The Politics of Pot
By Kent Manthie
On Friday, May 27 severe new regulations were slated to go into effect in the city of San Diego – a de facto ban according to supporters of the right of those who qualify and who continue to suffer from various illnesses due to the asinine politics of trying to overturn what California voters passed in 1996 – the initiative that legalized the medicinal use of marijuana.
But – good news for anyone who cares about the sanctity of elections and the rule of law and not the whim of self-appointed kommissars who think they can restrict and regulate what individuals decide to do with or put into their bodies: This unconstitutional action has been suspended because (finally) people stood up and organized by gathering 47,000 signatures – enough to get a referendum on the ballot to end the ban on medical cannabis in the city of San Diego, according to the California Cannabis Coalition and Patient Care Association of California.
“’We needed 32,000 signatures for the referendum to end the ban’, said Craig Beresh of the California Cannabis Coalition right before the initiative was filed”, according to an article written by Mark G. Conlan on April 3, 2011. Another poignant quote from that article was voiced by PTSD sufferer and medical marijuana patient Michael Corbett: “’I don’t think you should be taking the collectives from downtown,’ said medical marijuana patient Michael Corbett. ‘I have to use public transportation to get around, and it takes three and one-half hours to get there [to an industrial zone] and back. I’m a Viet Nam [sic] vet with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), chronic depression and arthritis. The medical marijuana helps me quite a bit, especially with my sleep apnea.’ Corbett also warned that if medical marijuana users have to travel long distances to obtain the substance, criminals will target them. ‘I’ve had people follow me and wait for me,’ he said. ‘If [my dispensary] were in an industrial area, I’d probably get jumped for my product.'”
The thing that will have all sorts of pot aficionados talking is that it was filed at 4:20 pm on Friday, May 27 – get it? 4:20, you know, the “magic number of pot”.
So the good news is that, pending the actual outcome of the referendum, the so-called “ban” which is really only a “ban” because overzealous, scared-of-feds SD officials refuse to honor what has been California law for 15 years now. Only in San Diego could this happen.
This is just one more reason to hate this screwed up city. I, myself, would love to be back in San Francisco, where the medical marijuana “industry” is and has been rolling along without a hitch almost continuously since the initiative was approved in 1996.
One thing I don’t understand is why the Obama administration hasn’t moved forward and stopped this harassment of the legitimate usage of marijuana by people who suffer immensely without it. These are cancer patients who suffer devastating side effects of chemotherapy and radiation which suppresses their appetite among many other things, as does AIDS – AIDS patients have trouble holding down food from being sick but mostly from the harsh antiviral medications they are taking. But there are many other illnesses that come under the banner of medical marijuana like glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, major depression, asthma and others. I can see why the evil Bush administration would care least of all about these poor, sick and suffering people, especially when he’s got so many corporate donors to reward for monies donated (also known as quid pro quos). But for Obama, the so-called president of “change” and “hope” to turn his back on these same people and not step in with some sort of executive order or whatnot, to stop these state and municipal authoritarians from refusing to enforce a law that was voted for as a ballot initiative 15 years ago.
Right now the best thing that you, the average person out there can do is to bombard the San Diego city council, your congresspersons, senators and above all, bury the White House and the Justice Department with emails demanding to stop this usurping of the rights of Californians – to put initiatives on the ballot and have a referendum and stop standing in the way when the people win.
The most important thing to do, though, is ORGANIZE!!! If Americans, in general, just sit back and take whatever the government does – say, pass the totally unconstitutional PATRIOT ACT – a real horror show if there ever was one, then these elected officials will keep on doing only what the lobbyists and their campaign contributors ask them to do. If you, the man/woman on the street doesn’t get out there and protest, send letter after letter after letter and be very vociferous, then don’t expect this country to get anything except worse and worse.
As it is, America is a dying concept, a once great nation that used to be run by its people but is now controlled by multinational corporations, huge conglomerates that don’t give a damn about you or your sick neighbor.
PS: to read the full legal ordinance that regulates the legalized medical marijuana ordinance, go to: www.americansforsafeaccess.org for the 13 page legal document