The short answer is. “BECAUSE IT SUCKS.” It is no secret that I am not a fan of the bullshit Adult Use Marijuana Act being put forth by Pawn Sharker and the other wannabe billionaire boys club members who think their money gives them some sort of power, and a right to create a cannabis law that will cripple the California cannabis economy for years to come. What is a fact is that these jackasses and their legal gurus created a 62 page nightmare of a law that will make California the most heavily regulated cannabis industry in the world. Way to go.
You cannot attempt to solve every problem and answer every criticism in a voter initiative. You just can’t. What you end up doing is actually not solving any problems, and creating more criticisms than you tried to answer. Voter initiatives need to be simple and concise. They need to be easily understood. History shows that efforts which are too complex generally fail at the ballot box. The Center for Range Voting explains it as follows:
“Structuring too complex of a ballot measure—often by attempting to do too much in one law— is the death knell of a ballot initiative. Complex social problems in this country often cannot be resolved by initiatives. Successful initiatives can always be explained in one succinct statement and often times focus on populist themes.”
The Adult Use of Marijuana Act is the poster boy of initiatives that attempt to do too much. It does not just legalize weed for adults. Instead, it attempts to create a detailed system virtually from scratch for how the entire industry will operate. The sly authors attempted to try and align it with the newly enacted Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act, which has resulted in nearly 200 bans across the State. The MMRSA laws already have about a million “fix-it” bills coming behind them because the authors botched so many things (#justatypo), and lobbyists on both sides are pitching literal fits to try and further alter the new regulations. Yes… This is what they are basing their new and exciting “adult use” law on. Super. I am sure everyone will be thrilled to campaign for that effort (rolls eyes).
Where they really blew it was taking the average “stoner vote” for granted. They figure that we are a small percent of the population overall; and they hedged their bets that trying to win over the “soccer mom” vote was a more desirable option. What they failed to consider was that every soccer mom has a brother, uncle, or friend who is their “go-to stoner” who they will ask for their opinion before casting their vote. If you piss off all of the real life stoners and can’t even get their support chances are that the majority of people will not support the initiaitve either. “If the stoners don’t even like it why should I vote for it?” That gives a lot of your average voters the out they need to deny it on Election Day. You may think it sounds crazy, but I assure you that a small but vocal constituency of outraged stoners can make your life a living hell throughout your campaign. Just ask Richard Lee.
But say I am overstating the power of the stoner vote, and that you believe a good portion of weedheads will eventually come around. The question you have to ask is who really passionately supports your effort? When even the “Yes Men” reform group leaders can only bring themselves to say; “It is the best we can do”; or “I will hold my nose when I vote for it”; or “It is about 60% legalization,” how the hell do you think you are going to win an election like that? If you cannot even remotely energize your base, who the fuck do you think is going to actually campaign for this thing for you? No one. That is who.
It is not a difficult question… “Who actually does support this thing?”
It is not the cops. Law enforcement organizations across the Golden State are lining up to oppose this thing with their wild tales about how weed will be everywhere destroying the minds of our youth and their stoner parents.
It is not public officials…. Besides Gavin Newsome. Most politicians and elected officials across the State have remained silent on the issue and will blow in the wind on legalization. There will be no major endorsements.
It is not celebrities or pop culture icons… Besides Sean Parker’s dumbass (who reportedly has already expressed regrets on the matter telling people at a party that he does not know why people keep calling it “The Parker Initiative” as he doesn’t even really know what the damn thing say). I seriously doubt you will see Snoop or B-Real willing to step up and tarnish their good name on what could end up being a real debacle for the weed game in Cali. There is no way they are going to try and get into the political fray on this one… they have albums to sell. Maybe Paris Hilton… Maybe.
It is not going to be the Unions. The AUMA actually removes some of the rights granted under MMRSA to labor unions, so they also are pretty pissed about it.
It will not be the drug warriors. Believe that John Lovell will get another $400k from the California Police Chief’s Association to scare the bejeezus out of voters; and Patrick Kennedy and Kevin Sabet with use their Smart Approaches Against Marijuana to demonize stoners once again.
It will not be the soccer moms either. The soccer mom vote will sway with public opinion, and your reality is that no one wants to be associated with this shit. The AUMA has no spokespeople and they do not even have a website as of writing this. There is nothing to see here, and the soccer moms will be bombarded by the opposition with why billionaires like Parker want to sell weed to their kids.
There will be no kumbaya moment here. Legalization is poling at about 55% in CA on a good day, and nowhere near the 65% it should be at to undertake such an effort. I would bet the specifics of the AUMA are poling much lower than that… and the campaign against it has not even really begun.
To the jackass political consultants and attorneys who duped the funders into backing this thing, “Kudos.” You have created job security for yourself for another year. But you are simply terrible at your jobs, and obviously let your inner-most fear about weed legalization cloud your judgement. You have strategically prematurely ejaculated all over 62 pages of perfectly good paper; and have come up with a LOSER.
The phrase “too many cooks in the kitchen” come to mind as I read through the pages of mumbo-jumbo that you geniuses thought was a great idea. You know that I know that you know that I know that this thing has a 50/50 shot of ever becoming law. You need to run a perfect campaign to pull it off, and you blew it out of the gates by writing what is by all measures a terrible law. It is unthinkable that the architects of this effort have such a gigantic ego that they really believed that they could put together a plethora of terrible ideas and still use their money and influence to pass it by voters.
California voters are not as stupid as you think… and they certainly are not as liberal. There is still a lot to overcome to convince Californians to do anything… Especially when the plan is to create an entire new government bureaucracy to oversee stoners. The Adult Use of Marijuana Act gives EVERYONE something to hate. It has provisions in it that are unacceptable to people from every walk of life. That is what happens when you try to save the world in one document. You end up with the old monkeys fucking a football routine, and eventually you just run out of time and go with what you have. Newsflash: What you have sucks.
I am sure there is a small group of reformers who believe they are more influential than they really are who will tell me that I am crazy. They will work to explain to me why this is a better deal than doing nothing. They will attempt to convince me that my fears are unfounded, as they are continually proven wrong by the roll out of the MMRSA and the shrinking freedoms of program in other states. These folks will accuse me of being a hater and will whine about how I am ruining everything. Spare me the rhetoric. If you assholes want to be on the wrong side of history then God bless you. But when you wake up a LOSER on November 9th just remember we had this little conversation… and it will have nothing to do with whether I supported it; or if told everyone I knew what a worthless pile of shit it was and not to vote for it. I have yet to decide what I will do. All I want is for cannabis to be treated like booze. Booze are everywhere and pretty cheap.
It is not too late to turn back now, Sean. Nothing worse than having everyone say “I knew the PARKER INITIATIVE would lose.” Believe that is what we will say… forever. I was on the front lines supporting Prop. 19, and took a lot of heat for that position. It was the right thing to do; and Prop. 19 was amazing compared to what we are looking at now.
I will not ever lie to you and tell you that the AUMA is a good deal. It is not. It is in fact a terrible idea and you should probably oppose it if you give a shit about cannabis freedom. It is really anything but. Don’t be fooled into falling in love with a loser; and you can bet everything you have that Parker’s AUMA Weedmaps debacle will LOSE. You heard it here first.
Don’t believe the hype.