Weed Wars

Dispatches from the California Marijuana Front

August 20, 2010
Rolling Stone calls California marijuana vote primetime for pot

The new issue of Rolling Stone magazine features a lengthy report on California's ballot fight to legalize marijuana for recreational use. The piece, entitled, "Just Say Now," declares that "Californians will vote this fall on whether to legalize marijuana - and the measure has a real shot at passing."

Here are some excerpts from the article by Ari Berman:

A notable array of unions, civil rights groups and law-enforcement officials has lined up to support legalization, and even Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has said that "it's time for a debate" on the issue. Polls show the measure has a real shot at passing, and (Oakland marijuana entrepreneur Richard) Lee has recruited an impressive team of veteran political operatives, environmental advocates and union organizers to manage the campaign. Taken together, it's the most effective and well-organized campaign to end marijuana prohibition since the drug was declared illegal in 1937.

...A black preacher from Sacramento named Ron Allen has risen from obscurity to become ...the most outspoken public opponent of legalization. A former-drug-addict-turned-anti-drug-crusader, Allen appears regularly on major outlets like Fox News and visits black churches to hammer home a simple message: that marijuana is the root of all social evil.

"They might say it's not a gateway drug, but I want you to know, it is a gateway drug," he thunders to the congregation at First Tabernacle Baptist Church on a recent Sunday morning."

...If the measure does pass, proponents believe that the White House will not challenge it in court -- much as New York was allowed to stop enforcing alcohol laws in 1923, a decade before Congress ended Prohibition.

"I would hope the Obama administration and Attorney General Holder would see this as an example of the gen­ius of the Founding Fathers, who looked at the states as 'crucibles of democracy,' " says (Attorney Jim) Wheaton, who drafted the ballot initiative.

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