Legal-Marijuana Advocates Focus on a New Green
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Legal-Marijuana Advocates Focus on a New Green
Posted by CN Staff on March 25, 2010 at 18:39:45 PT
By Jesse McKinley
Source: New York Times
San Francisco -- Perhaps only in California could a group of marijuana smokers call themselves fiscal realists. And yet, faced with a $20 billion deficit, strained state services and regular legislative paralysis, voters in California are now set to consider a single-word solution to help ease some of the state’s money troubles: legalize.On Wednesday, the California secretary of state certified a November vote on a ballot measure that would legalize, tax and regulate marijuana, a plan that advocates say could raise $1.4 billion and save precious law enforcement and prison resources.
Indeed, unlike previous efforts at legalization — including a failed 1972 measure in California — the 2010 campaign will not dwell on assertions of marijuana’s harmlessness or its social acceptance, but rather on cold cash.“We need the tax money,” said Richard Lee, founder of Oaksterdam University, a trade school for marijuana growers, in Oakland, who backed the ballot measure’s successful petition drive. “Second, we need the tax savings on police and law enforcement, and have that law enforcement directed towards real crime.”Supporters are hoping to raise $10 million to $20 million for the campaign, primarily on the Internet, with national groups planning to urge marijuana fans to contribute $4.20 at a time, a nod to 420, a popular shorthand for the drug.The law would permit licensed retailers to sell up to one ounce at a time. Those sales would be a new source of sales tax revenue for the state.Opponents, however, scoff at the notion that legalizing marijuana could somehow help with the state’s woes. They tick off a list of social ills — including tardiness and absenteeism in the workplace — that such an act would contribute to.“We just don’t think any good is going to come from this,” said John Standish, president of the California Peace Officers Association, whose 3,800 members include police chiefs and sheriffs. “It’s not going to better society. It’s going to denigrate it.”The question of legalization, which a 2009 Field Poll showed 56 percent of Californians supporting, will undoubtedly color the state race for governor. The two major Republican candidates — the former eBay chief executive Meg Whitman and the insurance commissioner, Steve Poizner — have said they oppose the bill.Jerry Brown, the Democratic attorney general who is also running for governor, opposes the idea as well, saying it violates federal law.And while the Obama administration has signaled that it will tolerate medical marijuana users who abide the law in the 14 states where it is legal, a law authorizing personal use would conflict with federal law.Supporters of the bill say the proposal’s language would allow cities or local governments to opt out, likely creating “dry counties” in some parts of the state. The proposed law would allow only those over 21 to buy, and would ban smoking marijuana in public or around minors.Stephen Gutwillig, the California state director for the Drug Policy Alliance, a New York-based group that plans to raise money in favor of the measure, said he expected “a conservative implementation,” if passed.“I think most local jurisdictions are not going to authorize sales,” Mr. Gutwillig said.Local opt-out provisions are part of a strategy to allay people’s fears about adding another legal vice and to help capture a group considered key to passing the bill: non-pot-smoking swing voters.“There’s going to be a large sector of the electorate that would never do this themselves that’s going to sort out what the harm would be versus the supposed good would be,” said Frank Schubert, a longtime California political strategist who opposes the bill. “That’s where the election is going to be won.”But Dan Newman, a San Francisco-based strategist for the ballot measure, said he expected broad, bipartisan support for the bill, especially among those Californians worried about the recession.“Voters’ No. 1 concern right now is the budget and the economy,” Mr. Newman said, “which makes them look particularly favorable at something that will bring in more than $1 billion a year.” Opponents, however, question that figure — which is based on a 2009 report from the Board of Equalization, which oversees taxes in the state — and argue that whatever income is brought in will be spent dealing with more marijuana-related crimes.Mr. Standish said: “We have a hard enough time now with drunk drivers on the road. This is just going to add to the problems.”He added: “I cannot think of one crime scene I’ve been to where people said, ‘Thank God the person was just under the influence of marijuana.’ ”Advocates of the measure plan to counter what is expected to be a strong law enforcement opposition with advertisements like one scheduled to be broadcast on radio in San Francisco and Los Angeles starting on Monday. The ads will feature a former deputy sheriff saying the war on marijuana has failed.“It’s time to control it,” he concludes, “and tax it.”Not everyone in the community is supportive. Don Duncan, a co-founder of Americans for Safe Access, which lobbies for medical marijuana, said he had reservations about the prospect of casual users joining the ranks of those with prescriptions.“The taxation and regulation of cannabis at the local or state level may or may not improve conditions for medical cannabis patients,” Mr. Duncan said in an e-mail message. He added that issues like “police harassment and the price and quality of medicine might arise if legalization for recreational users occurs.”Still, the idea of legal marijuana does not seem too far-fetched to people like Shelley Kutilek, a San Francisco resident, loyal church employee and registered California voter, who said she would vote “yes” in November.“It’s no worse than alcohol,” said Ms. Kutilek, 30, an administrator at Metropolitan Community Church of San Francisco. “Drunk people get really belligerent. I don’t know anybody who gets belligerent on marijuana. They just get chill.”A version of this article appeared in print on March 26, 2010, on page A1 of the National Edition.Source: New York Times (NY)Author: Jesse McKinleyPublished: March 25, 2010Copyright: 2010 The New York Times CompanyContact: letters nytimes.comWebsite: -- Cannabis Archives
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Comment #21 posted by Hope on March 27, 2010 at 11:18:26 PT
Are you not a practitioner of yoga? Doesn't that help?Maybe I'm just quibbling over a word.You're ok, I bet. I hope. I don't want you to make yourself sick with hatred.
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Comment #20 posted by Hope on March 27, 2010 at 11:12:24 PT
Then again
C-News has an element to it that's something akin to Scream Therapy. A vent. An outlet. A release.Fighting sheer hatred in myself has been a major part of this effort. It's a spiritual tug of war sometimes. The line between anger and hatred is clearer as I've found myself crossing it so often with this drug policy of our government and the backers of it, prohibitionists being so violent.. and obscene. Really.I can only imagine how much worse it would be if it touched me like the people that have been touched so viciously by it. I'm horrified at the sight and word of it all. I'd probably be one of those drop dead victims if a raid ever happened to me.My point is not that prohibitionists and it's lovers aren't worthy of sheer hatred. They are. But protect yourself, all of you, and don't do it. It can make you sick. It's destructive to you, to every one of us, and we still have a ways to go before we see the full light of day.
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Comment #19 posted by Hope on March 27, 2010 at 10:36:52 PT
Righteous anger. Indeed.
We are indignant. There have been atrocities and they haven't even been identified as atrocities by the ones committing them. The prohibitionists of every rank.That indignity at the atrocities is what makes us all be here in the first place.Remember Rainbow Farm. Remember all the killed, murdered, dead victims of prohibition. Remember Donald Scott. Remember Peter McWilliams. Remember all that Steve Tuck and all the other's in similar situations at the time went through. Remember what happened to Jerry/Runruff and Museman. So many more. Some survived. Alive anyway. Though much... a huge much was taken from them. I'm so thankful some survived. There were times they nearly didn't.Remember the prisoners. Remember the persecuted. Remember the shot down in cold blood.The gun in Linda's face was an atrocity. The gun at my friend's teenage daughters head when she came home from school was atrocious. The police reading my friends saved love letters between her husband and herself, to each other and mocking them was atrocious. Stealing things. Breaking things and purposely destroying stuff for spite or , apparently, just for fun. So many things. So much death and sorrow. They have all been over whether one person can allow another person... grown person... to ingest a plant or not. Oh God.Stoke the anger if you feel it necessary... but don't let it turn to hatred... for your own sake and the sake of the fight... and staying in it.
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Comment #18 posted by Hope on March 27, 2010 at 10:18:08 PT
You have anger. Righteous anger. That hatred will make bad juju in your body. The very thoughts signal actions in the body. It makes chemicals, juices that can tear and disrupt.
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Comment #17 posted by runruff on March 27, 2010 at 09:48:05 PT
There are all kinds of hate, like I hate it when someone is standing on my toes and refuses to get off!I hate people who stick machine guns into the face of my dear wife because she is having tea with her herbal farmer husband!I hate people who imprison other for fun and profit! I hate people who obsessed with other people's pee!I have righteous hate!
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Comment #16 posted by ekim on March 26, 2010 at 21:47:11 PT
FoM still given great advice
In the past five years, the number of plants seized during the outdoor marijuana harvest season statewide more than quadrupled, from 354,202 to 1,675,681 feel very sorry for people that hate. It tears the hater up inside but never hurts the person that is hated. Tolerance is so much easier and life could be so much better if people used a little self control and suppressed that particular emotion.
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Comment #15 posted by FoM on March 26, 2010 at 14:48:00 PT
Paint with Light 
There's always a fork in the road and which road we decide to travel will change the course of our history forever. I think this time we took the correct fork in the road.
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Comment #14 posted by Paint with light on March 26, 2010 at 14:42:48 PT
FoM comment #10
"The right had many years and didn't do anything but fight us."I was watching John McCain commenting on the latest Sarah Palin controversy(cross hairs for targeted democrats).I felt so relieved we do not have a McCain/Palin administration.No telling how many steps backwards we would have had to take by now.Either that or some in our movement might have started to fight back in a negative manner.I still want to believe in our system of government(even if evidence points so often to its failure), and if we can change the cannabis laws it will do a lot towards that end.If we can bring some shred of truth to the justice system through our movement, then everybody will benefit.Legal like alcohol.
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Comment #13 posted by Dr Ganj on March 26, 2010 at 09:14:04 PT:
Prohibition Does Not Work
Here's one thing for certain: Prohibition does not work, will not work, and will never work.
It simply creates a black market where criminals make huge sums of money.
That said, let's try something different. Say, vote to make marijuana legal for adults, tax it, and
stop using millions of dollars trying to enforce a law that's impossible to enforce.
The solution is so simple, and the voters in California will get it done.
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Comment #12 posted by Sam Adams on March 26, 2010 at 07:27:27 PT
as look you through Google news the headlines are one boogeyman after another - Fear of price drops strikes Northern CA! None of the Governors' candidates supports it! Mexico is angry!and very impressive mythology..."workplace tardiness" will increase....just a pure lie, as people using cannabis will be in far better shape in the morning.And trust the NY Time to ferret out the one quote from a medical MJ activist that criticizes the referendum! Great job guys, nice work. Imagine how many dozens of people they had to interview to find that one half-serious criticism of it.this whole referendum is test of the Orwellian mind control. Can people still think for themselves? Or will they be scared by the propaganda and go with the comforting status quo?
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Comment #11 posted by Sam Adams on March 26, 2010 at 07:17:11 PT
NY Times
This is like looking around the barbed wire of the front and seeing the NY Times hoist the "Legalization!" flag over on the Prohibitionist side. They're coming out of the gate with their biggest weapon.....the evil L-word!!!! Over on our side we're flying the "Taxes!" flag in bright green. It's true, this initiative would be a massive tax increase for the state, that no one would object to paying! Sooner or later non-LEO state workers will see the light, and the cash.>>>Perhaps only in California could a group of marijuana smokers call themselves fiscal realistsWell, it worked pretty well for Steven Jobs and Steve Wozniak when they invented the personal computer on you desk.Worked pretty well for Clarence Thomas and Arnold Schwazenegger, Michael Phelps and Ross Regliabati.NY Times are such snobs, openly looking down their nose at the underclasses. Too bad, it's the last great newspaper.
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Comment #10 posted by FoM on March 26, 2010 at 05:29:25 PT
Paint with Light 
I saw that article last night. I call it for me personally a red flag article. When I see a right leaning group of police saying Dems will give marijuana grief the true colors of the article surfaces. Dislike of how well things are going is wrong in my book. Thank goodness we have Dems working to get change done. The right had many years and didn't do anything but fight us.
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Comment #9 posted by Hope on March 26, 2010 at 04:30:16 PT
Of course he can't...
Standish's words have the scent of prevarication to them. Of course such a "crime scene" never happened. Why would it? He just made that up and liked the way it sounded.“I cannot think of one crime scene I’ve been to where people said, ‘Thank God the person was just under the influence of marijuana.’ ”
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Comment #8 posted by Shielde on March 25, 2010 at 23:48:26 PT
Just another random thought
Would this measure if passed allow individuals to grow hemp, or would they still need federal approval for that?This concern may not be the heart of the matter but it is one to be considered
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Comment #7 posted by Shielde on March 25, 2010 at 23:44:08 PT
federal law
I thought that state laws could differ from federal law under certain situations, like they did during the original prohibition. Although it is likely that federal law has been changed since then so that the will of a state does not matter compared to the will of a few hundred elected officials.If this becomes legal in CA I say let the feds enforce their own laws there and do not allow state or local enforcers help. Because the state and local police helping enforce federal law would be them going above their call of duty
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Comment #6 posted by Paint with light on March 25, 2010 at 23:20:48 PT
Read some of the comments
Yahoo had this article near the top on their news site. are running better than 20 to 1 in our favor.Legal like alcohol.
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Comment #5 posted by James Crosby on March 25, 2010 at 22:30:09 PT:
This article actually isn't too bad. It does say some good stuff for cannabis legalization in there, and concludes in a good way. Support both Tax Cannabis 2010 in California, as well as the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act! Legalize cannabis in the West Coast in 2010!
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Comment #4 posted by The GCW on March 25, 2010 at 22:04:09 PT
Taxed cannabis will deliver $$$!
"He added: “I cannot think of one crime scene I’ve been to where people said, ‘Thank God the person was just under the influence of marijuana.’ ”Best is to not use alcohol or cannabis and drive, BUT: There may be many situations though where people wish the driver of a deadly accident used cannabis instead of booze knowing there may have not been the deadly accident to begin with. Cannabis is safer. Much safer.-0-Taxed cannabis will deliver $$$!&People are using the plant either way! Taxed or untaxed, it's here to stay! The state starves for money that cannabists want to pay!
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Comment #3 posted by HempWorld on March 25, 2010 at 20:02:41 PT
Bottom line ...
"Drunk people get really belligerent. I don’t know anybody who gets belligerent on marijuana. They just get chill"
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Comment #2 posted by kenincali on March 25, 2010 at 20:00:04 PT:
Comment #2
I am looking forward to voting for this come November. I just hope we have enough will to get it through, we can work out the federal issues later.
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on March 25, 2010 at 19:03:55 PT
Page A1 in The New York Times
It really is amazing to me.
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