Marc Emery Calls Out Selfish Marijuana Growers for Opposing Legalization

As November inches closer, California's ballot initiative to legalize marijuana is causing anxiety on all sides of the drug war battlefield. Unfortunately, law-enforcement interests and anti-drug activists aren't the only ones panicking over the possibility of legal pot in the Golden State. This piece from Marc Emery explains why some members of the cannabis community are speaking out against the effort, and why they're wrong to do so.

Marc breaks opposition to the initiative into 3 categories:

1. Police and prison industry profiteers who don't want to lose their jobs.
2. Successful marijuana growers and entrepreneurs who don't want new competition.
3. Old-school activists who feel alienated by the modern reform movement and can't see the forest for the trees.

Now, I'm not sure I agree with everything Marc says here, but the piece on the whole is very interesting. As for the 3rd group, I just don't know what to say, but the first two are basically opposite sides of the same coin. Both groups benefit from marijuana prohibition and fear the impact of its elimination on their livelihood. Both groups prefer to think of their opposition to the initiative as being driven by principle, rather than self-interest. And ultimately, both groups will have to be overcome in order for marijuana prohibition to end.

I don't think anyone really disputes the fact that the Tax and Regulate 2010 Initiative isn't perfect. It apparently increases penalties for distribution to people under 21, and it doesn't create the kind of freedom of cultivation and distribution that many would prefer.  But what it will do is completely slaughter the war on marijuana as we know it, and not just in California. If this initiative passes, it will protect multitudes of peaceful cannabis consumers from arrest in California, while sending a message to the nation that further marijuana reform is popular and inevitable.

I promise you, we will not destroy the drug war with one sudden fatal blow. It took more than a decade of legal medical marijuana to set a positive example, disprove negative stereotypes and propaganda, and ultimately help win popular support for further reform. We're headed in the right direction, and if this effort succeeds, we'll be a whole hell of a lot closer than we are today. That's true even if the new law creates some inconveniences that its authors felt were necessary in order to help get it passed.

The bottom line is that if this initiative wins, or merely comes close to winning, it will galvanize our movement behind a victory that's surely just over the horizon. It will show politicians and the press that the recently surging marijuana legalization debate is more than just a fad and that our support base penetrates deeply into mainstream society.

On the other hand, a decisive loss will send a message that the apparent march towards legalization in recent years was little more than a vocal minority exploiting the internet to create a false perception of political momentum. Can you even imagine how eager our opponents are to start saying things like that? Our losses are inevitably exaggerated and twisted by our opponents in a desperate defense of the status quo, and in that respect, the political impact of our victories must be considered in addition to the substance of the reforms themselves.

To put it much more simply, let me just suggest that anyone in California who'd like to end marijuana prohibition would probably want to vote differently than the cops who get paid to pull up plants in the woods.
Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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California has a chance to

California has a chance to make it big with this one. There is no doubt in the future marijuana will become increasing legal. We see this now with the growing medical movement.

If all Californians are smart enough to open this floodgate, this will bring an incredible influx of economic stimulation. For starters, imagine all those who will move from other places to seek asylum. And not just from other states, but from other countries! This will bring a surge for California real estate, for example. Not to mention what all this new demand is going to do for other business, that benefit from this growth.

Californians will find that "drug tourism" isn't such a bad thing when California is one of the few legal places in the world to purchase and consume cannabis. California has a chance to set a model for the rest of the country, that it can sell to the others that come later.

So you see there is a hell of a lot more at stake here then some legal marijuana tax receipts. Legal marijuana will give California a new demand status, that, for the most part, is not available elsewhere. What California has to ask itself, how much is this worth?

California Marijuana Initiative was on the ballot in 1972

"For the first time in US history, there is a state initiative to legalize marijuana possession, use, and production for all adults: the California Control & Tax Cannabis Initiative, which will come to a vote in November."
The 1972 California Marijuana Initiative would have legalized marijuana possession, use and production for all adults if it had passed. Even the adults under 21. I helped put it on the ballot and I voted yes in the election. Emery is dead wrong in the first line and his overall analysis of the California Control & Tax Cannabis Initiative is profoundly flawed. If I still lived in California I wouldn't vote for the California Control & Tax Cannabis Initiative which I consider unacceptable on its face and essentially fraudulent about the real world application and effects if it does pass. I urge California voters to study it carefully and seriously consider the actual effect various provisions would have if it does pass before casting their votes. Vote as you think best but think before you vote.

As an apparent member of "the 3rd group", I respectfully suggest I'm not so excited by an illusion of ending marijuana prohibition that I don't see the forest for the trees.

No, it is you pal that can't

No, it is you pal that can't see "the forest for the trees." I got news for you, we don't live in a perfect world. Sometimes a compromise is better than nothing. How can you be so blind? Unless California goes legal this year, we will miss this window; and as the economy gets worse and we go deeper into war, cannabis consumers will be attacked with the full force of the Republicans. We are going backwards, if this does not pass. Big time!!!!

Oh, and I forgot to add

Oh, and I forgot to add about 'these' growers. If California does not go legal this year, it's likely that the growers will be living in a much more extreme environment of enforcement. Don't be surprised in the future if it starts to look more like Iraq in parts of California -- if cannabis remains 'uncontrolled.'

Fraudulent?!?!

You consider the initiative to be fraudulent?? And the status quo is, what, reasonable? For the love of Bob, let's take what we can get and improve on it incrementally after the fact.

California is where I've

California is where I've lived and been politically active most of my life. California is where I successfully took an ABA approved two year course in legal assistantship. I've read this initiative a number of times and given it consideration. Yes, I do consider this California initiative to be essentially fraudulent. If it passes I hope to be proven mistaken.

I post here with a username. Do you see anything that suggests I think the status quo is reasonable? I believe the Controlled Substances Act and the various state Uniform Controlled Substances Acts are unconstitutional and have evolved from tools of oppression with religious overtones to the backbone of an extremely corrupt evil state religion. The status quo is not reasonable and the degree of public belief in the creed of "substance abuse" is irrational.

I've just finished lunch and I'm going back out to gather more signatures to try and qualify Sensible Washington's I-1068 for the ballot in the state of Washington where I live now. I don't think I-1068 is perfect. I don't think the 1972 CMI was perfect and didn't think so at the time. I don't think some of the later California marijuana legalization initiatives I've actively and unsuccessfully worked to get on the ballot were perfect. I have thought all were good or good enough but I don't think the current ballot qualified one is. If you think it's good enough I suggest you re-examine it carefully, consider what it can deliver and what presumably unintended consequences it is likely to create in real world application if enacted. If you still feel it's good enough make thoughtful efforts to persuade Californians to vote for it on the overall merits, if you aren't doing that already.

From my point of view mere marijuana legalization is a table scrap even if done very well. I'm concerned that success with reforming laws relating to this one very popular drug may hurt the movement to reform all drug laws but I support it actively. Within reasonable limits I'll take what I can get and work to improve on it incrementally afterwards.

This may not be the most thoughtful post I could make but I'm wasting too much time on it already when I should be back out getting signatures and recruiting more volunteers for the blitz I-1068 needs to qualify for the ballot.

The second of two faces.

Funny little article Marc. See that you have changed your viewpoint since sitting in jail for a couple of weeks. What happened to the article I read about a month or so ago?? The one where you were whining about how legalization in Cali would hurt B.C. business and drive down prices. In that particular article you sure were being a so to speak "negative nancy". About time you came around. Funny how a little bit of jail time can make you see the light, good for you Marc. The "new" Marc is right we need to stop these injustices so thousands of people like Marc do not have to spend valuable time rotting in a cell.

borden's picture

this comment reveals a dark

I hope it's obvious to everyone how little sense this comment makes, in light of how long Marc Emery has been working for legalization and to right the injustices of the drug war, years and years and years before he was ever in serious trouble with the law itself. I don't know how the commenter is able to justify characterizing Marc's past stances as anything other than end prohibition and right the injustices of the drug war. The individual is either hallucinatory or dishonest. It is unfortunate but not surprising -- any famous person attracts some detractors along the way, there are just some people who get their personal amusement in doing that.

If Marc has pointed out how legalization in California might drive down prices north of the border -- well, it might have that effect. Acknowledging that is not being two-faced Yes, prohibition drives up prices, and some types of jobs and operations won't be sustainable after legalization happens, but this is the case in any economic transition. Other jobs will be created too, and legalization is more important.

David Borden, Executive Director
StoptheDrugWar.org: the Drug Reform Coordination Network
Washington, DC
http://stopthedrugwar.org

Thanks

Thanks for that response. The animosity that some "reformers" have toward Marc Emery is a complete mystery to me. The man has poured his life and livelihood into cannabis reform for decades. He has a long history of fighting all sorts of government injustices, from suppression of speech to limits on economic activity to ineffective bureaucratic services.

It's hard to see the cannabis reform movement making it to this point without Marc Emery. Hell, the man is serving a prison sentence in the US because he believes in the cause. Those who deride and ridicule one of the heroes of the movement should really take a hard look at themselves.

Fuck Marc emery

The growers will lose there Houses and not be able to grow anymore and you have a few corperations making all the money driving everyone into poverty.
I'm a prop 215 grower, Me and all my friends are voting against legalazation and I encourage anyone involved in the industry to vote NO on legalazation. Marc emery is an idiot and should Stay OUT of CA politics
and stay in jail

These growers are morons!

These growers are morons! What they don't get is that legal cannabis will bring it out in the open, and open the cash registers. There is no reason why these growers can't be the big players in the future for a legal market. The experts should lead. This is capitalism. If these growers have some unique skill, they should have no problem. Why are these growers so afraid. They could get a raise!!!!

Theses growers should all get stoned and watch "Lion King" and get a fix on the circle of life.

Branding is Harm Minimisation

I'm with Borden on this...

It means dealing with Branding (as a concept of harm minimisation). And that means marketing. And that means more than just the skill to exist in a protected market place.

The USE of psychoactive recreational 'substances' including Age of Consent, Branding (and advertising), Labelling and Packaging is in the New Zealand Classification for Regulated Substances passed in Nov. 2008.

It's extended regulations permit 'soft' drug use according to normative rules of commerce under our principal and UN compliant Misuse of Drugs Act.

They are not provisional. These rules are Law by Royal Assent. It would mean all sales are taxed at 12.5% as it is an imputational tax is captures the 'tax' stream from the net investment society makes in the activity. It effectively sets aside the burden of policing it as some kind of special activity, placing the burden (and onus) on the consumer to be fully informed.

While I did advise by way of emails addressed to the Californian Senate, the current initiative is a real world public test of another idea that taxes and regulates.

I applaud California's right to get it a bit wrong (IMHO) but the sentiment is quite logical. The cannabis consumer, if informed is as likely to support paying 'the Californian tax model' in willing exchange for the protection of regulation over criminal oversight and sanction.

The outcome of the Cali Nov ballot, could be instructive for New Zealand as we are yet to place cannabis under oversight of our Ministry of Health despite the merits of our legislation.

I would like to be there in the lead up if it would help.

Maybe if I am elected Mayor of Christchurch (where I am running up against NZ's 'Drug Czar' of nine years, Former Deputy Prime Miniser and MP. Hon. Jim Anderton -again) . As a reform minded ambassador on behalf of the conservative and pragamatic citizens of Christchurch I would consider such a visit mandatory!.

During a community meeting

During a community meeting in Ukiah on May 14th, (Mendocino county) sponsored by med. marijuana activists (MMMAB), a few weeks after the story about Humboldt growers being scared of legalization came out, the woman who arranged the Humboldt forum mentioned being scared about legalizing lowering prices this and the idea was booed. Noone wants, or realizes the need for legalization, more then growers in Northern California, except for a small % whom I hope see the light soon.

If I was from Humboldt I

If I was from Humboldt I would be pretty damn excited if marijuana is legalized in California. Humboldt has the potential to be the next Napa Valley. If I owned land there I would be licking my chops...

The Tax Cannabis Bill will

The Tax Cannabis Bill will NOT, i repeat, NOT affect any Medical Marijuana users. U will be allowed to grow for your own and continue like nothing ever happened. Go read the Initiative now if u don't believe me. http://www.taxcannabis.org/index.php/pages/initiative/

As for Companies taking over and what not. Bullshit! I dont see any BIG corporation/company looking into medical marijuana. Since its illegal Federal they wouldn't do any of the kind of business cuz will its illegal at the Federal level. That gives the power to the people from the start and we set the guidelines. We the people have all the power from the beginning so dont mess it up!

No, Fuck You

Oh, the poor growers won't be able to sell flowers for obscene profits while untold thousands are tainted with criminal records every year. Do you really consider your own personal profit to be more important than simple freedom for peaceful adults? This pushback from growers is the epitome of selfishness, and puts them in league with the worst of the prohibitionists out there. Fuck off.

prop 215 grower...

"I'm a prop 215 grower, Me and all my friends are voting against legalazation "
I always assume anonymous anti-legalization statements are from cops and lawyers trying to protect their racket. If you're not one of those, then you must be one of the people colluding with other prop 215 growers to gouge the sick for $400 an ounce and not looking forward to real market competition which is gauranteed to bring prices down for the average smoker. Either way you are, at heart, a cold blooded psychopath, no different the Goldman Sachs people or the meth cartels. Anything for a buck because that's the point of life for people like you, sick selfish pigs who hate their country and all the good people in it.

why is it anonymous?

I posted that last comment twice with my name and everything, why the hell did it put it as anonymous? I'm not some undercover cop/meth dealer opposing legalization, I'm on the good guys team so I have no reason to hide who I am or what I stand for. So I'll say it again:
"I'm a prop 215 grower, Me and all my friends are voting against legalazation "
I always assume anonymous anti-legalization statements are from cops and lawyers trying to protect their racket. If you're not one of those, then you must be one of the people colluding with other prop 215 growers to gouge the sick for $400 an ounce and not looking forward to real market competition which is gauranteed to bring prices down for the average smoker. Either way you are, at heart, a cold blooded psychopath, no different the Goldman Sachs people or the meth cartels. Anything for a buck because that's the point of life for people like you, sick selfish pigs who hate their country and all the good people in it.
Oh, and I've heard that a lot of the prop 215 growers have been dusting their stuff with crack and meth to get people addicted to their overpriced crap schwagg weed. Guys like you make me inclined to believe it...

Daniel Johnson, NORML Saskatchewan.

Re: anonymous

Daniel,

Sorry about that. There's something wrong with the site that causes that. It will be fixed soon. Also, I deleted the duplicate post.

borden's picture

site bugs, and stop the attacks on Marc

The new version of our site (first stage of it) should be out by the end of the month. It uses a newer version of the content management system that we use, and overall should be fairly bug free. At a minimum I'm confident it won't have the same bugs. Sorry for the trouble in the meanwhile, and thanks for taking the extra time to post your name.

To the anonymous Prop. 215 grower, I don't have the same harsh words for you that some have here, but I think you're letting your personal interests blur your moral judgment. There are 700,000 marijuana arrests per year, and legalization is desperately needed to stop that massive oppression and disruption of people's lives. That's more important than you getting to grow or any group of people getting to grow. That said, I agree with others that there are likely to be greatly increased opportunities for people with your kind of knowledge if the initiative passes.

One thing I don't have kind words for is statements like "Fuck Marc Emery," as you wrote. Marc is serving a several-year prison sentence because of what he did for the cause and to save his comrades in the business from doing time. Try to remember, Prop. 215 grower, you are not the center of the universe, and Marc has done orders of magnitude more to help people than you have. Debate the issues with us, by all means, but please cease these scurillous attacks.

David Borden, Executive Director
StoptheDrugWar.org: the Drug Reform Coordination Network
Washington, DC
http://stopthedrugwar.org

Voting your interest

Those with a vested interest in the status quo (cops, prison officials, current growers) are welcome to vote against this Proposition, but it's outrageous to suggest to anyone else that you're doing it out of principle. This is especially true when you can't cite the principle you're defending (I haven't seen anyone in these comments throw down the gauntlet for his position) and resort to ad hominem attacks against a blogger. If the new Prop endangers your livelihood, by all means vote against it.

But it doesn't threaten mine and honestly, growers who complain about competition need to dry their tears. If you produce a quality product, you'll still be able to sell it (albeit at a lower price). If you're a half-assed profiteer, you will have problems. This is what most people refer to as "the free market." You are operating in an odd semi-legal cartel and reaping the benefits while consumers eat the pain. And again, power to you. Just don't insult my intelligence by claiming you stand on principle.

Tony Palumbi
San Mateo CA

What's wrong with the initiative?

I didn't realize there was controversy surrounding this ballot initiative among legalization proponents in CA. What specifically is wrong with it? How will it harm growers? I mean, I know some growers are currently pulling in huge dollars, but this isn't federal legalization. I can't imagine any large corporations snuffing them out. But they will have to get real with pricing.

In any case, I certainly support this initiative, and would certainly vote for it on principle if I weren't a Heartlander. Despite my fantasies of one day getting rich from epic grow ops, I would much rather be able to live my life without worrying about an arrest record permanently damaging my job prospects. Even though this won't directly affect me (until I'm able to move to Cali), it will definitely embolden anti-prohibitionists around the nation. Although, on the flip side I also worry that actual legalization might shift the national conversation against further efforts.

Considering though, the various legalization initiatives that we've witnessed every election during the last several decades don't make me confident this will pass. Even in Cali. People seem to be much more accepting of medical marijuana initiatives than decriminalization efforts. If it does pass it will be very, very close. Not some definitive victory.

Am I completely missing something here...

.... or is this some weird analysis?

"The bottom line is that if this initiative wins, or merely comes close to winning, it will galvanize our movement behind a victory that's surely just over the horizon. It will show politicians and the press that the recently surging marijuana legalization debate is more than just a fad and that our support base penetrates deeply into mainstream society."

So, if proponents come close to winning, not to mention win big, then the writing is on the wall and there is a clear message that legalization is more than likely in the years to come. but....

"On the other hand, a decisive loss will send a message that the apparent march towards legalization in recent years was little more than a vocal minority exploiting the internet to create a false perception of political momentum. Can you even imagine how eager our opponents are to start saying things like that? Our losses are inevitably exaggerated and twisted by our opponents in a desperate defense of the status quo, and in that respect, the political impact of our victories must be considered in addition to the substance of the reforms themselves."

... If opponents of legalization win or, rather, win decisively even, the loss will be inevitably exaggerated and twisted in a desperate defense of the status quo? You should have stopped with the first sentence. If opponents win, not only will the message you note be sent but pretty good evidence will be given that the march towards legalization was little more than the result of a vocal minority yelling loudly. Other than that is just spin.

Simple Economics

My only concern is that with people being so quick to say "Tax the hell out of it.", we'll wind up with a situation where legal cannabis is more expensive than the black market stuff, and that will make it look like we were wrong. People will say, "See, legalization didn't work like you guys said it would. The black market is still thriving. Told you so!"

But as far as growers losing money because of legalization, that's just silly. Competition simply causes people to produce a better product. I came to the San Francisco Bay Area a year ago, and I have already seen a drop in the price of low to mid grade pot. But the premium stuff is still about the same price.

And, btw, your massive monopolies cannot exist without what is essentially federal government corporate welfare. I guess that could possibly happen eventually, but not until a lot of changes are made at the federal level, and Congress gets overrun with lobbyists pushing for new laws that give the big guys the advantage. We just need to stay vigilant and vocal.

Anyway, I'm all for the initiative. And I think a big cannabis tourism industry would be awesome. Even if it did actually wind up causing overall prices to drop, there would be more volume, so it would balance out. And I'm sure growers would be happy about things like not being afraid to call the cops when you're getting robbed, and not having to worry about the cops themselves robbing the growers and violently destroying their lives. The police might wind up actually getting a little more respect from people too. Imagine that.

Police wouldn't get just a little more respect if they would

call off the war on marijuana users. And if the authorities would stop crucifying people for using hard drugs the cops would have even more new friends.

Crimes Committed Against Growers

Cannabis legalization can make it easier to put an end to tragedies like this.

Other social problems will also rise.

Drug legalization is not a solution to this as it may give rise to another tons of social problems. Rds, GauravAkrani

Dude!

You are SO far off the mark with that comment! Any "social problems" from drug use are already happening, legalization will NOT make them worse or add any new ones. However, it WILL end many problems, especially the atrocity of incarcerating people who've never harmed another person, nor harmed another person's property, nor defrauded anyone (and those are the ONLY actions for which one should be incarcerated).

It will also end the abuse of drug users and addicts by society and law enforcement. Think about it, we don't incarcerate drunks for their alcoholism, only for the damage they do to others like injuring/killing someone (tho DUIs are definitely unconstitutional, as they are used to arrest someone who has not yet done harm; unfortunately, not many people recognize that arresting people for DUIs is equivalent to arresting someone for a crime s/he MIGHT commit at some future date).

I'm pro-choice on EVERYTHING!

If the Initiative fails

the message in the media, and thus the perception of the President, the US Congress, and other States' Legislatures will not be "The Initiative was defeated because it wasn't strong enough."

Rather, their take-home will be "Even in California, the voters don't want this stuff legalized." This will work against federal reforms, and even incremental improvements in other States. Here in Wisconsin, and in a bit over half the states, we don't have an initiative process, and are stuck selling reform to timid legislatures.

So pass it, and immediately start gathering the signatures to place an improved regulatory regime on the 2012 ballot.

Ben Masel
Madison, WI

borden's picture

enough of the bashing

I already said to stop the Marc Emery bashing here, and I meant it. Any further such comments will be deleted, as they deserve to be. This forum does not exist to enable a small fringe group of cranks to vent their venom. I've already allowed more such comments to stay here, with replies, than are needed for the points to be debated. Enough.

David Borden, Executive Director
StoptheDrugWar.org: the Drug Reform Coordination Network
Washington, DC
http://stopthedrugwar.org

pot grower

this is why the government should legalize pot. it's a no brainer.

You Idiots

This whole thing is just a joke for corporations to take over the last free market in the world and hire low wage illegal aliens to work for next to nothing as time goes on.  Their wages will get lower and lower health insurance for workers will be slowly pulled and the big fat cat dispensary owners will put each other out of business until it is just a corporation with satellite corporations that own every dispensary in ca and then they will get even more lobbyists to pass laws in thier favor.  Northern Californias economy will crumble and grow houses will go into forclosure which will cause everybodys property values to plummet even more.  Small business owners will go out of business because pot growers have no money to bring into towns like Eureka ca that have absolutely no local economy.  This loss of induvidual income will affect every business owner in Ca. from the average restauraunt to hardware store.  If you people would wake up you would realize that right now it is legal. If i get caught smoking pot I will gladly pay the $100 fine.  If I get caught smoking it means I was too stupid to realize I shouldnt have rolled one up at that time.   I dont see how this benifits anybody but the dispensary owner. 

     Sincerely

      a pot smoker that doesnt want to live in a welfare state

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