Noting the absence of any questions in the vice presidential debate about the United States over-incarceration problem (which is driven in large part by the so called War on Drugs), and Ms. Palin’s repeated efforts to court the vote of “Joe Six-Pack”, Paul Armentano, the deputy director of NORML, today writes:

In what was no doubt a deliberate effort to appeal to so-called “Middle-America, working-class voters,” Republican Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin affectionately invoked the term “Joe Six Pack” — a phrase that despite its literal connotation (The typical American is an alcoholic) is nevertheless championed in the American lexicon.


Now just imagine for a moment that instead of proactively reaching out to “Joe Six Pack,” Governor Palin instead invoked the phrase “Joe Doobie” in a similarly veiled attempt to court those millions of Americans who use cannabis responsibly (a voting block that arguably dwarfs the number of Americans who put away a six pack of beer each evening).


Paul’s point is obvious. It is literally unimaginable.


Unfortunately, the easiest job in America is being the campaign manager for the guy running against the politician who even attempts to inject some sensible suggestions about drug policy reform into their platform. Imagine this scenario:


First from our courageous hypothetical politician “Mr. Smith”: “America has 4% of the world’s population and almost 25% of its prison population. Mandatory minimum sentences are morally questionable at best and currently bankrupting us. We can spend 10% of what we waste on the War on Drugs on treatment and eliminate prison sentences for drug addicts entirely and we will significantly reduce violent crime as a side effect.”


This would be immediately followed by the campaign for “the other guy” – whoever that was – releasing a commercial effectively saying “Senator/Representative Smith wants your baby to smoke crack!”


Yet “Joe Six-Pack” is a vote worth courting. Ever wonder about alcohol vs. marijuana and which is harmful? Know anything about the two substances and the relative safety of marijuana?