by David Downs
1. How do you convince paranoid stoners fearful of a secret tobacco industry conspiracy to take over pot? Well, you can't simply call RJ Reynolds and get a denial like Peter Hecht of the Sac Bee did today. "Frank Lester, spokesman for Reynolds America Inc., seemed almost apologetic for killing the speculation. But he confirmed that the parent company for R.J. Reynolds Tobacco, Santa Fe Natural Tobacco and the American Snuff Company, won't be adding a marijuana production division. 'Even going back years, I remember hearing that same thing back in the 1970s and 1980s,' Lester said of the Big Tobacco pot business rumors. 'We are paying attention to the California initiative just as a political situation. But we're not preparing to enter into the marijuana trade at all.' Lester added: 'We're a domestic U.S. tobacco company. We're interested in providing the finest tobacco products to adult tobacco consumers. We're not in the trade of selling marijuana, nor will we ever be.'" See, man, that's just what they want you to think. Read more news after the jump.
2. It's this kind of hermetically sealed logic at play in the Stoners Against Legalization movement, who brought a little Tea Party theater to the International Cannabis and Hemp Expo last weekend, Cannabis Culture reports. "What was meant to be a debate and forum on Prop 19 devolved into chaos. The bill’s creator and sponsor, Richard Lee, the founder of Oaksterdam University, was so loudly heckled and booed that when it was his turn to speak he got red in the face and yelled into the microphone, 'We’re all for fucking legalization! This is the best we can do right now!' and then a quieter aside to panelist Chris Conrad, Publisher of West Coast Leaf, 'I’m done,' was picked up by the microphones. Conrad spoke to represent the 'Yes on 19' opinion for much of the remainder of the debate."
Stoner Against Legalization writer Dragonfly De la Luz teamed up with ex-crackhead and self-appointed Sacramento bishop Ron Allen (watch him on Fox here) to spread their misunderstandings of Prop 19, like the idea that it would have any effect on medical marijuana but to make it cheaper. Panelist and West Coast Leaf publisher Chris Conrad "pulled up the proposition on a projector and attempted to show the audience the protections in the bill but was also drowned out by hecklers.”
3. Meanwhile in reality, liberal blog Firedoglake takes on the No on 19 argument that a "patchwork" of California laws on sales of cannabis would be a bad thing. “The fictitious, nightmarish patchwork of regulations caused by allowing local governments to craft local ordinances is no different than how local governments handle almost everything in our economy, including alcohol, parking, pizza ovens, farmers markets and building codes. ... Where do these distortions and ridiculous worries about differing local ordinances come from? They come directly from the long-time drug warriors leading the opposition to Prop 19, such as the California Police Chiefs Association. [And the California Beer and Beverage Distributors.]
"The point is that everything from lawn size to beer sales is subject to different local regulations. Prop 19 would simply mean that marijuana is treated no differently in this regard than any other legal product. The people who somehow seem horrified about letting towns write their own ordinances about marijuana sales amazingly have done nothing to fix the terrifying 'legal nightmare' we apparently currently live in regarding almost everything else. These attacks on Prop 19 are in fact weird, broadly metaphysical complaints about the entire purpose of this country's local governments."
4. The Atlantic concludes Prop 19 will be a problem for President Obama, whose re-election might partially depend on his response to the initiative passing. "Earlier this month, nine former administrators of the Drug Enforcement Administration sent a letter calling on Obama and Holder to sue if Prop. 19 passes, blocking the statewide legalization of possession and personal growth and the allowance of individual counties to license commercial sale and production of marijuana. ... The pressure will likely be intense. Legalized marijuana is practically inconceivable to large swaths of the country, and one can see the broader coalition of social conservatives and concerned moderates reeling in shock on November 3, aghast at California's decadence and lawlessness, and turning to President Obama to put a stop to it. ... At this point, it seems the Obama administration will sue California, but that's just an educated guess: the Justice Department has declined to comment.”