Before I allow you the satisfaction of the knowing about legality of marijuana in three U.S. states with weak federal enforcement of a scheduled I substance, I ask you why aren’t more people lining up to pick up the monthly newsletter of decriminalized socialist political parties in the United States. Socialism has largely been decriminalized and even integrated into American society since the dusk of Joseph McCarthy’s censure, yet people are lining up in Denver from out of state to purchase the newest legal product: marijuana. There are other contemporary issues that also need attention, such as gay and transgender rights. But, there were many precedents even for the first organization that promoted either of the latter two causes. Socialism, since 1919 or post-WWI, has fought a long, three generation struggle for legitimacy. It remains a well-tucked ideology, even though it has already been integrated into state and federal programs. As an early thinker, when I was in college, I would not overlook marijuana. But, ten years later, I have thought harder about other causes, and I have thought about why communism and socialism remain less popular in the vernacular compared to marijuana. Even if a minority of citizens receive social welfare benefits and have done so for longer than marijuana has been recognized as a legitimate product, it is very dubious that marijuana is a secure symbol of the left. I reason that this is because marijuana as a substance is more tangible than an ideology such as socialism, and thus, is easier to modify or encompass in a state ideology, which, remains very stodgy. Exhibit A: Ohio. Voters in 2015 were listening enough to the left of center to reject a proposition that would esssentially oligarchize the budding marijuana market while simultaneously rejecting a proposal that would legalize a limited amount of marijuana sales from said oligarchic marijuana cultivation. This suggests that Ohio voters and ballot-makers are not ready for or did not have a permissive-enough option for a real legalization initiative similar to Colorado or Oregon, whereas while simultaneously disapproving of the most capitalistic streak of the opportunistic oligarch farmers in Ohio. What Communism/Socialism did not achieve, is the popularity of contemporary marijuana as a portable product unlike how unsexy yet practical a portable health insurance or 401k is.
The reason communists aren’t lining up to read the latest communist newsletter around the corner of the alternative feminist bookstore is because email has allowed communists to read revolutionary news in seclusion without the zest and gusto of a physical gathering, and thus, its excitement and ideals, have dissipated much like chain retailers have mass-produced Black Friday and rabid consumerism as a seasonal appetite.
So the next time I think of travelling to Colorado to buy state-sanctioned, but weakly federally-controlled substances, I think, the Man is making money on airfare, hotels, and taxes, so the Man’s profit is a spite and smug victory of the personal compromises needed, and thus unless I lived in a neighboring state of Colorado, the Man is still winning in the tourism department, so in actuality, it’s not a progressive victory unless each state has a legal access or at least a federal decriminalization on the horizon. And then the fat lady sings.
Only a few court cases interpreted the scope of the act’s termination of the party’s “rights, privileges and immunities.” In 1954 the New Jersey Supreme Court held that, under the act, a candidate who was not a nominee of the party could not appear on the ballot in a state election under the party label (Salwen v. Rees). The Supreme Court upheld the judgement of the New Jersey Superior Court in favor of the defendant-election official and adopted the Superior Court judge’s oral opinion as its own. That opinion explained that the plaintiff-candidate was proclaiming that he was the candidate of the Communist Party and that a vote for him was a vote for “party enthronement.” “In order to make good the outlawry of the Communist Party as such,” the Superior Court judge stated, “it becomes unavoidable that individuals be prevented from carrying its banner.” This “peculiar method, as chosen by the [plaintiff-candidate], is a keen way of circumventing the statute, because if it were valid for him to take the course that he has chosen, it would be valid for a complete set of candidates to do the same thing, the consequence of which, of course, would be to frustrate completely the design of federal law.”
In 1973 a federal district court in Arizona decided that the act was unconstitutional and Arizona could not keep the party off the ballot in the 1972 general election (Blawis v. Bolin). In 1961 the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that the act did not bar the party from participating in New York’s unemployment insurance system (Communist Party v. Catherwood)
However, the Supreme Court of the United States has not ruled on the act’s constitutionality. Despite that, no administration has tried to enforce it. The provisions of the act “outlawing” the party have not been repealed. Nevertheless, the Communist Party of the USA continues to exist in the 21st century.”
Worded another way, The communist party is like marijuana’s seldomly visited grandfather at the nursing home. You don’t visit your grandpa often, yet if it wasn’t for him your marijuana victory would never have happened.