Saturday, June 25, 2016

Merced County Elections and the Fate of the Cannabis Plant





County Elections

Just a month before the June primary elections, Sister Darcy and I released a political video plea, to urge disenfranchised voters to vote, and to kick-off our ‘anybody but whitey’ campaign to get some people of color on the dole (in the lawmaker position) because Mother Earth and the Sisters agree that people of color are friendlier toward plant-based medicine

People of color (around here, in my experience) never bought into all the lies about cannabis, and many still remember a grandma, aunt, or other female relative who made liniments and tonics from the plant.  This person they remember is always someone they loved, always someone they honored, and always someone that they couldn’t demonize with a reefer madness slant.  It wouldn’t fit.  So even the crisply suited Latino businessman who wouldn’t touch the stuff and strictly enforces a no tolerance rule with his nieces and nephews and children, even he knows its medicine. 

At the risk of sounding like Donald Trump with my sweeping observations, here’s how I see it:

White man tells his kids not to touch the devil’s weed, because white-man is naïve and trusted his government, who lied to him on this subject.

Mexican man tells his kids not to touch the devil’s weed – because he knows what white man does to his people when they use plant-based medicine.  The same thing white man has done from the beginning of their conquering days, demonize and criminalize what isn’t theirs.

So what does come to us from white-man culture?  Alcohol and pills and judgement of anything not understood.

From my perspective, all the intelligence about the cannabis plant has been unevenly distributed to the people of color.  Just like skin pigmentation, whitey got less.  

So what happened on June 7th?  Did we accomplish our goals?  Did we make any progress?  Do we have a shot at less white and more color in our lawmaking bodies for the November elections? For the sake of the plant and the people she heals?

The answer is yes, in some districts.

As an analyst, I am always interested in knowing if activism works.  Intuitively, I know it does.  But statistically?  You can never be sure of the measurement of that influence. 
I did some digging. It appears that since I moved to the Central Valley in 2008, the valley has gone blue. It has taken a decided turn for compassionate progress. I’m not saying that the Democratic party equals that, but for primary elections, June elections, with the lowest turn-out among elections, if you look at the numbers, you can see what’s happening here.

Since 2008, there has been a 42% increase in the number of ballots cast during the June elections.  Since 2008, there has been a 72% increase in ballots cast for the democratic side.  The number of registered voters has stayed the same over all that time.



I believe that the numbers tell us that we aren't getting new registrants, we would have to look at population shifts to know for sure.  But we are winning on getting them to the polls. Of course, it might have happened without us.  It might be happening because, as Anonymous famously says, “When enough people have their asses against the wall for long enough, they will rise up and claim their power.”  Maybe that’s what’s happening.  Certainly this trend tells me that the working class are waking up and coming out.

County Elections

There was no one candidate in any of the three districts with seats opening that had a clear majority.  Anyone with a clear majority wouldn’t have to run in November.  That didn’t happen, so we are off to the races.  The two candidates with the most votes face off in November.  So we need to force some cannabis debates.

District 1
Southern Merced reaching around and including Livingston, 
Planada, Le Grande and El Nido

The two that are competing for the district one lawmaker seat are John Pedrozo (incumbent, who ruled under the ban) and Rodrigo Esponozo, who sounds like he might be of a race that is more plant friendly. 

The Sisters have a vested interest in getting Merced to embrace cannabis and hemp as agriculture, because we have families in this district that would like to use their backyards to grow us organic CBD plant and earn money that we are currently spending out of the county.  The people of this District should be calling these two candidates to see where they sit on plant-based medicine, on embracing a thriving new industry on main street in our town, and make them debate publicly.  The one with the friendlier cannabis industry attitude wins.  I place my bets on the guy who isn’t whitey.

District 2
Central Merced

Lee Lor (our candidate) made it and she will be running against Hub Walsh who, if not stopped, will be doing his third term over the homicide capital, gangsta capital, meth capital of America.  We have more of those things per capita than any other place, and he talks like he’s done a good job.  And he wants a THIRD term!  Puh-lease.  We need to activate for Lee Lor and make sure she takes his position in November.


District 4
Gustine, North Merced, Ballico, Cressey, Winton, Snelling

Good grief.  We have two anti-cannabis bubbas who could spend a lot of money getting here and did, the former mayor of Gustine coming out of retirement because he wants to stay on the dole, against Lloyd, a wealthy white bubba from Snelling.  No good choices here.  The best we can do is perhaps force a debate?  Force them to come out on cannabis business for the county residents?  I don’t know what to say.  We lost on the ‘anybody but whitey’ campaign for District 4.  We are stuck in choosing between two white guys with money.

The city of Merced is going to vote to lift the ban on July 6th.  Mark your calendars.  They are going to lift the ban, but they are going to do it in a way that it will prohibit any cannabis commerce in their town.  They are planning to take back the states’ 12 plant per patient standard, and roll it back to six if not eliminate it.  They are not going to allow main street to have cannabis businesses.  You can be a tattoo parlor, a liquor store, a pill peddler, a porn shop on main street, but you can’t have Mother Earth’s most intelligent, healing plant.  And they are planning to put wide-net forfeiture clauses in to the licensing, so they are really setting someone up to lose all their property.  It’s bullshit.  They intend to make sure no smart businessman (woman) would set up in their town.

The fight is still on.  Cannabis is Agriculture.  Stand with us.  Pester your District dudes, call Merced city council members.  Be there July 6th.  They have to vote on their weak ‘pretend to lift the ban, but don’t really’ two times publicly.  July 6th is our first of two times to intercede. 
*****

For more about the Sisters, read the last blog, ‘Breaking Custom’.

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