The only things I know to be absolutely true in politics these days are that the next election will be more expensive and that this system is unsustainable.
Every day, headlines of SuperPACs backed by billionaires and dark money front groups supported by industrialists have numbed our collective consciousness into somehow thinking that this “normal” is acceptable. It’s not.
So when our friends at Daily Kos came to us with a letter-writing campaign to President Biden to take executive action to force political spending disclosure of companies that receive government contracts, I had to send a letter to him and I hope you join me in sending one too.
What we’re asking together is pretty simple: Do not allow companies that receive our tax dollars to make undisclosed political contributions. It’s such a no-brainer, that if we can call enough attention to the issue, then we can win and move on to other pressing problems.
I may have been working on marijuana legalization in DC for the past 6+ years, but back when I was a young aspiring politico, I was a White House intern in the Office of Presidential Correspondence in the first year of the Obama-Biden administration. I saw firsthand how the messages that were sent to the President are tracked.
There is no one message to settle the debate, but when thousands of Americans all reach out at the same time, the staff takes notice and the President finds out.
The ask we are making today is wholly insufficient to solve the structural problems with what we claim to be democracy in America, but it could serve as a meaningful first step and be a catalyst for building a more rational politics.
You’d be right to ask, “Justin, what does this have to do with marijuana legalization?!”
And I thank you for the question!
The status quo serves those who benefit from the status quo— and that is certainly not hundreds of thousands of Americans who are put into handcuffs every year for marijuana possession. And as long as the halls of power are dominated by the big money interests who employ an army of lobbyists and attorneys to continue to rig the system, good folks like yourself and I will continue to be relegated to the back of the line for consideration on our popular reform positions, including marijuana legalization.
We have made unprecedented progress together, such as the House passing legislation to end prohibition and facilitate expungements, but sadly, too many on the take in the Senate prevent a pathway to 60 votes to overcome the legislative filibuster.
If we’re going to truly be heard, we need a more level playing field.
For the sake of the country: he can do it, he should do it, he must do it.
P.S. I know we talked about the need to get money out of politics in this email, but if we’re going to win that and/or marijuana legalization, it’s going to require building an unstoppable political machine that can activate hard-to-reach voters. Will you be with us as a sustaining supporter giving $5 a month or more?