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"Stoners Against Prop 19" Disrupt Debate at Hemp Expo

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #652)
Drug War Issues
Politics & Advocacy

Tensions within California's marijuana community over Proposition 19, the tax and regulate marijuana legalization initiative, boiled over at last weekend's debates between supporters and opponents at the Cow Palace in San Francisco during the International Cannabis and Hemp Expo, a pot industry trade show.

The measure has garnered some loud opposition in the marijuana community, though the true extent of the opposition is unclear. Some medical marijuana providers are opposing it, arguing that it endangers the rights of patients, but raising the question of whether what is really being endangered is those providers' profits. [Ed: The proposition contains language which unambiguously protects patients.] Some growers are opposing it, for largely self-interested reasons. And some consumers are opposing it, arguing that it isn't good enough, they might have to pay taxes, and it would lead to the corporatization of cannabis.

That has excited a harsh response, not just from the Prop 19 campaign, but also from national marijuana reform organizations. NORML deputy director Paul Armentano likened self-styled Stoners Against Prop 19 to a fringe element and compared their refusal to acknowledge facts with that of the Obama birthers, while NORML outreach director Russ Bellville drafted a line-by-line analysis of the initiative to refute the critics. Cannabis expert and campaign spokesman Chris Conrad has published a Prop 19 Fact Check, and an addendum addressing what he calls Prop 19 conspiracy theories and their authors.

[Editor's Note: Look for a feature article in the next few days examining the claims and the forces aligned for and against Prop 19.]

Medical marijuana entrepreneur Richard Lee, the primary motivating force behind Prop 19, was subjected to loud heckling and shouting as he attempted to explain why pot people should vote for the initiative, which is holding onto a not-so-comfortable lead in polls heading up to the election now a month away. A disgusted Lee then rolled away in his wheelchair, leaving campaign spokesman and cannabis expert Chris Conrad to carry on.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


yumita yumara (not verified)

 These prohibitionists don't want to listen, even if what he's saying is right: Assholes.

Sun, 10/03/2010 - 8:43pm Permalink
don laface (not verified)

In reply to by Sammmmmmm (not verified)

If they're growing and making it a living..then I can well understand their feelings..I have friends at this end who smoke..but also buy/sell or grow/sell,who simply don't want it fully legal...from a business standpoint!...but those claiming they may have to pay some form of a tax..when aquiring..etc..that's being plain self centered and selfish..!.to me It's all how it comes out..NJ had a med MJ  bill.that was finally made to law..but after it was so bastardized...that it really serves few!!

Thu, 10/07/2010 - 3:31pm Permalink

This is so unfair. Those people could give a rats rear about their patients or anyone else. All they care about is the money? Wow ! After so many organizations worked so hard for medical marijuana legalization. This is the thanks they get? Just the world we live in I guess.

Sun, 10/03/2010 - 10:10pm Permalink

The people that created our marijuana laws put their self interests ahead of the public good.  Here we are at the other end of marijuana journey and now the people who profit from selling legal marijuana put their self interests ahead of the public good.  The circle of greed continues.

Sun, 10/03/2010 - 11:29pm Permalink
Anonymous11 (not verified)

Loud mouths are worse than the greedy liquor industry and police unions.  Go join Public Safety Last you morons.

Sun, 10/03/2010 - 11:50pm Permalink
Cann_Do (not verified)

It is hard to imagine a situation that would appease these rancorous medical marijuana dealers.

The circumstances they describe that would invoke their support for legalization simply will not come to be.

We all know those tired old arguments put forth by prohibitionists for when they will support marijuana (when the feds agree, when the state legislators pass it, when crime is down, when pigs fly).

These arguments by the medical marijuana dealers are no different. The medial dealers have chosen a set of arguments that will simply never happen on planet earth.

Setting an impractical bar at free and clear, non-taxable and unlimited personal grows and personal sales, with no regulation is simply a way for these medical dealers to ensure that they will never have to support legalization. They have a cash cow in hand and everyone else can just have to suck it up and continue to deal with prohibition.

As another commenteer stated, above, it is just shameful that after all the support given to help pass Prop 215, these folks couldn't then do their job to further the cause for drug reform one step more with the passage of Prop 19.

Mon, 10/04/2010 - 2:18am Permalink

You can get a basic feel for the debate here:, or check out the INTCHE 2010 playlist at

The debate itself didn't change many minds, I suspect, but it did showcase the deep divisions that run through the medical cannabis community. That's not a negative but a positive, for it shows cannabis users span the political spectrum and are passionate about their beliefs. Sorta like California politics in general ... consensus is getting tougher and tougher to find. But that doesn't mean we stop trying.

As for the No-on-19 arguments, many of them are overblown beyond recognition, so it's hard to give much credence to those who espouse such views. But it's important that we listen carefully to all voices within the MMJ community, because we're going to have to work together regardless of what happens Nov. 2. Play hard, but play fair and let's lay off the name-calling. It hurts far more than it helps.

Mon, 10/04/2010 - 5:13pm Permalink
Greg Z (not verified)

Hold on here... There will not be any fewer arrests if prop 19 passes.  Who is getting arrested right now in the state of California for marijuana offenses?  Not people with possession of less than an ounce.  Governor Swarchenegger has recently signed a bill into law that drops possession of less than an ounce of marijuana from a misdemeanor to a civil offense, not an arrestable offense.  People with possession of more than an ounce will be arrested even if prop 19 passes.  To all you who are so excited for prop 19 to take effect so that you can start growing your own, hold on a minute.  I have seen many marijuana plants in my time, and I have never seen someone harvest less than an ounce from a plant, that means as soon as you harvest one plant out of your 5x5 garden you will risk arrest and prosecution for possession of more than an ounce of marijuana.  So you say, well I'll just give the extra to my neighbor.  Now you have broken another law, in prop 19 you may not distribute marijuana unless you are licensed to do so.  I don't see how less people will be arrested, I foresee more arrests from minors smoking it, providing to someone under the age of 21, and having too much in possession.  I am not a prohibitionist, I am a realist.  Vote no on prop 19!

Mon, 10/04/2010 - 8:07pm Permalink
Cann_Do (not verified)

Greg Z says:

"I have never seen someone harvest less than an ounce from a plant, that means as soon as you harvest one plant out of your 5x5 garden you will risk arrest and prosecution for possession of more than an ounce of marijuana."



What Greg says here is simply NOT true.  See...  That is the problem. These people are spreading lies about Prop 19.


Here is the exact text of Prop 19, regarding the specific issue Greg Z tries to misinform us on:

"(iii)    Possess on the premises where grown the living and harvested plants and results of any harvest and processing of plants lawfully cultivated pursuant to section 11300(a)(ii), for personal consumption."


Activist Russ Bellville expounds on this section, as follows:

"Whatever you harvest at home in your 25 sq ft garden, you can keep at home.  Not just one ounce, the whole harvest.  No time limit.  If you harvest a pound every three months and have a stash of twelve pounds after four years, and you’re not selling, that pot is all yours and perfectly legit."


Either Greg Z is benignly uninformed, or he is willfully trying to spread false information to stop Prop 19 passage and protect his own interests.

Mon, 10/04/2010 - 9:41pm Permalink
Cann_Do (not verified)

The problem with the medical marijuana deealers is trhat they already have their own supply. Wat about the millions of people who do not feel like faking an illness and defrauding the system to get a medical recommendation?
Sooooo... where exactly are THESE California cannabis users supposed to get their weed?

The governator took the brave step of essentially legalizing marijuana use WITHOUT legalizing any method of production, distribution, storage or sales.

That is the stupidest thing possible! That will only increase demand for cannabis, driving up crime and cartel violence because there is NO LEGAL way to get it.

In reality, the governator signed the death warrant for prohibition: It is impossible to sustain a situation where use of a product is basically legal ($100 fine), but the methods of production and sales are still run by criminals.
We need Prop 19 to legalize methods of production, transport and commercial sales. What is the point of legalizing it with not means to acquire it? Oh wait. The medical marijuana dealers do not care. They already have their supply. They can let the rest of us just suffer with the continued violence and arrests associated with bringing Californians their decriminalized weed.
Mon, 10/04/2010 - 9:49pm Permalink
borden (not verified)

Bud Green,

I respect your sentiment, but I have to disagree in this case. As Cann_Do ably demonstrated, this group of people is engaged in an unceasing disinformation campaign. The false claim that Greg Z made is a claim that has been debunked over and over, yet people like Greg Z continue to make the claim.

How many lies does one have to tell before one loses the right to be heard? Is there any number? Surely this group of people has reached it by now. There is an initiative on the ballot, and getting it passed is more important than continuing to give known liars a platform, IMHO.

- Dave

Tue, 10/05/2010 - 1:07am Permalink
pfarthing6 (not verified)

The language is pretty clear that you cannot possess more than 1oz and also claim that it is for personal consumption, and no more. Except...

In the case of possession of live/harvested plants, which is to be measured by square feet, not weight. The term "harvested" here is pretty ambiguous however.

These two measurements would appear to be somewhat contradictory since both are defined simply as possession. Which applies? And when?

If it goes to court, and it will if passed, this is likely going to be one of the main contentions as it will be ambiguous to law enforcement if you are really acting within the confines of the law.

So, from what I've read, anyone claiming that you have a right to possess several pounds needs to point out how this right does not violate Section 11300a(i).

Also, the "results" mentioned in 11300a(iii) do not automatically imply a greater quantity than described in 11300a(i). Simply because "grower logic" might dictate that you would likely grow more than 1oz at a time. That is an assumption, and believe me, it is not an assumption that will be made by anyone prosecuting you.

It also doesn't address hemp, and as there is no lawful distinction between the two, if/when any hemp legislation comes around there may be some serious conflict.

The more I read this bill, the less I like it. It would have probably been better to coordinate with all the various factions, like some kind of cannabis congress, and produce something that more people were on board with.

Tue, 10/05/2010 - 7:28pm Permalink
Cann_Do (not verified)

OK pfarthing6. You are not getting it.


There is nothing ambiguous. There is no conflict. I will not "interpret" anything.


1) Read this: "(iii)    Possess on the premises where grown the living and harvested plants and results of any harvest and processing of plants lawfully cultivated pursuant to section 11300(a)(ii), for personal consumption."


2) Read the section which determines if the harvest for which you can retain your full results, not 1 oz, YOUR FULL RESULTS:   ii)    Cultivate, on private property by the owner, lawful occupant, or other lawful resident or guest of the private property owner or lawful occupant, cannabis plants for personal consumption only, in an area of not more than twenty-five square feet per private residence or, in the absence of any residence, the parcel.


Thats it. Period. The 1 oz does NOT apply to your own personal harvest, as long as you do not sell it. Whats the matter, you have a problem with that? You want to keep dealing like you have been, eh?


It is NOT ambiguous, unless your mastery of the english language is faltering.

Wed, 10/06/2010 - 5:31am Permalink
Jeff Brown (not verified)

Prop. 19 is just one more step to free up this  beneficial herb on a global scale. Not only does this plant have physical healing qualities for the individual but for the world. Food, clothing, shelter, energy, etc, etc, Popular Mechanics called it a Billion dollar crop in 1938 in reference to its many uses. It is also a plant with spiritual properties. It is time for mankind to evolve and turn the weapons into plowshares. one love

Thu, 10/07/2010 - 3:58pm Permalink
Jeff Brown (not verified)

Prop. 19  is just a step to free up this benefical herb for all its uses. Popular Mechanics called it a Billion dollar crop in 1938 because of all its uses. Food, clothing, shelter, energy etc. The United States has been one of the primary countries in this worldwide prohibition. Cannabis is also a spiritual plant and useful in the spiritual evolution of mankind. It is time to turn the weapons into plowshares . one love

Thu, 10/07/2010 - 4:06pm Permalink
anomynous (not verified)

Aw heck those stoners against prop 19 are more than likely to be greedy thugs making money while terrorizing everyone else with prohibition-think about it!!!!!!

Fri, 10/08/2010 - 6:37pm Permalink
poolman (not verified)

Its sad that people would want to continue prohibition to safegaurd an illegal market for their own profits. If you want to continue keeping Marijuana illegal so you can keep your high profit margins then i wish you the worst when the DEA come to your door. Im so tired of these hypocritical hippies in cali opposing legalization cause they dont want to pay taxes and keep raising prices with no justification. I dont know why anyone would oppose more freedom for american citizens and a new source of revenue for our country. Besides the sooner we legalize marijuana the sooner we can start hemp production and stop killing the earth

Tue, 10/12/2010 - 10:56am Permalink

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