Will Tea Partiers Kill Pro-Marijuana Measure?

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Fibonacci Blue
So paranoid. So uptight. So stiff. What could cure this? Hmmm...
On today of all days, Marijuana is on everyone's mind. But that goes doubly for politicians: Just last week, state Democratic Party chairman John Burton told media that he and fellow Dems (like that Jerry Brown guy) are looking to pot to save their asses. They're hoping that the Tax Cannabis 2010 ballot initiative brings young voters out to the polls in the same way Barack Obama drew first-time and otherwise apathetic citizens (who then cast votes for other pols they hadn't heard of but had an agreeable "D" next to their names, party officials presume).

Burton and his buddies could be on to something. Proponents of the pot-friendly ballot measure were able to collected over 493,000 qualifying signatures quickly, and in this new media world, Tax Cannabis 2010 boasts more Facebook "fans" than Brown, Meg Whitman and Steve Poizner combined (yet less than our own Mayor Gavin Newsom, whose gubernatorial campa...never mind). That cannabis reform is somewhat tangentially a Great Hope for Brown won't buoy pot advocates, who fear that a larger political movement could be their undoing.

The Tea Partiers.

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Oh look -- loons at a tea party...
​"Angry old Republicans are not our friends," warned Dale Gieringer, executive director of the California chapter of National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML). He predicted "a very tough campaign" ahead for Tax Cannabis 2010, even without a right-wing rally. As libertarian and small government as they purport to be, the Tea Party-types are all-but-guaranteed conservative votes, votes that could tip the balance against Tax Cannabis 2010 -- which in latest polls is scoring about "50-50," according to Gieringer, who dropped the news Sunday during day two of the International Cannabis & Hemp Exposition at the Cow Palace on Saturday.

Most ballot measures need to poll "at least 60 percent" in order for proponents to head into a Xanax-free Election Night, Gieringer noted. And at this early stage, exactly how much of opposition the ballot measure will face is still unclear. Will big-time corporations like PG&E join the fray and, like a DEA helicopter from heaven, drown cannabis backers in a sea of dollars?

"That's -- literally -- the million-dollar question," said Quintin Mecke, spokesman for Assemblyman Tom Ammiano. And Ammiano's own horse in this race , Assembly Bill 2254, the Marijuana Control, Regulation, and Taxation Bill? That's another story, but word is that Ammiano is fully expecting this version to die in committee, just like the last one, and plans to re-reintroduce it sometime in the next legislative session ... right about when the Tea Party's people are inaugurated. And if they raise this much Cain over health care, what will they do to hemp?

Photo | Fibonacci Blue

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