The relatively powerless Lieutenant Governor of California and former San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom is increasingly using his bully pulpit to endorse taxing and regulating pot like alcohol.
On Monday he went on Huffington Post to state: "I am sick and tired of politicians saying one thing in private and saying another in public," he said. "It's time to tax and regulate [marijuana]. The consequences of this war on drugs is an abject failure; it has disproportionately hurt the African American and Latino communities. It's time for politicians...to do the damn right thing on this."
Hawaii moved to the forefront of national pot legalization efforts this month when Hawaii House Speaker Joseph Souki introduced a bill to legalize pot possession, and tax and regulate weed commerce.
While many activists roll their eyes at legislative action on weed, Rob Kampia, president of Marijuana Policy Project, the group that funded Colorado legalization, called Souki's move "huge" Saturday during a legalization conference in San Francisco. For one, Souki is the Hawaii house speaker, and two, he has had broad public support.
Weed is the love that dare not speak its name among Washington D.C. Democrats, a truth best-evinced this week at the first serious meet-up between the federal government's top weed enforcer, Attorney General Eric Holder, and the heads of either of the two states who've legalized pot.
The in-person chat went down Tuesday in Washington D.C. and it sounds like it was a bit awkward. By most accounts, Washington Governor Jay Inslee did all the talking, while Holder sat there.
Author, editor, columnist, and gay rights activist juggernaut Dan Savage branched out from his core civil rights issue Sunday, with a video about how one person is arrested for pot possession every 42 seconds in America.
Internet TV channel TakePartTV is hosting Dan's weekly video project titled American Savage. On Sunday, Savage posted "42 Seconds: Pot Legalization and Marijuana Reform" wherein he recapped legalization in Washington and Colorado, and listed "reasons why everyone should be happy and everyone should get involved."
David Bienenstock, a High Times Medical Cannabis magazine editor, Santa Cruz resident, and friend of Legalization Nation, has released a new e-book titled (taking deep breath) Legalized It! Inside Colorado and Washington State's Historic Votes to End Marijuana Prohibition and Other Tales of Adventure from a Fully Embedded High Times Reporter. (phew)
Afer you've got done reading our fine analysis on the Colorado and Washington wins (click here), as well as our forecast for legalization in California, read our best Bud Lit of 2012 picks (click here).
But after that go check out the e-book, which in addition to a large, previously unpublished section on the CO and WA legalization initiatives, also collects Bienenstock's best feature writing from High Times for the past ten years. Which is nice.
The Washington Post has spent a century crusading for the incarceration of regular Americans for their private drug use. As California NORML director Dale Gieringer notes, "[The Post] led the charge for tougher anti-drug laws in the '80s and '90s, and have steadfastly supported federal control over individual and states' rights with regard to drugs."
So it's surprising that they would urge President Obama to stand down in the face of legalization in Colorado and Washington. Post-Thanksgiving, even the Post may have found a limit to its appetite for the cruel and unusual punishment of pot smokers.
CliffsNotes for 2016 in California:
"Legalization advocates have found that female support tends to be a leading indicator for marijuana measures. In the case of both California's 2010 and Colorado's 2006 votes, sagging support among women preceded a collapse in men's support too. In California, for instance, support from women saw a 14-point swing against legalization over the final six weeks, dragging support from men under 50 percent.", The Atlantic's Casey Michel wrote yesterday.
Make sure to check out NPR's big segment on 'Legalizing and Regulating Pot: A Growth Industry', which aired Tuesday.
The 43-minute segment chops it up with Newsweek reporter Tony Dokoupil, whose dad was a pot smuggler. Dokoupil wrote The New Pot Barons for Newsweek.
In one of his strongest statements since the medical marijuana crackdown started in October 2011, California Governor Jerry Brown came out in favor of letting the states decide what happens with their marijuana laws. In response to two states legalizing pot last week, Brown said on CNN's State of the Union"
"It's time for the Justice Department to recognize the sovereignty of the states. ... We have a laboratory of democracy. We don't always agree. ... I believe the President and the Justice Department ought to respect the will of these sovereign states. ... It shouldn't try to nullify a reasonable state regulation. The measures that have gotten so far have gotten there after vigorous debate. ... So, we are capable of self-government."
"We don't need some federal gendarme to come and tell us what to do. I believe in comity toward the states, that is, a decent respect ought to govern the policy, and that means: change the policy, now. There's a logic to states' rights."
The other shoe has begun to drop. Immediately following last week's historic vote to legalize pot possession in Colorado for adults over 21, the state's Republican Attorney General and drug warrior John Suthers said Coloradoans wouldn't see a red cent from pot taxes.
According to a statement from his office: "The proponents of Amendment 64 told voters that it imposed a surtax of up to 15 percent on marijuana sale that would result in up to $40 million each year going to K-12 schools in the state. In fact Amendment 64 did not comply with required language under the Taxpayers Bill of Rights and no such tax will be imposed.”