By Steve Elliott
Alabama isn’t the first place most folks think of when they think of marijuana policy reform, but the Heart of Dixie has been experiencing a groundswell of public support for medical marijuana — and now a medical marijuana activist has qualified as a Democratic nominee for the state Senate.
"On Tuesday, I qualified to appear on the Alabama Democratic Party’s primary ballot, and I am proud to announce that at 5 p.m. [Central] today, I became the Democratic Party’s nominee for Alabama State Senate in District 11," Crumpton said.
Crumpton will be facing the winner of the Republican primary, either Sen. Jerry Fielding (R-Sylacauga) or Rep. Jim McClendon (R-Springville) in November.
"Both of my opponents have been in politics for more than a decade," Crumpton told Hemp News Friday afternoon. "Alabamians need to ask themselves if they believe we are on the right track. If the answer is no, then they should vote for me, because my opponents intend to continue the same tired policies that have brought us to where we are now."
Crumpton, who leads the medical marijuana advocacy group Alabama Safe Access Project (ASAP), isn’t kidding about his opponents. Sitting Senator Jerry Fielding’s political priorities (and, perhaps, level of mental activity) can be roughly sketched out by noting that he sponsored a Senate resolution to support Duck Dynasty‘s Phil Robertson after Robertson created controversy with homophobic statements.
Meanwhile, Rep. Jim McClendon is chairman of the House Health Committee, and, according to Crumpton, is "the biggest obstacle of medical marijuana in the Alabama Legislature."
"The Republican supermajority in Montgomery believes that it can solve the fiscal issues facing our state with the same old policies of tax cuts for the rich and repressed wages for the poor that has brought us to the financial woes we now face," Crumpton said. "An economy cannot grow if the middle class has no disposable income to buy the products produced by business.
"The reason Alabama is always last in everything is that we refuse to move forward," Crumpton said. "We need to raise the minimum wage and look to new sources of revenue, and quit letting the moral or political objections of some prevent us from doing what is best for the people of Alabama.
"I have faced criticism in our own community because of my decision to run for office," Crumpton said, "but this is how you effect change. "What could be better for our cause than having one of the state’s biggest advocates in the Alabama State Senate?"
"When I first talked about running for office 5 years ago, people told me I didn’t have a chance, because I was a marijuana activist," Crumpton told Hemp News. "Last year, it was called ‘gutsy;’ now I am a nominee for state Senate in Ala-freakin’-bama!," he said.
"If that doesn’t tell you how far we have come — I don’t know what does," Crumpton said.