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Another meeting I’d like to attend

Last week I talked about the powerful and well-written editorial in the Seattle Times…

MARIJUANA should be legalized, regulated and taxed. The push to repeal federal prohibition should come from the states, and it should begin with the state of Washington.

So what was the reaction to that editorial? Yesterday, the Times editorial page editor commented on that reaction.

It is rare we publish an editorial on a hot topic and receive near universal praise. But that is what happened last week when we came out in support of Washington state legalizing cannabis.

The fact that a lot of people support the drug being legal is not surprising. Most people I know have long supported legalization of marijuana.

Knowing people who support it and public opinion about a newspaper supporting it are different things.

When people take the time to e-mail or call me about an editorial, it is usually because they do not agree with the editorial page. This editorial was different. The compliments rolled in, the discussion in the comments section of the editorial is nearing 600 and is interesting and thoughtful — which is not always the case — and so far the editorial has been recommended by about 3,000 people on Facebook.

Those numbers are nice to see, but only a minor part of the story. What the editorial has shown is that a broad cross-section of Washingtonians supports legalizing cannabis, or at least are ready to discuss the issue seriously.

Editorial boards across the country, sit up and take note.

It is possible, however, that there was someone who wasn’t as pleased with the editorial.

The Stranger has learned that immediately after the Seattle Times ran an editorial last week supporting a bill to tax and regulate marijuana, the newspaper got a phone call from Washington, D.C. The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy director Gil Kerlikowske wanted to fly to Seattle to speak personally with the paper’s full editorial board.

The meeting is scheduled for next Friday, an apparent attempt by the federal government to pressure the state’s largest newspaper to oppose marijuana legalization. Or at least turn down the volume on its new-found bullhorn to legalize pot.

Bruce Ramsey, the Seattle Times editorial writer who wrote the unbylined piece, says the White House called right “right after our editorial ran, so I drew the obvious conclusion… he didn’t like our editorial.”

Yep. I’d love to be in that room. What could Kerlikowske possibly have to say to that editorial board that has clearly researched the issue in depth, made a considered decision to run the editorial, and received near-universal acclaim for running it?

I’m not the only one who’d like to be in that room.

The Marijuana Policy Project is asking the Seattle Times to live-stream the meeting.

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39 comments to Another meeting I’d like to attend

  • darkcycle

    Ha! Wonderful! I bet old Gilly jumped up like somebody had electrified his chair! They are just not used to newspapers reporting on the issue of marijuana fairly. In the past the newsrags could always be counted upon to print whatever smear they were handed, and were full partners in the effort to prohibit cannabis’ use and expand penalties for it. I bet every hardcore prohibitionist in Washington is wringing their hands and damning the traitors under their breaths. *my best evil laugh* Muhh-ha-ha-ha *rubs hands together and smiles in anticipation*
    The wait ensues for what this meeting bears; what will the Times do next?: Full retraction? Or tepid endorsement of Administration policy? They’ll make the Times do something, we’ll see, if the tepid endorsement of policy is the result, it’s just as good as if they’d just thumbed their noses at the Feds. A retraction would mean they were really stung.
    Whatever, I’m lovin’ it! (can I get into trouble with MacDonalds for saying that in print?)

  • InsanityRules

    Well here’s my guess as to what Gil will say. I expect that he will quote another enlightened political leader and blame support for the editorial on “misguided youths given drugs and money by a small, sick group”.

    It’s great when the Drug Czar and Moammar Gadhafi seem to be using the same speech writer! Does anyone think that similarity impairs his credibility? Or maybe Moammars? Too funny!

  • … and surely Norm Stamper, Gil’s professional peer, needs to be invited… I certainly hope LEAP throws something at this.

  • denmark

    It’s time to PUFF the collective chest out further than the Feds and take a stand Seattle Times. The people of Washington state rally behind you.

    An immediate call to the paper, really now?
    Would love to live on the Seattle side of Washington state, this is going to be beyond interesting and it would be great to be involved.
    MPP got the live stream thing right. No secrecy during the meeting, zero. Full disclosure of what was said on both sides and by all people present. (then again, it’s difficult to talk to sub-human thingies like droopy).

    Should I say it? I’ll subscribe to the Seattle Times if they hold their ground.

    • This is not my America

      Yes, i too will get a years subscip if they stand their ground…What do ya say Seattle Times?

  • darkcycle

    Droopy would be hell at browbeating. Just look at those eyebrows. And the stern, jowly disposition. I can picture him delivering the classic Droopy the Dog response, “That’s not funny.”

  • David Marsh

    Hearst’s yellow journalism gave Anslinger credibility with the masses and was instrumental in the creation of the “Reefer Madness” mania. Isn’t it ironic that print journalism could gain credibility, and stave off extinction, by helping to dismantle the very evil they helped create.

  • darkcycle

    Yes, by all means, stream video that meeting,just, please, somebody neglect to tell Kurly that the cameras are rolling….let’s see the unvarnished face of prohibition.

    • Good point, darkcycle. I’m sure Kerlikowske wants to talk to them privately behind closed door and find some pressure to apply. We’d learn nothing if he thought the public would hear the conversation.

      However, what I can’t figure out is what he actually has to offer/threaten/inform the editorial board with that could possibly make a difference in their stance.

      • paul

        Agreed. After releasing that editorial and the follow up, its not as if they’re going to be publishing a retraction. Maybe Kerlikowske is going to ask to be permitted to print a reply editorial in the paper.

        Again, though, it is frustrating to be opposed by the Obama admin after all that campaign talk B.S.. If they were really on our side they would at least just keep quiet. But in truth, they are genuine prohibitionists.

      • darkcycle

        Pete, there’s so much he could do behind closed doors. He could make threats, he could bribe with “exclusives” for the Times. He could use the old IRS threat or threaten their licenses or permits. Demand they print his (Kevin Sabet’s) response, and refrain from supporting legalization in print going forward.
        He has a position that puts a lot of leverage behind his demands, legal leverage and the leverage that comes with just being in the White house…I couldn’t even imagine the things he could come up with…as long as there’s no one around to hear the conversation.

      • Duncan20903

        .
        .
        How about no public bailout for the Seattle Times when it goes broke in the near future? Shorting the newspapers is one of the best investments in the stock market today. Every single one a guaranteed goose egg within 5 years.

      • This is not my America

        The ONDCP is a public employee, we should hear what they have to say…no secrets.If they base their job on truth then lets hear it!

  • vicky vampire

    Hey there Druggie Czar, Your no different from the BUTT ugly Bushies who remember forcefully censored those Billboards in Washington DC
    http://www.changetheclimate.org/campaigns/02_18_04/

    Gil Bloody hell man,censorship is evil and nasty Gil instead of flying out to Seattle make yourself useful and go play some golf,take a long walk and blast your bloody brain with real science about pot. Gil your better than this don’t be dumb and Ignorant about drugs like former dummy Pres,George Bush man that’s so beyond pitiful.
    Yes I know you job description entails full on board lying.

    • Duncan20903

      .
      .
      Good golly, I thought we taught WMATA a lesson back in the early 1990s when they rejected ads from DC Metro NORML. What, do they have a policy of rejecting all controversial advertising and forcing public advocacy groups to sue them to get them to honor their legal obligation to accept such ads?

      Yeah right, like the residents of the DC Metro area would stand for the Feds pulling their financial support for WMATA. For crying out loud WMATA doesn’t currently have enough funding to keep their trains operating safely. Without WMATA our gridlock would degenerate into absolute anarchy. If I were in charge of WMATA I’d have said, yeah, go ahead, pull our funding. See you on the front page of the Post.” God this shit makes me want to puke my guts out.

      Recently the controversy surrounded ads placed by the marriage nazis. I was particularly disappointed in the GBLT groups that supported censoring those ads. When will people start to realize that freedom is a two way street? What would the GBLT’s do if they get the marriage nazis ads taken down, and then get refused when they go to try to put up some of their own advocacy ads?

      OK, that controversy is over, because it surrounded the marriage nazis attempt to protest the refusal by DC to place their bigoted ballot initiative on the 2010 ballot because it violated whatever it is they call DC’s equivalent to a State Constitution. The marriage nazis seem to think they could place a law to re-legalize involuntary servitude if they wanted. Heck, why not? Just tweak it a little bit so anyone could end up being a slave, regardless of race, religion, national origin, gender, or sexual orientation and that should satisfy the 14th Amendment issues.

      Anyway, what was the end result of the 2004 WMATA controversy above? Oh nevermind, I found it. What a shock, free speech won.
      http://www.changetheclimate.org/news/2004/06/02/court.php
      This happens so consistently that it’s just mind boggling to me that the enemies of freedom keep trying to use this same tactic. The only possible conclusion is that it’s a SLAPP tactic.

      Wow, it was only last year that DC codified an anti-SLAPP statute:
      http://www.welovedc.com/2010/12/09/council-passes-anti-slapp-bill/

  • ezrydn

    I can remember a time when I held true POWER in my hands. I was sitting butt deep in paddy water, holding a PRC-25 (lovingly referred to as a “prick-25”) and talking to someone named “Puff,” “Spooky” and some fast movers. If I still had that sort of connection, WOW! Ya wanna talk drug WAR?

  • DdC

    Kerlikowski’s carpetbagger visit to Seattle
    Oh, and you’ll be pleased to know that The Seattle Times is not backing down in their support of HB 1550 in light of Czar Kerlikowske’s request.
    ~ The Oracle, February 26th, 2011

    Gettman’s article on creating legalization

    Jon Gettman is a long time contributor to HIGH TIMES. A former National Director of NORML, Jon has a Ph.D. in public policy and regional economic development and consults with attorneys, advocates, and non-profits on cannabis related research and public policy issues. On October 8, 2002, along with a coalition of organizations, he filed a new petition to have cannabis rescheduled under federal law. This column will track that petition’s progress.

  • David Marsh

    It’s a message that must be delivered in person. It is a threat that is not a threat. It is a lie that is not a lie. It is an offer that cannot be refused. Beware the Ides of March…….Aaaaa….Whats up dock?… Be werry werry quite…. I am hunting wabitts….

  • Servetus

    One morning, when Gil Kerlikowske awoke from troubled dreams, he found himself transformed in his bed into a horrible drug czar….

    “What’s happened to me?” he thought.

    Kerlikowske’s metamorphosis is complete.

    It appears the official role of the ONDCP and drug czar is to interfere in the American democratic process, in effect, to commit crimes on behalf of the federal government. In a different time, the Seattle Times would have been brought up before the House American Activities Committee (HUAC). Ole times there are not forgotten….

    How dare a newspaper print anything but the official party line!

    At least Kerlikowske has no control over the Internet’s pro-reform websites. If the Seattle Times doesn’t fight back, it will be admitting that the term ‘free press’ doesn’t exist any more for America’s home town newspapers, and that the Internet is the only offensive weapon left on the front lines of drug freedom.

  • thelbert

    obviously some vocabulary remediation is in order

  • thelbert

    maybe the editorial board will be able to convince the czar of all the narks that his new clothes are making his butt look naked, and cover the legal scrofula with some honest raiment for a change.

  • This is not my America

    Hell yes live stream the meeting! If Gil turns it down…he has something to hide! Aint that right GIL .

    You morons in the ONDCP CANT HANDLE THE TRUTH !!

    • This is not my America

      If they dont agree to live stream , how about hidden cameras, those are easy to do… Lets show the true face of these people. Oh,I better be careful, I might scare Gil away ! LOL.

  • How long after the meeting must one wait to file a FOIA request for a transcript?

  • Duncan20903

    .
    .
    Well I guess those flash bang grenades aren’t all bad after all. It also seems that Darwin hasn’t abandoned us completely after all.

    http://www.citizen-times.com/article/20110226/NEWS/110226011/NC-SWAT-officer-dies-after-home-explosion?odyssey=mod

  • Duncan20903

    .
    .
    I’d like to attend the meeting of Cheye Calvo and Professor Clark Freshman, of the UC Hastings Law School. Prof. Freshman sounds like he’s very pissed off.

    “I’ve been on the fence for years about the legalization of drugs … and now I’m a victim of this crazy war on drugs,” says Freshman, who pledged to sue until “I see [the agents’] houses sold at auction and their kids’ college tuitions taken away from them. There will not be a better litigated case this century.”

    http://www.sfweekly.com/2011-02-16/news/pot-raid-sfpd-castro-law-professor-clark-freshman-sue/

    Sic ’em Gary. But while you’re at the courthouse consider killing to birds with one stone and getting rid of that inappropriate last name.

    • malcolm kyle

      This very intersting comment by 1tmaxr -60 minutes ago- may not stay up long, so I thought I’d share it:

      “Freshman had better get ready for heavy harassment.

      I’ve tried filing complaints against the SFPD before. They are not above:

      death threats against you, your roommates and family,

      having their junkie informants smash your car windshield,

      throwing used motor oil on your house,

      “detaining” you and your friends on a Friday, (so you have to stay in jail all weekend),

      planting crack in the squad car in an attempt to scare you,

      filing false charges against you with the DA.,

      having brother officers stop and run the plate of EVERY SINGLE CAR that visits your house,

      writing bogus parking tickets (called “flyers”) and tearing up your copy so they can arrest you and beat the shit out of you, then claim you assaulted THEM,

      filing false complaints about you, your house, your friends, your work and anyone you do business with at any city agency that will harass you for them,

      going through your garbage to look for information to use against you,

      photographing you and your friends to intimidate you,

      hammering on your door at one a.m. to have cops order you to move your trash can ONE FOOT,

      trespassing,

      hate speech,

      peering in your girlfriend’s bedroom window,

      accusing you of vandalism,

      telling anyone who will listen that you are a junkie, “faggot,” “camel fucker” etc.

      refusing to take reports of crimes against you,

      refusing to follow up on complaints,

      harassing calls,

      and that’s just the stuff I could PROVE.”

      http://www.sfweekly.com/2011-02-16/news/pot-raid-sfpd-castro-law-professor-clark-freshman-sue/

  • darkcycle

    My nominee for best bumper sticker so far this year:
    “High Pride: We’re here, we’re high, we want our piece of pie! (Ooh..and maybe a milkshake too)”
    Seen on the rear window of a multi-colored Subaru with purple spray painted tires in Bellingham Wa.on 2/27/11.
    I must have one. (the sticker)

  • WayneR

    What upsets me most is not so much Kerlikowske’s predictable opposition to legalization, but his blatant attempt to obstruct free speech. It takes a lot of guts to stand up to bullies like this. No doubt, if Washington legalizes (as they should) the feds will arrest and prosecute and there will be Washingtonian casualties. Be brave Washington. The nation stands behind you. We are in this war together.

  • Duncan20903

    .
    .
    They don’t have the resources. I’m sure they’ll try to nab a few high profile cases. Secret to avoiding that: don’t be a loudmouth. No appearing on the local news show with your basement grow in the house very close to an elementary school noting that you hope to make $400k selling homegrown pot this year. Definitely avoid mentioning your grow if it’s in the back room of the local donut shop. Common sense rules like that.
    ———-
    Damn you DC, now I must have some pie! A pie is a terrible thing to waist.

    • darkcycle

      I’m on my second sleeve of ‘Thin Mints’ tonight. My wife bough a hundred bucks worth of Girl Scout cookies yesterday then woke up this morning and decided she was fat (she’s not, does this every year. Girl Scout cookie Guilt Syndrome, I call it). So with the help of some nice sticky Afgooey, I’m working my way through them. *Burp*
      Enjoy your pie, Duncan.

  • darkcycle

    Damn, nice catch Duncan and Malcolm…I guess in this case they REALLY got the wrong address!

  • of course, like any tourist to Seattle, Gil is gonna want to stop at Pike St Market. I think he should also stop here:

    Seattle’s first cannabis farmers market attracts several hundred Sunday

    There was no sign of police Sunday morning at the event. “It’s not a big deal,” police spokesman Sean Whitcomb said in an interview before the event. “Our priorities are a reflection of community priorities.”

  • darkcycle

    “..and this time we really mean it..” DEA bans ‘spice’. Again.
    http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/2011/feb/28/dea_bans_synthetic_marijuana

  • undrgrndgirl

    hmm…a real attempt at censorship?

  • undrgrndgirl

    @darkcycle (having not read the article yet)…how can the dea ban synthetic marijuana, that’s EXACTLY what marinol is…