President Barack Obama’s Justice Department has sent letters to more than 57 medical marijuana businesses in Colorado, threatening the owners with imprisonment or asset forfeiture despite their compliance with state law. The National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) thinks enough frustrated Colorado voters could turn out against the Obama administration to vote for the state’s medical marijuana initiative in November and tip the state, which could ultimately decide the election.
The group profiled Jennifer Reynolds, who had been working at the Colorado Dispensary Services (CDS) since 2008 until she was left without a job after Colorado’s U.S. Attorney’s office demanded the business shut down.
Reynolds is a single mom of four children. Her job — and her flexible work schedule — allowed her to drop her kids off at school and then go to work in Wheatridge, Colorado as an office manager. Her employer also provided her health benefits.
“This is about medical cannabis patients having a safe and regulated environment in which to purchase their medicine … My center should have been a model for others to follow, not a target for federal action,” Reynolds said at an NCIA press conference last Thursday, according to the Daily Caller.
NCIA Executive Director Aaron Smith said “Marijuana is much more popular in Colorado than [President] Obama is” and Obama’s actions “could swing the entire election.”
A Public Policy Polling (PPP) poll in Colorado found that the medical marijuana initiative could hurt Obama in the fall. Young, libertarian-leaning voters who favor the initiative may vote for Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson, who is on the ballot in Colorado, instead of Obama. And the PPP poll found Johnson took two points from Obama, which could matter in a state Obama leads by an average of only 1.3 points. Obama won Colorado in 2008 by nine points, but Romney has been closing the gap recently.
Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan told a Colorado television station last week that medical marijuana decisions should be left to the states.
“My personal positions on this issue have been let the states decide what to do with these things,” Ryan said. “I personally don’t agree with it, but this is something Coloradans have to decide for themselves.”