Marijuana Ballot Initiatives

Drug Warriors Start Pulling in Millions to Fight Marijuana Legalization

They're still outmatched by supporters (and the polls).

|

Patrick Kennedy
Johnny Louis/JL/Sipa USA/Newscom

Polls currently show that Californians are likely to vote in favor of marijuana legalization come November. Millions have been raised in support of the ballot measure, which includes—because this is California, we're talking about—a heavy regulation and taxation scheme. The best way to keep this state from resisting the free exchange of goods for money is to make sure its workers get a big chunk of it.

Initially, very little money had been collected to fight the measure, but that has changed, thanks to the legalization opponents at Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM). The Los Angeles Times today reports that SAM, founded by former Rep. Patrick Kennedy and former President Barack Obama drug policy advisor Kevin Sabet, has raised $2 million to fight California's measure, and also plans to fight initiatives in Maine, Nevada, Massachusetts, and Arizona.

Right now they're still outnumbered in California. The pro-legalization side is approaching $7 million in support. Prior to this round of fundraising, the opposition side (consisting mostly of law enforcement officials) had raised less than $200,000. Nevertheless, we've got three months to go, and plenty of time for anti-legalization media blitzes, which in SAM's case, consists of tying the marijuana industry to "big tobacco" and essentially arguing that legalization is bad because some people will make lots of money off of it. I always find it strange that arguing that people get rich off of selling people something that they want to buy is something that should be treated seriously, and even stranger that it actually works sometimes.

Their argument against legalization has a further grotesque twist. Kennedy and opponents of legalization in California—including the always terrible on individual liberty Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein—are attempting to argue that legalizing marijuana will lead to harm and discrimination directed to poor minority communities. They don't mean the drug war that we have right now. They are arguing that legalizing marijuana harms poor minority communities:

"It is putting our children at risk and has exposed children from communities of color to more racial discrimination than before," said Kennedy, who represented part of Rhode Island in Congress, about the legalization movement. He is the son of the late Sen. Edward Kennedy and the nephew of the late President John F. Kennedy.

In newly released ballot arguments, opponents said the measure would lead to more drugged-driving accidents and pot shops near schools.

"Proposition 64 is an all-out assault on underprivileged neighborhoods already reeling from alcohol and drug addiction problems," said the opposition argument, whose signers include U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Doug Villars, president of the California Assn. of Highway Patrolmen.

Compare this argument to Jacob Sullum's column posted this morning that shows enforcement of drug prohibition is what truly makes life miserable for poor minorities, especially black males. SAM favors some de-escalation of the drug war without legalization, but its forced civil court system and misdemeanors would still likely target poor minorities and force them into expensive programs that feed government and treatment systems. People will most certainly be getting rich off SAM's proposals, just not the same people as those in a legalization scheme.

SAM wouldn't say where the money was coming from, but did say it wasn't from law enforcement sources or casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, who has fought other legalization efforts. Adelson is probably going to have his hands full this election trying to wrangle support for Donald Trump.

NEXT: Marijuana Competition Coming to Oregon State Fair

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Yo, fuck Patrick Kennedy.

  2. Do you know who wasn’t outmatched by the Poles?

    1. Landmeister Heinrich von Pl?tzke of the Teutonic Knights?

    2. Tesla? Peary?

    3. Ice cubes?

      1. Wait a second. Aren’t you a barber? If so, you should’ve said, “Me”,

    4. Polish remover?

  3. The medical pot dispensaries in California have armed, military-grade guards, like they holding were cocaine in the store.

    1. There are a lot of young men with glaucoma who might knock those places over.

    2. They do that because they are forced into having a lot of cash on hand because of the feds threatening the banks into not doing business with them.

      1. This is probably the biggest factor. The second biggest factor is MJ is really only quasi-legal in California, so I assume there’s still a pretty big black market for it, making any “legal” storefront a big fat target in general.

      2. I assumed it was to fight off the rival gangs (DEA or Local 5-0).

  4. Kevin Sabet is one the leading dingleberries of the “today’s marijuanas are much stronger than they used to be” movement.

    1. today’s marijuanas are much stronger than they used to be

      That always struck me as a stupid argument. Even if it’s true, so what?

      1. Because today’s firearms are much stronger than they were in 1776. I believe Bill Maher has made that exact argument.

        I guess what I’m saying is, it applies nicely to so many things.

      2. It’s like you have never watched a young Helen Hunt in the after-school special Desperate Lives.

          1. That

            was

            awesome

          2. *rises to begin thunderous ovation*

          3. NSFW

            Ha! That was a made-for-TV kids’ movie back in the early 1980s. Much tamer than the made-for-TV movies of just a few years earlier too.

      3. The reason (drink) that marijuana is stronger today is, at least partly, because it was illegal.

      4. The reason (drink) that marijuana is stronger today is, at least partly, because it was illegal.

    2. And scotch is stronger than beer. What’s his point? I like both,but,drink less scotch because it’s stronger,and,good scotch isn’t cheap.

    3. And scotch is stronger than beer. What’s his point? I like both,but,drink less scotch because it’s stronger,and,good scotch isn’t cheap.

      1. Looks like the squirrelz got into your liquor cabinet.

      2. The sqvirrelz would like a double shot of what you are having.

    4. Actually it is a clever — though logically unconvincing — argument addressed to the children of the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s who consumed pot when they were young and still grew up to be successful, well adjusted adults, and who might otherwise be tempted to rely on their own life experience to conclude that the “dangers” of marijuana were exaggerated. It also pre-empts any issue of hypocrisy by allowing adults to say that pot is “more dangerous” now then it was when they were young.

    5. “today’s marijuanas are much stronger than they used to be”

      Reason had a piece on this a few years back (Bailey maybe?) that essentially agreed that this was likely true. It’s a riff on Mark Thornton’s argument about the economics of prohibition: if you’re going to break the law providing an illegal substance, you may as well make it the best/strongest you can to maximize the reward side of the risk/reward question.

      That said, kbolino’s point is valid.

      1. This also goes along with increases in heroin uses over the last decade, as the Federal Government has “cracked” down on opioid pain killers.

        “All I wanted was 10 mg of Oxy, but fuck if I am going to jail, I might as well get the GOOD stuff.”

    6. Today’s marijuana is stronger than it was back in the 60s and 70s, but that’s actually a function of prohibition. Just like back in the Roaring 20s, it was more profitable to ship whisky and scotch than it was beer due to the higher alcohol content of the former. It’s a shame that Sabet doesn’t understand it’s his very own pet prohibition that’s caused the increase in potency of the drug he so adamantly opposes.

      1. Yea, imagine smoking less plant matter to deliver a given dose? That’s terrible.

  5. If they collect a lot of money and fail to win for their team will that prove that money doesn’t really effect politics? If they win will it be proof that there’s too much money in politics?

  6. They’re still outmatched by supporters (and the polls).

    This is why we need to get the money out of politics.

    1. ^HRC voter meme.

  7. Good, they aren’t trying to fuck with Amendment 2 here in Florida (yet). Guessing they’re leaving that for Sheldon Adelson to ruin like he did in 2014.

  8. Patrick is one of the “I could never handle my drugs so you should go to jail for using them” crowd.

    Let’s play Guess the IQ

    1. Potato.

      1. potato potatoe

        FTFY.

        1. You sir are no Patrick Kennedy.

          1. +1 You made the comparison, senator.

    2. He sort of has the Innsmouth look. It makes you wonder if Joe Sr.’s original fortune contained a lot of finely wrought yet subtly disturbing gold jewelry that didn’t quite fit on human body parts.

    3. He sort of has the Innsmouth look. It makes you wonder if Joe Sr.’s original fortune contained a lot of finely wrought yet subtly disturbing gold jewelry that didn’t quite fit on human body parts.

    4. He is obviously controlled by whatever is residing on his forehead.

    5. It’s really an elitist interpretation: “if someone as brilliant as me can’t handle drugs, then common people certainly can’t.”

      See, also, Maureen Dowd and edibles.

    6. Jesus, I thought the Kennedy’s were the beautiful people, and married other beautiful people. Where’d this guy get his looks?

  9. Progressives are evil and lie about everything. Film at 11.

    1. Bernie Sanders told the truth about progressivism and almost no one flinched.

    2. Cankles was just on television saying that Director Comey confirmed that she never lied about her emails.

      She wears blue contact lenses. Everything about the woman is a lie.

      http://www.dickmorris.com/hill…..nch-alert/

  10. The whole Kennedy ‘clan’ has been a blight on this country since Joe Sr. Just a bunch of drunken,lying,crooked, power hungry bastards. I do feel some what sorry for their wives.

    1. Why are you under the impression that the aforementioned character traits weren’t the selfsame ones the wives were initially attracted to?

      1. I was trying to be nice to the ladies. It’s a flaw I have.

        1. Patriarchy!!

    2. I do feel some what sorry for their wives.

      Maybe a little, but at some point you have to know what you’re marrying into, and go ahead anyway for the money and perqs.

      1. Rose Kennedy was alright with giving Rosemary Kennedy a lobotomy because she was way too moody.

    3. If ever there was a case for the belief in an all-powerful god who believes in smiting the wicked, you have to only look at what’s happened to the Kennedy’s over the years to validate it.

      1. Yet He has still allowed them to be fruitful and multiply.

        1. DON’T QUESTION GODS PLAN!!

        2. Looking at how many of them having either FAILed completely at attempting to live up to the standard that Political Dynasty demands, from Caroline fucking up being a US Senator to JonJon Oveur-estimating his piloting skill, He does have a dry sense of humour at times, no?

          1. The sad thing about JonJon is he was probably the most decent member of the whole bunch.

            1. And he was the best at rollerblading.

          2. Caroline fucking up being a US Senator

            Seriously, how dim/lazy to you have to be to manage that?

      2. Meh. If Jack had lived out two terms, he would have worn the Vietnam War and been vilified.

        Bobby was a ruthless power freak whose actions if he had ever held office would have made Nixon look like a nun.

        1. Meh. If Jack had lived out two terms, he would have worn the Vietnam War and been vilified.

          Nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnope.

          If Obama can Obama it up and receive little to no criticism from Democrats, Jack could have nuked southeast Asia and shows like The Newsroom would still be sucking his dick.

          1. That seems about right. JFK was beloved my many of the younger voters in the same way Obama is. Given that group made up the bulk of the anti-war movement, your assessment seems likely (no doubt, some of the hard-core anti-war crowd would have protested).

        2. JFK?

          that tax cutting tea bagger?

          1. Too conservative to get the Repub, much less the Dem, nomination.

            1. A tax cutter with aggressive foreign policy.

              so JFK is GWB

    4. John, Robert, Teddy. Two out of three ain’t bad.

        1. but they’re all dead now

  11. “Proposition 64 is an all-out assault on underprivileged neighborhoods already reeling from our intervention into their alcohol and drug addiction problems,”

    There. FTFY.

  12. SAM arose from DFAF (Drug Free Americ

    1. *a Foundation) which was an offshoot of Mel Sembler’s STRAIGHT Inc, an abusive teen treatment network that was eventually shut down. Sembler also supported Bush, and Bush’s wife Columba is a treatment missionary, who works with Adelson’s wife in Las Vegas, who is an addictions doctor. Adelson opposes legalization in Nevada.

    2. SAM was co-founded by David Frum, a neocon responsible for the ‘axis of evil’ phrase used by Bush to justify war. His mother was an outspoken socialist on CBC. He is a socialist too (as are all neocons). Their goal is to institutionalize everyone as a drug addict or criminal or war victim.

  13. Just when you think one of these asshole sociopaths have disappeared from public, they pop back up like an invasive weed.

    The war on cannabis is lost, no matter how much money they spend. Evil never rests.

  14. If California goes then it’s over. Federal prohibition will soon end.

  15. I’ll make a couple of predictions here, if it’s legalized in CA.

    1. Weed will cost a lot more for consumers in CA.

    2. Republicans, because they are retarded, will blame everything that happens in CA, on weed.

    1. Just as long as it is legalized by the time I retire. Then I can sit on the back patio and drink homebrew and enjoy a puff or two.

      1. I doubt it, by then it will be illegal to use cannabis withing 500 miles of a school, or something like that. Evil never sleeps.

        1. I leave well out in the country. I shall build a greenhouse and grow my own.

          1. They’ll make that illegal too. Leave it to CA to really fuck this up, way worse than CO or any other state could possibly dream of. You’ll probably have to register as a sex offender to buy weed.

            1. And if you own any guns…

            2. You’ll probably have to register as a sex offender to buy weed.

              Not a bad trade-off. Besides, it would definitely keep those kids off the lawn.

        2. Colorado included some provision for something like that. So, the town council where my wife’s family lives denied a pot shop license to a business because if you stood at the high school gate and looked down the street, you would be able to see the business. However, they approved a pot shop on the other side of the street and about 30 years further away because you can’t see it from the school. Because, you know, if high school kids see a pot shop, they’ll go crazy.

      2. If you’re in Cali just get a medical card.

  16. RE: Drug Warriors Start Pulling in Millions to Fight Marijuana Legalization
    They’re still outmatched by supporters (and the polls).

    This is bad.
    The unwashed masses are starting to figure out there is a certain amount of freedom involved when making decisions for themselves. Fortunately, the ruling elitist turds have indoctrinated the majority of the little people enough not to make smoking MJ legal.
    Thank God for the right amount of proper indoctrination methods in public schools.

  17. People will most certainly be getting rich off SAM’s proposals, just not the same people as those in a legalization scheme.

    Right, the problem is that the hypothetical marijuana sales market would have lower barriers to entry. Whereas the government mandated treatment programs and licensed facilities has much higher barriers.

    He basically prefers political power as a medium of exchange versus that of money or economic goods. You might expect that outlook from a Kennedy.

  18. People will most certainly be getting rich off SAM’s proposals, just not the same people as those in a legalization scheme.

    People are getting rich off the jail-or-treatment regime we have now, and will get much more rich under a ramping up of forced treatment. I’d be willing to bet that some of them are also active in SAM, which would make for an interesting ad.

  19. The defense lawyer guild and the narco gangs will be big contributors.

  20. As soon as the feds legalize weed, Iowa farmers will figure out how to grow so much of it that he price will crash and farmers will need subsidies to make a buck. Look for it in the Farm Bill of 2022 or so.

    1. “The prices need to be as high as we are!”

  21. Let me go on record and say that Dianne Feinstein’s position on marijuana is the same position that Los Zetas, La Familia, Knights Templar, the Sinaloa cartel, the Juarez cartel, Beltran Leyva, Jalisco Nueva Generacion, Guerreros Unidos, Los Rojos, Los Granados, and the Tijuana cartel have on the marijuana issue. They all want to keep prohibition alive. Let me state that again: their collective position on this issue is in lockstep with one another. Now I’m not insinuating that these murderous beasts are donating to the Senator’s campaigns, or working the phone banks for her – – no sir. They actually get her support for free.

    1. One might even say:

      If your only criterion for supporting a movement is how un-P.C. abti-drug

      1. If your only criterion for supporting a movement is how un-P.C. anti-drug it is, I guess this sales pitch is for you.

      2. I answered your BX question WRT Herself’s lingual mystery, Counselor.

        1. Thank you, sir.

          The image sure looks like a biopsy to me. Not sure what else it could be, and it doesn’t show on earlier pictures of her gaping maw, although you do need just the right angle.

  22. SAM = Silly Ass Motherfuckers

    On the other hand, taxing and regulating a plant is pure bliss for the prog.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.