Weed Wars

Dispatches from the California Marijuana Front

August 17, 2010
Stoner blogs warn of false promises of legalization, Prop 19

It's not just those "prohibitionists" who are fighting Proposition 19, the California initiative to legalize marijuana for recreational use and allow cities and counties to tax retail pot sales.

Stoner bloggers are also out to kill the measure.

The Stop19.com web site urges the "informed toker/voter" to oppose Prop 19 on grounds that it will increase criminal penalties for some marijuana offenses, promote an Oakland-based legal cannabis "cartel" and unleash greedy tobacco companies to drive small-time pot growers out of business.

Meanwhile, the blog for Stoners Against the Proposition 19 Tax Cannabis Initiative features Dragonfly de la Luz, the pen name for a roving marijuana correspondent and pot reviewer also known as "Ganja Girl" and the "Weedly World Traveler."

Dragonfly writes that passage of Prop 19 "reverses many of the freedoms marijuana consumers currently enjoy, pushes growers out of the commercial market, paves the way for the corporatization of cannabis, and creates new prohibitions where there are none now."

The blogs reflect views of some ardent marijuana activists that Prop 19 doesn't go far enough. They also embrace the current medical marijuana dispensary system, which has promoted a quasi-legal pot market and a thriving cannabis club industry producing up to $1.3 billion in estimated marijuana transactions.

"So why should you care?" asks the Stop19 site, which rattles off reasons to oppose the initiative, including "government control, excessive taxes, corporate greed" and "big tobacco." "After all, weed will be legal right? Wrong! Cannabis already is legal in California. All you need is a medical recommendation for no age limits, no growing limits, no big corporations, no excessive taxes, and no crackdown from the Feds. Just readily available, high quality medical cannabis."

But the stoner rants are drawing the ire of blogger "Radical" Russ Belville, a Proposition 19 supporter and California outreach coordinator for the National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws.

Belville rips dispensary operators who oppose the legalization measure. And he lambastes conspiracy theorists' insistence that Phillip Morris has its eyes fixed on the California weed market.

"The "Philip Morris / RJ Reynolds Toxic Addictive High-less Marijuana Market Flood" scare has been floating around the cannabis community like a stale hit of schwag for decades now," Belville writes. "It's a form of conspiracy theory thinking embraced by the kind of people who think you could plant 40,000 lbs. of explosives surreptitiously in a busy World Trade Center or convince all the world's scientists and a very large soundstage crew to keep quiet about that faked moon landing."

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