Timothy Egan has known Jeff Dowd, aka The Dude from The Big Lebowski, since before he had a film based on him. So what does The Dude think about California’s Proposition 19?
But before the Coen brothers applied the Los Angeles slacker-noir treatment to my old friend and made him a cult hero on college campuses, he was a man of often unintelligible but occasionally brilliant political insights.
And on Proposition 19, The Dude speaks truth to power. We talked about the opposition to legalizing pot — the alcohol industry and people currently making the most money off California’s nutty medicinal marijuana retail scheme.
“If you take out the special interests, the entrenched groups, with any of these issues — whether it’s energy, the financial sector, or legalized marijuana — it’s always very clear what the right thing to do is,” said The Dude.
He was echoing, in his way, an old truth of politics: that the best way to judge what’s really at stake in an election is to follow the money. And the source of the funds being used to dissuade Californians from legalizing pot says a lot about the end-stage hypocrisies of the arthritic war on drugs.
(click to continue reading Reefer Gladness – NYTimes.com.)
and if we did follow the money, who are some of the organizations opposing the will of the people? Why, the beer and beverage distributors, and the people currently selling medical marijuana.
So, it’s not a bit surprising that one of the biggest contributors to the campaign against legalization is the California Beer and Beverage Distributors. Having branded their products with nearly every major American recreational ritual, Big Alcohol does not want marijuana to get a piece of that large pie of legal money spent to distract ourselves from ourselves.
The other major opponents appear, at first glance, to be somewhat of a surprise. The California Cannabis Association, representing medical marijuana dispensaries, has come out against legalization, claiming it would be “a direct assault on medical marijuana patients.”
Prop 19, in fact, would be a direct assault on the profits made by those dispensaries. A Rand Drug Policy Research Center study this summer found that the price for an ounce of pot could drop 90 percent — before a hefty tax — if it’s legalized in California. This is in part because the law would allow people to grow a small plot of their own weed, further cutting into the cartels — legal and illegal.
Crony capitalism has no boundaries