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Dude, could pot smokers decide the election – for Mitt Romney?

A marijuana legalization measure on the Colorado ballot – promoted by Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson – could be very important in this close presidential race.

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Moreover, given that Republicans have tried to sideline Johnson, it seems the GOP may have the most to lose from the confluence of pot rhetoric in the Mile High City and beyond.

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“Around the country, Republican operatives have been making moves to keep Mr. Johnson from becoming their version of Ralph Nader, the Green Party candidate whose relatively modest support cut into Al Gore’s 2000 vote arguably enough to help hand the decisive states of Ohio and Florida to George W. Bush,” writes The New York Times.

But watch out for a pot smoker scorned. Colorado is one of 16 states with medical marijuana dispensaries, and users there have voiced their anger and frustration over Obama seemingly abandoning a promise to keep a tight leash on the Department of Justice when it comes to busting pot dispensaries. Instead, the Justice Department has conducted a number of high-profile raids in California and other states since his inauguration.

“In 2008, candidate Obama promised not to use the Justice Department to prosecute medical marijuana in states where it was legal,” goes a Johnson robocall that’s been playing in Colorado. “But the real Obama did just that, more than doubling prosecutions, putting people in prisons and shutting down medical marijuana facilities in Colorado. That’s not the change you wanted on health freedom. But you can still be a force for hope and change by voting for Gary Johnson.”

Indeed, given Colorado’s unique mix of libertarians, free thinkers and, obviously, tokers, the Obama campaign may also have miscalculated voter sentiments as western and mountain states vow to set up a federalist showdown if they vote to legalize recreational marijuana, which will remain illegal under federal law.

“Conventional wisdom … is that the marijuana measure will bring out liberal, Obama-loving hippies, yuppies and crunchies … while the libertarian candidate’s campaign will siphon conservative votes,” writes David Sirota, author of “Back to Our Future: How the 1980s Explain the World We Live in Now – Our Culture, Our politics, Our Everything,” on Alternet.org.

But given criticism of Amendment 64 by major-state Democrats and support for the measure from big-name Republicans like former Rep. Tom Tancredo, “it becomes clear,” Mr. Sirota writes, “that the pot initiative could boost voting in ways that don’t correspond to traditional red-versus-blue turnout models and stereotypes.”

Cover Story: What Americans want from the next president

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