Check out all the entries from the 2013 HIGH TIMES US Cannabis Cup in Seattle – September 7-8.
You’d think they’d be grateful to do more focused work on actual crime. But I guess crime really doesn’t pay. I guess the “great people” who “protect society” took their jobs with the “best intentions”…The biggest thieves, Gestapo, mob wanna be-s of today. Read on…
WASHINGTON — A broad coalition of law enforcement officers who have spent the past three decades waging an increasingly militarized drug war that has failed to reduce drug use doesn’t want to give up the fight.
Organizations that include sheriffs, narcotics officers and big-city police chiefs slammed Attorney General Eric Holder in a joint letter Friday, expressing “extreme disappointment” at his announcement that the Department of Justice would allow Colorado and Washington to implement state laws that legalized recreational marijuana for adults.
If there had been doubt about how meaningful Holder’s move was, the fury reflected in the police response eliminates it. The role of law enforcement is traditionally understood to be limited to enforcing laws, but police organizations have become increasingly powerful political actors, and lashed out at Holder for not consulting sufficiently before adopting the new policy.
“It is unacceptable that the Department of Justice did not consult our organizations — whose members will be directly impacted — for meaningful input ahead of this important decision,” the letter reads. “Our organizations were given notice just thirty minutes before the official announcement was made public and were not given the adequate forum ahead of time to express our concerns with the Department’s conclusion on this matter. Simply ‘checking the box’ by alerting law enforcement officials right before a decision is announced is not enough and certainly does not show an understanding of the value the Federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement partnerships bring to the Department of Justice and the public safety discussion.”
The missive was signed by the Major County Sheriffs’ Association, the National Sheriffs’ Association,
the Association of State Criminal Investigative Agencies, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the National Narcotic Officers Associations’ Coalition, the Major Cities Chiefs Police Association and the Police Executive Research Forum.
Law enforcement, the police groups said, “becomes infinitely harder for our front-line men and women given the Department’s position.”
The Justice Department declined to respond.
Local law enforcement agencies rely heavily on the drug war for funding. Police departments are often able to keep a large portion of the assets they seize during drug raids, even if charges are never brought. And federal grants for drug war operations make up a sizable portion of local law enforcement funding.
The letter warns that marijuana can cause suicidal thoughts, impairs driving and is a “gateway drug.” The missive does not, however, address the failure of law enforcement generally to reduce drug use, even while tripling the number of people behind bars. Instead, the police warn that liberalizing pot laws will lead to an increase in crime.
“The decision will undoubtedly have grave unintended consequences, including a reversal of the declining crime rates that we as law enforcement practitioners have spent more than a decade maintaining,” the officers write.
Worse, they warn, more states are likely to follow Washington and Colorado.
“The failure of the Department of Justice to challenge state policies that clearly contradict Federal law is both unacceptable and unprecedented. The failure of the Federal government to act in this matter is an open invitation to other states to legalize marijuana in defiance of federal law,” they write.
The Federal Government is making their place clear (er). We are happy to read the following document released just today:
Our favorite line:
YEAH, YOU LIKELY MISUSED FEDERAL RESOURCES….just like we’ve yelled for decades now. END PROHIBITION.
Our heart goes out to all of our family members, friends and all beings who have been adversely effected by the misuse of the powers that be. Think of all the patients who needed this medicine, would’ve been cured, found comfort in the worst of times and appetite when going through the thick of it.
This fight will continue and if the truth shall set you free, then as GOD as my witness…..We Will Win!
Skeptics take note. To the commercial public, the freedom fighters in our nation, who are ballsy enough to come out of the underground, are walking on water. We need you to WAKE UP.
Other related links:
Posted July 24th, 2012 by Johnny Dank & filed under 420 Jam, Events, Marijuana and Food.
‘Cheers’ had it right — people love going to places where they know your name — a community of friends in all walks of life embracing one another. Washington being a pro marijuana state with legalized cannabis, the “Ever-Green” state has fully embraced the “community” in medical marijuana community, with some cultivating to physically build one. On one hand we have medical marijuana card holding patients that like to get their pot and run, debating on where to smoke weed; and others that mash-up their love of marijuana with mingling and shopping — Mary Jane meets the farmers market.
This idea isn’t just an idea in a haze…Washington Farmer’s Market in Olympia provides a stoner’s haven for market fare. Open to the public and not being exclusive, the 420 friendly patients and vendors welcome all passerby’s with a smile and open arms; even if you’re the novice stoner still learning how to smoke from a bong.
The marijuana farmer’s market embodies why marijuana laws need to be re-addressed. The market is all about weed; having fun, enjoying the marijuana treats, while learning about all the medical benefits of pot and the exponential medical possibilities of THC and cannibinoids. With about 20 tables, vendors offer anything for the medical marijuana patient to salivate over from marijuana flowers, pot brownies to pot seeds and dank concentrates. Competition helps to have high quality pot products for a low cost, with free weed to sample for patients that donate. With energetic sativas for the day stoner and sedative indicas for the night pot smoker.
With many people with a ‘wake and bake,’ on the go mentality, Sonshine Organics provides relief. This medical marijuana collective runs on the same high grounds as the Washington Farmer’s Market and has a unique feature – a drive-thru. Sonshines own Sarena Haskins says, “It’s perfect for the busy mom on the go, who don’t want to leave her children in the car.”
A staple for the growing marijuana niche market is their food, like any other well-groomed farmer’s market. The BBQ pork slider, infused with cannabutter, from Chef Bilbus Yeoldshire is a must have for all patients. A bang for your buck being less than $5. For stoners with a sweet-tooth, there is a bevy of potent medicated weed treats which include: hash brownies, dark chocolate chip pot cookies and cannabis peanut butter cups.
With a serene and energetic atmosphere for all ages to enjoy; the Washington Farmer’s Market, hopefully, is the start of an ongoing influx of Pot Farmers Markets around the country so more medical marijuana patients can take pleasure in — A safe and nurturing environment for the medical marijuana community. Vendors and patients alike entertaining, educating one another for the greater of medical cannabis.
Identical to the typically, socially-accepted local farmers market minus the cannabis – there’s never a bland moment. With live music, smoking lounges, entertainers at every corner. Hopefully one day there will be a “C” answer to: “Want to go to the farmer’s market?”
C.) Which one? Pot or not?
We learned our own lesson about water – that it has a will of its own and that too much or too little can be lethal for you or your plants. After a lot of last minute scrambling, we had the issue ready to go.
On November 6, something bordering on the miraculous happened. Marijuana was legalized for recreational use in the states of Colorado and Washington,Massachusetts became the 18th state to legalize pot for medicinal use, and folks in Detroit, Flint, Grand Rapids, and Ypsilanti, Michigan voted to decriminalize.
The Feds must be shaking – and it’s not due to all that coffee they drink on those stakeouts. This is a real coup, and those who worked on these initiatives should roll up a fat victory joint, sit back, and contemplate their place in the history books.
A special congratulations should be offered to a few of the many hard working people behind Colorado and Washington’s successful legalization initiatives.
Mason Tvert, a long-time marijuana law reformer and HIGH TIMES 2012 Freedom Fighter of the Year, is the co-director of the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, which made history by legalizing up to an ounce of cannabis in Colorado this Election Day.
Not to be out done, Washington’s I 502 legalized pot as well. Alison Holcomb’s tireless work as the initiative’s campaign director and primary architect should be recognized, as should Rick Steves’. The PBS travel host, NORML board member, and marijuana advocate lent his name and time to help the initiative pass – including a multi-city I 502 educational tour.
Those who worked for the initiatives in Oregon and Arkansas that didn’t pass should be proud of themselves too, because they stood and they fought. The Forces of Darkness must not be allowed to succeed unto victory unchallenged. Those in possession of the Light must make a stand. And when Light gets trampled underfoot, it must rise again, because Light, weak as it may be at times, is immortal and will get stronger with every battle it fights. People have a will of their own, too, when they choose to use it.
So say a prayer for those still suffering in Staten Island, Coney Island, Long Beach, the Rockaways, Atlantic City … The list goes on and on. And really, this is where the Feds should be concentrating their efforts anyway – on helping people in need.
But, man, I cannot wait to see the expression on their faces when we start making the case for amnesty for marijuana prisoners. Because if they don’t send the National Guard in to stop the implementation of these voter initiatives in Washington and Colorado, the federal government is de facto accepting legalization for recreational use, which will set a precedent that defense attorneys can have a lot of fun with.
The fight continues. More updates to come on hightimes.com.
By HeathPop Staff
WeGrow franchisee Alex Wong, left, and WeGrow founder Dhar Mann, right pose inside the WeGrow store in northeast Washington on March 29, 2012. (Credit: AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
(CBS/AP) A company dubbed the “Walmart of Weed” is putting down roots in America’s capital city, sprouting further debate on marijuana — medical or otherwise.
Just blocks from the White House and federal buildings, a company that candidly caters to medical marijuana growers is opening up its first outlet on the East Coast. The opening of the weGrow store on Friday in Washington coincides with the first concrete step in implementing a city law allowing residents with certain medical conditions to purchase pot.
Legal pot presents questions about drugged driving
How many pot patients Calif. has is anyone’s guess
“Wal-Mart of weed” set to open: Should medical marijuana go mainstream?
Like suppliers of picks and axes during the gold rush, weGrow sees itself providing the necessary tools to pioneers of a “green rush,” which some project could reach nearly $9 billion within the next five years. Admittedly smaller than a big box store, weGrow is not unlike a typical retailer in mainstream America, with towering shelves of plant food and vitamins, ventilation and lighting systems. Along with garden products, it offers how-to classes, books and magazines on growing medical marijuana.
“The more that businesses start to push the envelope by showing that this is a legitimate industry, the further we’re going to be able to go in changing people’s minds,” said weGrow founder Dhar Mann.
Although federal law outlaws the cultivation, sale or use of marijuana, 16 states and the District of Columbia have legalized its medical use to treat a wide range of issues from anxiety and back pain to HIV/AIDS and cancer-related ailments. Fourteen states also have some kind of marijuana decriminalization law, removing or lowering penalties for possession.
Nearly 7 percent of Americans, or 17.4 million people, said they used marijuana in 2010, up from 5.8 percent, or 14.4 million, in 2007, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. A Gallup poll last year found a record-high of 50 percent of Americans saying that marijuana should be made legal, and 70 percent support medical uses for pot.
For many states, there’s no way to tell how many people have medical marijuana cards. California only has 9,637 valid card holders, but registration is voluntary. In Colorado, where you have to sign up, there 82,089 valid ID cards since December 2011. If Californians signed up at the same rate as Colorado, more than 615,000 would have had cards by now.
Marijuana advocates also tout revenue benefits, as well as cost and efficiency savings for not prosecuting or jailing people for pot.
But a recent push from the federal government to crack down on medical marijuana dispensaries has led several states to delay or curtail their dispensary programs for fear of prosecution. It means some medical marijuana users may seek to grow their own– paving the way for companies like California-based weGrow to open a budding number of locations across the country to help legal users and larger cultivators grow their own pot plants.
WeGrow doesn’t sell pot or seeds to grow it. The store, however, makes no secret that its products and services help cultivators grow their own plants for personal use or for sale at dispensaries. Selling hydroponic and other indoor growing equipment is legal, but because those products are used to cultivate a plant deemed illegal under federal law the industry has tried to keep a low profile.
“For the longest time, it’s been a don’t ask, don’t tell industry,” Mann said. “Most people still want to hide behind that facade.”
Mann, who opened the first store in Sacramento last year, said he started his venture after he was kicked out of a mom and pop hydroponics store in Berkeley, Calif., just for mentioning marijuana. HealthPop reported the first 10,000-foot weed emporium grew out of a warehouse called iGrow.
WeGrow has since opened a location in Phoenix and also will open stores in San Jose and Flagstaff, Arizona, in the near future. The company has franchisees in New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and plans to expand into Oregon, Washington state and Michigan.
The frankness of the business comes as public attitudes toward marijuana use and legalization in the U.S. transform. But federal pressure on customers means companies catering to the marijuana industry could take a hit — in their wallets and with jail time.
“There’s a whole host of risks associated with investing and opening up shop here,” said Jason Klein, a D.C. attorney who represents medical marijuana operators. “These entrepreneurs see themselves as doing yeoman’s work, putting themselves in personal risk … to get medicine to the sick people who deserve it.”
D.C. officials on Friday are set to announce those eligible to apply for permits to grow and sell medical marijuana to dispensaries under the district’s 2010 law. Applicants must sign a statement saying they understand a license doesn’t authorize them to break federal law.
“They do so at their own peril because I can’t imagine that the federal government is going to allow marijuana selling for any purpose right in their backyard,” said Kevin Sabet, a former senior adviser to the president’s drug czar and a fellow at the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Substance Abuse Solutions.
“Whether it’s D.C. or all the way out in California, the government’s been pretty clear that medical marijuana doesn’t pass the giggle test.”
Sabet said the idea of dispensaries trying to be passed off as a medical establishment is a joke, adding that the grow store will be the first in a series events where people are going to try to “make big money off an illegal drug.”
The national medical marijuana market was estimated to be worth $1.7 billion in 2011 and is projected to reach $8.9 billion within five years, according to an economic analysis done for the American Cannabis Research Institute. The study also says that nearly 25 million Americans are potentially eligible to use medical marijuana based on current state laws.
“There’s great potential for the industry across the country,” said Steve Fox, a spokesman for the National Cannabis Industry Association, a D.C.-based trade group representing marijuana-related businesses. He said support for the businesses has emerged in states like California, Colorado and Washington state. “They are showing that just like any other industry, there’s a demand for a product and these businesses are sprouting up to address the need.”
The issue of marijuana in the nation’s capital isn’t new. A public referendum to legalize medical marijuana overwhelmingly passed in the late 1990s but Congress blocked it from taking effect for years. Allowing the city’s latest move on medical marijuana use could also indicate an attitude shift on a federal level.
“The political winds on a federal level really affect our ability to get things done on a local level,” said Brendan Williams-Kief, spokesman for D.C. councilmember David A. Catania, who co-sponsored the medical marijuana legislation. “When the (legislation) was passed, it happened at a time when there was a Congress that was less-inclined to exert their will on the District. … But they’re always up there on the Hill looking down.”
Klein believes that, despite being next door to Congress, the Drug Enforcement Agency and the Department of Justice, the D.C. medical marijuana program will avoid the ire of the federal government because it was crafted to tightly control the industry.
“It’s the sort of thing the feds will probably just look the other way elsewhere, but given the fact that it’s right under their noses, is going to really be unique conundrum,” Klein said. “I’m really looking forward to getting a couple of Congresspeople in a cab and caravaning them over to a dispensary … so that they can see that this is not the danger that they imagine it might be.”
For Alex Wong, the franchisee of the D.C. weGrow store, his involvement in the industry is both personal and professional. The mid-40s entrepreneur was drawn to the business after seeing the firsthand effects of his mother’s colon cancer and learning that medical marijuana might have made her more comfortable during treatment.
“It is a viable medicine,” said the. “All I can do is use my small business expertise to lend a hand in this movement.”
Rafael Lemaitre, spokesman for the Office of National Drug Control Policy, issued a statement saying science and research — not politics — should drive the approval process for medicine, and to date the “smoked form of marijuana has not met the modern standard” established by the Food and Drug Administration.
“Chronically ill and suffering patients deserve access to modern medicine that is proven to be effective and safe,” Lemaitre said. “We ardently support continued research into medical uses for the components of marijuana and will continue to do so.”
Mann, however, says medical marijuana cultivation and distribution is going to happen with or without federal government approval.
“Regardless of how rigorously they want to enforce intervention, it’s not going to stop the industry,” Mann said.
Find the original article:
The GOP’s woman problem is that it has a serious problem with women.
By Frank Rich
At the time, back in January in New Hampshire, it didn’t seem like that big a deal, certainly nothing to rival previous debate flash points like “9-9-9” and “Oops!” But in retrospect it may have been one of the more fateful twists of the Republican presidential campaign. The exchange was prompted by George Stephanopoulos, who seemingly out of nowhere asked Mitt Romney if he shared Rick Santorum’s view that “states have the right to ban contraception.” Romney stiffened, as he is wont to do, and took the tone of a men’s club factotum tut-tutting a member for violating the dress code. “George, this is an unusual topic that you’re raising,” he said. “I know of no reason to talk about contraception in this regard.” The partisan audience would soon jeer the moderator for his effrontery.
Afterward, Romney’s spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom accused Stephanopoulos of asking “the oddest question in a debate this year” and of having “a strange obsession with contraception.” It was actually Santorum who had the strange obsession. He had first turned the subject into a cause in October by talking about “the dangers of contraception in this country.” Birth control is “not okay,” he said then. “It’s a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be.”
As we know now, Santorum, flaky though he may sound, is not some outlier in his party or in its presidential field. He was an advance man for a rancorous national brawl about to ambush an unsuspecting America that thought women’s access to birth control had been resolved by the Supreme Court almost a half century ago.
The hostilities would break out just weeks after the New Hampshire debate, with the back-to-back controversies of the White House health-care rule on contraceptives and the Komen Foundation’s dumping of Planned Parenthood. Though those two conflicts ended with speedy cease-fires, an emboldened GOP kept fighting. It had women’s sex lives on the brain and would not stop rolling out jaw-dropping sideshows: an all-male panel at a hearing on birth control in the House. A fat-cat Santorum bankroller joking that “gals” could stay out of trouble by putting Bayer aspirin “between their knees.” A Virginia governor endorsing a state bill requiring that an ultrasound “wand” be inserted into the vagina of any woman seeking an abortion.
It’s not news that the GOP is the anti-abortion party, that it panders to the religious right, and that it’s particularly dependent on white men with less education and less income—a displaced demographic that has been as threatened by the rise of the empowered modern woman as it has been by the cosmopolitan multiracial male elites symbolized by Barack Obama. That aggrieved class is, indeed, Santorum’s constituency. But, as Stephanopoulos was trying to get at when he challenged Romney, this new rush of anti-woman activity on the right isn’t coming exclusively from the Santorum crowd. It’s a phenomenon extending across the GOP. On March 1, every Republican in the Senate except the about-to-flee Olympia Snowe—that would be 45 in total—voted for the so-called Blunt Amendment, which would allow any employer with any undefined “moral” objection to veto any provision in health-care coverage, from birth control to mammograms to diabetes screening for women (or, for that matter, men) judged immorally overweight.
After the Blunt Amendment lost (albeit by only three votes), public attention to the strange 2012 Republican fixation on women might have dissipated had it not been for Rush Limbaugh. His verbal assault on a female Georgetown University law student transformed what half-attentive onlookers might have tracked as a hodgepodge of discrete and possibly fleeting primary-season skirmishes into a big-boned narrative—a full-fledged Republican war on women. And in part because Limbaugh pumped up his hysteria for three straight days, he gave that war a unifying theme: pure unadulterated misogyny.
The GOP Establishment didn’t know what to do about Rush. Conservatives had tried to make the case that the only issue at stake in the contraception debate was religious liberty—Obama’s health-care czars forcing religiously affiliated institutions (or more specifically Catholic institutions) to pay for birth-control coverage (which 98 percent of sexually active American Catholic women use at some point, according to the Guttmacher Institute). But the Obama administration had walked back that rule in a compromise acceptable to mainstream Catholics, including the Catholic Health Association. So what was Rush yelling about now except his own fantasies (videos included) about this young woman’s sex life?
The right’s immediate solution was simple: The best defense of Rush was a good offense. He was guilty mainly of a poor choice of words (as he himself said in his “apology”) and so was really no different from Bill Maher, Ed Schultz, and Keith Olbermann, among other liberal hypocrites who had used “slut,” “whore,” or worse to slime Republican women. It was an entirely valid point—and also a convenient distraction from Virginia’s vaginal wands, Congressman Darrell Issa’s all-male panel, Foster Friess’s aspirin-between-the-knees, and that ugly Blunt business in the Senate.
At the very top of the Washington GOP Establishment, however, there was a dawning recognition that a grave danger had arisen—not to women, but to their own brand. A month of noisy Republican intrusion into women’s health and sex organs, amplified by the megaphone of Limbaugh’s aria, was a potentially apocalyptic combination for an election year. No one expressed this fear more nakedly than Peggy Noonan, speaking, again with Stephanopoulos, on ABC’s This Week. After duly calling out Rush for being “crude, rude, even piggish,” she added: “But what he said was also destructive. It confused the issue. It played into this trope that the Republicans have a war on women. No, they don’t, but he made it look that way.”
Note that she found Limbaugh “destructive” not because he was harming women but because he was harming her party. But the problem wasn’t that Limbaugh confused the issue. His real transgression was that he had given away the GOP game, crystallizing an issue that had been in full view for weeks. That’s why his behavior resonated with and angered so many Americans who otherwise might have tuned out his rant as just another sloppy helping of his aging shtick. It’s precisely because there is a Republican war on women that he hit a nerve. And surely no one knows that better than Noonan, a foot soldier in some of the war’s early battles well before Rush became a phenomenon. In her 1990 memoir about her service in the Reagan administration, What I Saw at the Revolution, she recalls likening Americans who favored legal abortions to Germans who favored killing Jews—a construct Limbaugh wouldn’t seize on and popularize (“feminazis”) until Reagan was leaving office and Anita Hill and Hillary Clinton emerged on the national stage.
GOP apologists like Noonan are hoping now that Limbaugh and Limbaugh alone will remain the issue—a useful big fat idiot whom Republicans can scapegoat for all the right’s misogynistic sins and use as a club to smack down piggish liberal media stars. The hope is that he will change the subject of the conversation altogether, from a Republican war on women to, as Noonan now frames it, the bipartisan “coarsening of discourse in public life.” That’s a side issue, if not a red herring. Coarse and destructive as sexist invective is—whether deployed by Limbaugh or liberals—it is nonetheless policies and laws that inflict the most insidious and serious casualties in the war on women. It’s Republicans in power, not radio talk-show hosts or comedians or cable-news anchors, who try and too often succeed at enacting punitive measures aimed at more than half the population. The war on women is rightly named because those who are waging it do real harm to real women with their actions, not words.
If that war were all about Rush Limbaugh—or all about abortion—it would be easy to understand and perhaps easy to file away as the same old same old. But a sweeping edict with full GOP support like the Blunt Amendment, which has nothing to do with abortion, indicates how much broader the animus is. The Republican Party in its pathological reaction to the rise of Obama has now moved so far to the right that it seems determined to turn back the clock to that supposedly halcyon time when Ralph Kramden was king of his domestic castle. Back then, as Santorum would have it, women just didn’t do things “counter to how things are supposed to be.”
For much of its history, misogyny was not the style of the party of Lincoln. For most of the twentieth century, the GOP was ahead of the curve in bestowing women’s rights. When the Nineteenth Amendment granting suffrage was ratified in 1920, roughly three-quarters of the 36 state legislatures that did so were controlled by Republicans. In 1940, the GOP mandated that women be equally represented in its national and executive committees—a standard not imposed by the Democrats until more than three decades later.
Barry Goldwater’s wife Peggy, inspired by a Margaret Sanger lecture in Phoenix in 1937, would help build one of the nation’s largest Planned Parenthood affiliates. Her husband favored abortion rights. “I think the average woman feels, ‘My God, that’s my business,’ and that’s the way we should keep it,” he said late in his career. Prescott Bush, the Connecticut senator who sired a presidential dynasty, was another Sanger enthusiast and treasurer for the first national Planned Parenthood fund-raising campaign. His son George, when a congressman in the sixties, was an ardent birth-control advocate and the principal Republican author of the trailblazing Family Planning Act of 1970. Capitol Hill colleagues jokingly nicknamed him “Rubbers.”
One loyal Republican woman whose political engagement began during this relatively enlightened time was Tanya Melich, the daughter of a state senator in ultraconservative Utah. Melich, who had passed out leaflets for Wendell Willkie as a child in the forties, had grown up to be a stalwart New York Republican and a 1992 Bush convention delegate. She was no fan of Democrats, who “stood for big government that obstructed individual freedom.”
Melich wrote those words in a memoir published in 1996. The book’s title was The Republican War Against Women. When it came out, it caused a small stir, but these days her eyewitness account of her party’s transformation seems more pertinent and prescient than ever. It gives the lie to the notion that a Republican war on women is some Democratic trope, trumped up in recent weeks for political use in 2012. Her history also reminds us that the hostility toward modern women resurfacing in the GOP today was baked into the party before the religious right gained its power and before recriminalizing abortion became a volatile cause.
The GOP started backing away from its traditional beneficence on women’s issues at the tail end of the Nixon presidency. Nixon had a progressive GOP take for his time: He supported the Equal Rights Amendment, appointed an impressive number of talented women, and in 1972 signed the Equal Employment Opportunity Act to strengthen the policing of workplace discrimination. But, in a telling shift a few months earlier, he also vetoed a bipartisan bill enabling child care for the millions of mothers then rapidly joining the workforce. As Melich observes, it would have been consistent with GOP frugality if Nixon had rejected the bill solely because of its cost. But his veto was accompanied by a jarring statement that child care would threaten American families by encouraging women to work. The inspiration for this unexpected reactionary broadside came not from fundamentalist clergy but from cynical, secular political strategists eager to exploit the growing backlash against the sixties feminist movement, much as the “southern strategy” was exploiting the backlash against the sixties civil-rights movement.
This tactic preceded Roe v. Wade, which was decided in 1973. The new GOP was hostile to female liberation, period, not just female sexual freedom. The pitch was articulated by Newt Gingrich in his first successful congressional race in Georgia in 1978. His opponent, a state senator named Virginia Shapard, crusaded for the Equal Rights Amendment and bankrolled her own campaign. That uppity profile gave the Gingrich forces an advertising message: “Newt will take his family to Washington and keep them together; Virginia will go to Washington and leave her husband and children in the care of a nanny.” Newt won by nine percentage points. One of his campaign officials tied his victory to the strategy of “appealing to the prejudice against working women, against their not being home.”
This hostility to independent women was codified in the national Republican platform throughout the seventies. A 1972 plank supporting federal assistance for day-care services was softened in 1976, then dropped entirely at the Reagan convention of 1980. A 1972 stipulation that “every woman should have the freedom to choose whatever career she wishes—and an equal chance to pursue it” also vanished. The 1980 platform instead took a patriarchal stance, applauding mothers and homemakers for “maintaining the values of this country.”
By then the anti-choice extremists of the religious right had merged with the hard right to produce the GOP convention from hell in 1992 in Houston. As if Pat Buchanan’s legendary address calling for an all-out culture war were not crazed enough, the vice-president’s wife, Marilyn Quayle, declared that “most women do not wish to be liberated from their essential natures as women.” Women, in fact, had now fallen to a status lower than the fetus as far as this recalibrated Republican Party was concerned. “I can’t imagine a crime more egregiously awful than forcible rape,” said Congressman Henry Hyde at a convention platform hearing, before going on to add: “There is honor in having to carry to term, not exterminating the child. From a great tragedy, goodness can come.”
The indignities of the 1992 Republican convention and campaign were all countenanced by Melich’s own candidate, the former “Rubbers,” who had long since repudiated his past good works on family planning. In disgust, she and many other Republican women voted for Bill Clinton. In what would later be dubbed the “Year of the Woman,” four new women were elected to the Senate in 1992, all Democrats. The gender gap, which had made its first appearance in the Reagan ascendancy of 1980, kept growing during the Clinton presidency. Mary Matalin blamed the problem, much as Noonan does now, on faulty communications that confused the issue for women voters. Conservatives needn’t worry about “changing their message,” Matalin condescendingly advised in 1996, but should instead focus on “conveying it in ways intelligible to women.”
Such tactics didn’t close the gender gap, which would remain intact until the Democratic shellacking of 2010, when women split between the parties. Unsurprisingly, the gap has returned with a vengeance this year. A post-Blunt-Limbaugh March Wall Street Journal–NBC News poll found that in an Obama-Romney matchup, Romney was winning among men by six points and losing among women by eighteen points, giving Obama an overall advantage of six points. Male Republican political hands aren’t losing sleep about it, for they assume that the gals will quickly forget these silly little tussles over contraception. “Nobody thinks it will matter in a couple of months,” said Vin Weber, the former Republican congressman and current Romney backer. “If Rick Santorum is not the nominee,” said Whit Ayres, the GOP pollster, “all the attention to these issues is going to evaporate.” According to Virginia governor Bob McDonnell, the requiring of ultrasound procedures in states like his has nothing to do with all the tumult. “This constant focus on social issues is largely coming from the Democrats,” he said on Meet the Press.
Whatever happens in November, there will be no Republican retreat in this war. Santorum is unlikely to be the GOP nominee, if he isn’t toast already, but his fade-out would no more change the state of play than if Limbaugh suddenly announced his retirement. What matters, and will continue to matter, is the damage inflicted by politicians and officials on women’s daily lives. Even a renewal of the once-bipartisan 1994 Violence Against Women Act is up for grabs in the current Congress.
The notion that Romney will somehow be more “moderate” on women’s issues than his opponents or party is not credible. The fact that he and his wife long ago supported Planned Parenthood in Massachusetts is no more a predictor of his agenda in the White House than the Bush family’s links to Planned Parenthood were of either Bush presidency. On policy, Romney and Santorum are on exactly the same page. Both endorsed the Blunt Amendment and the short-lived Komen defunding of Planned Parenthood. (Romney has called for the termination of all federal funding of Planned Parenthood.) Both men also want to shut down Title X—the main federal family-planning program supported by Nixon and then-Congressman Bush at its creation in 1970. Title X prevents abortions and unintended pregnancies by the hundreds of thousands per year, according to federal research. In addition to birth control, it also pays for preventive health care that includes cervical- and breast-cancer screening, testing for sexually transmitted diseases like HIV, and even some abstinence counseling for teenagers. It would be overstating the case to say that the men running for president and running Congress in the GOP are opposed to all these services; the evidence suggests that such female concerns aren’t on their radar screen.
Republicans in state government are not waiting for a Romney presidency to gut Title X and act on the rest of their wish list. Rick Perry has already rejected Title X money for Texas, assuring that countless poor women in his domain will be denied access to all reproductive health care, from birth-control pills to Pap smears. In other states from Pennsylvania to Arizona, Virginia-style laws mandating government medical procedures on pregnant women have made serious advances. So have “personhood” laws, which hold the promise to make birth control and family planning as endangered as abortion rights. The moment the state declares a fertilized egg a “person” is the moment when the morning-after pill and IUDs, not to mention in vitro fertilization, become, by definition, illegal.
To believe that Romney will somehow depart from his party’s misogyny in the White House, you have to believe that everything he has said about these issues during the primary campaign is a lie. You have to believe that the “real” Romney is the one who endorsed Roe v. Wade when he was running against Ted Kennedy in 1994, and that all the Etch A Sketch–ing since then has been a transitory attempt to pander to his party’s base. But a look at Romney’s personal history suggests that the real Romney is the one before us now—the sincere exponent of a deeply held faith whose entire top hierarchy is male and that still denies women the leadership roles that are bestowed on every Mormon male beginning at age 12. (At least blacks were finally granted full equality in the Church of Latter Day Saints in 1978.) The widely reported examples of Romney’s own personal behavior in his church roles as ward bishop and stake president in the Boston area suggest that he had not only never questioned this ethos but completely internalized it. He seems impervious to vulnerable women in crisis and need beyond his own family.
In one of these incidents, he turned his back on a 23-year-old single mother, Peggie Hayes, who had been a Romney family friend and teenage babysitter, because she refused to obey his and the church’s preference that she give up a second, out-of-wedlock child for adoption. Even when Hayes’s baby underwent frightening head surgery nine months after birth, Mitt spurned her call to come to the hospital to confer a blessing on her child. A similar Romney episode originally surfaced in an anonymous first-person account published by a Mormon feminist journal, Exponent II, in 1990. A mother of four learned that she had a blood clot in her pelvis during a later, unexpected pregnancy, putting her own health and that of the fetus at risk. Romney visited the hospital where she “lay helpless, hurt, and frightened,” as she described it, only to tell her that “as your bishop, my concern is with the child.” The woman, who has recently identified herself as Carrel Hilton Sheldon, was enraged that he cared more about “the eight-week possibility” in her uterus than he did about her—and that he offered “judgment, criticism, prejudicial advice, and rejection” at a time when she needed support from spiritual leaders and friends. In an interview with Ronald Scott, the author of a Romney biography published last year, Sheldon tried to be generous when looking back. “Mitt has many, many winning qualities,” she said, “but at the time he was blind to me as a human being.”
All of which is to affirm that George Stephanopoulos was addressing his question to the right candidate when he brought up the banning of contraception at that January debate. Santorum has always been completely candid about his view of women and their status; Romney was the one who had to be smoked out. Romney didn’t take the bait, but even so, his record is clear, and, unlike the angry Santorum, he has the smooth style of a fifties retro patriarch to camouflage the reactionary content. In this sense, his war on women would differ from Rick’s—and Rush’s—only in the way prized by GOP spin artists like Noonan and Matalin. He would never be so politically foolhardy as to spell out on-camera just how broad and nasty its goals really are.
Read the original article in New York Mag:
By JEREMY D. MAYER | 3/29/09 7:25 AM EDT
Smoking pot doesn’t cause schizophrenia, but marijuana as an issue sure gives our political system the symptoms. We have just elected our third president in a row who at least tried marijuana in early adulthood, yet it remains illegal.
As we discovered again this week, President Obama, like his two predecessors, supports imprisoning people for making the same choices he made.
Beyond imprisonment, one of my policy students, who was honest on a security clearance about her one time use of pot, could lose her job for doing what Clinton, Bush and Obama did.
On television, leading comedian Jon Stewart and America’s sweetheart, Sandra Bullock, swap pot smoking stories with lighthearted abandon, laughing along with their audience, who, like most Americans, end up voting for politicians who support draconian punishments for pot users and dealers.
Year after year, major Hollywood films like Pineapple Express show potsmoking in a positive light, yet legalization remains unmentionable to both our political parties. And America’s most popular Olympian, Michael Phelps, like the majority of people his age, has tried pot, but loses millions in sponsorship when it is revealed that he has done what most of his fans have done.
Several states have legalized medical marijuana, and a few are contemplating decriminalization, and yet, other states are about to prevent those whose urine tests positive for marijuana from receiving desperately needed benefits to which they would otherwise be legally entitled.
At least eight states, including Kansas, Oklahoma, and West Virginia, are actively considering making drug tests mandatory for food stamps, welfare, or unemployment. In a classic demonstration of how America has always had one drug law for the rich and one for the poor, no one has suggested drug testing recipients of billions in bailout cash. We could probably save a lot of money by testing Wall Street financiers for pot (or cocaine, for that matter).
Perhaps these accumulated paradoxes have finally become large enough for the nation to begin reconsidering its position on pot. For an issue that has been in stasis for decades, marijuana is suddenly hot, one might even say, smoking.
By jamming up the White House’s “Open for Questions” website with votes for questions about their favorite substance, advocates for the legalization of marijuana managed to force President Obama to address the issue.
This is success in Washington, even when the president chuckled derisively and came down against legalization. Of the thousands of issues in the competitive policy environment, only a few get this kind of attention.
Some think the economic crisis will help the legalization cause.
California state legislator Tom Ammiano argues that marijuana, by far the most lucrative crop with an estimated $14 billion in sales, could provide over a billion dollars of tax revenue in California alone.
There are, however, a few problems with these numbers. First, it is always tough to estimate what total sales are for any illegal substance. Good data just doesn’t exist in this area. Second, even if $14 billion is accurate, that’s the California sales total when pot is illegal. When a pothead scores a dimebag in Los Angeles, the high price is mostly a function of the illegality. He’s paying for the risks taken by the grower, the importers, and the dealers at each step of the marijuana process.
Currently, dealers risk not only jail, confiscation of property, and the burden of a criminal record, but they also face violence from other rival dealers. That’s why the markup on pot is so extreme.
Legalize pot, and perhaps 80% of its price vanishes. And since marijuana requires very little processing, unlike cocaine or heroin, the supply of pot could skyrocket if it were legalized, further driving the price down. Why pay for it when you can grow your own, tax-free?
It is also possible, though, that legalization would result in a surge in demand, since potential users who avoided it due to fear of incarceration or its high price might now indulge.
Advocates of decriminalization or legalization have reason to take cheer from many recent developments. Tax revenues, although not as high as some dreamers would wish, would certainly be substantial, and would replace the billions spent interdicting and confiscating marijuana, as well as imprisoning users and small time dealers. Legalizing marijuana would immediately remove millions of dollars in income from the international drug cartels that are making life hell in Mexico.
The tide of public opinion is slowly moving towards decriminalization. As polling expert Nate Silver recently pointed out, only 10% supported legalization in 1969, while at least 40% do so today. The younger you are, the more likely you are to have tried marijuana, and to support its legalization. NORML doesn’t have to persuade anyone to win; if they just wait for the anti-pot geezers to die, most Americans will favor legalization within a decade.
Or, they could wait for Obama to go back to the position he had when he was an obscure Illinois state legislator, just four years ago. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wQr9ezr8UeA
I don’t use pot, but I do believe that the tide of history is moving against our ridiculous and counterproductive ban on this relatively harmless substance. The question is not will we decriminalize, but when?
Jeremy D. Mayer is the author of “American Media Politics in Transition” (McGraw Hill, 2007) and an associate professor and director of the master’s program in public policy at George Mason University in Arlington, Va.
By MICHAEL COOPER
Published: November 30, 2011
The governors of Washington and Rhode Island petitioned the federal government on Wednesday to reclassify marijuana as a drug with accepted medical uses, saying the change is needed so states like theirs, which have decriminalized marijuana for medical purposes, can regulate the safe distribution of the drug without risking federal prosecution.
The move by the governors — Christine Gregoire of Washington, a Democrat, and Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island, an independent who used to be a Republican — injected new political muscle into the long-running debate on the status of marijuana. Their states are among the 16 that now allow medical marijuana, but which have seen efforts to grow and distribute the drug targeted by federal prosecutors.
“The divergence in state and federal law creates a situation where there is no regulated and safe system to supply legitimate patients who may need medical cannabis,” the governors wrote Wednesday to Michele M. Leonhart, the administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration.
Marijuana is currently classified by the federal government as a Schedule I controlled substance, the same category as heroin and L.S.D. Drugs with that classification, the government says, have a high potential for abuse and “no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.”
The governors want marijuana reclassified as a Schedule II controlled substance, which would put it in the same category as drugs like cocaine, opium and morphine. The federal government says that those drugs have a strong potential for abuse and addiction, but that they also have “some accepted medical use and may be prescribed, administered or dispensed for medical use.”
Such a classification could pave the way for pharmacies to dispense marijuana, in addition to the marijuana dispensaries that operate in a murky legal zone in many states.
“What we have out here on the ground is chaos,” Governor Gregoire said in an interview. “And in the midst of all the chaos we have patients who really either feel like they’re criminals or may be engaged in some criminal activity, and really are legitimate patients who want medicinal marijuana.
“If our people really want medicinal marijuana, then we need to do it right, we need to do it with safety, we need to do it with health in mind, and that’s best done in a process that we know works in this country — and that’s through a pharmacist.”
The State of Washington approved medical marijuana in 1998, with a ballot question that won 60 percent of the vote. But like many states, Washington soon found itself in a legal gray area. The Legislature tried to clarify things last spring, when it passed a bill to legalize and regulate marijuana dispensaries and growers.
But the Justice Department warned that growing and distributing marijuana was still against federal law, and said that “state employees who conducted activities mandated by the Washington legislative proposals would not be immune from liability.” Ms. Gregoire, while sympathetic to the goals of the bill, wound up vetoing much of it.
It was similar on the other side of the country, where Rhode Island passed a law authorizing state-regulated marijuana dispensaries. This fall Governor Chafee said he could not go ahead with the plan because federal prosecutors had warned him that dispensaries could be targets of prosecution.
Advocates for medical marijuana praised the move on Wednesday, but said the governors should not wait for the federal government before going forward with state initiatives. Opponents said that even if marijuana was reclassified, it was unlikely that pharmacies would be able to dispense it, because the drug is usually smoked and comes in varied strengths.
As recently as June the D.E.A. denied a petition to reclassify marijuana, based on a review conducted several years earlier. But Ms. Gregoire and Mr. Chafee said the attitude of the medical community had changed since the government last reviewed the issue.
In 2009 the American Medical Association changed its position and called for reviewing the classification of marijuana, saying that the current classification was limiting clinical research.
Ms. Gregoire noted that many doctors believe it makes no sense to place marijuana in a more restricted category than opium and morphine. “People die from overdose of opiates,” she said. “Has anybody died from marijuana?”