I can understand why unfortunately Obama didn’t legalize marijuana, despite 83 years now of its racist unconstitutionality. He was the first Brotha in the Oval Office, the first open ex-Stoner, the first POTUS younger than me. He felt that it should not be him but rather SOMEone ANYone else.
Now we have “Justice Joe” Biden, a white-as-a-ghost privileged male establishment Senator dyed-in-the-wool Prohibitionist, architect of the drug war which destroyed millions of lives and families and devastated thousands of communities across the country since the 1980s.
Biden pushed for mandatory minimum sentencing which led to mass incarceration of mostly Black men, then the 1994 3-strikes crime bill which unfairly imprisoned mostly black men. He created the office of the Drug Czar, a Prohibitionist propaganda tool designed to legitimize an illegitimate drug war. He wrote the legislation that resulted in over-policing across the country while supporting the militarization of the police. Much of the protest today is a direct result of specific Biden policies.
VP pick Kamala Harris was also a prosecutor, district attorney, and the state Attorney General helping do the Drug War’s dirty work on a daily basis. Hand-picked by Democratic Party elites in California, she was vehemently anti-marijuana and obsessed with high conviction rates. She even criminalized the parents of children who missed classes, but only those in public schools, not private.
Considered one of the more-hawkish drug war prosecutors, Harris denied reform, and increased drug crime convictions from 56 to 74 percent.
“What’s measured improves.” —Peter Drucker.
Harris measured how many people she could put behind bars, not how many families were saved. Harris later admitted the war on drugs was a “failure” but still opposed even San Francisco’s drug courts, which routed offenders to treatment instead of prison. Her record is so bad challenger Tulsi Gabbard was able to make a debate issue of it. The MORE Act sponsored by Harris demands a 5% federal tax to end its 83 years of racist, unconstitutional mismanagement, deschedules, allows expungement, ignores patients and their medicine, and treats Cannabis like tobacco as a deadly vice worthy of tax.
This is who Drug Warrior “Just-us Joe” Biden is likely going to choose as VP. I can’t imagine a worse Democratic ticket when it comes to what for many of us is a single-issue decision: Cannabis reform.
Thus, in a right and just world Biden and Harris are THE perfect people to finally legalize federally (give it to the states). It sure would do wonders for his Karma. No 5% tax, no felony ban, automatic expungement. Ironically, his wife is a practicing physician, she can become part of the “informed change of heart” decision.
People love a redemption story. There is ZERO reason for him (and Harris) not to now “come to Jesus” on this issue, admit he was wrong and that his work had enormous unforeseen consequences hurtful for society, and that he now has a desire to right his wrongs of the past.
Release all federal pot prisoners and automatically expunge/commute/pardon prisoners past and present (including Ross Ulbricht and all other victims of over-zealous drug war prosecutions, too. If 45 can commute sentences, so can the Dems). If “Jailin’ Joe” doesn’t do this, the Dems should be consigned to the trash heap of history. Bad laws have consequences.
Drug laws have always existed just to disrupt communities of color; Chinese, La Raza, Blacks, but also certain whites such as patients, the disabled, war protesters, hippies and other political enemies of the top officials and old society in general. Even jazz musicians of all colors were targeted by drug laws, but invariably enforcement fell hardest on people of color, dozens of millions since 1937.
It was never about public health or safety or the children, only fear of The Other. Today, they make sure a Court never hears a case on the unconstitutional racist drug laws by seizing all assets of unlicensed operations but not spending money on prosecution, just keeping the assets. It’s a thinly-disguised shakedown racket, using old school strong-arm tactics (SWAT for zoning violations, and asset forfeiture).
Any discussion about systemic racism has to include marijuana reform at the federal level, PERIOD. Even FDA is in on the hoodwink. Drug felons need voting rights restored and records expunged so they can at least try to get a job. While they used drugs just as much as whites, People of Color were arrested way more than whites, and sentenced more times to more years than whites. Taking down statues is one thing, but freeing what are basically Nixon’s continuing political and racial prisoners is another.
As a reminder, not only did Democrats give us that 3-strikes crime bill and its cocaine sentencing discrepancy targeting crack (drug of choice of blacks, an inner-city epidemic created by the CIA in the ’80s) over powder cocaine (drug of choice of whites and the terminally hip), but super-racist Democrat FDR gave us the 1937 Marihuana Tax Act, Dems wrote the 1970 Controlled Substances Act signed by Nixon, they ignored it when Nixon buried the Shafer Commission report recommending decriminalization, then again Dems stayed silent when marijuana remained Schedule 1 (they intended it to be temporary, awaiting the Shafer report), and Dems gave us Minimum Mandatories taking away the ability of judges to levy fair sentences.
Yet, Joe’s privileged son Hunter Biden was jailed not even once after his dismissal from the Navy Reserve in 2014 after testing positive for cocaine, or attempting to buy crack several times in Los Angeles, or when police in Arizona found crack in his rental car after it was damaged in an accident. He has admitted to a history of using cocaine while attending Georgetown University, and doing blow with a stranger in a casino in Monte Carlo.
Anti-Cannabis efforts by Democrats aren’t just a national effort. Democrat Governor Hickenlooper called legalization in Colorado “reckless.” In Denver’s Democratic city administration a constitutionally-protected patient growing even one plant outdoors in a locked and fenced greenhouse could lose their house to city asset forfeiture. That same administration blocked constitutionally-protected marijuana lounges in his city, giving tourists no legal place to smoke the marijuana they legally buy there. Also in Colorado Democrats took control of the hemp program’s THC levels out of the state Constitution and handed it over to the Feds, under Amendment X in 2018. A Democrat from San Francisco, California, crafted the most restrictive hemp bill ever, designed to appear to legalize while actually banning it to protect downwind medical grows.
In recent years, our most-liberal Dem “friends of Cannabis” (Blumenauer and Polis) wanted to legalize by levying a 5% federal excise tax, an Occupation Tax like in the tobacco industry against each company and worker, and give marijuana to the BATF. Every single one of them refused to support Bernie Sanders’ SB 2237. Cannabis reform has long been in the GOP ideological wheelhouse (smaller government, no victim-less laws, personal responsibility not state’s, constitutional rights, states’ rights), but the GOP of today is a shell of the ideology which built it. William F Buckley is screaming from the grave at today’s GOP. A smart young advisor might show them how to coöpt Cannabis reform, perhaps a Libertarian.
They recently removed any mention of Cannabis reform from the 2020 Democratic Party platform. With 47 states having some form of it, it was a huge middle-finger to 90% of their base, those who support reform of marijuana laws for patients. That includes the 2/3 who want to see it legal for non-medical adult-use. Never underestimate the ability of the DNC to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. They couldn’t even just toss us a tiny crumb like endorsing only medical marijuana. It’s petty and irresponsible, really: they built this sh*tshow, they have to end it.
But hey, “Washington DC as the 51st State” made the cut.
Since California first declared medical value in 1996 (Schedule 1 requires “no medical value”), Bill “I didn’t inhale [meaning he ate pot brownies]” Clinton should have, but no. W could have should have after 9/11 with “realigning priorities to fight terrorism” ending it, but no. Barry O, well yeah it would’ve put him in the All-time Stoner Hall of Fame for all eternity and millions of babies would have been named Barack, but no. Now Trump is too busy filling the swamp to drain it, and couldn’t GAF about any of us anyway. That puts it squarely on “Jail’em Joe.”
The Overton Window… move it or lose it. It’s why someone needs to co-sponsor Bernie’s old SB 2237. It was the best so far, gets the Feds out of the pot business and hands it over to the states where it belongs. The best House bill last session was from a GOP not Dem Representative from Virginia. SB 2237 moves the Overton Window, making all the other bills look less favorable to patients thus better to politicians. They like that, the power which comes from controlling peoples’ very health and welfare, both the physical and the mental. The Stanford Prison Experiment shows what will eventually happen to those with that kind of power. They have this perverse notion that giving us pennies is immoral, but giving the 1% and corporations trillions is patriotic.
Democrats, it’s time to give up the ghost. Do the right thing even if only for the first and last time in your political life. Legalize, and for real this time: “If anyone can still go to jail for it, it ain’t legal.”
So, what now? Considering that the DNC has us over a barrel this year, we can make a righteous stink. Leverage it: 90% of the public want medical, 70% adult-use. Use that frame to move the narrative. Perhaps a new group, the existing ones appear moribund. A Lincoln Project for Cannabis?
Ironically, “Judas Joe” likely cost Dems millions of voters:
We’ll never get “our” XXIst Amendment or “our” DSHEA after 83 years of racist unconstitutionality, but it sure would be nice. Great evil demand great penance.