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Danny Glover and Melissa Etheridge Join Gov. Johnson and Others to Urge California to Say Yes to Prop 19

Sam Sabzehzar 2010-10-25 0 comments

Danny Glover (far left), Melissa Etheridge, Hal Sparks, Sarah Lovering, Steve Downing, and Gov. Gary Johnson voice their support for California's Prop 19, a ballot initiative that would tax and regulate cannabis. (Photo credit: M. Simmons)

Celebrities join former Governor Gary Johnson, former LAPD Deputy Chief Steve Downing, and Marijuana Policy Project’s Sarah Lovering in downtown Los Angeles for a press conference to voice their united support for California’s ballot initiative that would tax and regulate cannabis in the state, also known as Prop 19.

California’s first attempt to bring medical marijuana in the state nearly fifteen years ago successfully introduced a climate for the rest of the country to begin their own conversations regarding clinical cannabis. As former Governor of New Mexico Gary Johnson pointed to the city of Denver’s attempt to decriminalize marijuana five years ago has had positive results, “we’ve reached the tipping point nationwide,” as he sees our marijuana laws changing throughout the nation over the next five years.

Melissa Etheridge, answering a question from, spoke about her own marijuana use while she was undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer preferred a “natural solution” rather than take the ten pills her doctors were prescribing her, some only to treat the side effects from the other pills. ¬†She hopes that through ending prohibition, adults will have a safer choice for recreational substance use, patients who are parents will feel safer having a conversation with their children about marijuana, and doctors will have a safer options to discuss more openly in regards to research.

Medical Marijuana 411 contacted the U.S. Department of Justice for comment regarding the official definition of cannabis as having ‘no medicinal value’ and we will update this piece when they respond with an official answer. ¬†In the meantime, they directed us to the position of the Drug Enforcement Agency, which is to enforce laws regardless of accuracy or justification, as “that is the job of Congress or your local lawmakers.” ¬†And in the case of California, through the will of the people.

While other states are re-scheduling the plant through their own Board of Pharmacy, other states as well as Justice Departments within those states have decided to hide behind the federal law. ¬†Ironically, our federal law has hidden behind American Medical Association’s opinion, which reversed earlier in the year and no does not agree with the Federal classification (which was only meant to be temporary and has remained unchanged for nearly forty years.

One real estate broker ¬†based in Orange County who wishes to remain anonymous¬†hopes Prop 19 will pass so that available medical offices in the southland are considered prime locations for cannabis research, a part of the conversation that is becoming increasing louder as “cities begin regulating and taxing, hopefully,” as per the initiative, leaving it up to local municipalities to write the laws for their citizens. “We’re behind the orange curtain if you will, and as our parents generation might need prefer refer, but we did in the 70’s and it’s quite obvious generations to come after us learned some of our ‘flower power’ came from this particular flower.”

For Danny Glover, marijuana was a special plant for him, and I stress the words¬†was and¬†him because for others it may not be, as he likens marijuana prohibition to a civil rights issue, pointing out that “We are here to do something historic… I go to a great number of incarceration houses where I see men and women incarcerated for a small amount of marijuana… their lives are being changed and impacted, it’s been catastrophic.”

However, Mr. Glover’s urging of a yes vote would only allow for adults over the age of 20 to possess up to one ounce and grow in a twenty five square foot space, leaving the door open for them to obtain a medical recommendation if they wanted to grow or posses more, or fall under the legal age limit but still don’t want to face prosecution from law enforcement.

Governor Gary Johnson, who just returned from Des Moines, Iowa, recalls a story of tax dollars wasted on a father who spent a year in jail for a couple joints, pointing out “this is the face of our marijuana laws in America.” ¬†The Governor also enlightened the audience, which was tuning in from around the world via a streaming online feed, about his own family and the words of advice for his children which was always open and honest, something he wishes more parents would be with their own children. “What do we tell our children? I tell my own children that I love them and I want to be honest with them. The most dangerous thing about pot is getting caught be law enforcement.”

Former Republican Governor of New Mexico Gary Johnson links prohibition of marijuana to violence, not marijuana use itself, which he finds a safer choice than alcohol.

The Governor’s sentiment echoes Marijuana Policy Project’s Sarah Lovering from Marijuana Policy:

“It is the safer choice for adults, but also for our youth who are experimenting and learn that we have lied to them…¬†if kids try pot and learn they have been lied to about that drug, the last thing we want them to think is that we lied to them about ALL drug, which is why it’s important to be honest when we talk to adults and youth alike.”

The adults are the ones doing the lying in the first place, and as former LAPD Deputy Chief Steve Downing points out, “It is against Federal law to say anything that promotes the use of drugs, which the see medical information regarding marijuana doing which they are bound by law to not advocate for pointing out “We spent $61,000,000 on 61,000 tickets issued related to non-violent marijuana related offenses.” When 4-5 times more whites use cannabis than minorities, it’s freakonomically curious that we have the latter paying the penalties on what Hal Sparks calls “selectable enforcement of laws.”

Fans of “Dude, Where’s My Car?” ¬†may be most of his supporters following his decision to speak out in favor of Prop 19 but for Hal, who doesn’t drink or smoke anything stresses the significance of marijuana prohibition’s failure resting beyond the failed drug war and within a paradigm of American politics. “If you’re white in a nice neighborhood and you get caught with a bag of pot the cop might take it from you and send you on your way free as a bird, but that’s not the case if you aren’t white or not in a nice area, highlighting this is a fiscally conservative issue, a personal freedom issue… and American issue. I have¬†no dog in this fight, no vested interest, other than not having my tax dollars wasted.”

One of the lessor mentioned arguments regarding Prop 19 relates to industrial hemp which remains illegal for several reason, non of which makes any sense.  Allowing for a California hemp industry would put agricultural emphasis in this conversation, but that lobby might have to come at a federal level because of state-to-state commerce.  While marijuana would be a local and state issue, hemp would be allowed as well and those figures are not calculated in the estimates any group as put out so far.