Posts Tagged ‘regulate marijuana like wine’
by Chris Roberts, SF Weekly
Union Pulls Plug on Medical Reform, Other Ballot Measures Starved For Cash; Legislature, Ammiano Last Hope for Reform Now
Nobody likes to celebrate with a loss, but for the medical marijuana movement, 2010 and the historic defeat of semi-legalization measure Proposition 19 already look like the good old days.
Feast turned to famine quickly: Multiple marijuana legalization and medical marijuana reform ballot initiatives vied this year and last for a spot on voters’ ballots in November. But United Food and Commercial Workers and Americans for Safe Access withdrew on Thursday their Medical Marijuana Regulation, Control, and Taxation Act, and leading proponents of legalization initiative Regulate Marijuana Like Wine are already looking ahead to 2014.
But with the federal Justice Department’s crackdown on California cannabis in full swing, that may be too long to wait, leaving all eyes now on an outspoken lawmaker from San Francisco to save cannabis in California.
Oakland union organizer Dan Rush, chief of the Medical Cannabis and Hemp division of UFCW’s national chapter, told the Sacramento Bee on Thursday afternoon that the union was “pulling the plug” on the MMCRT, which would have created a state-level bureaucracy to oversee and regulate the state’s medical marijuana industry not unlike what Alcoholic Beverage Control does for liquor.
Cash was the main reason, ASA executive director Stephanie Sherer told SF Weekly on Thursday evening: with about six weeks left before signatures were due in Sacramento — initiatives need over 500,000 valid signatures to qualify; campaigns usually submit 750,000 or more by the April 20 deadline — the campaign had $1.25 million of the $2 million needed just to pay signature-gathering companies to qualify.
More cash would be needed to run a campaign, so the call was made to focus on Sacramento, said Sherer, who added that the campaign started late and nonetheless “achieved [its] dream: to get something in the Legislature.”
“We’re not dropping anything,” said Sherer, who said the money will be spent on a “public awareness campaign” to sway lawmakers’ minds. This may work now when it did not before: leery lawmakers in Sacramento wanted proof that the often divisive and divided medical marijuana movement was not “a mile wide and an inch deep,” she said. “Well, we’re not.”
ASA and UFCW raised the cash in increments of $500 to $10,000 from medical marijuana dispensaries, dispensary organization, patients, advocates, and pot growers big and small, she told SF Weekly (financial disclosure forms have yet to be filed with the Secretary of State).
It’s now up to the Legislature and Ammiano, who introduced a bill very similar in language to the UFCW-ASA effort. It has yet to be called for a hearing in committee. A spokesman for Ammiano was not immediately available for comment late Thursday.
Ammiano will need Republican cosponsors as well as support from his Democratic colleagues in order to make any headway.
Meanwhile, the three legalization measures are still starving for billionaires. A few weeks ago in LA, proponents for Repeal Cannabis Prohibition, Regulate Marijuana Like Wine, and the California Cannabis and Hemp Health Initiative issued a “statement of unity” that included a clarion call to rich people. All ballot initiatives were in desperate need of cash; they remain so today.
In 2010, recall, Richard Lee of Oaksterdam University spent millions of his own money to put Proposition 19 on the ballot. The initiative won more votes than Meg Whitman, but was still defeated on the ballot, 46.2 percent for to 53.8 percent opposed.
Once on the ballot, he received big money contributions from George Soros, Peter Thiel, and other progressive-minded angel investors; those rich pot-loving folk have yet to pony up this year, and it now appears they won’t.
Though “anything can still happen,” said Steve Kubby, one of the proponents for Regulate Marijuana Like Wine. “I’m all about miracles.”
And he might need one. RMLW has $54,000 in the bank and about 200,000 signatures, said Kubby, an “eyeball estimate, mind you” he gave via telephone after looking at a stack of papers in his South Lake Tahoe home. “We have to do an audit, but I can tell you we have a pile.”
The challenge now is to figure out how to get a voter initiative on the ballot and how to win a campaign without a billionaires’ largess. That has not been done: it was Soros who bankrolled Proposition 215 in 1996.
“I do not understand how a person with billions who enjoys cannabis even on occasion, and who sympathizes with the damages of cannabis prohibition on our society, would not take a shot at real reform for 2012 in the nation’s most populous state,” said East Bay-based organizer and activist Mickey Martin, who used to head up edibles collective Tainted, Inc. before a federal bust. “For a few million bucks we could have cannabis freedom for 12% of America in one effort. Someone needs to write that check.”
Martin pointed to 2016, a presidential cycle, as the more likely “next time around” for cannabis legalization or reform. Kubby pointed forward to 2014, when fundraising and signature-gathering can be done in the cheaper offseason.
“We’ll raise the money ourselves, between now and 2014,” he said. “I can tell you with certainty, if we don’t get onto the 2012 ballot, this will definitely be on the 2014 ballot.”
So keep the faith, marijuana users. And try to befriend some billionaires while you’re at it.
by Phillip Smith, Hawaii Daily News
Proponents of four out of five of the California marijuana initiative campaigns came together to tout the merits of their various measures at a public meeting in Mill Valley, just across the Golden Gate Bridge and up the road from San Francisco, Tuesday night. But the take away message from the confab was that every single one of the initiatives is in serious trouble if it doesn’t get a large cash injection — and soon.
Three of the initiatives, Regulate Marijuana Like Wine 2012 (RMLW), the Repeal Cannabis Prohibition Act of 2012 (RCPA), and the California Cannabis Hemp & Health Initiative of 2012(CCHHI), offer competing, though mostly similar, versions of legalization, while the Marijuana Penalties Act of 2012 would expand decriminalization. The fifth initiative, the Medical Marijuana Regulation, Control and Taxation Act of 2012 (MMRCTA), seeks to bring statewide regulation to the state’s confused and chaotic medical marijuana marketplace.
Disinterested but detailed summaries of each initiative are available at the state Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) initiative fiscal analysis web page, and are highly recommended reading for those interested in the finer picture of what each initiative does. But in summary, according to the LAO, each of the three legalization initiatives would change state law to legalize marijuana possession by adults and regulate the legal commerce in it.
Equally striking, in the LAO’s analysis, each of the three legalization initiatives would save the state either “potentially tens of millions of dollars” (RMLW) or “potentially the low hundreds of millions” (RCPA, CCHHI) annually in pot prohibition enforcement costs foregone. At the same time, any of the three would generate “potentially hundreds of millions of dollars” annually in tax revenues, while the MMRCTA would generate “tens of millions of dollars” in potential additional revenues.
The LAO took care, however, to point out that its fiscal impact estimates, and especially its revenue estimates, depended highly on the nature of the federal response to marijuana legalization in California. The figures cited above happen only if the federal government allows a legal marijuana commerce to thrive.
With that pot of green gold from legalization enticingly foreseeable, even if the path past federal intransigence is unclear, the frustration of initiative campaigners at their inability to raise money to get on the ballot is evident. With each day that passes without a paid professional signature-gathering campaign underway, the cost of gathering each signature goes up. And the clock is ticking. The initiatives have only until April 20 to turn in 504,000 valid voter signatures.
“Time is running out to get these initiatives on the ballot,” RMLW campaignpresenter Steve Collett, a Los Angeles attorney, told the crowd. “We’re going to need to raise some money to do it. We think we need about $2 million to get on the ballot, and then we can reap $230 million a year forever.”
Collett pointed to RMLW’s list of endorsements and a poll it commissioned showing 62% support for the measure as enticements to potential funders. RMLW is going to need those funders, and it’s in the best shape of any of the legalization initiatives.
The RMLW campaign had only raised $131,000 by the end of December, according to the California Secretary of State, and only another $20,000 since then. It currently has only 40,000-50,000 signatures gathered. The other campaigns are in even worse shape.
“We’re all down to the last minute,” said Oakland attorney Bill Panzer, spokesman for the RCPA campaign. “If we don’t get money to get professional signature-gatherers, we don’t get on the ballot,” he added. “But,” he reminded the audience, “with Proposition 215, we got most of the signatures in five weeks with the professionals.”
[image:2 align:right caption:true]CCHHI campaign spokesman Buddy Dusy was mum about fundraising, but said the campaign had 130 paid signature-gatherers. “We need to do it for Jack Herer,” he said.
California NORML head Dale Gieringer, who acted as spokesman for the MMRCTA campaign, said it was in do or die negotiations with potential funders right now and has a team of experienced campaign professionals ready to go.
“These are very critical negotiations going on right now, and we will know within another week or so if this comes through,” he said. “If we don’t get the money, we’re not going to get on the ballot.”
“Proposition 19 was the wrong election year, it was poorly drafted, and it was opposed by people in our movement who feared for patients’ rights, but it still did very well,” said Panzer. “Any of these initiatives can pass if they make it to the ballot.”
But Gieringer argued that fixing medical marijuana needed to come first.
“All the polls I’ve seen show that legalization is very dicey in California, but when you talk about medical marijuana and the need for regulation, support is in the 60s,” he told the crowd. “It’s hard to call on the public to further liberalize the marijuana laws when they feel things are chaotic enough with medical marijuana. We have to demonstrate that we can regulate medical marijuana to make the public comfortable enough to move on to the next step, legalization.”
Although there was talk Tuesday about forging unity, none of the initiative campaigns was prepared to give up and go to work for the other. That leaves three legalization campaigns and the medical marijuana initiative all competing for the same funding, and all of them — so far at least — coming up short.
While, barring a miracle, seeing marijuana legalization on the California ballot this year looks extremely unlikely, perhaps the movement can get its act together for 2014 or 2016. At least, the campaigns are starting to talk about it.
“We need a coalition of all the legalization people to create an organization that will be a true legalization coalition in California,” said Collett. “We have the same long-term objectives, but differences about how to go about it. Sometimes egos get in the way, but we have to focus on the 70,000 Californians getting arrested for marijuana every year.”
So last night’s Cannadome debate went off without a hitch, was well attended by the community, and was the best birthday party I ever had. Many thanks to the folks who participated in the event, and those who came to try to find answers and agreement.
The two things I really learned last night was that Dale Geringer has “seen a lot of poles,” a fact he mentioned about a dozen times; and the rest of us want weed legal for the most part. I learned much more than that, of course, but those are the two major points I found to be of interest.
The four initiatives were represented by respectively, Steve Collett for Regulate Like Wine, Buddy Duzy for Jack’s CCHHI, Dale Geringer for ASA and UFCW’s MMRCTA, and Bill Panzer of Repeal Cannabis Prohibition. The format was a panel discussion, with the four initiatives presenting their case and questions submitted online or by the audience answered afterwards. There were no real fireworks or contentious moments, and the base line factor is that unless one of the initiatives get at least $2 million bucks, they are all dead in the water.
One of the most stark revelations of the night came from Dale Geringer in his approach to supporting the Medical Marijuana Regulation Control and Taxation Act. A member of the audience submitted a question asking why CA NORML, a group dedicated to legalization, was representing the MMRCTA effort, rather than an effort for adult use legalization. The answers he gave repeatedly were so depressing. “I have seen a lot of polls, and they show legalization is too controversial to back in 2012.” Huh? Is that right. The leader of the most prominent legalization organization in California has virtually thrown in the towel on legalization, and instead, is only actively supporting (through representation at events like this and as an advisory role, and maybe funding?) an effort to EXPAND PROHIBITION in CA through a medical system, that in his own admission is “short on specific detail” as to how it will affect the community?
His grasps for a system, “Like Colorado, but better” were not very well explained IMO, and I believe caused some to question the direction of NORML…again. I mean, if we cannot get the foremost legalization organization in the country on board to legalize cannabis in CA, then there is a real fucking problem. It is sad, when one of the leaders of the CA reform movement basically washes his hands of any effort to legalize cannabis because he has “seen a lot of polls” and he does not believe that legalization is possible. Well, I generally review most polls as well, and would be interested to see CA NORML release those polls and explain to the community why these polls have resulted in, at the very least, lackluster support and zero public endorsement of any legalization initiative. If you want us to believe your rhetoric, Dale, write a report based on these polls you have seen that explains to us why we should turn our back on legalization in 2012 in favor of an effort to expand prohibition. Otherwise, please do not insult our intelligence and expect us to just take your word for it. Many in this community look to NORML as a group fighting for the interest of all cannabis users, not just those deemed sick enough. If that mission has changed then it is your duty to let us know why…and just referring to all of the poles you have seen is not evidence enough.
The conversation with Dale spilled over into the parking lot after the debate, and I asked him directly, “Why was NORML not listed as a proponent on the initiative with ASA and UFCW?” His response almost made me throw up my hands and just walk away…he stated, “Because we are primarily a legalization group we did not feel it would be appropriate to be listed in public as a proponent.” WTF? Are you shitting me? Did you base your entire argument FOR supporting MMRCTA on the fact that you do not believe legalization has a prayer, but then DID NOT publicly endorse MMRCTA because your organization is primarily focused on legalization?” My head exploded for a brief moment, as many others pelted him with questions about his allegiance, and why he was there representing MMRCTA in public, and why he did not think legalization had a chance.
But in the midst of the confusion, another member of the CA NORML Board made a revelation. Dr. Frank informed me that another CA NORML Board member, the great Valerie Corral, also opposed MMRCTA because, and get this, it would put WAMM out of business. I believe she is 100% correct. Because of the registration process and the definitions for medical marijuana facility, Val’s organization WAMM would not be allowed to operate as it is now. THAT IS POWERFUL and very sad. Dr. Frank confirmed with his counterpart Bill Panzer that this was true, and has since pulled any support for MMRCTA. I think, like most everybody there, Dr. Frank wondered why Dale was standing in a parking lot defending an effort to expand prohibition and basically denouncing all legalization efforts as not having a snowball’s chance.
During the debate, Dale stated that the proponents and funders were going to spend the next week behind closed doors seeing if they are going to pony up the $2 million bucks for this half-hearted and lousily written wannabe response to Federal interference. He said they either “will cut the check and we will be on the ballot, or nobody would likely be on the ballot in 2012.” Here is my question…why is this secret money source not at least considering taking a shot at real adult use reform? Who is this “medical only money” that people are looking to? Why is this money only considering a program that expands prohibition through limiting who can provide medicine only to who and where? And why are those who we have charged with promoting legalization rolling over based on loose polling and regurgitated nonsense? It is frustrating to say the least for anyone who believes in cannabis freedom for all.
I think what is more telling is that NOT ONE person from ASA or UFCW had the nerve to show up and defend their initiative. NOT ONE. Why? Because they do not need, or want, our support. They are going to make this decision in the back room after reviewing more polls and assessing the situation for viability, and our input means very little. Their absence was telling, and I felt bad for Dale having to be the only one out there trying to convince people that MMRCTA was a good idea. Maybe all the other folks had some weak dinner at one of Montel’s dispensaries to go to and talk shit about community division with the 7 people who bothered to show up, instead of looking the activist community in the eye and explaining their positions.
That was too bad….so now that I went over all that medical only madness, on to the legalization efforts….
Steve Collett did a good job of representing “Like Wine” I thought, and was very open in his approach. He did a good job of complimenting the other efforts, and did his best to explain why Like Wine was a viable option. Some of his rhetoric seemed a bit defeated, especially after he told the crowd that RMLW has only until March 20th to pull it off, meaning they were less that 30 days away, and only had about 30,000 signatures so far. Also telling, was his call to form a coalition of the proponents from all the legalization efforts to basically convene for the next effort, almost stating that he felt this year was already lost. Considering their polling came out weeks ago, and nobody has cut a check, I can see why he would feel that. But he did a fine job staying on message and answering the questions, and if nothing else, he made me feel a little better about Like Wine.
Buddy Duzy made a passionate call to action for the Jack Herer initiative, based on his belief that the provisions for the hemp industry would force rescheduling, and also that we, as a community, should support Jack’s vision. There is no doubt that the CCHHI crew has the most grassroots energy, and continue to carry the fighting spirit of Jack Herer to every part of the state and nation. Those cats energy inspires me and warm my heart. And even if I do not think that the Jack initiative is our most viable option based on pure electability, I tend to agree with Buddy’s call to arms to pay homage to Jack and to put the initiative on the ballot. I would love to see a campaign where the great Jack Herer was front and center. I think that this would be a wonderful message for our community to come together and support ,and I would love to see an angel donor find the spirit of Jack and throw down some real cash to put this on the ballot. Maybe Peter Lewis or George Soros are at home rereading their copy of the Emperor Wears No Clothes and will cut that fat check to support the legacy of the man who gave the plant a voice and who inspired most of the modern cannabis and hemp movement, as we know it.
Bill Panzer made his normally solid legal arguments to support his drafting of RCPA. I still agree with Bill that this is the best written of the three legalization efforts, and will be the most viable option to actually accomplish the goal of ending prohibition. Bill was very forthcoming in his approach, and basically stated that if an angel investor does not put up the money, that there was no chance of any of the efforts, including RCPA, to make the ballot. Bill made some points that were valid and he also said he would support any of the efforts, should they make the ballot. I think his explanation of why and how RCPA would hold up to legal scrutiny was compelling, and I stand by my position that RCPA is our best shot to pass. But like Bill said, if any make the ballot this year they have a good opportunity to pass. He must be looking at different polls than, Dale….thank goodness. He made some valid criticisms of Prop. 19, but also praised the courage of Richard Lee and acknowledged the lessons we had all learned from that effort. And he said, on top of all of the opposition and BS during the campaign in an off election year “Prop 19 did quite well.” He believed that this showed that a legalization initiative could indeed pass on a more liberal Presidential election year, and I for one, agree.
But the bottom line is that unless a miracle happens in the next couple of weeks, we may not have a legalization effort to support. We may have a questionable and rushed medical prohibition effort to support, but I can assure you I will not be getting up early and writing anything to support that effort. It will be all I can do to not be critical of it should it make the ballot, so if this ends up being the case, and only the deep pockets in the back rooms of the UFCW/ASA (and kind of CA NORML but not really) MMRCTA effort get on the ballot, expect a lot of dead silence from me and some grumbling and bitching in person.
I thought the event was a smashing success, even though there was no real resolution. If I had to pick a team who won the debate I would call it a tie between CCHI and RCPA, with RMLW not far behind (yes…this is my bias opinion). And I think the MMRCTA effort came in dead last and had the least support and energy for it. I just do not think our community is ready to throw in the towel, turn over our industry to a mystery bureau that Dale G. “has confidence” will do the right thing for those in the industry. I do not think people are very excited to spend out time, energy, and resources to develop a murky detailed program that has zero real assurances in it, except that dispensaries already open would be grandfathered for 3 years. Nobody seemed excited to turn over everything to an effort where the organizations who are putting the initiative forward could not be bothered to show up. I just think it was a losing proposition, and from discussing the thing with Dale and many others afterwards, will be poison to the community and end up getting killed in public, thus putting the entire current industry on trial on the National stage.
What we learned was who was who, and what was what, which I thought was awesome. We are all adults, and can make decisions for ourselves, but I will tell you that I personally am deeply troubled by the organizations putting forth MMRCTA because they basically feel legalization cannot win and that they must do something…even if it is not necessarily a positive for the community. These organizations have mostly lost my support, as I can not in good conscious support groups that lack that much courage and who work to put forth efforts to appease their major donors, rather than do what is right for cannabis users. I learned that there is a void of leadership in the movement, as suspected; and that those we have donated to and given our time and energy to have decided to turn their back on progress. I just cannot get down with that.
What I did not learn was what is next; or if any angel donors out there had a big enough sack of nuts to help make history in the Nation’s largest and most cannabis friendly state. Only time will tell, but I still keep hope that there is a person out there reading this right now thinking about cutting that check. Maybe I am naive. I am okay with that. I would rather be naive for legalization than sophisticated for prohibition any day.
It was a good time and very educational. Many thanks to those who wished me a happy birthday. It was my best birthday since I was 7-years-old. I must have issues if a cannabis debate is my idea of an awesome birthday, but I just love cannabis and the politics surrounding it, that much. Call me crazy…everyone else does.
I was forwarded a most interesting email from the great Steve Kubby that just gave me a good chuckle. You cannot make this shit up. Steve, if you are reading this, never stop being you, baby. Your shit is platinum.
In what I can only call a strange attempt at rallying the troops, the great Kubby points out that if we get rich people and conservatives drunk, they really like their initiative….or any initiative I assume. But this is the messaging from Camp Kubby that makes me giggle. I mean really? Why would anyone say this out loud, much less post it in an email? Some shit never ceases to amaze me, but I digress….read it for yourself. It is a classic entitled LIKE WINE FOR THE WIN by Steve Kubby:
‘Like Wine’ for the Win!Polling Shows Linking to Wine a Winning Strategy
There is magic and power in linking cannabis to wine. The recent 62% result in polling for our ‘Like Wine’ initiative reveals that voters have a warm spot in their hearts for regulating marijuana like wine. Voters trust the familiar wine regulatory model will also serve as a safe and effective way to regulate cannabis. Linking the regulation of marijuana to wine pushes our polling numbers into historic territory, where winning becomes a near certainty. However, this is just one aspect of what could be called, “Wine’s Triple Whammy.”
If you watch the video of one of our fundraising parties, you’ll see very conservative people, sipping wine, having a great time and, once they loosen up, enthusiastically supporting regulating marijuana like wine. That’s the second whammy, getting conservatives together and relaxing them with a few glasses of wine. After that, everyone has a great time and the donations roll in.Wine people are natural allies for us. They understand the difference between social wine drinking and abuse leading to impairment. To wine consumers, the idea of gathering together with friends or business associates and getting a bit buzzed is a relaxing and natural component to their social interactions. That’s the third whammy, because it turns out there are a lot of alcohol consumers in this state. In a CBS poll quoted by WebMD, we find that “a national sample of 1,007 people aged 18 and older, showed 64% of Americans say they drink alcoholic beverages. Compare that 64% result with the 62% result we get by linking wine and our initiative.There you have it. A triple whammy of strategic benefits that come from linking cannabis and wine:– Voters trust the familiar wine regulatory model as a safe and effective way to regulate cannabis.– Conservatives just need a little wine to loosen up and twenty minutes later they are supporting and donating to our cause.– To wine consumers, getting a bit buzzed is a relaxing and natural component to their social interactions.Linking cannabis and wine is the reason we are polling with such winning numbers and it should serve as a wakeup call to support this initiative and ensure it qualifies for the ballot. There is magic and power in this unique strategy for victory in 2012 and we invite you to become an active member of this historic campaign.
What I truly love is the irrelevant conclusion that because about 64% of people are boozehounds, and a supposed 62% of people support Like Wine (which is questionable at best, as they have not released the questions used to come to that number) that there must be a link there. “There you have it,” claims Kubby. I love that shit. Tarantino could not write this shit….
So the “Triple Whammy” fueled by “Magic and Power” derived from comparing weed to booze is apparently a great fundraising tool. So I will be waiting to see the armored trucks full of cash pull up to save the day any minute….that is if we can get the rich guys drunk enough. Although, every rich person I have ever met writes their checks stone cold sober, but what do I know? If we could only get over half of the population of California drunk on election day before the polls close, we should be golden….I do love the moxie of the Like Wine effort, no doubt. It is not the way I would do things, but hey…it takes a lot of people to make a world.
Now can we quit putting this picture at the bottom of every communication, though?…it is kind of creeping me out…
Go get ‘em, boys…..
by Chris Roberts, SF Weekly
Regulate Marijuana Like Wine, a marijuana legalization measure vying to get onto the November ballot, has only $80,000 in cash on hand, according to finance records. But in a poll released this week, it had potential support from 62 percent of likely voters — and that, ballot proponents say, is quite literally money in the bank.
“That shows funders we can win,” said Steve Kubby, a South Lake Tahoe marijuana activist and member of the Regulate Marijuana Like Wine’s campaign committee. “Anytime you’re polling over 60 percent, you command anyone’s attention.”
And history just might be on RMLW’s side: Those poll numbers are also close to where Proposition 215 was 16 years ago, before the nation’s first medical marijuana laws were approved by a million vote margin in November 1996, Kubby noted. Those are also rosier numbers than 2010′s Proposition 19 — which earned more votes than former Republican gubernatorial nominee Meg Whitman — enjoyed before its historic defeat.
It’s still going to be an uphill climb: Organizers have 30,000 signatures thus far, a fraction of the 504,760 validated signatures from registered California voters needed to qualify Regulate Marijuana Like Wine for the ballot (closer to 750,000 or more are in reality needed, allowing for invalidated scribbles and other snafus). Nonetheless, the poll means several billionaires are at this moment crunching numbers and deciding whether to bankroll the initiatives, Kubby told SF Weekly Thursday.
Regulate Marijuana Like Wine is one of several ballot measures concerning marijuana in the signature-gathering process. If passed, it would remove from the California law books all criminal statutes related to marijuana for adults 21 or older. Another ballot initiative, Repeal Cannabis Prohibition, would also undo criminal penalties pertaining to marijuana. A third, the California Cannabis and Hemp Initiative of 2012, would go even further, but has yet to commission the poll necessary to attract heaps of cash.
Another ballot initiative, called the Medical Marijuana Regulation, Control and Taxation Act, is sponsored by labor union UFCW and Americans for Safe Access. It seems to have a good shot at gathering the necessary money and signatures, but creates an updated regulatory framework for medical marijuana, and does not address adult legalization.
About $1.5 million is needed to obtain the required 504,760 valid signatures — if done a month before the April 20 deadline. If the signature-gathering is done in the final, crazy month — when everyone vying for the ballot is employing any paid signature gatherers they can find — signature-gathering firms’ prices quadruple, meaning it could cost as much as $5 million, Kubby noted.
“Right now, three different billionaires have our numbers, and are reviewing them,” said Kubby, who declined to name them — though very moneyed men, among them liberal make-it-rainer George Soros, Progressive Auto Insurance Chairman Peter Lewis, Napster cofounder Sean Parker, and Facebook cofounder Dustin Moskovitz, were tapped in 2010 for Prop 19. Are they willing to throw money after Regulate Marijuana Like Wine, too?
Lewis recently wrote an e-mail to cannabis activist Mickey Martin, who had asked Lewis for $1.5 million to fund a legalization ballot measure.
“I have done considerable research which leads me to conclude that the time has not yet come for legalization. I believe that if the issue you want to pass isn’t polling well above 60% in favor before the election, there is no chance to pass it. California is not there yet.”
Is 62 percent enough for Lewis? Time will tell. In the meantime, the campaign is celebrating its poll numbers.
“Everyone, including the polling company, was shocked,” Kubby said. “We owe a debt of gratitude to the United States attorneys, who pushed the voters this way with their ridiculous scare tactics. I can’t think of anything better for our campaign.”
So as we gear up for the big election season I cannot help but stare off towards Colorado with envy, as it looks like they will be able to mobilize the troops and get an initiative on the ballot for cannabis legalization. Here in California, the splintered masses begin the battle uphill in their quest to get one of three legalization efforts on the ballot. I did a survey over the last 10 days to see what the feel in the community was. Because I am cheap they will only allow me to see the first 100 responses, but there have been 125 total. Here are the results for the first 100 respondents:
What it does show is that the movement here in California (or at least on the warrior here) are divided in which direction to go. I just surveyed the legalization cannabis freedom efforts, as I refuse to acknowledge the medical regulation effort being put forward by ASA/UFCW right now; but more about that shortly.
To make matters more complex the Title and Summaries issued by the State of CA for all 3 legalization initiatives have the EXACT SAME TITLE. This is going to be the most confusing signature gathering season ever, and I do not think any of them have the real funding to make a valid effort; but I hope for a miracle. Because they are pulling the energy of the movement in search of the perfect, and to stroke the ego of some so and so, we have the madness that currently is the FUCK IT effort. Everyone of these campaigns knows that they are hopeless individually. So there are only a couple of choices.
Choice 1: Pick the best legalization initiative and go for it. I like the Repeal Cannabis Prohibition Act. Many believe the world is not ready for the 19-year-old age limit. This could be worked out with public education, but that takes funding. If that is just too big of a hurdle then I think we should honor the great Jack Herer and push his California Cannabis Health and Hemp initiative. It sets the age at 21, but it also allows for 99 plants. I am all for that; some fear the world is not. My last choice would be Like Wine, and if there was consensus that this had the best chance of winning I could get behind it.
Choice 2: Combine Forces. The only way to really get voters to understand is to have all three available at once. ALL THREE FOR ME. You could cross promote and even possibly combine funding, but this would have to happen soon.
Choice 3: Save your money for 2016, or pray for a miracle? I hope some Richard Branson type decides they want to go for it and in the next couple of weeks decides to pony up a few million to make it happen. I think CA is the most important state for a legalization measure, and it would be embarrassing for CO to beat us to that punch. I hope some big wheel wants to take a gamble that we can get 50% + 1 lousy person of the vote to come out for legalization. The good thing about RCPA 2012 is that it encourages the 18-19 year old vote to get out, which could give us that +1. So while I hope for a miracle, if these fractured efforts cannot figure out how to work it out we may as well just save the funding to start a political machine geared towards our next real shot, which is likely 2016.
As for the medical regulation thing. I have spoken out pretty clearly about this and why I think it is a horrible idea. Do not be snookered on this one. I would bet this initiative loses by more than Prop. 19. The voter is more inclined to support legalization if it is framed by the fact that it would remove the abuses in the medical system. I think putting medical cannabis on trial on the national stage will be tragic and unfruitful exercise in hostility. That is my opinion and I am sticking to it.
So right now I have not seen any valid effort of people to get it together. So I am on the FUCK IT bandwagon until further notice.
There are three viable initiatives for cannabis legalization that are bidding to make the ballot in California, and the honest truth is that we cannot afford to split the effort for legalization into three camps, all fighting for resources and energy. We must choose one effort to rally around and all put our best foot forward if we have any chance of making the ballot and actually passing a cannabis freedom initiative in 2012. Any of the initiatives are better than what we have now by a long shot. Yesterday I put up a poll to see what people thought and as of this minute here is where it stands:
- California Cannabis Hemp and Health Initiative- 40.7%
- Regulate Marijuana Like Wine- 14.8%
- Repeal Cannabis Prohibition Act of 2012- 42.6%
- None, because I suck and think people should be in prison for a safe, enjoyable and helpful plant.- 1.9%
Obviously this is a far from a scientific poll, and maybe “Like Wine” people just do not read my site because of my criticisms of their leadership, but it does show that there is a definite split out there.
I personally like Repeal Cannabis Prohibition’s language, and I have always liked Jack’s initiative (CCHH2012); so I would hope that it would be one of those two efforts that we could all come together and rally behind. But if our community decided “Like Wine” was the best opportunity, I could surely put my support there and help get it on the ballot. I am for any and all efforts that make cannabis freedom a reality for adult enjoyable use. I think someway, somehow, we must make a decision as a movement and make our move. We must all throw our money in one hat and begin the uphill battle to get something on the ballot for 2012.
The alternative is grim. Should we continue to split our time, energy and resources among the three efforts there is no doubt in my mind that all will fail miserably and all will be for naught. Should this happen it will likely be at least 2016 before we have another real opportunity to pass a sensible initiative. I think Californians are ready in 2012 for real reform, and this election cycle is our best bet to make it happen for some time. In order to do that, we must choose one path and all focus on doing whatever it takes to get it on the ballot. As the New Year comes the clock will begin ticking pretty rapidly, and if we are really going to do this it is time to shit or get off the pot.
I think the folks who claim to be leaders in this movement need to get all of the proponents for these efforts in one room and lead them to find the best effort to focus on. I do not care if you have to do rock, paper, scissors to figure it out; but it needs to be figured out and it needs to be figured out NOW. If the leaders of this movement cannot inspire these groups to come together and make a real effort towards reform, instead of three weak-ass efforts towards failure, then I think it is simply time for new leadership at all levels. This is our time to shine, and if those who are in the position to use their platform to organize and inspire do not, then they should simply be removed from the equation.
This is not the time for the egotistical bullshit “my way or the highway” efforts that have paralyzed this movement for decades. It is time to do what is right and work hard to make the world a better place for cannabis users period. If we cannot do that then we are ultimately destined for failure. I will simply not put forth my time and energy to watch three different monkeys try to fuck the same football.
So I am looking at each and every one of these proponents and begging them to come together for the good of our movement, and for the good of our friends and neighbors. We are so close to pushing this thing over the edge and we must seize the moment. Anything less is simple failure and will be a huge disappointment. Do what is right and do it now. There is no more time to waste if there is any chance of success in 2012. That is just the facts.
One initiative. One effort. One movement for real change in how our society deals with cannabis. Let us do this….