As the 2012 election mercifully enters the home stretch, it's time to look back and see what issues were almost completely ignored by both candidates.
Of the whole host of topics neither campaign seemed to want to talk about, the silence of both Obama and Romney on the the drug war was deafening in a country where someone is arrested for marijuana possession every 42 seconds.
Drug Policy Alliance Executive Director Ethan Nadelmann visited California Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom's Current TV chat show to talk about the effect a Romney-leveraged buyout of the oval office would have on the drug war.
"The choice, for those of us who care about drug war issues, between Obama and Romey is the choice between a disappointment and a disaster," Nadelmann explained. "Romney, from everything I can see, the one thing he may truly believe in, and not flip-flop on, is the war on drugs. He may be the worst president when it comes to drug policy since the first president Bush, which was the peak of the drug war."
Nadelmann added that the only prospect for bold reform out of Washington would come in the unlikely event of the Democrats taking both houses of Congress in addition to the presidency.
However, even without a complete overhaul, he thinks that some modest changes come down the pipeline relatively soon. "[I think] we'll see the emergence of an independent commission to reevaluate the state of drug policy in this country," he said. "We'll see more opening to new ideas that are beginning to percolate, but I'm not going to hold my breath for major reform."
Overall disappointment among reformers regarding Obama's drug policy often blossoms into outrage when discussing the administration's crackdown on the medical marijuana industry, which has resulted in a wave of dispensary closures throughout California over the past year.
In an interview with Rolling Stone, Marijuana Policy Project Executive Director Rob Kampia asserted, "There's no question that Obama's the worst president on medical marijuana."
However, in that same article, Nadelmann went on record defending the administration, saying he believes the recent crackdown stems from career drug warriors in the Justice Department, not the oval office. "I don't think the federal onslaught is being driven by the highest levels of the White House," said Nadelmann. "What we need is a clear statement from the White House that federal authorities will defer to responsible local regulation."
The Gavin Newsom Show airs this Friday at 11 p.m. PT / 2 a.m. ET on Current TV.
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