We're not like the others.  We really hate you.


Medical Mota: What's Next?
2001-05-20 19:06:31

The first mistake of Art is to assume that it's serious.
-- Lester Bangs


Direct democracy comes up head-to-head with lily-livered federal legislation. The Supreme Court says that the lily-livered ones get the prize. So, what next?

So, here's the deal: last week, the Supreme Court ruled that federal agents could arrest people selling marijuana to sick people, even if the state where the sellers were had a medical marijuana law in place. Their reasoning was that there was a federal law, and states can't override that federal law for special cases. As little as one may agree or disagree with this concept, this was the ruling, and it will be a long, long time before something similar comes up again.

So, what's next? Obviously, people who need medical mota should smoke it, and other people -- people now under threat of federal prosecution -- are going to get it to them. It's the compassionate, decent thing to do, and strangely laws don't have a fucking lot to do with compassion. Beaujolais to people who fight the power, just to tend to the sick! You are all heroes and you kick major ass.

But the problem here isn't really one of red-haired buds versus jack-booted thugs. It's really one of democracy. 9 states, as well as the District of Columbia, have had statewide elections where the people, directly, decided to allow medical marijuana. Almost all of these initiatives or propositions have come from grass-roots organizations, requiring petitions with hundreds of thousands of signatures just to get on the ballot in the first place. [This is in contrast to other initiatives and propositions, especially here in California, which get peremptorily dropped on the ballot, without public input, by waffling legislators or grandstanding governors.]

The medical marijuana movement is one running outside the main corridors of power in state capitals and Washington. The War on Drugs has so many politicians scared shitless, they wouldn't touch something called "Medical Marijuana" with a 10-foot pole. So medimara has had to come from the ground up, starting with hippy freaks and moving into the mainstream extremely rapidly. Hell, my MOM was canvassing for Proposition 215 (the CA medical marijuana initiative) by the time the thing was finally on the ballot.

Federal politicians are fond of saying, "The states are the laboratories of democracy." Of course, they're usually fond of saying this when they want to cut valuable social programs out of the Federal Budget, and make the states pay for them, but still. Medical marijuana initiatives are proof that grass-roots democracy can work -- that people who care about an issue can make it Law, despite every chickenshit hypocritical politician, jeering reporter, or fear-mongering TV news anchor. That's a fucking good thing.

Anyways, I guess I should get to my point. My point is this: there are 9 states (plus the District of Columbia) whose citizens have against all odds been able to show their support for medical marijuana. The Feds have said that that doesn't count. But who are the Feds? The Feds are us! Just in California, we have 52 congressional representatives and 2 senators. These are people who are supposed to be representing our desires and wishes.

And what better way to understand our desires and wishes than through the ballot box? Citizens in Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington have come out in favor for medical marijuana.

Apparently, though, that's not enough for legislators in these states, who -still- fear supporting pot. Why? The numbers say that you can't lose your job supporting medical marijuana! The MAJORITY of people in your states have voted for it themselves! What more do you need? Talk about a mandate! Talk about a golden political opportunity! Can you think of an easier issue to support than one that's already WON at the ballot box? Jaysoos!

So, here's the deal. Representative Barney Frank (from MA, which, doesn't even HAVE a medical marijuana law -- crap, Barbara Boxer, aren't you even a little bit ashamed of yourself?) has introduced a bill, HR1344, that would make an exception in federal law to allow states to have medimara laws. IF WE TELL OUR REPRESENTATIVES TO SUPPORT IT, this can become law. In other words, we get a chance to vote on this stuff again.

It's really easy to send email to your congressperson and senators. Their email addresses are available at http://www.senate.gov and http://www.house.gov/, respectively. TELL your representative that you want them to represent the will of the majority of their constituents. IMPLY that no one's ever been thrown out of office for supporting an existing law. REMIND them that democracy is about what the people want, and that initiatives show that Americans want legal medical marijuana.

Most of all, tell them that with HR 1344 they get the best of all worlds. Not only do they get to look like brave, decisive, and yes COMPASSIONATE leaders, but they have a SURE-FIRE, BULLETPROOF issue. The numbers are there! How can you beat those numbers?

Anyways, here's a link to the Oakland Cannabis Buyers' Cooperative home page. They have more info on current legislation to untangle the legal knots that are keeping democracy from being implemented. Give them your support! And tell your congresscreature to do it, too!

Over.  End of Story.  Go home now.


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