Marijuana defies the social norm that says every issue can be made into "right versus left" in American politics. If anything, the marijuana debate divides young from old rather than liberal from conservative. Part of that arises from the different in definitions liberal and conservative have in American politics.
Liberal generally refers to a yearning to try new ideas while conservative means wanting to stick with tradition. And liberal means to allow for more mandated social assistance while conservative means you want the government to keep their hands off you and yours. And liberal means that you want to be free to live your life in any way that doesn't hurt others while conservative means imposing your moral views on the country as a whole. And liberal means wanting government mandates to protect people from themselves while conservative means not even wanting the government to protect us from corporations and the over-reaching power that wealth inevitably leads to.
So, you can see, marijuana fits nicely on both sides of the American political aisle. It's the market supplying a demand as the Republicans love to see. It's an activity that affects nobody but the person doing it, as Democrats love to defend. It's a natural resource that shouldn't be hindered, like oil. It's a potential savior from the fossil fuel industry. Marijuana just doesn't fit nicely into a "left versus right" debate.
Democrats are hoping the marijuana issue will lead more young people to the ballot box since younger voters tend to vote Democrat, but legalized marijuana received more votes than Obama did in Washington and Colorado. It's true that most of the younger voters supported both marijuana and democratic candidates, but if the Republicans would embrace the fight to legalize marijuana as their own issue that could change.
"Pot could be a great issue for Republicans. This could be an issue they could steal because it has everything they love already. It's about individual rights and small government and taking jobs from Mexicans, everything they have always stood for," Bill Maher said recently in an interview with Doug Elfman at the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Despite how nicely this issue fits into the Republican playbook, however, it is the California Democratic Party that is the first to officially take up the legal weed torch and write it into their official 2014 party platform. That doesn't mean it's too late for the Republicans to take up the cause. Some things are just common sense and don't require a contrary opinion.