What the GOP should be smoking

Bill Regardie Founder, Regardie's Magazine
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Following President Obama’s landslide victory over the “unbeatable” Mitt Romney, even the old toadies that mastermind the GOP need to understand that the times they have a-changed, as the old song goes. And the easiest way to get the White House back is to start with kids, many of whom will be voting in 2016 for the first time.

A fast, easy way to start is to call for all the states to legalize marijuana, decriminalize its possession for personal use, pardon/release all first-time offenders and tax the sale of the drug just like alcohol. Besides, the states could use the sales tax.

Is this a hare-brained idea? No, not really. Washington and Colorado just legalized personal use of pot. For the last decade, virtually anyone in California could get a prescription for a wide variety of growths that are as expensive as the best wines in Napa — but give you a better high.

In any case, it’s clear the Justice Department isn’t going to do a damn thing about marijuana. Take California. For years, there were noises about the feds coming in. Then someone in D.C. remembered that the Golden State had 55 electoral votes, and that they didn’t want to piss off all those pot heads, some of whom might remember to vote.

Whoever leads Justice for the next four years will have far more serious issues to chase than personal use of grass now that two states have decriminalized it and some 16 others and the District of Columbia have approved marijuana for medical use.

Calling for legalizing pot isn’t going to completely change the Republican Party’s image, though it’s a damn good start. Immigration reform, women’s issues and understanding the new voting technology are the real keys to the next election. Plus the right candidate, of course.

But the GOP was once the innovator. In 1987, under Chairman Frank Fahrenkopf, Jr., the party pioneered opposition research. Every potential 1988 Democratic candidate’s words and speeches were researched and computer-banked to be used for the campaign of George H.W. Bush.

With the deft hand of the legendary Lee Atwater, “41” glided to victory.

Bill Regardie was the founder and publisher of Regardie’s Magazine, and is on the Advisory Board of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.