Medical Marijuana Rally


  Thanks to you and Michael for doing this! I got there shortly before 1pm and must have just missed you. Tony Bowles said he'd been talking with you, and went to show me where you guys were, only to discover that you'd packed up and gone. Glad you got some inquiries.

  I was a bit disappointed that the crowd seemed about the same size as our previous event on Sept. 24, about 50-100 people. Probably it would have been considerably larger if the weather had been more cooperative. But at least it happened, and even if the speakers were mostly preaching to the choir, that's valuable for creating a sense of solidarity and shared commitment.

  Too bad you two missed my speech... I wrote it out in advance, and got to deliver most of it, even though it was several pages long. Andre Marrou's digs at the establishment parties drew laughter and applause -- at the expense of the Democrats as well as the Republicans! 8) Unfortunately I was being prompted to cut it short, and inadvertently skipped over my best line. The parts I skipped are in brackets -- maybe you can guess which line I'm talking about. But I think I'll put it in a letter to the editor.

Yours in liberty,
        <<< Starchild >>>

Marijuana Rally Speech – 10/26/05

There are two basic agendas in politics – people who want government to give them something, and people who want to stop government from taking something away from them.

Marijuana falls into the second category. We’re not asking for any handouts or subsidies. We just want them to leave us alone!

The valuable thing about having a clear leave-us-alone agenda is that no one else can honestly say that we’re hurting them. Then the only people who have an economic incentive to oppose us are people who are getting something at our expense, people like:

-prison guards who have jobs because of all the drug users who’ve been put in jail

-law enforcement agencies who get extra money and equipment to persecute the “war on drugs”

-politicians who stay in office by pandering to people who are ideologically opposed to drug use

The people who are ideologically opposed to marijuana are mainly conservatives. But people on the left who see it as a cash cow to pay for their agenda are also standing in the way of marijuana freedom.

I remember talking with a Green Party member working in Matt Gonzalez’s office when Matt was on the Board of Supervisors and he told me straight out that Matt was going to want a quid pro quo – you want legal drugs, you give us money for government programs.

Back in 1992, a Libertarian named Andre Marrou was running for president. Most of you have probably haven’t heard of him, because he wasn’t a celebrity and didn’t have a lot of money. Unless you’re a Democrat or Republican, you have to be a celebrity or have a lot of money for most of the mainstream media to pay attention to you at that level. Shamefully, the press often acts like the only choices for president are a Democrat or a Republican.

Anyway, Andre Marrou used to tell a great anecdote. Democrats and Republicans, he said, are all about fear and control. Democrats are afraid that someone, somewhere, is making more MONEY than they are. They want to control that person and take his or her money. Republicans are afraid that someone, somewhere, is having more FUN than they are. They want to control that person and stop him or her from having fun. Libertarians don’t want to control you. We want you to make money AND have fun.

People who are ultimately trying to get something from you, or trying to control you, do not make good political allies. They will sell you out for their own fears and agendas.

What the marijuana movement needs to do is build alliances with other groups and interests who just want to be left alone to do their own thing. Once those groups understand that we are not a threat to their interests, that we do not want anything from them and are prepared to leave THEM alone to make money and have fun, they will do the same for us.

I’ll give you two examples of how we can do this here in San Francisco. The first is the San Francisco Taxpayers Union. You may have heard the state board of equalization is trying to make cannabis providers pay sales tax. [Come on, I don’t hear any boos! These people are Democratic and Republican politicians trying to steal money from sick patients to pay for their political agendas. It’s an outrage.*]

So the Taxpayers Union may have already saved marijuana patients and providers money by stopping a sales tax increase that Supervisor Chris Daly was going to put on the ballot. Taxpayers Union founder Jack Davis, who has a lot of political connections, told us he got a call from Chris about it. Chris knew Jack was involved with the Taxpayers Union, and he asked him, Jack, if this thing goes on the ballot, how strongly is your group going to oppose it, on a scale of 1-10? Jack told him 11. He said we’re totally committed to fighting it, we have a mission statement that opposes tax increases. Then Chris called another political figure with a lot of clout, Joe O’Donogue of the Residential Builders Association, who is also a member of the Taxpayers Union, and asked him the same question. Joe told Chris that his group would strongly oppose a sales tax increase, and would give the TU money to fight it. So Daly called Jack Davis back and said, “OK, you win, I’m not going to put it on the ballot this year. It was iffy anyway.”

[The Taxpayers Union is made up of a coalition of groups, including the Libertarian Party and a lot of small business interests. People with marijuana groups like Americans for Safe Access should go to the Taxpayers Union and say, “Many dispensaries are small businesses too. We don’t want any government subsidies. In fact we want to STOP wasting taxpayer money fighting a failed war on drugs. “What do you want your government to pay for? Fighting POT, or Fixing POTHOLES?” If we agree to help you oppose higher taxes, will you help us get the government to stop wasting resources persecuting the marijuana community?]

The second group I want to talk to you about is the gun rights community. Like the marijuana community, peaceful gun owners aren’t looking for any handouts. They’re just trying to keep government from taking a freedom away that is very important to them. Now many of them are conservatives who oppose drug use. Like many people in the business community, they’re used to mistrusting what they see as leftist issues. But when it comes down to it they care a lot more about the gun issue than the drug issue. Leaders from Americans for Safe Access should go to the groups who are opposing the gun ban on the November ballot in San Francisco, Coalition Against Prohibition (think about that name, and what it means!), and the Pink Pistols, and ask, “If we oppose Proposition H and help you keep your gun rights, will you oppose the Board of Supervisors imposing these ridiculous distance requirements and other restrictions on marijuana dispensaries, so that patients can keep their rights?

[If we’re not strong enough to protect marijuana rights even for sick people in San Francisco, let alone for basically healthy people who benefit from using the drug, how are we going to be able to do it across the rest of California and the United States? We need help. We’ve been talking to the Democrats for a long time. It’s time that people in the marijuana community reach out to forge non-traditional alliances with people who may have been on the other side of the political fence, but who have a common interest of wanting to be left alone.]

On behalf of the Libertarian Party of San Francisco, the Taxpayers Union, the Coalition Against Prohibition, and the Pink Pistols, I want to ask you, the people who support marijuana rights, to join us in voting NO on Proposition A, the college bond, NO on Proposition B, the street reconstruction bond, NO on Proposition F, the firefighter union protection plan, and NO on Proposition H, the gun ban.

[And you have my word that when I talk to the Taxpayers Union and the gun groups, that I will be telling them the same message – you want help fighting higher taxes and gun prohibition? Go to the marijuana community groups and offer to help keep government off their backs in return.]

Thank you all very much. [Please don’t forget to stop by the Libertarian Party table for more info. Power to the People!]