If you want to inspire voters, perhaps the best way is to be straight to the point — and that’s why marijuana legalization activist set up a table across from the San Jose City Hall last Friday and gave away up to 2,000 free grams of pot.
Well, the nonprofit Weed4Votes didn’t actually give away weed, but organizers did give away vouchers to adults who offered their contact information and were willing to listen to a short spiel about two proposed measures to legalize marijuana for recreational use, which will be on the California ballot in November. There was no requirement to sign any petitions, and according to the organizer, Dave Hodges, participating medical marijuana dispensaries will redeem the vouchers after Election Day provided voters legalize marijuana for recreational use.
And that was just the first Weed4Votes event. Hodges has promised to give away 10,000 pounds of marijuana through three separate campaign programs. One program, Weed4Donations, will match any contributions to any pro-legalization political action committee or nonprofit with weed. Those who can verify they contributed to the cause will receive a certificate redeemable after Election Day.
“California needs your help to make legalization in your state a reality and I want to give you free marijuana for your support,” Hodges said.
The third program, Weed4Signitures, will give signature gatherers a free gram for each validated signature on two pro-legalization petitions.
The giveaway strategy has raised questions about legality. After all, it’s a federal offense to actually buy votes. But Hodges claims on his Weed4Votes website that what he’s doing is not illegal because he is not requiring supporters to vote in any particular way. He is only asking that potential voters donate to a political action committee or get involved in some other way. There is also the question of giving away an illegal substance, which Hodges downplayed. “The stance from my criminal attorneys is that I am not doing anything illegal because I won’t be doing anything illegal when 2016 comes around.”
Hodges is actively support two of three petitions for marijuana legalization. The Marijuana Control, Legalization and Revenue Act and the California Cannabis Hemp Initiative. Both petitions would legalize recreational use of marijuana for those 21 years old and allow local control but prevent outright bans unless approved by voters.
A third petition, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, would not participate in the free weed strategy.
Hodges operated the All American Cannabis Club in San Jose until last year when it was shut down due to changes in the city’s zoning regulations. The new regulations drastically cut the number of medical cannabis clubs in San Jose from eighty to sixteen.
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