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October 2010
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What’s next?

bullet image The case for legalizing marijuana by Gary Mason

There was a time, particularly when my children were young, when I wasn’t sure legalizing pot was such a good idea. But that old-school approach doesn’t hold up any more. The fact is, the war on marijuana has done far more harm than the substance itself. And every reason for legalizing it in the U.S. applies to Canada as well.


bullet image Newman: The war on drugs has failed

If I were to sum up one of our biggest challenges, it is helping people distinguish between the harms of (legal and illegal) drug misuse and the harms of drug prohibition.

There is justifiable fear and terror around the drug trade. Everyday we read and hear about the bloody drug war in Mexico that has taken the lives of at least 28,000 people in a little over three years. We see and hear about shootings, murders and violence in our cities because of the drug trade.

For too long, people have associated the violence with the drugs themselves, rather than the policy of prohibition.


bullet image Chris Weigant has an interesting column in the Huffington Post: If California Legalizes Marijuana, How Will Obama React?

Some very good stuff in there, and a nice job of laying out the options (although the “Fight it out in the courts” paragraph is a glib throwaway that shows a complete lack of understanding of Constitutional law).

Personally, I think Obama will follow the “Make some examples” option, just enough to make it appear that he’s tough, while trying to paint the “examples” as being distributors of drugs to kids, so as not to overly enrage the general pot-smoking population.

As Tom Angell from “Yes on 19” put it when I spoke to him, “If the president wants to further demoralize his base, stepping in and overturning the will of the voters of California on marijuana reform would be a great way to do that.”


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12 comments to What’s next?

  • claygooding

    Re Weigant’s article:
    For the federal government to do anything arbitrary to California for a ballot by the people removes the mask of democracy from our nation.
    If we are truly a government of the people,by the people for the people,the people are speaking out and if the federal government works for us,they need to be listening.

  • kaptinemo

    Clay, as much as the Feds might like to interfere, they will not have sufficient resources or manpower; they’re out-numbered. And, as has been mentioned in several articles lately, the last thing Dems can afford to do is to antagonize swing voters in this exceptionally tight election year…and we don’t need them as much as they need us (those of us that can still vote, that is).

  • darkcycle

    Nemo, you’re right on the Feds don’t have the manpower. Policing in this country has always been done on a local level. The machinery doesn’t exist to federally police every juridiction (although that’s what they are trying to do with HS).
    I think it more likely that the Feds will use their control of Highway funds, etc. to try to quash this. But since it’s an initiative, I don’t know how effective this could be. It would have disasterous consequences for the Ca. State budget, though.
    As my former collegue Dr. L. Coulsen would likely say: “I can’t tell you what will happen next, but I’m pretty sure it won’t be boring.”

  • I’m pretty sure the feds are nervous. The derisive chuckles have turned into “oh shit” and they’re back on their heels. When the challenge really gets hot, they don’t have a leg to stand on and that is becoming ever more evident to a wider mass of people.

    I mean consider… Obama chuckles, Drug Kzar Droopy says he doesn’t own a dictionary and we get swept away. Or so they thought. California’s Prop 19 is a big old “fuck you” to that dismissive clutch of chickens.

    The facts of cannabis’ benificence and the obviousness of Prohibition’s failures and factual poverty will win out. It must win out.

    I watched a program the other night on PBS about Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers… and I thought that whenever that one particular person (whomever they are) cogently presents the subterfuge and anti-Americanness of the drug war, the conspiracy of fraud and the gross assaults upon “we the people,” this issue will stand as the iconic example of what can go horribly wrong when a government utilizes lies and propaganda in the worst Goebbels-like ways to increase its power and diminish the rights of its populace.

    No other issue touches upon so many aspects of our lives as does the drug war. The WO(s)D is a true abomination and deserves no less than a stake thru its heart.

  • WyldPirate

    You guys thinking Obama won’t crackdown on Cali if Prop 19 passes are–pun intended–definitely smoking something.

    He will roll on this just like he rolled on Rethuglican pressure re: afghanistan and jacked up the troop level there. He will roll just like he did on the public option with Health Care reform.

    Obama is nothing if not politically expedient and he has already shown that his administration loves to do a little “hippie punching”. Look for something along the lines of the Reagen threat to withold Federal funds nto Cali.

    They don’t give a shit what the people of California might want or not.

  • claygooding

    Great post Allen,and as in every war there are criminals,dare we hope they be charged and crucified?
    A good article in Time on California leading the US out of prohibition,and Paul Armentano at Opposing Views has an article on the the report from The International Centre for Science in Drug Policy that just agrees with all we have been saying for months and years.

  • kaptinemo

    WyldPirate, a Federal ‘crackdown’ will require a degree of manpower mobilization that would take months of preparation…and hundreds of millions of taxpayer’s dollars in moving Federal personnel into position. Such a move in these tight financial times would not be very…politic. Especially so when it might harm CA Dems in desperate need of local support during this election cycle.

    The swing voters and the ‘progressives’ that the Dem leadership used to carry Mr. O to the White House are pissed off that their agenda has taken a back seat to that of Mr. O’s bankster buddies like Geithner. They’re angry enough to stay away from the polls. Which would almost assure a Republican victory. The Dem leadership knows this…and knows that things will get very tight, indeed, in the critical States…such as CA.

    They also know that with the de facto normalization of MMJ, and with the rise of the re-legalization movement, to antagonize the electorate in CA that favors re-legalization is to load the magazine, draw the slide back, cock the hammer, point the pistol at their own feet and pull the trigger. Especially after the Guvornator has dropped the penalty for cannabis possession to an infraction.

    The wind has changed direction, and only the most fossilized Dems can’t tell. But they’ll find out soon enough how out of touch they are with their electorate when they’re handed their walking papers.

  • Maria

    It seems that even if they do threaten to withhold federal funds the chorus is now loud enough and comes from too many respected areas of society where it can’t be dismissed with snide bile inducing jokes, or the repetition of easily debunked lies.

    Even in this, “our” bad economy. The feds can’t risk an uncontrolled domino effect of state after state saying “You know what guys? Fuck you anyways.” I suspect it goes beyond cannabis at this point, this next year is gearing up to be insane.

    The highway funds thing will be like threatening to shoot an angry mob when you only have a couple of bullets left. Yeah, you will maim someone and it might stave off the inevitable for a short while yet but the horde has had it. It realizes the odds and charges in anyways.

  • Shap

    I’m not even sure that Obama would be the democratic nominee for president if he made a concerted effort to crack down on California if Prop 19 passes. That’s how bad I think the backash from the democratic base and young voters would be (although I can only speak from a young voter’s perspective).

  • Cobb

    lol @ Change, if i were a US citizen i would feel ripped off by Obama, i mean, if you build your presidential campaign with change as your platform and you get elected… you are supposed to fucking change something, dont you? i remember one documentary when people were working their asses off to convince everyone to vote for Obama, literally these people (some of them sick) were knocking every door and talked people into voting for Obama, everyone was high fiving and cheering on how Obama was awesome and now… everyday it passes feels more like Obama is not in control, like he is just a puppet, you know what i mean?

  • hubert cumberdale

    Will the feds give Cali the finger if prop 19 passes? Will the states assert their rights and give the finger back? Stay tuned…same bat time same bat channel.

  • darkcycle

    While the highway funds with holding is a punitive measure, it can’t undo a citizen initiative. So beyond a demonstration of petulance on the part of the Feds, it will likely have no effect. I’m not even sure the Cal. Legislature can overturn 19 given the inclination. We’re poised to see history, no doubt.
    “It won’t be boring.”