Major Changes Are At Hand for Marijuana Politics

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  Major Changes Are At Hand for Marijuana Politics

Posted by CN Staff on October 03, 2010 at 05:40:57 PT
By John Ingold, The Denver Post 
Source: Denver Post 

San Francisco, CA -- The medical-marijuana political movement in America began the night police busted into Dennis Peron's apartment with a warrant. They twisted Peron's arms behind his back and placed him in handcuffs. They forced Jonathan West, Peron's boyfriend, to the ground, and an officer held him there, Peron said, with a boot on the young man's chest. When officers learned West had AIDS, Peron said, they put on rubber gloves.
"He was very skinny, very weak," Peron, a longtime marijuana and gay-rights activist and former pot dealer from San Francisco, recalled. "And they were very mean."That night in 1990, Peron was arrested for possession and distribution of marijuana he said he was keeping to alleviate West's suffering. A year later, after West died at age 29, Peron began collecting signatures to put an initiative on the San Francisco ballot recommending to state officials that marijuana be allowed for medical use. It was the first medical-marijuana initiative campaign in the country, and it passed with overwhelming support."This was my revenge," Peron said recently. "They did that to Jonathan. What are they doing to other people? I wanted to get even. I hated those guys."Two decades later, what started that night in Peron's apartment has reordered not just the debate around marijuana but also the broader political landscape.Fourteen states and the District of Columbia have started medical-marijuana programs — either through ballot initiatives or legislative action. A 15th, Maryland, allows medical use as a defense against criminal charges. Only once, in South Dakota in 2006, has medical marijuana been defeated in a statewide election.Estimates show more than 600,000 people in the United States can now possess and use marijuana legally, according to a Denver Post survey of medical-marijuana states. Given the current growth rates in some state medical-marijuana programs and the potential for other states to join in — Arizona and South Dakota voters will decide this year — that number could soon top 1 million state-legal marijuana users nationwide. Already, more than a quarter of the United States population lives in a state with a legalized marijuana program. More than half of the nation's medical-marijuana patients — an estimated 350,000 — live in California, but Colorado is the clear medical-marijuana capital of the country. With nearly 20 patients for every 1,000 residents, Colorado has twice the number of medical-marijuana patients per capita as California. Snipped   Complete Article: Denver Post (CO)Author: John Ingold, The Denver PostPublished: October 3, 2010Copyright: 2010 The Denver Post CorpWebsite: openforum denverpost.comCannabisNews Medical Marijuana Archives 

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Comment #9 posted by FoM on October 04, 2010 at 08:13:44 PT
Why California Decriminalized Recreational Pot
October 4, 2010URL:
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Comment #8 posted by FoM on October 04, 2010 at 08:12:09 PT
Paint With Light and Ron
I understand why people could be upset with Dennis. I just am very open to why people think the way they do even if I don't agree.
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Comment #7 posted by Paint with light on October 03, 2010 at 22:57:14 PT
I thought of you when I read the article.Dennis certainly did more than his part to change the laws and I can understand his being protective of patients' rights.I just don't want to see anything derail 19 when we finally have it on track.I also respect Richard Lee and his work and investment of personal wealth to further our cause.Isn't it great that the differences are over the scope of re-legalization instead of any use at all?Yes on Prop 19.Re-legalize like alcohol.
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Comment #6 posted by Paint with light on October 03, 2010 at 22:42:39 PT
comment #3
No problem.As they say it doesn't matter what you call me as long as you call me to dinner.Thanks for the info on Dennis.The article I read on him seemed to be more critical.His concerns seem reasonable.I certainly do respect his work in the past.Legal like alcohol.
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Comment #5 posted by Ron on October 03, 2010 at 22:05:26 PT
Point taken, FoM
I shouldn't be so flip about someone who certainly deserves respect.The article I linked to says 52% are in favour of prop 19, and only 41% now oppose it. Support certainly seems to be growing. But a few million dollars and a willingness to lie big time can sometimes work wonders.Let's hope Californians can withstand the surge in government propaganda in the next few weeks. 
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on October 03, 2010 at 20:40:39 PT

Dennis Peron
I don't know him but it was Dennis that I first saw on the News about Prop 215 and since I had just lost my son to Aids in 1996 what he was doing was deeply appreciated by me. I only got my first computer late in 1996 and there wasn't really news on line back then. I have great respect for his passion and always will.
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Comment #3 posted by Ron on October 03, 2010 at 20:13:07 PT:

Pcl = Pwl = Paint with light
Sorry about that, Pwl. Half a century ago I routinely used "c" as a short form for "with". As time erodes the outer layer of my brain, my old habits are exposed again. 
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Comment #2 posted by Ron on October 03, 2010 at 20:01:32 PT:

Sour grapes, maybe?
Peron's objections to prop 19 would be definitely more newsworthy, Pcl.Here's an article:'s objections seem minor. He wants bigger plots and more plants. I can't see doctrinaire enforcement of this issue in a state that has relegalized.He also objects to the "use in front of children" restrictions, which he feels implies Cannabians are ashamed of themselves. I agree with him here, but including ritual concessions to the drugwarriors main propaganda ploy (child safety) is politically wise, I am told.The article says, "Peron criticized Lee for not including him in the process". Could someone add a little sugar to his juice, please?

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Comment #1 posted by Paint with light on October 03, 2010 at 19:02:05 PT

peron against 19?
Isn't Dennis Peron one of the people against prop 19 because he fears what it may do to medical access?I am surprised that wasn't mentioned.It seems like it would have made the story more newsworthy.Legal like alcohol.
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