War Breaks Out Within
the Marijuana Legalization Movement (Part 2)
A war is breaking out between the Cannabusiness Community, that hopes to
profit from draconian regulation of Marijuana, and the pillars of the
drug reform movement that insist that the self cultivation of Marijuana
become an untaxed, unregulated sacred right. The second part
of this series looks at how Ethan Nadleman and the Drug Policy Alliance
are standing in the way of our inalienable right to "grow our own"
In the first part of this series I
described a evolving "war" within the Marijuana Re-Legalization
movement. The battle lines have been drawn. On one side is
the Cannabusiness community that hopes to solidify policies that would
allow them to monopolize the market through the establishment of
"dispensaries" as the only means for American Citizens to obtain their
Marijuana. Under this model Americans would be forced to pay
"black market" prices, of between $300 to $500 dollars an ounce, as is
currently the case at California dispensaries. The
Cannabusiness Community is represented by pseudo drug reform
organizations (e.g., NORML, DPA and MPP) as well as by dispensaries
(e.g., Richard Lee, owner of Oaksterdam) that stand to profit from the
imposition of a this highly regulated and taxed model.
On the other side are the true
activists that believe we should be able to grow unlimited amounts of
"self cultivated" Marijuana without any taxation, regulation or other
forms of government interference. Under this model, represented by
the MERP Model, Americans would be able to grow their own Marijuana for
free in their gardens or at about $20 an ounce if they elected to grow
inside under new energy efficient LED light arrays.
"Beer and Wine" or "Hard
One useful way to compare these two
models is to think of the way we treat beer and wine in contrast to the
way we treat hard liquor. In most states the home production of
both beer and wine is not taxed or regulated. So American Citizens
have the choice as to whether they want to produce their own beer and
wine or just buy it from a local store. Hard liquor is quite a
different story. While you are free to purchase it from a store
you will most certainly be fined or jailed if you attempt to produce it
yourself by setting up a home "still."
Obviously the true activists prefer
the "beer and wine" model, whereas the Cannabusiness community prefers
the "hard liquor" model. So while the greedy Cannabusiness
community often labels "self cultivation" as too radical it is nothing
of the sort. It is almost exactly the same model that we have
allowed for the home production of beer and wine for decades.
Advantages of Untaxed "Self
There is also an important advantage
to society, as a whole, that can only be realized by allowing "self
cultivation" by adult Americans. Only by destroying the "black
market" value of Marijuana -- by allowing untaxed, unregulated "self
cultivation" -- can we achieve 3 very important objectives:
* The Mexican Drug Cartels would go
out of business in a matter of weeks.
* The sick and the poor would instantly have access to free, or at least
* The police would no longer have an excuse to invade you home in hopes
of discovering a few Marijuana plants.
Once this is understood the
Cannabusiness community begins to look like a bunch of greedy
opportunists. Perhaps that is because they are a bunch of greedy
opportunists. And it hard to argue that not to be the case. It
also begins to expose them to some very tough questions, which include:
* Why should we be forced to pay $300
to $500 an ounce for my Marijuana when we could grow it ourselves for
free in our garden or for about $20 an ounce under LED light arrays
within my own home?
* Why would we ever allow the
government to become my new Marijuana Drug Dealer when they have
arrested 20 million Americans, since 1965, because they insisted it was
Nadleman, Soros and the 2001
This second part of the series will
be focusing on one specific Cannabusiness organization: the Drug Policy
Alliance (DPA) headed by Ethan Nadleman. The DPA was originally
established as the Drug Policy Foundation in the mid-90's through the
funding of multi-billionaire George Soros. And one reason for
addressing the DPA is that their National Convention is coming up in
about a month and I am hoping that what I write here is duly addressed
at the convention.
Primary Financier of "bogus" Marijuana Reform
Drug Policy Alliance
2001 was a pivotal year for Marijuana
reform in Michigan. It was the second consecutive year that
Michigan Marijuana activists were to launch a statewide initiative to
legalize the possession of up to 3 Marijuana plants, for all adults over
the age of 21. It also allowed the possession of up to 3 ounces of
Marijuana for each adult. The first attempt occurred in 2000 but
only 151,000 of the required 302,000 signatures were collected. We
had brushed ourselves off from the first defeat in 2000 and were "locked
and loaded" to push this over the top in 2001.
Had it succeeded we would have been
the first state, in the nation, to get beyond the Medical Marijuana
Initiatives and allow legal "self cultivation" for all adult Americans
in the state of Michigan. Had it succeeded it would have been up
for vote on the ballot in November 2002. What made this
effort even more daunting was the fact that we had no money to pay for
the signatures. Soros had funded all of the Medical Marijuana
Initiatives by hiring a professional canvassing firm and paying at least
one dollar for each signature. Our activists were doing this grunt
work for free.
The initiative was drafted by
attorney Gregg Schmidt and was called the Personal Responsibility Act,
or PRA for short. Here are some of the important logistical
challenges we faced in order to get PRA onto the 2002 state ballot:
* The PRA initiative was launched at
the Ann Arbor "Hash Bash" on April 6, 2001 after the wording of the PRA
proposal was accepted by the State of Michigan.
* In the case of Michigan 302,711 good signatures must be collected
within a 6-Month timeframe in order for the initiative to be placed on
the November 2002 ballot.
* This meant that all petitions must be in the hands of the State of
Michigan no later than October 3, 2001. Since some of the signatures
would be invalidated the goal of PRA was to collect at least 450,000
signatures -- allowing for a 33% margin of error
As the collection campaign began on
April 6th, 2001 we felt up to the task for a number of good reasons.
First of all the 2000 dress rehearsal resulted in a cohesive group of
Marijuana reform activists that understood both how to properly collect
signatures as well as the best venues to collect them. Secondly we
had Tom Crosslin's Rainbow Farm. Rainbow Farm was a rural farm in
Jones, Michigan, just a stones throw north of the Indiana border.
Since the mid-90's it had become a regional "Hemp Festival" site
which drew thousands of activists who came to listen to the music, smoke
Marijuana and get exposed to the activists that were promoting Marijuana
"self cultivation" for all adult Americans.
So every weekend activists, with
their clip boards were busy collecting signatures for PRA at Hart Plaza
in Detroit, the Ann Arbor Art Fair, and at just about every major
outdoor venue in the state. It was absolutely inspiring to
see all of these people sacrificing their leisure time for such a great
cause. And I was also inspired to see the incredibly
positive response from the public. I ended up collecting over
2,000 signatures for PRA. One of the most common things that I
heard this signers say to me was "why don't they just legalize Marijuana
for all adults." I could not have agreed more, though even I was
surprised to see how widely this sentiment was shared by young and old
As editor of the "New Age Citizen"
website I made every attempt to keep this petition drive on track by
sending out mass emails, providing activists with the best venues to
canvas and keeping track of our progress. It was my belief that
keeping activists updated on our progress was essential for us to meet
our goals. Below I have posted the graph of our progress which is
indicated by the light blue line below.
By mid July it was apparent that,
despite an increased rate of collection, we were barely keeping up with
the minimum requirement rate. And since as many as 33% of the
signatures are often rejected I knew we were in trouble. I also
knew that it would be an absolutely devastating blow to the
Marijuana Activist Community should such a Herculean effort end in
Nadleman and Soros Refuse to
Rescue the PRA Initiative
So after much thought a solution
occurred to me. Ethan Nadleman was the primary recipient of
drug reform funding from billionaire George Soros. In point of
fact Soros was estimated to be worth about 5 billion at the time.
The solution seemed pretty simple at this point. Alert Nadleman as
to the dire situation we are in and have him arrange a meeting with
Soros. I figured that a million dollar infusion from Soros would
allow us to bring in professional canvassers, or just give incentives
for our current petitioners. And that would only require
about a half million and would have put us way over the top as far as
signatures were concerned. I figured the other half million could
be used to address the negative ads from the prohibitionists once PRA
was on track for the 2002 ballot. And for Soros a million dollars
is barely chump change.
As you can see from my weekly report,
to the Marijuana petitioners, things did not go quite as smoothly as I
Overview of Progress 08/02/01:
Gregg Schmidt and I have agreed to disagree on the progress of PRA
signature collection. As I reviewed my notes it was 07/14/01 (see below)
when Gregg sort of agreed that we "might" have 150,000 signatures. With
just 62 days left, before the 10/03/01 deadline, it would be nice to
know where we stand. But Gregg has not had a chance to count the
signatures yet and doesn't necessarily think the information should be
I vehemently disagree but have no means to force a count. As I
have stated earlier, if the 150,000 signature figure is accurate for
07/14/01, it means that to reach the 33% overage figure of 450,000
signatures we need to be collecting signatures at 2 to 4 times the
current rate. We have expended too much effort already and the only
advice I can give is to get your friends off their butts to help harvest
signatures at both large and small events.
In addition to this I am making a feeble attempt at getting Soros (80, 5
Billion), Lewis (67, 1.15 Billion) and Sperling (80, 515 Million) to
hire professional canvassers to help secure our place on the 2002
ballot. [Note the figures in parentheses represent their ages and
accumulated wealth]. These are the same guys that have financed all of
the Medical Marijuana Initiatives and I'm hoping that they can help us
out with PRA. The table below should help put things in perspective:
Total Assets: $6,665,000,000
Money Spent on Drug Reform since 1996: $20,000,000
What we need to hire canvassers to get 250,000 signatures:
What we would like have in order to fight the propaganda prior to the
So, for a cool million they could guarantee us a place on the 2002
ballot and possibly make Michigan the first state to make Marijuana (3
Plants and 3 ounces) legal for a adults over the age of 21. C'mon guys,
help us make some history here before the world passes you by!!!
On 08/01/01 I sent a e-mail to Ethan Nadelman of the Lindesmith Center
begging him to put us in contact with these three. I also copied every
Drug Policy Foundation Contact asking that they get in contact with me
ASAP. 24 hours later . . . absolutely nothing.
Then the next day (8/3/2001) I got
this email from Ethan Nadleman's assistant:
We are in receipt of your e-mail messages and do not intend to ignore
you. You need not direct any additional messages to Tony Newman for your
request is not within his area of responsibilities nor copy our other
e-mail accounts. Ethan Nadelmann has just returned from a very busy
schedule of meetings in California and has many issues to resolve. I
feel that I must advise you that have taken exactly the wrong approach
to get his attention, especially in regarding his willingness to set up
meetings with our funders as some sort of 'litmus test.' I suggest that
you have your colleague Gregg Schmidt contact Mr. Nadelmann with a
precise proposal which will be reviewed in a timely manner. I assure you
that it is not necessary to capture our attention with anything but a
professional and respectful communication style.
M. Felicity Daly
Special Assistant to the Executive Director
The Lindesmith Center - Drug Policy Foundation
925 Ninth Avenue
New York, NY 10019
During the next two weeks I continued
to contact Ethan Nadleman through his assistant Felicity Daly.
Then on 08/18/2001 I finally received the following letter from Felicity
through Gregg Schmidt:
The e-mail that Greg Schmid has
sent you, pasted below, is regarded as a welcome resolution to this
situation. No one at TLC-DPF ever expressed a commitment to secure
funding for this particular campaign. Greg put this quite well when he
wrote, "Ethan never pretended to be a financial backer for PRA, but he
is very amicable to our cause and wishes us the best." While Ethan
supports the campaign ideologically he has no obligation to respond to
your demands. Threats such as "this" could very well haunt you when you
begin your own initiative efforts in the state of Michigan next year,"
will not deter us from the planned course of our work nor mar the
relationships that TLC-DPF has with activists in Michigan and around the
country. This is the last message from you on this topic that TLC-DPF
will respond to.
Felicity Daly - DPF
So August 18th was the day that our
hopes had been dashed. Ethan Nadleman had no intention of seeking
finances for PRA through Soros. Nadleman basically screwed us.
Of course I had never threatened anyone. I just wanted to see the
efforts of my fellow activists succeed. Of course this is a
common tactic that NORML, DPA and MPP use all the time. Whenever a
"dumb stoner activist" has the audacity to get out of line they start
making false accusations that you are nuts, or threatening or out of
[Note: What I'm about to say does not
pertain to local NORML chapters that have been largely skeptical
of National NORML for years.]
The Real DPA Agenda is for
Draconian "Taxation and Regulation" of Marijuana
Well I'll tell you who is out of line
and out of touch: DPA, MPP and National NORML. They are irrelevant
relics of the past. And frankly I don't think they ever intended
to ever allow adult American Citizens to be able to "grow their own"
Marijuana. Instead, what is far more likely, is that the
Cannabusiness community -- in this case represented by Ethan Nadleman
and DPA -- had just demonstrated their real agenda. They preferred
to move us toward a draconian "tax and regulate" model that will
ultimately force us to buy our Marijuana from "Government Marijuana
Dispensaries." And instead of being able to "grow our own"
for free outside, or indoors for about $20 an ounce, we will be force to
pay $300 to $500 and ounce. The dispensaries will profit from the
monopoly. The government will profit from the taxes. And the
people, as usual, will get screwed.
So in the end my projections
proved accurate. Though a very respectable 270,000 signatures were
finally collected we didn't even meet the minimum requirement of 303,000
signatures. All of those thousands of hours of signature gathering
were in vain. And the dreams of the Michigan Marijuana Activist
community had been dashed. Many of the petition gatherers confided
with me that they would never waste their time on any similar future
Gregg Schmidt defended Ethan Nadleman
by saying that the real reason they didn't assist us was because they
simply didn't believe that PRA had a chance of passage because a
majority did not exist among Michigan voters. He rationalized that
if PRA did get on the ballot, only to be defeated, it would be a set
back for the drug reform movement. I could not disagree more
vehemently. First, just getting on the ballot would
have rewarded the petitioners for their incredible efforts.
Second, even if it was defeated it would have illustrated a growing
sentiment, among the American People, for our right to "grow our own."
And third, I am confident it would have passed.
Ironically almost immediately after
refusing to contribute a million dollars toward the success of PRA
George Soros shelled out over two million dollars to gather signatures
for the Michigan Drug Reform Initiative.
The Michigan Drug Reform Initiative (MDRI)
is similar to "Proposition 36" which passed by the voters of California
in 2000. The basic focus of the Initiative was to divert non-violent
drug addicts from prison and into treatment. This stupid piece of
legislation has pushed thousands of Marijuana consumers into "forced
treatment" in order to avoid jail time and has resulted in false claims
that they are addicted to Marijuana. It has also created an
unnecessary Cannabusiness in the form of treatment centers that prey on
Marijuana Consumers. The Campaign for New Drug Policies (CNDP),
another Soros creation, was simultaneously running this initiative in
Michigan, Ohio and Florida and was expecting to have this initiative
certified for each of these states for the November 2002 elections.
I'm not sure what eventually happened in Ohio and Florida but I do know
what happened in Michigan. Soros's attorneys failed to properly
compose the language of the initiative and it was ultimately rejected by
the State of Michigan.
Then on September 3rd a further
tragedy was to befall the Michigan Marijuana Re-Legalization Activists.
Just a week before "911" struck New York 105 federal, state and local
law enforcement "goons" descended upon Rainbow Farm. After a few
days of human "fox hunting" both owner Tom Crosslin and his partner
Rollie were murdered by law enforcement. The movement was in
Looking back at this eight years
later I still have many questions that are left unanswered.
But a few things are now crystal clear. Soros, Nadleman, Schmidt
-- and the rest of the Cannabusiness community -- continue to push a
draconian "tax and regulate" model that will ultimately result in
"Government Marijuana Dispensaries" whereby consumers will have no
choice but to buy their Marijuana at the ridiculous price of $300 to
$500 an ounce. Nothing illustrates this better than MPP's Arizona
Medical Marijuana Initiative. Soros has provided much of the
funding for this as he has for the previous 13 Medical Marijuana
Initiatives. Accept this time the language has been changed so
that, unless you live more than 25 miles from a dispensary, you will be
prohibited from "growing your own." This will effectively
end "self cultivation" for Medical Marijuana patients and their
More evidence can be gleaned from
reviewing the description of one of the panels at the upcoming "Drug
Policy Alliance International Drug Policy Reform Conference" sponsored
by Nadleman and DPA:
Imagining Victory: Make Your Own
Marijuana Regulation Model
Taxation and regulation of marijuana has reached unprecedented levels of
mainstream acceptance and political viability. But what does regulating
marijuana actually mean? How should states control personal cultivation,
retail distribution, advertising, and corporate involvement? What are
the lessons of alcohol and tobacco regulation? Panelists will address a
variety of approaches that are on the drawing board – and some that are
already on the launch pad.
Notice how the "taxation and
regulation of marijuana" is implicitly assumed to be the only solution.
Rejecting the Cannabusiness
"Tax and Regulate" Agenda
These Cannabusiness traitors must
really think we are stupid. Why would we compromise for such a
stupid solution when we could simply "grow our own" for free or for a
fraction of this cost?And nowhere in the itinerary, for Nadleman's
conference, is our right to "grow our own" explicitly addressed.
Could it be because he has no intention of considering such an option?
Jack Herer is certainly one of the
most respected activists within the Marijuana Re-Legalization movement.
And he has made clear, again and again that Marijuana should be
"untaxed, unregulated" and free for all of us to grow. He probably
said it best in his September 12th speech at HempStalk in Oregon:
"I don't want to f**king give
the United States government one f**king dollar of taxes. I think that
they should go to f**king jail for getting you and me and 20 million
people getting arrested for pot. It is the safest thing you can do in
the universe. And that is what we are going to do in California. Okay?
Come over to my booth, over there, and I will see you next time."
In this video
Jack Herer vehemently denounced the attempts by the Cannabusiness
community to push for the government taxation and regulation of our
Marijuana during his speech at the HempStalk Festival in Oregon (09/12/2009).
Unfortunately he suffered a heart attack shortly after delivering what
could become his most important speech.
It is my hope that some of the
activists, attending Nadleman's DPA convention will demand that he
address the allegations contained within this article. But more
importantly I hope they demand to know why DPA continues to do little or
nothing to support unlimited, untaxed, unregulated "self cultivation" of
Marijuana. It is the only viable way to destroy the Cartels,
provide free medicine to the sick and poor. And it is the only way
we can end the senseless "unreasonable searches and seizures," of our
homes by DEA goon squads that fund their operations through the unlawful
forfeiture of our plants and our financial assets.
The time for Nadleman's incremental
compromised solutions needs to end now. We need real reform.
We need to have the right to "grow our own." And we need it now.
What You Can Do to Help
Re-Legalize Marijuana for all Adult Americans
Regardless of whether you consume
Marijuana I encourage all that agree with this article to get on my
mailing list so that I can keep you up to date on the progress of the
MERP strategy to make "self cultivation" a right of all American
Citizens. You can sign up for the mailing list for free at the
In addition I encourage you to visit
MERP Headquarters in order to educate yourself about what is really
going on in the Marijuana Legalization movement. I can assure you
that what you will watch and read there is not being covered by the
Please send the link to
activists throughout the planet. The translation bar should allow
this to be read in any language. The 5-Point Strategy for
Marijuana Re-Legalization should be easy to implement in any country
throughout the planet. I encourage all groups celebrating the
Global Marijuana March to make the immediate implementation of the MERP
Model a primary focus of the event.
Call President Obama and your Representatives and demand:
(1) Immediate clemency for Marc Emery and
(2) Immediate implementation of the MERP Model through an Emergency
Session of Congress, similar to what was used to pass the TARP Bailout
on October 3rd, 2008
U.S. Senate switchboard:
U.S. House switchboard:
your views on whether Lou Dobbs should support Marijuana Re-Legalization at our
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