Bill Downing writes an advisory email to local activists on how to respond on the recent news stories related to the MA Medical Marijuana Initiative and it's primary funder, Peter Lewis.
While it is true the Massachusetts initiative process is used like a tool by wealthy philanthropists whose focus is the nation-wide struggle, we should be proud and happy they have chosen Massachusetts. By their generosity we are free from petty MJ arrests (for the most part) and are about to give MMJ access to the very ill and dying.
Though Peter is funding an MMJ in MA initiative (sounds like a tag line “MMJ in MA”), I’m sure he’d rather not fund making an unpopular issue popular. That takes a lot more money. The major reason he funded MMJ in MA is because he knew it was a slam-dunk. That has to be pointed out. No billionaire worth his weight in salt should be so stupid as to throw $1m+ at an initiative that has a chance of failing. Peter knows this will be a large-margin win. (and so should we all)
So when a newspaper writes about Peter as though he’s using his money to force things on us, let’s respond with the facts. In 2009, a News7/Suffolk University Poll: 81% approve of allowing medical marijuana sales and usage, with 17% opposed. Let me write that again. 81% that is fun to write, 81%.
The fact is there is no other political “issue” that enjoys such lopsided popular support. (I said it many times and am still waiting for someone to prove me wrong). Politicians with a tiny portion of brain accidentally lodged in their head might appreciate that fact and make political fodder with the issue – but no! Most of our politicians heads are shoved so far up their leaderships’ arses they could never contemplate doing ANYTHING without the nod from on-high.
The standard rule that Massachusetts house and senate leaders apply to everything “marijuana” is “let it die”. Any bills they perceive as controversial, are better left dead. Someone is alienated every time a politician takes a stand, so it’s much better not to take a stand or better even still not to be faced with an issue at all. If the committee chairs are allowed to move MMJ bills forward, leadership will be forced to take a stand on the issue and that is just what they don’t want to do. And not just with our issue, but with many others as well I’m sure.
That is why both the initiative process and Peter’s money are SO IMPORTANT. The legislature is bound to in-action by a lack of political fortitude. We, the people, are trapped and it’s only with Peter’s money that our vast, vast majority of support will finally be given the power to govern as they see fit regarding MMJ.
That is the message the press needs to hear.