Because you can count on it: the mainstream media wonâ€™t analyze it at all
There has been a jungle of growing chatter within the pro-cannabis community over the issue of Proposition 19, resulting in a rift between growers and advocates.
What could possibly be the issue? â€“ one might ask. The November initiative will give Californians a choice: to either vote for legalization of cannabis, with a tax and regulation plan that assures to ease the stateâ€™s budget crisis; or to keep the therapeutic herb outlawed, to continue turning anyone who uses the weed other than a papered medicinal marijuana patient into an outlaw.
But to be droll, the devil is in the details.
From heated Internet debates to kitchen-side coffee/bong klatches, longtime pot-based partnerships have teetered on the verge of dissolution over what each side believes will be the ultimate result of this proposition, should it pass. Many cannabis farmers and brokers (otherwise known as â€œpushersâ€ to the morally corrupt, â€œprovidersâ€ to those of us who know better) believe 19 is overburdened with regulations, that it squeezes out the smaller cultivators with exorbitant fees, licenses and taxes, and that a possible excise tax on every ounce will strain the wallets of their clients. Indeed, the Prop. 19-wary envision Big Tobacco and Wal-Mart overtaking the market, to the point where a refer could become as harmful and hideously unfair as a genetically tinkered ear of Monsanto corn.
They make excellent points, though professional economists may warn that capitalism does not naturally work that way, for one thing. Competition, if allowed to flourish relatively unfettered, produces high quality goods at lowered prices, regardless of the political obstacles. Secondly, there is a sea-change of thinking in this nation right now regarding what we ingest and where it all comes from. Smaller, sustainable, chemical-free local farming, with farmersâ€™ markets and rooftop gardens, are the wave of the future.
But letâ€™s assume for the sake of argument that the smaller guys do lose out, that big industry co-opts the cannabis market and that it gets so bad Big Pharma even undermines the medicinal marijuana movement. What is the alternative at this point?
To vote no? That would mean the small guys would STILL be outlaws. That our prisons would STILL burst at the seams with more criminals persecuted for consensual â€œcrimesâ€ over a bogus â€œmoralâ€ issue. That the DEA would be smug with what they perceive to be a green light to generate STILL more corruption and jack-booted terror. That no money goes to saving the STILL bankrupt state. That more people, unable to obtain medical marijuana cards over technicalities, will STILL writhe in pain. That no one STILL has the right to â€œget highâ€ â€“ God forbid! That fewer folks, letâ€™s face it, will be in a good mood.
That Prohibition STILL marches on.
And, for me, hereâ€™s the kicker: If you know of fellow cannabis supporters who vote no on Proposition 19 because it is not perfect, you can safely tell them they have encouraged mental de-evolution in the human species. It would be a massive slide backwards taking years to overcome, and hereâ€™s why.
If Proposition 19 is defeated, how do you think the glamour pusses in the talking head video media will report it? Or for that matter, the spineless weenies in the coagulated print mediaâ€¦ and of this I know what I speak, being an expatriate of that field. The mainstream media does not ask the question â€œWhy?â€ anymore, and has not for some time now. They will give dummy-downed sound bytes, proclaiming, â€œWell, the voters said NO with a capital N today, to legalizing pot! Tee-hee!â€ — or â€“ â€œCalifornians drew a line in the sand today â€“ saying medical marijuanaâ€¦ maybeâ€¦ but NO WAY to wasties with the munchies who just wanna get high!â€ â€“ or how about — â€œThe children were saved today when voters decided they donâ€™t want drug pushers peddling at the grammar schoolsâ€¦.â€ Yes, itâ€™s absurd, incorrect, even putrid, but there you have it.
They wonâ€™t go into the fact that the pro-cannabis community split the vote because some of them thought it was crafted unfairly for some growers or users. The media wonâ€™t analyze it so intellectually â€“ because their editors wouldnâ€™t allow such intricate, confusing thought! The mainstream media canâ€™t wrap their heads around this, so how can they expect what they see as the â€œdense publicâ€ to understand it? Ergo, the public will be spoon-fed â€“ and will swallow â€“ the simplistic, retarded â€œwrap-upsâ€ of this issue, effectively killing any chances of bringing legalization back to the table for years.
Remember, medicinal marijuana â€“ voted in by the public in 1996 â€“ wasnâ€™t perfect either. In fact, it had to be amended some eight years later to allow dispensaries to operate. (Oh, I know. If only local city councils realized that dispensaries are legal, that patients are really in pain, that medicinal marijuana is legal to smoke, to sell.)
Letâ€™s unite ourselves, once and for all, on our collective goal. We have come so far, and it would be a travesty if some of our own â€“ disgruntled over just half a pot of gold instead of a whole pot of gold â€“ were to lose the entire prize for all of us. If there is a glaring problem that presents itself after the victory, believe me, it can and will be fixed. If we can get this so long overdue proposal on the ballot, we can certainly rally ourselves and the system to work out the kinks soon after.
Kate Woods is a freelance writer and a staff writer for Union Local 13