How We Lost The Momentum
From O’S News Service, September 17, 2015 So Governor Jerry Brown has presented us with a bill, drafted at the behest of Law Enforcement and the League of Cities, that will regulate the medical marijuana industry. For Law Enforcement and corporate-funded politicians to tell us how to proceed in this area shows not just that they have a lot of gall, but that we, the people of California, have really lost the political momentum.
When we passed Proposition 215 in 1996, the opposition was led by Law Enforcement —California Attorney General Dan Lungren and his regiment of prosecutors; 57 of 58 District Attorneys (Terence Hallinan of San Francisco being the lone supporter); The Police Chiefs’ Association, the Police Officers, the Sheriffs, Four Star Drug Czar Barry McCaffrey and even former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop… Also in opposition were the leading politicians: President Clinton, Candidate Dole, Governor Gray Davis, Senators Feinstein and Boxer, right on down the line.
Proposition 215 passed by a margin of 56 to 44. It was a stinging rebuke to Law Enforcement and to the politicians who had pushed War on Drugs propaganda on us all those years. It was, as they say, a strong message: marijuana is no BFD. Get off our backs!
How did we lose the momentum?
During the Prop 215 campaign the original leader, Dennis Peron, was replaced as campaign manager by a Santa Monica pr man named Bill Zimmerman. Replacing Peron was a demand of the enlightened billionaires who funded the signature drive in the early months of 1996. Supposedly, installing Zimmerman was a technocratic move made for the sake of efficiency and electoral success —substituting an experienced, respectable “campaign professional” for a flamboyant gay pot dealer with a long rap sheet. But in fact, it was a political takeover that would drastically curtail the movement’s demands.
(We were winning 60-40 in a poll taken before Zimmerman was hired in April. As the election approached, Lungren made sure that Dennis was the face of the Yes on 215 campaign by busting the San Francisco Cannabis Buyers Club —a major story up and down the state. Then Doonesbury defended the SFCBC, Lungren called on publishers to censor the strips, and our poll numbers, which were declining under Zimmerman, went back up.)
A month after the election Zimmerman was in Sacramento pushing for regulations. This is from a front-page story in the Bee, Dec. 4:
Bill Zimmerman, campaign manager for the initiative, said Tuesday that he generally agreed with Lungren’s approach to enforcing Proposition 215.
“I think the attorney general is correct in arguing that the initiative should be interpreted narrowly, ” Zimmerman said.
If you’re interested in the context, the following article is from the Bee editorial page November 27, 1996
Then came this front-page piece by Dan Bernstein of the Bee’s Capitol Bureau on December 4, 1996, accompanied by a photo of Lungren.
In addition to removing Dennis Peron from a leadership role, agents of the Enlightened Billionaires dissed and marginalized Dennis’s key ally, Tod Mikuriya, MD. The Soros-funded reformers would not include Mikuriya as a co-plaintiff in the lawsuit protecting California doctors from prosecution —even though Mikuriya was the doctor Drug Czar McCaffrey threatened by name. And they wouldn’t support Tod’s detailed proposal for an audit that would confirm that every agency in the state was complying with the new law. Tod wanted acts of non-compliance to bring negative publicity and suits from a lawyer and interns dedicated to implementing the new law.
The audit would have given us back the political momentum. It would have put the cops and bureaucrats on the defensive, which is where they belonged after Prop 215 passed, given the fact that they —Child Protective Services, Probation, et al, were enforcing marijuana prohibition and should have been made to change their protocols promptly to allow medical use. Tod knew the victory in California had to be consolidated and that the “coven” led by Lungren would resist and sabotage implementation. But Nadelzimm went tritzing off to other states with weaker initiatives, and there was no funding for Tod’s audit idea or his defense when the med board moved against him at the urging of spiteful Law Enforcers.