle is doomed to absolute ignorance.

Rave: Medical marijuana dispensaries get some good news. 

Looks like the opponents of medical marijuana will have to find a new bugaboo. (They won’t, of course, but they should.) This week, economists from the University of Colorado Denver and elsewhere released a study demonstrating that the increased availability of medical marijuana hasn’t resulted in more youths getting high.

Although teen marijuana use has slightly increased in the past few years, they aren’t getting it from legal dispensaries. In fact, the CU Denver report showed that in the 13 states that have legalized medical marijuana, overall use among kids is slightly down (probably because the rigid restrictions placed on the industry have made these purveyors cautious about making sure their product ends up in the right hands).

As this fall’s vote approaches on Amendment 64—which would regulate marijuana like alcohol—expect opponents to trot out the familiar bromides. No one wants kids to have easier access to marijuana. Laws like these, and industries like medical marijuana, offer a more intelligent and easily monitored way to make sure they don’t.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

NEXT WEEK: On June 29, We rant about see-through spandex shorts.