Oh boy, have the presidential politics been a hot topic in the Jones’ household! Our two-year-old is already babbling on about “Feel the Bern!,” and Cruz, and Trump as well as “oh sh*t” (mommy is still working on her potty mouth). What is surprising me is the lack of support (or even my defense) of Hillary in our household. Look, I knew over eight years ago that we would elect a black man before any woman. I just knew…having lived in Florida, California, New York, Connecticut, Colorado, Nevada, Washington and Wyoming, I had a good feel for the country and I simply knew, we (as a country) were not ready for a woman. I am thrilled we managed to break one of the barriers in 2008. I did, however, truly believe that after a four year stint as Secretary of State, Hillary would be The One in 2016. I also believed I would support her. I read Why Hillary Clinton’s Plan for Marijuana Simply Doesn’t Go Far Enough towards legalization by Paul Armentano, and honestly my husband has been slowly chipping away every day…for months now…and I am starting to feel the Bern.
Let me be clear, my hesitation was not about Bernie’s positions, I like most of them; no…it was his potential. I just did not think he could pull it off. Will the polling and the competition, now I am not so sure…about Hillary pulling it off! So I am forced to return to my principles…not just as a woman, but as an advocate for changing the failed status quo on the host of issues that concern me.
I have come to realize that if I do not support Bernie, vocally, actively, monetarily, that I would be a hypocrite. Ack! Unacceptable outcome! What? Me scared to try to change the status quo? Sigh. I have been preaching that even if it does not happen the first time, it always takes the FIRST one to try and fail but to have the conversation, so that another can come in the future with the blueprint for change to win the day for us all (remember Prop 19?) Oh, for all the folks we are trying to convince to get off their duff and DO SOMETHING. Bernie Sanders is that something!
If Trump becomes president, Chris Christie will likely be attorney general and this industry will be under scrutiny and attack. How is New Jersey doing with safe access these days? Ted Cruz has stated that he believes marijuana reform should be left to the states to decide, but has also criticized the Obama Administration for not stepping in to stop the implementation of marijuana legalization in the states that have approved it. Bill Clinton was the president that sued my husband to prevent the Oakland Cannabis Buyers’ Cooperative from dispensing cannabis to medical necessity patients, so perhaps he is a bit jaded; however he also knows the Clintons best when it comes to this issue and he has a strong aversion against Hillary.
Obama is leaving unfinished business. Cannabis remains in Schedule 1, and we have otherwise law abiding citizens incarcerated or under supervision while new entrepreneurs and Wall Street investors enter the cannabis industry. This was expected, and will be necessary to change the banking laws and 280e tax issues crippling businesses (yes, this is a complicated ecosystem). Meanwhile we see countless business conferences and investor summits seemingly ignorant to this dichotomy, and that ignore the reality that federal law has not yet changed, that what we have is only temporary policy. Here at Oaksterdam, we continue to teach people about jury immunity and voting, to enter the industry through advocacy and with patient compassion, and to profit legally and responsibly. We also discuss the fact that all of this opportunity can disappear and we could regress back into the dark ages for eight more years without direct political action.
We all have an imperative to free the political prisoners of the drug war, especially if you profit (for YOU could be “that guy”). These people should not be considered “criminals.” They are POWs. Not only is the cost of incarceration, parole and probation monumental to the taxpayers, to their children, and to your children, but the injustice is insufferable, intolerable, and too extreme to bear.
One of four can end the drug war and marijuana prohibition once and for all. The President, Congress, the D.E.A. and SCOTUS. Organizations like Can-Do help provide justice through clemency, we can affect one jury at a time, however we suddenly have a shot at the highest office in the land!
If Bernie becomes president the drug war is over. Bernie’s odds just got even better. He cannot do it without all of us adding our opinion. By opinion, I mean donation. Tonight, I will be putting my money where my mouth is, and will be donating to Bernie Sanders. Why don’t you join me?
Dale Sky Jones
Coalition for Cannabis Policy Reform