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  How Pot Friendly Parents Help Sink Legalization
Posted by CN Staff on November 06, 2010 at 06:33:32 PT
By Arun Gupta, AlterNet 
Source: AlterNet 

cannabis California -- Sifting through the failure of Proposition 19, supporters of legalizing marijuana can point to many factors for why it lost 54% to 46%: The fact that young voters, who reportedly supported legalization by a 40 percent margin, did not stampede to the polls; U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder’s threat to go after “individuals and organizations that possess, manufacture or distribute marijuana for recreational use, even if such activities are permitted under state law;” and California’s decriminalization, just one month before the vote, of possessing up to one ounce of weed.

Add to that the successful tarring of Prop 19 as a poorly worded measure that was vague on regulation and opponents hysterically warning of “potheads on the road” mowing down hundreds of innocents, and it’s easy to see why the measure fell short.

No doubt new legalization measures will be on the ballot in the future, whether in California or other Western states where acceptance of recreational usage is high. So it’s worth considering another reason that may have doomed Prop 19: cultural factors.

Last summer, on an extended visit to Los Angeles, I concluded that Proposition 19 was doomed. Hanging out in neighborhoods near Griffith Park, such as Silver Lake, Los Feliz and Hollywood, I talked to precisely the people one would expect would vote for legalization, but who indicated they would vote against it. (This is the part of the city where scores of dispensaries were shut down a few months ago.)

Theirs is a familiar demographic: people in their 30s and 40s, starting homeowners, many with young children, progressive across the board – pro-choice, antiwar, environmentally conscious, supporters of unions and rights for undocumented immigrants, against charter schools, tolerant and socially liberal. In theory, they even supported legalization. All used to smoke pot, some still did. Call them the “Marijuana Moms and Dads.”

Yet why would they all find Proposition 19 unappealing? Because of the actually existing legalization.

As a New Yorker, I found it remarkable to see a thriving marijuana economy – the dispensaries, cafes, growing-supply stores, head shops, “universities,” campaign offices and the like. Walking down one short block with at least five businesses devoted to pot – from growing to buying to consuming – it seemed unreal and normal, libratory and decadent. And this is precisely what bothered them: the visibility of an economy that is, frankly, seedy.

In essence, Proposition 19 may have been a victim of the success of the legalization movement. The incremental strategy has chalked up many victories since the passage of Compassionate Usage Act of 1996 (“medical marijuana”). Decriminalization was a big win, for one, but it may have blunted the argument that legalization was needed to remedy unfair and racially biased sentencing.

More important, for many, there has been enough or perhaps even a bit too much legalization for their liking. The touted benefits of broad legalization – such as an infusion of tax money for a bankrupt state – were not worth the perceived downsides of an open-air pot culture.

Marijuana is already a big business that employs tens of thousands of people throughout California, particularly in the lush Emerald Triangle, and probably pumps billions of dollars into the state economy. But do you really want your neighborhood turned into little Amsterdam, even if you toke up on the weekend?

For the Marijuana Moms and Dads I encountered, their thinking boiled down to, “I can get weed for myself and smoke it at home after the kids are in bed without a hassle, so why do I want to worry that teenagers, slackers and burnouts will be smoking up in my neighborhood as I go for a stroll with my family?” I think many of them also imagined legalization could mean having to run a gauntlet of pot cafes full of stoned tourists just to buy groceries. In addition, they were concerned about the impact that a robust marijuana economy would have on their home value.

Legalization supporters might grumble about these social and cultural factors, and dismiss such people as yuppies or social conservatives, but this is far from the truth. To win future battles, they have to gain the support of these people, who are natural allies.

It’s completely conceivable that getting high in the open could follow from Prop 19. Yes, the measure banned usage in public places, but the ban on public drinking doesn’t stop the guy on the corner from chugging booze out of a paper bag. In pre-Giuliani New York, the NYPD did not arrest drug users, only sellers, and scrums of people smoking pot openly was a common sight in neighborhoods like the Lower East Side.

Back then, in New York, many parents of small children – even some potheads – were unhappy about open drug use (though it was not just pot smoking they were upset about, it was also the rampant drinking, and heroin and crack use). No matter how open-minded you are as a parent, you want to control how your child encounters such things. For example, even if you talk to your children openly about sex, that doesn’t mean you want them to see people screwing in public.

The legalization movement needs to figure out how to address the Marijuana Moms and Dads’ apprehensions while appealing to their libertarian attitudes and progressive politics. A significant slice of the population, their support – or opposition – could make the difference between victory or defeat in the close-fought battles over legalization to come.

Arun Gupta is a founding editor of The Indypendent newspaper. He is writing a book on the decline of American Empire for Haymarket Books.

Source: AlterNet (US)
Author: Arun Gupta, AlterNet
Published: November 5, 2010
Copyright: 2010 Independent Media Institute

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Comment #12 posted by John Tyler on November 07, 2010 at 10:06:34 PT
comment #8
Thanks for the update. I thought the vote had been settled.

[ Post Comment ]
Comment #11 posted by FoM on November 06, 2010 at 15:15:56 PT
Thank you. I just can't keep up with all the news and I appreciate the help.

[ Post Comment ]
Comment #10 posted by Garry Minor on November 06, 2010 at 13:13:48 PT
FoM..........Has this been mentioned?
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -- The Iowa Board of Pharmacy has reclassified marijuana as a drug with medicinal purposes, but the panel refused to make rules on its use.

KCCI-TV reports the board on Tuesday changed the classification to that marijuana is considered to have accepted medical use but still has a high potential for abuse. Under the old classification, marijuana was thought to have no proven or acceptable medical use.

The change will classify marijuana with narcotics such as opiates and methadone.

Members denied a petition requesting the board make rules on the use of marijuana. Chairman Vernon Benjamin says that's the Legislature's responsibility.

House Majority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy, a Des Moines Democrat, has said lawmakers likely won't take up the issue next year because of more pressing matters.

KGAN CBS 2 - Illinois News

Carl Olsen of Des Moines, Iowa has vowed to take state regulators to court after they turned down his request that they legalize medical marijuana. Mr. Olsen wants the Iowa Board of Pharmacy to allow Iowans to use medical marijuana. He is using a decades-old piece of Iowa Law Code that says the substance may be used for medical purposes as long as the Pharmacy board sets up rules. He is claiming that the Iowa Board of Pharmacy has a legal obligation to set those rules.

The pharmacy board unanimously recommended last February that the Legislature clarify the issue by declaring marijuana a Schedule 2 drug and setting guidelines on how it can be used and distributed. This week they made good on that promise and agreed to recommend that state lawmakers change the scheduling of cannabis to a schedule two drug, but again rejected any move to propose rules governing its medical usage.

[ Post Comment ]

Comment #9 posted by RevRayGreen on November 06, 2010 at 12:26:31 PT
Green Central Election Day/Iowa Board of Pharmacy
Green Central Station hosts Rev Ray Green, Saint Michael,'the Deacon' and Lord Mota represent on 11/2/10 at the Iowa Board of Pharmacy, interview w/KCCI tv-8 DSM. Rev challenges the board with caffiene/alcohol(12.5%) drink called Four-Loko on the market, targeting young drinkers... (video recap)11/2/10

[ Post Comment ]

Comment #8 posted by EAH on November 06, 2010 at 12:00:05 PT:

Harris hasn't won
To John Tyler;

Kamala Harris trails Steve Cooley by 22,817 votes at this moment (noon 11/6). The lead has changed 3 times and the counting of mail in, absentee and provisional ballots continues. At the moment CA will be getting a very anti cannabis attorney general, unless Harris surges again. I don't know how much is left to count but it a significant number. Cooley could be VERY harmful to Medical cannabis too as he is on the record as totally opposed to dispensaries. He has stated that they are ALL not legal.

Follow the count at:

[ Post Comment ]

Comment #7 posted by Sam Adams on November 06, 2010 at 08:53:57 PT
good analysis
yes museman, it's amazing how quickly these parents snap into position on MJ reform when their kid gets expelled from school for a tiny piece of bud. Then all of sudden you have 200 parents petitioning the school for change. Sadly, this is the "me" generation.

this is interesting, these guys crunched some numbers and say Prop. 19 would have received 49 points if this had been a presidential election year:

"While grim, one positive note for supporters of legalization is that Demographics are clearly moving in their direction. New, mostly supportive, young adults turn 18 every day, while, to put it bluntly, every day, older, less supportive individuals pass on."

[ Post Comment ]

Comment #6 posted by runruff on November 06, 2010 at 08:52:36 PT
I woke up this morning,
that seemed like a good place to start?

[ Post Comment ]
Comment #5 posted by museman on November 06, 2010 at 08:47:17 PT
thickly laid, but thinly stated
".. even if you talk to your children openly about sex, that doesn’t mean you want them to see people screwing in public."

You know, there are some of us who would rather see 'people screwing in public' than people getting screwed, both public and in private by the corporate-sponsored dogs and cretins that cruise the streets in their fancy new weapons of peace destruction.

I'd rather see a junkie nodding on the street corner than the cop beating him up.

Why is it that some people's 'concerns' are held to be more valid than others?

Personally I have been witnessing ugly lies shoved in our faces for so long, yet that's ok, as long as the 'job' is secure, the bank account solvent, and the Cable TV and internet is working at high efficiency.

The concern for the children, mentioned here really smells like the same drivel prohibitionists (cops lawyers, DAs, judges, and all their peripheral job descriptions) have been spouting for years now.

And if these 'parents' are so 'liberal minded' and informed, they would know that there has never been anything to worry about concerning the children -except the 'seedy' policemen who like to go through peoples personal stuff like the actual kleptos, perverts, and sub-human species that they are, raked together from immoral wars, to protect and serve the elite.

These so-called "Marijuana Moms and Dads" should know that the HARM in marijuana, is wearing a gun and a badge, and the 'law' that prevents intelligent and caring individuals from using the most benign plant on the planet -for anything, is the real concern they should be having for the FUTURE of their children, because that future is being bought, sold, and stored for resale at a completely controlled dispensation of 'right and privilege' (and you know who gets what, and who doesn't).

This article is a complete fabrication. If this person even talked to more than one couple about this and got the reaction they are trying to propagandize us into believing, I would be surprised. Are there some who feel this way? Undoubtedly. But if they do they certainly don't fall into the category of "progressive across the board – pro-choice, antiwar, environmentally conscious, supporters of unions and rights for undocumented immigrants, against charter schools, tolerant and socially liberal."

This is a crock.


[ Post Comment ]

Comment #4 posted by Sam Adams on November 06, 2010 at 08:21:02 PT
this article
Hogwash. How can Prop 19 be a "victim" of all these things if it received 46% of the vote, 2 points higher than any other legalization referendum? including a couple in the last several years - in 2 states that poll among the most legalization-friendly in the US.

The young (white) mommies and daddies AREN'T the people I'd expect to support legalization at all. This mythical surbuban family isn't progressive when it comes to civil liberties and vice laws, they're the driving force behind the police state. Through NIMBYism they'll take to the courts to fight anything from windmills to their neighbors' kids bouncing a basketball too loudly.

Marijuana shops? Are you kidding? Around here these people sue the bike path advocates. Not in my neighborhood!

No, the people who will power legalization to a win are the vast numbers of people who bear the brunt of the WOD: the young, the poor, the minorities. Not yuppies in the upscale suburbs.

White married couples in their 30's and 40's with children probably make up less than 10% of California. It's 2010, not the 1950's

[ Post Comment ]

Comment #3 posted by John Tyler on November 06, 2010 at 07:18:56 PT
keep on going
The voters defeated Prop 19 by a narrow margin, but they don’t dislike cannabis, as demonstrated by the defeat of the Republican, and strong prohibitionist, candidate for Attorney General choosing instead to elect the Democrat, Karmala Harris. The CA legislature needs to try crafting some legislation that will accomplish the same end, but that will satisfy a lot of people’s concerns.

[ Post Comment ]
Comment #2 posted by FoM on November 06, 2010 at 06:47:27 PT
The Secret About Failed Initiatives
November 5, 2010


[ Post Comment ]

Comment #1 posted by FoM on November 06, 2010 at 06:45:35 PT
How (Not) To Legalize Pot
I have always agreed with this.

November 5, 2010

Excerpt: Medical: Cannabis should be "rescheduled" from its longstanding "Schedule 1" category under the Controlled Substances Act, which precludes not only medical use but even much research. Authorities of all stripes have recommended this, even panels authorized by radicals like President Nixon, but we can't seem to get it done. Still, this needs continued advocacy, as it would help a lot. The appropriate category is likely Schedule III.


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