Ron Wyden’s hemp amendment fails

Ron Wyden’s hemp amendment fails

Senator Ron Wyden
This is disappointing…


Hemp: Sen. Ron Wyden’s effort to include a provision in the farm bill to formally classify hemp as a legitimate crop failed Thursday as the Senate finished work on the bill without considering his amendment.

The official reason was that the “hemp amendment” was not germane because it edged into the Controlled Substances Act. Wyden’s amendment would have excluded industrial hemp from the definition of marijuana. He hoped to attach it to the farm bill.

Silvia Gregory (left) and Jim Gregory package Hemburgers – veggie burgers made with hemp. An amendment by Sen. Ron Wyden to make it easier for farmers to grow industrial hemp failed in the Senate.
Posted by David Hadland at 11:08 AM

Preppers operate in the open

By DeWayne Bartels
East Peoria Times-Courier
Posted Jun 20, 2012 @ 09:26 AM

Preppers

East Peoria, Ill. —
In the Greater Peoria Area, planning for the apocalypse is easier than getting people to recognize one is coming.
That is the assessment of Shannon Keith, leader of the Peoria Preppers, a group dedicated to being prepared for the next natural disaster, financial meltdown or war on our soil.
Keith made this assessment as he shook his head in disappointment.
It was May 30. He sat in the Hardee’s in East Peoria looking at five other people. One was a reporter, another his friend, Kevin Gillick, and three strangers.
Keith hoped for a bigger turnout, but has resigned himself to the fact that he has an uphill climb in growing his group.
“There are a lot of urban ‘Preppers’ but Peoria is tough,” Keith said. “People around here don’t want to change their mindset.”

Open
Keith said while he is disappointed by the lack of interest he is not discouraged.
“We’ll get there. This is not a fad for me. I’m in this for life,” he said.
Keith and Gillick, both Sunnyland residents, are very open about their group which sets them apart from many “Prepper” groups.
A larger group calling themselves “the “Patriot Preppers of Central Illinois” exists in Peoria. It has about 40 members from Peoria to Chicago to St. Louis. The leaders of that group do not welcome media attention.
One of their organizers in response to a request for an interview said, “Any prepper who gives interviews or uses their real name is foolish. Another one of the Doomsday Preppers was recently arrested.”
Keith and Gillick do not have the luxury of being underground if they are going to attract people to their cause.
But, both men are wary about media attention, of being labeled as “kooks” or extremists.”
Both men said they are neither, though Keith does have some of that in his background which he regrets.
“I was a member of a militia for a while. I got out. They were extremists,” Keith said.
“Because of that affiliation I am listed as armed and dangerous by law enforcement. I have to live with that.”
But, Keith said, he is not a dangerous person, just a cautious one and one who wants to help others prepare for the natural or man-made disaster that will come in a matter of time.
Keith is a cab driver and DJ. Gillick is a laborer.
Both men are self-taught in survival skills.
Their group has been in existence for about four months. They meet the last Wednesday of the month at 7 p.m. at the Hardee’s in East Peoria.
Keith and Gillick said they are open because their desire is to educate people on how to become more self-sufficient.
“This is a lifestyle about educating people on what can happen and making people responsible family leaders,” Keith said. “It’s important for people to be prepared. The government isn’t always going to be there to take care of you. Hurricane Katrina comes to mind.”
Gillick added, “It’s always been a part of me. Maybe it was something my parents instilled in me. I don’t like to be caught off-guard. I grew up in the woods.”
Gillick said he is not concerned about being open with his beliefs.
“People are entitled to think whatever they want about me,” he said. “If something happens they will be the ones knocking on my door looking for help.”

CONTINUE READING…

Rand Paul Co-Sponsors Senator Wyden’s Industrial Hemp Amendment To Farm Bill

 

 

http://www.1776coalition.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/Rand_Paul_gives_7182.jpg

Vote Hemp has learned today that Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) has signed on as a co-sponsor of Senator Ron Wyden’s hemp farming amendment (S.AMDT.2220) to the Farm Bill (S.3240), the Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2012. Announced by Senator Wyden’s office yesterday, the amendment would exclude industrial hemp from the definition of ‘marihuana.’ Senator Wyden’s amendment will empower American farmers by allowing them to once again grow industrial hemp, a profitable commodity with an expanding market. The cultivation of industrial hemp will be regulated by state permitting programs, like North Dakota’s, and will not impact the federal government’s long-standing prohibition of marijuana.

To view the amendment, please go to: http://votehemp.com/legislation.

Motivated by the potential for economic development in their home states, both Senators see tremendous potential in the ability to grow and process industrial hemp. Senator Paul’s home state of Kentucky, like Senator Wyden’s Oregon is one of many states where local farmers, businesses and lawmakers are inspired by the promise of industrial hemp production.

“I am grateful to Senators Paul and Wyden on their leadership on this important issue,” Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer said. “Kentucky was a leader in industrial hemp production two generations ago, and today Kentucky is leading the way toward restoring hemp to its rightful place as a legal and viable farm product.”

A 1998 study by the Center for Business and Economic Research at the University of Kentucky found that farmers in the state of Kentucky alone could see between $220 to $605 in net profits per acre of hemp. Writer Stephen C. Webster of The Raw Story blog observed that “Adjusted for inflation using the consumer price index, those 1998 dollars would actually be worth $310 and $854 today, although the study’s authors note that variables in supply and demand for hemp could change that valuation.”

“Industrial hemp is used in many healthy and sustainable consumer products. However, the federal prohibition on growing industrial hemp has forced companies to needlessly import raw materials from other countries,” says Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon). “My amendment to the Farm Bill will change federal policy to allow U.S. farmers to produce hemp for these safe and legitimate products right here, helping both producers and suppliers to grow and improve Oregon’s economy in the process.”

To date, thirty-one states have introduced pro-hemp legislation and seventeen have passed legislation, while eight states (Hawaii, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Montana, North Dakota, Vermont and West Virginia) have removed barriers to its production or research. However, despite state authorization to grow hemp, farmers in these states risk raids by federal agents and possible forfeiture of their farms if they plant the crop, due to the failure of federal policy to distinguish oilseed and fiber varieties of Cannabis (i.e., industrial hemp) from psychoactive drug varieties.

“This is the first time that language supporting hemp has come to the floor of the House or Senate for a vote since the Controlled Substances Act was passed in 1970,” says Eric Steenstra, President of Vote Hemp. “The time is past due for the Senate as well as President Obama and the Attorney General to prioritize the crop’s benefits to farmers and to take action like Representative Ron Paul (R-Texas) and the cosponsors of H.R. 1831 have done. With the U.S. hemp industry valued at over $400 million in annual retail sales and growing, a change in federal policy to allow hemp farming would mean instant job creation, among many other economic and environmental benefits,” adds Steenstra.

The Farm Bill is the primary agricultural and food policy tool of the federal government. The comprehensive omnibus bill is passed every five years or so by the United States Congress and deals with both agriculture and all other affairs under the purview of the United States Department of Agriculture.

Last year, for the fourth time since the federal government outlawed hemp farming in the United States over 50 years ago, a bill was introduced by Rep. Paul in the U.S. House of Representatives. If passed the bill H.R. 1831, the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2011, would remove restrictions on the cultivation of industrial hemp, the non-drug oilseed and fiber varieties of Cannabis. Senator Wyden would like to introduce a companion bill in the Senate. The language of Wyden’s amendment mirrors that of H.R. 1831, a bill introduced in the House this session. To view, go to: http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.uscongress/legislation.112hr1831.

“Senator Wyden’s effort is unprecedented and totally commendable, but in my view the existing prohibition of hemp farming stems less from current law, but rather the misinterpretation of existing law by the Obama Administration,” says Steenstra.

The amendment comes on the heels of the Obama Administration’s reply to Vote Hemp’s We the People petition. The response conflates industrial hemp as a Schedule 1 controlled substance. This contradicts the clear definition of marijuana presented in Title 21 of United States Code 802(16) that explicitly excludes the oilseed and fiber varieties of the hemp plant that are legal to manufacture, consume, process and purchase throughout the United States without penalty of controlled substance violation. The hemp farming petition and the administration’s response can be found at: http://wh.gov/gKH.

The timing of Senator Wyden’s amendment also coincides with the 3rd annual Hemp History Week campaign, June 4-10, 2012, which he supports. The national grassroots education campaign organized by Vote Hemp and The Hemp Industries Association is designed to renew strong support for the return of hemp farming to the U.S. The 2012 Hemp History Weekcampaign will feature over 800 events in cities and towns throughout all fifty states.

Posted by David Hadland at 9:14 AM

CONTINUE READING…

Ky. man plants marijuana in front yard

Thursday, June 14, 2012

599783_10150837265231780_1008964319_n

Police have arrested an eastern Kentucky man who they say had almost 100 marijuana plants growing in his front yard.

Knox County Sheriff’s Deputy Brian Hensley told WYMT-TV (http://bit.ly/M7ANuW) that he observed the plants after responding to a complaint from an anonymous caller.

Hensley said when he asked 42-year-old James Denver Cox of Flat Lick whether he had any more plants, the man pointed out some drying on top of a TV and some under an entertainment center. In all, Hensley said he confiscated 92 plants.

Cox declined to speak with the station and it was unclear whether he had an attorney.

He faces a felony charge of cultivating marijuana.

___

Information from: WYMT-TV, http://www.wkyt.com/wymtnews

IRS seizes California medical marijuana provider’s bank account

By Peter Hecht
The Sacramento Bee

Published: Friday, Jun. 15, 2012

 

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The Internal Revenue Service has seized bank accounts it says took in more than $870,000 in cumulative deposits in recent months, part of a federal probe into alleged money laundering involving a Sacramento marijuana dispensary.

Agents of the federal Drug Enforcement Administration and the IRS presented search warrants earlier this week on the El Camino Wellness Center, considered the largest medical marijuana provider in Sacramento.

The seizure of bank accounts, detailed in a sealed affidavit obtained by The Bee, underscores an effort by federal authorities to crack down on California medical marijuana dispensaries by employing laws traditionally used to target money transfers by narcotics traffickers.

A June 8 IRS seizure warrant cited federal money-laundering statutes and laws against improper reporting of income to seize bank accounts of the El Camino Wellness Center and its officers, Nicholas Street and Suneet Agarwal. No charges have been filed in the case.

IRS Special Agent SoEun Park said in the affidavit that Street and Agarwal, who goes by the name Sunny Kumar, distributed “illegal drugs” from “their illegal marijuana store” and conspired with “co-schemers” to hide profits from a purportedly nonprofit dispensary.

Park alleges that the men registered their dispensary with the state as a nonprofit corporation – the Sacramento Nonprofit Collective – then “concealed the proceeds from their marijuana store.”

“The concealment and deposit of drug proceeds was primarily facilitated by false statements to financial institutions to disguise the true nature of their marijuana business,” Park wrote.

He alleged that the dispensary operators were “commingling drug proceeds with legitimate funds, utilizing different entity names and bank accounts and frequently transferring funds between accounts to obfuscate the paper trail.”

Former Sacramento federal prosecutor Donald Heller said authorities are sending a message that they will use federal drug money-laundering laws to target dispensaries that handle hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical marijuana transactions.

“I don’t think it matters if they’re nonprofit or not” under California law, Heller said “What the government sees is big commercial enterprises and they’re going after them.”

James Anthony, an Oakland attorney specializing in medical marijuana regulation, blasted the account seizures as an assault on a legal California business.

“Did that (IRS) affidavit say a darn thing about these being medical marijuana collectives in compliance with state law? No,” Anthony said. “There is a total disconnect.”

El Camino Wellness Center opened in 2008 and last year became the first Sacramento dispensary issued a permit under a city regulatory program for medical marijuana outlets. The city is still collecting voter-approved taxes on local dispensaries, amounting to $1.1 million between July 2011 and March of this year.

Mark Reichel, the attorney representing Street and Agarwal, said El Camino Wellness Center was “a flagship for compliance” as a city-regulated medical marijuana provider.

Reichel said federal authorities raided the dispensary and the homes of both men, taking computers, cellphones and business records. In addition to the money-laundering probe, a DEA search warrant affidavit said Street and Agarwal are being investigated for conspiracy to distribute marijuana and maintaining a place for distribution.

“We’re going to try to talk to the government and see if we can work things out and explain that these guys were in compliance with state law,” Reichel said.

U.S. Magistrate Dale A. Drozd approved the request to seize up to $827,435 from a Wells Fargo business account for the dispensary. The figure was based on IRS accounting of cumulative deposits made between January 2006 and August 2011.

Max Del Real, a spokesman for the dispensary, said the actual account balance was “a minute fraction” of the deposits it had received over time. Park wrote that any deposits from “sale of controlled substances” are subject to seizure.

The IRS also said it would seize up to $44,271 from a Wells Fargo account for Agarwal and deposits from two Golden One Credit Union accounts in Street’s name.

The affidavit includes allegations that El Camino Wellness misleadingly listed its services as “health” – but not marijuana – when it set up merchant services accounts for credit and debit card transactions. It said one credit card company, JPMorgan Chase, stopped doing business with El Camino Wellness upon learning it was a medical marijuana provider.

Joe Elford, legal counsel for Americans for Safe Access, an advocacy group for medical marijuana patients, said the investigation stirs questions over banking rights for dispensaries. He said just because a dispensary has money in the bank doesn’t signal a crime.

“When you deposit money into a bank, you don’t have to explain to the bank where that money came from, typically,” Elford said. “And every nonprofit I know of has a bank account.

Last year, a U.S. Treasury Department criminal task force seized more than $80,000 from accounts of another Sacramento dispensary, One Love Wellness Center. The establishment closed on New Year’s Eve with no charges filed.

The latest raid worries Lanette Davies, co-operator of Sacramento’s Canna Care, one of 20 dispensaries still operating in city limits, down from the original 38.

Davies said that in recent years three different financial institutions, all aware Canna Care was a dispensary, initially agreed to service accounts for Canna Care but closed the accounts after deciding not to service medical marijuana businesses. The dispensary has another banking partner, but Davies worries she could be targeted by the government.

“It’s almost like the federal government sets you up to fail,” she said. “We are not Mexican drug cartels.

U.S. prosecutors have said they are targeting marijuana businesses “hijacked by profiteers” that they contend are operating in violation of both federal and state laws – though warrants in the El Camino Wellness case make no mention of California’s medical marijuana law.

So far, federal courts have rejected legal challenges by medical marijuana advocates to the crackdown on California dispensaries.

Last year, El Camino Wellness sued U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Sacramento U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner, charging that federal property forfeiture notices – including one sent to the dispensary’s landlord – violated rights of medical marijuana users and threatened to shut down the “supply chain of medical cannabis.”

A federal judge threw out the complaint.

Read more here:

IRS seizes California medical marijuana provider’s bank account

By Peter Hecht
The Sacramento Bee

Published: Friday, Jun. 15, 2012

 

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The Internal Revenue Service has seized bank accounts it says took in more than $870,000 in cumulative deposits in recent months, part of a federal probe into alleged money laundering involving a Sacramento marijuana dispensary.

Agents of the federal Drug Enforcement Administration and the IRS presented search warrants earlier this week on the El Camino Wellness Center, considered the largest medical marijuana provider in Sacramento.

The seizure of bank accounts, detailed in a sealed affidavit obtained by The Bee, underscores an effort by federal authorities to crack down on California medical marijuana dispensaries by employing laws traditionally used to target money transfers by narcotics traffickers.

A June 8 IRS seizure warrant cited federal money-laundering statutes and laws against improper reporting of income to seize bank accounts of the El Camino Wellness Center and its officers, Nicholas Street and Suneet Agarwal. No charges have been filed in the case.

IRS Special Agent SoEun Park said in the affidavit that Street and Agarwal, who goes by the name Sunny Kumar, distributed "illegal drugs" from "their illegal marijuana store" and conspired with "co-schemers" to hide profits from a purportedly nonprofit dispensary.

Park alleges that the men registered their dispensary with the state as a nonprofit corporation – the Sacramento Nonprofit Collective – then "concealed the proceeds from their marijuana store."

"The concealment and deposit of drug proceeds was primarily facilitated by false statements to financial institutions to disguise the true nature of their marijuana business," Park wrote.

He alleged that the dispensary operators were "commingling drug proceeds with legitimate funds, utilizing different entity names and bank accounts and frequently transferring funds between accounts to obfuscate the paper trail."

Former Sacramento federal prosecutor Donald Heller said authorities are sending a message that they will use federal drug money-laundering laws to target dispensaries that handle hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical marijuana transactions.

"I don’t think it matters if they’re nonprofit or not" under California law, Heller said "What the government sees is big commercial enterprises and they’re going after them."

James Anthony, an Oakland attorney specializing in medical marijuana regulation, blasted the account seizures as an assault on a legal California business.

"Did that (IRS) affidavit say a darn thing about these being medical marijuana collectives in compliance with state law? No," Anthony said. "There is a total disconnect."

El Camino Wellness Center opened in 2008 and last year became the first Sacramento dispensary issued a permit under a city regulatory program for medical marijuana outlets. The city is still collecting voter-approved taxes on local dispensaries, amounting to $1.1 million between July 2011 and March of this year.

Mark Reichel, the attorney representing Street and Agarwal, said El Camino Wellness Center was "a flagship for compliance" as a city-regulated medical marijuana provider.

Reichel said federal authorities raided the dispensary and the homes of both men, taking computers, cellphones and business records. In addition to the money-laundering probe, a DEA search warrant affidavit said Street and Agarwal are being investigated for conspiracy to distribute marijuana and maintaining a place for distribution.

"We’re going to try to talk to the government and see if we can work things out and explain that these guys were in compliance with state law," Reichel said.

U.S. Magistrate Dale A. Drozd approved the request to seize up to $827,435 from a Wells Fargo business account for the dispensary. The figure was based on IRS accounting of cumulative deposits made between January 2006 and August 2011.

Max Del Real, a spokesman for the dispensary, said the actual account balance was "a minute fraction" of the deposits it had received over time. Park wrote that any deposits from "sale of controlled substances" are subject to seizure.

The IRS also said it would seize up to $44,271 from a Wells Fargo account for Agarwal and deposits from two Golden One Credit Union accounts in Street’s name.

The affidavit includes allegations that El Camino Wellness misleadingly listed its services as "health" – but not marijuana – when it set up merchant services accounts for credit and debit card transactions. It said one credit card company, JPMorgan Chase, stopped doing business with El Camino Wellness upon learning it was a medical marijuana provider.

Joe Elford, legal counsel for Americans for Safe Access, an advocacy group for medical marijuana patients, said the investigation stirs questions over banking rights for dispensaries. He said just because a dispensary has money in the bank doesn’t signal a crime.

"When you deposit money into a bank, you don’t have to explain to the bank where that money came from, typically," Elford said. "And every nonprofit I know of has a bank account."

Last year, a U.S. Treasury Department criminal task force seized more than $80,000 from accounts of another Sacramento dispensary, One Love Wellness Center. The establishment closed on New Year’s Eve with no charges filed.

The latest raid worries Lanette Davies, co-operator of Sacramento’s Canna Care, one of 20 dispensaries still operating in city limits, down from the original 38.

Davies said that in recent years three different financial institutions, all aware Canna Care was a dispensary, initially agreed to service accounts for Canna Care but closed the accounts after deciding not to service medical marijuana businesses. The dispensary has another banking partner, but Davies worries she could be targeted by the government.

"It’s almost like the federal government sets you up to fail," she said. "We are not Mexican drug cartels."

U.S. prosecutors have said they are targeting marijuana businesses "hijacked by profiteers" that they contend are operating in violation of both federal and state laws – though warrants in the El Camino Wellness case make no mention of California’s medical marijuana law.

So far, federal courts have rejected legal challenges by medical marijuana advocates to the crackdown on California dispensaries.

Last year, El Camino Wellness sued U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Sacramento U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner, charging that federal property forfeiture notices – including one sent to the dispensary’s landlord – violated rights of medical marijuana users and threatened to shut down the "supply chain of medical cannabis."

A federal judge threw out the complaint.

Read more here:

Baby soaps cause positive marijuana tests in infants…

A new study out of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill reveals some baby soaps may cause infants to test positive for marijuana, reports My Health News Daily.

While researchers aren’t sure why the tests came out positive, they asserted infants were not experiencing a "high" from the soap.

"It’s not marijuana in any way, shape or form," said study researcher Catherine Hammett-Stabler, a professor of pathology and laboratory medicine at the University of North Carolina.

Researchers first became aware of the issue when nurses at a North Carolina hospital noticed a high number of positive urine tests, according to WFMY News.

The study was conducted so families wouldn’t be falsely accused of exposing children to illegal drugs, a form of child abuse that would need to be reported to social services.

A second medical marijuana patient has been denied a transplant at Cedars-Sinai

Patient Toni Trujillo was put on a kidney transplant list earlier this year after her existing kidney transplant began to fail but she was booted off the list because of her "substance abuse," according to Americans for Safe Access.

The group that advocates on behalf of medical marijuana says that Trujillo has been on dialysis for the past five years and has suffered from kidney problems most of her life. She actually moved to California from Pennsylvania two years ago to take advantage of treatment at Cedars. She told her physicians at the time that she was using medical marijuana as an appetite stimulant to increase her protein levels, and they never raised any concerns about it. Then in April she was told over the phone that she was being booted off the list because of her marijuana use. They considered it "substance abuse."

"I don’t know why Cedars would deny me a transplant simply because I use a legal medication that works for me," Trujillo told the ASA. "I hope they listen to reason and change their misguided policy, if not for me then at least for the others who will certainly follow."

Another transplant candidate at Cedars-Sinai was booted off the list for his medical marijuana use last year. Norman Smith, a cancer patient, was diagnosed with inoperable liver cancer in 2009 but was removed from the transplant list because of his marijuana usage.

Using medical marijuana is frowned upon by the doctors who determine who gets on the competitive transplant list and who doesn’t. At the time, Dr. Jeffrey Crippin, former president of the American Society of Transplantation and medical director at Washington University in St. Louis, told the Los Angeles Times, "If you are drunk or high or stoned, you are not going to take your medicine."

Both Trujillo and Smith were told that they have to abstain from marijuana for six months to re-qualify for the wait list and take drug abuse counseling for the same period, according to ASA. Both have given up medical pot, even though they said it was helpful in treating their health problems.

Related:
Cancer Patient Denied Liver Transplant After Using Medical Marijuana

CONTINUE READING

A second medical marijuana patient has been denied a transplant at Cedars-Sinai

Patient Toni Trujillo was put on a kidney transplant list earlier this year after her existing kidney transplant began to fail but she was booted off the list because of her “substance abuse,” according to Americans for Safe Access.

The group that advocates on behalf of medical marijuana says that Trujillo has been on dialysis for the past five years and has suffered from kidney problems most of her life. She actually moved to California from Pennsylvania two years ago to take advantage of treatment at Cedars. She told her physicians at the time that she was using medical marijuana as an appetite stimulant to increase her protein levels, and they never raised any concerns about it. Then in April she was told over the phone that she was being booted off the list because of her marijuana use. They considered it “substance abuse.”

“I don’t know why Cedars would deny me a transplant simply because I use a legal medication that works for me,” Trujillo told the ASA. “I hope they listen to reason and change their misguided policy, if not for me then at least for the others who will certainly follow.”

Another transplant candidate at Cedars-Sinai was booted off the list for his medical marijuana use last year. Norman Smith, a cancer patient, was diagnosed with inoperable liver cancer in 2009 but was removed from the transplant list because of his marijuana usage.

Using medical marijuana is frowned upon by the doctors who determine who gets on the competitive transplant list and who doesn’t. At the time, Dr. Jeffrey Crippin, former president of the American Society of Transplantation and medical director at Washington University in St. Louis, told the Los Angeles Times, “If you are drunk or high or stoned, you are not going to take your medicine.”

Both Trujillo and Smith were told that they have to abstain from marijuana for six months to re-qualify for the wait list and take drug abuse counseling for the same period, according to ASA. Both have given up medical pot, even though they said it was helpful in treating their health problems.

Related:
Cancer Patient Denied Liver Transplant After Using Medical Marijuana

CONTINUE READING

Late Night: Stephen Colbert says stoners will decide 2012 election

With five months to go until the election, President Obama and Republican opponent Mitt Romney are virtually tied in the latest polls.

As Stephen Colbert observed on Thursday night, it’s a situation very similar to the 2004 election. That year, anti-gay-marriage initiatives on the ballot in 11 states helped drive conservative turnout and clinch victory for George W. Bush.

This time around, Democrats are optimistic that marijuana-legalization initiatives in states such as Colorado, Michigan and Ohio will motivate young voters and tip the election in Obama’s favor.

“Marijuana support is at a record high, just like its supporters,” Colbert joked. “This is the ultimate grassroots campaign.”

So could the stoners of America decide the 2012 election? It’s an amusing idea, but Colbert was not entirely convinced. “We all know pot smokers are highly motivated, organized and punctual,” he said facetiously. “There is nothing they would love more than getting off the couch, putting on pants, and going to gyms packed with judgmental old people.”

Romney’s only hope come Nov. 6, according to Colbert: a “Planet Earth” marathon on the Discovery Channel.