Home Culture Former Republican National Committee Chairman Thinks Marijuana Legalization is Coming Soon

Former Republican National Committee Chairman Thinks Marijuana Legalization is Coming Soon


One of the more interesting aspects about following the evolution of the marijuana legalization issue over the last 8 year has been watching conservative Republicans – the cheerleaders of the “just say no” approach to cannabis issues – come around to a different way of thinking. From polls showing a majority of Republicans now favoring marijuana legalization to the journey of former drug war stalwarts like GOP Senator Orrin Hatch (UT) to the side of right – at least when it comes to medical marijuana – the last demographic group standing in the way of marijuana law reform is crumbling before an onslaught of information and facts about cannabis.

Add to this list of converts the name Michael Steele. Many will remember Steele as the Chairman of the Republican National Committee from 2009 to 2011 and as the Lieutenant Governor of Maryland before that. In a lengthy interview with Civilized, Steele said he thinks marijuana legalization is coming, and that he doesn’t necessarily think that is a bad thing.

“I’ve always been much more favorably disposed to medical marijuana use, especially after understanding the medicinal aspects of it and certainly having friends and associates who have suffered various illnesses where it was very clear that marijuana was a difference maker for them, day-in and day-out in terms of their pain management and overall wellbeing,” Steele said. “I’ve since evolved to appreciating the broader use of it.”

“I’ve never used it myself,” he added. “I certainly have been in spaces where it has been used frequently. Never partook in it. That’s just not my makeup. But I guess I have a more libertarian view of it. Adults should have the ability to make these choices for themselves, whether it’s for their general pleasure — like, ‘Hey, I just wanna chill’ or ‘I really need this because I’m in pain 24 hours a day.'”

While many conservatives and people who identify as GOP will always think using marijuana is a bad choice and if asked they will advise you against using it, as long as their opinions are no longer enforced by law, it doesn’t matter. Everyone has an opinion on the actions of others, and that’s fine. They are all entitled to that opinion. But as long as what people are doing doesn’t infringe on the rights of others, they are entitled to their freedom to do so, no matter what anyone else might think of their actions.


  1. Well written, very informative. We all need to contact our government officials. They work for us. Share your thoughts on this subject. Ask him how he thinks on the subject. If he or she in not like minded, DO NOT VOTE FOR THAT PERSON. Find a candidate that will. Unlike many people think we do not have a Democracy. We are a Republican government. That means we vote for people to make decisions for us. If we don’t like what they stand for, find another candidate. That simple.

    • I hear you on urging more participation, Jackie. After 25 years of working toward political change, though, I know for sure this issue is not “that simple.” First of all, if you’re talking about federal lawmakers, today’s political candidates are not chosen initially by voters, and they can be extremely difficult to unseat once they win. Candidates decide for themselves to run for office, often on nothing more than raw ambition. Most of these “candidates” amass many thousands or millions of dollars to spend on advertising at campaign time, which seriously undermines real debate about important social matters (such as repealing the fraudulent, 80-year-old anti-“marihuana” law). The political process at the federal level has deteriorated so badly just since 2010 (and the U.S. Supreme Court’s “Citizens United” decision, which eliminated ANY possibility that we, the citizens, would be able to hold candidates accountable for accepting blatantly unethical campaign contributions) that our constitutional republic’s coffin is only a few nails shy of being sealed forever.

      Even worse, in the face of such treachery, is the exasperating lack of citizen participation that seems to grow every election. The rapid rise of “smartphones” and “social media” has literally decimated attention spans and basic social skills (common courtesy on the roads, politeness in public, personal communication, etc.) among at least half of America’s population. That’s most likely the same Americans who don’t even bother to register, let alone make the effort to vote. Most people, sadly, just don’t seem to care anymore about the fate of their own country, so I wouldn’t expect them to support better candidates for political office any time soon (if you put 10 Americans in a room, you’ll never get them to agree on one candidate, let alone 535 members of the U.S. Congress and a president).

      The voters, mind you, “found” the current occupant of the White House, who seems hellbent on reversing 230+ years of positive social change and progress. The United States of America are on the verge of total calamity with this guy, no thanks to a fanatical minority of voters.

      The ONLY thing that can restore my faith in elections is the U.S. Congress immediately amending the Constitution to prohibit secret campaign financing, and to abolish the Electoral College system of counting presidential votes. Our republic is virtually deceased without those types of drastic changes—by tomorrow.