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Free the Weed 92 - John Sinclair

Highest greetings to my fellow citizens as we enter the month of October, just a hair’s breadth away from legalizing marijuana in the state of Michigan after more than 50 years of effort to overthrow the state’s ridiculous marijuana laws once and for all.

As a marijuana activist all of my adult life, I have serious reservations about the citizens’ initiative we are about to pass, from its reference to regulating marijuana like alcohol in its title phrase to its insistence that marijuana is not to be smoked in public. The proposition is overly detailed in an attempt to establish rules and regulations for sales, possession and usethat would prevent the legislature from altering the results of the citizens’ vote as they have been doing with the Medical Marijuana Act.

Here is the way our proposal will appear on the November ballot, officially reduced to a word count of 100:
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PROPOSAL 18-1

A proposed initiated law to authorize and legalize possession, use and cultivation of marijuanaproducts by individuals who are at least 21 years of age and older,and commercial sales of marijuana through state-licensed retailers

This proposal would:

• Allow individuals 21 and older to purchase, possess and use marijuana and marijuana-infusededibles, and grow up to 12 marijuana plants for personal consumption.

• Impose a 10-ounce limit for marijuana kept at residences and require amounts over 2.5 ounces be secured in locked containers.

• Create a state licensing system for marijuana businesses and allow municipalities to ban orrestrict them.

• Permit retail sales of marijuana and edibles subject to a 10% tax, dedicated to implementationcosts, clinical trials, schools, roads, and municipalities wheremarijuana businesses are located.

• Change several current violations from crimes to civil infractions.
Should this proposal be adopted?  [YES]  [NO]
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Historically, marijuana legalization initiatives placed before the voting public have resulted in pluralities for legalization of 60% or more, but the questions on the ballot have been much simpler and easier to decide. As I write this, there is considerable debate in the press and in activist circles about the amount of support for passing PROPOSAL 18-1 and about the actual strength of the vociferous but not so voluminous opposition.

But this is all mere quibbles compared to the macro issue of removing the weapons of criminal arrest and penalization from the arsenal of the state in its relentless opposition to freedom for the marijuana smoker.

And while we’re still a long way from the ultimate goal of taking the state out of our private lives altogether and leaving us alone to smoke weed as we see fit, harming no one in the process, it will be a beautiful day when the police are finally deprived of the right to stop, arrest, search, arrest and imprison us for having in our possession any reasonable amount of the sacred weed.

The problem remains that the vote of the people to demand freedom for the weed and its users never seems to persuade the powers that be to loosen their grip and simply give into the freely expressed will of the people. While the entire scaffolding of the war on marijuana was fabricated of lies and total untruths, upon which was built the vast War On Drugs industry that has viciously oppressed us since the early 1970s, there has never to my knowledge been any indication from the authorities that they had promulgated a terrible mistake upon millions of Americans who use marijuana.

Never an admission of guilt, never an apology, never even an indication that now it is time for them to give in to the will of the people as expressed at the ballot box and let us have our weed when, where, and whysoever we might want it. Under the Medical Marihuana Act we’ve been able to do that since 2008 provided that we were able to establish our identity as patients and obtain a medical marijuana patient’s card from the state.

In the event that we weren’t growers or didn’t have a registered caregiver,the people who wanted to make sure we got our weed built up an incredible system of dispensaries and compassionate care centers that functioned smoothly and efficiently without much interference from the state government until eight years into the era of legal medical marijuana.

Everything started turning to shit in 2016 when the MILegalize effort to put legalization on the November ballot was sabotaged by the state legislature and then totally sandbagged by the same bunch of thugs posing as senators and representatives who finally realized the full scope of the riches to be rewarded under a stringent state regulatory system and the additional benefit of being able to continue fucking with the marijuana community instead of letting us simply co-exist in peace as is our wont.

The Republicans in Lansing have turned the question of medical marijuana regulation into a roaring travesty of justice and good sense. As my man Larry Gabriel put it in the Metro Times recently, “The state Medical Marihuana Licensing Board could not have handled setting up and rolling out the medical marijuana facility licensing system in a more ham-fisted manner. It seems as though the whole thing was set up by people who fear marijuana and don't want it to work.”

If you’re interested in the licensing fiasco it can be followed in the daily newspapers on a regular basis, but in outline the state demanded that anyone wishing to grow marijuana, transport it, or sell it over the counter would have to apply for a license and pay exorbitant sums to support the application, which had to be filed by February 15 if this year. The issuing deadline of June 15 passed, was extended to September 15, passed again, and has been extended to December 15.

During this entire perioda total of 17 applications have been approved, with more than 600 still to be adjudicated. Each entry has been accompanied by a non-refundable $6000 application fee, but this is only the beginning of the extreme flow of cash demanded by the state from marijuana providers. But, once filed in a timely manner, their applications sit there for months while the obstructionists on the marijuana policy board drag their feet and refuse to deal appropriately with the applicants.

The entire West Coast of the United States and a considerable distance inland has accepted marijuana into the cultural and economic fabric of daily life: California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Colorado have legalized weed and are struggling with appropriate ways and means of growing, distributing, and selling it to marijuana consumers in an efficient fashion.

Michigan, on the other hand, will be the first outpost of freed weed in the Middle West, where we lurch along under the political hegemony of the right-wing goons called Republicans and their leader, the self-proclaimed “tough nerd” millionaire named Snyder. Happily, the nerd is out of time and his would-be successor, the flaming asshole known as Bill Schuette, is running well behind his Democratic Party rival, Gretchen Whitmer, and should be dumped onto the dustbin of Michigan history after November 6th.

I’m out of time for this month but, briefly put, this is our big chance to make a big change in the way things operate for marijuana users and our suppliers. To place our issue on the ballot has been a hell of a thing in itself, and now we have to cash it in and throw the old laws out. FREE THE WEED on November 6!

—Detroit
September 19-20, 2018
© 2018 John Sinclair. All Rights Reserved.

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