As we look across the political landscape for 2016 one thing is evident… this year is unlike any other before. For most of modern history political battles have been won by the person with the most money. Over the last 20 years approximately 98% of elections have been won by the person who could spend the most money on their campaign. Like clockwork, you could almost guarantee that the person with the best fundraising machine would win the election. The Citizens United ruling by the Supreme Court made this reality even more bewildering by allowing unlimited contributions to Super PACs working on behalf of a certain campaign or candidate. Money and politics have been like peanut butter and jelly… you rarely see one without the other. Elections continue to be bought and paid for by special interests, and in return those special interests receive political favors that allow them to pretty much do whatever they want whenever they want. Long gone are the days of one person-one vote. Most politicians spend half of their work schedule fundraising for their next campaign effort. It is a sad reality that has left many voters completely apathetic and feeling like the game is rigged.
This is why when Jeb Bush, son of the 41st President and brother of the 43rd President, began his quest for the Presidency this year most pundits considered him a shoo-in for the Republican nomination. His initial shock and awe fundraising machine amassed over $150 million dollars between the campaign itself and his Right to Rise Super PAC. The idea was that, like his brother, he could come in and take the field over by crushing the competition with cold hard cash. The media and politicos seemed to agree that Jeb would be able to outspend everyone else by such a dramatic margin that there was no way he could lose. It was clear that Jeb would have a war chest so much bigger than the next guy that no one else even had a shot. But 2016 has proven to be anything but a normal election season.
Enter one Donald J. Trump to spoil little Jeb’s big plans. Trump floated down and escalator at Trump Tower in June and immediately began to change everything we thought we knew about politics. He proceeded to play into the fears and frustrations of millions of Americans who are fed up with politics as usual. He accused Mexicans of being rapists and declared that China was ruining everyone’s lives because we allowed bought and paid for politicians to bargain away our freedom to the highest bidder. His brand of politics is anything but conventional and no one thought he had a snowball’s chance in hell of winning an election. Fast-forward 9 months and here we are with Trump smashing the Republican field and leading nearly every poll in every state by a wide margin over the competition. Where is Jeb Bush you might ask? After getting destroyed by Trump in Iowa, New Hampshire, and eventually South Carolina little Jeb was forced to suspend his campaign in an effort to save face. After spending over $100 million dollars he came up with a total of 94,411 votes in the first three contests before dropping out. He literally spent well over $1,000 per vote that he received and came in sixth place in Iowa and fourth place in New Hampshire and South Carolina. For well over $100 million bucks Jeb couldn’t even place in the top three in any of these contests. At times, it seemed like the more money he spent somewhere the worse he did. Like every major ad buy from his campaign resulted in a loss of voter support. It got so sad that even the most bleeding heart liberal felt a little sorry for Jeb as trump pummeled him with accusations of being low energy and just a continuation of his brother’s failed Presidency. Jeb proved to be a big fat expensive loser in the end.
Which brings me to Sean Parker… Talk about a big fat expensive loser.
Pawn Sharker is the Jeb Bush of Marijuana. Here is a billionaire egohead who has no clue about weed and the struggle we have overcome to get here. He is just another rich fuckface who thinks he can use his money and power to do whatever he wants regardless of what is best for society as a whole. Sean Parker putting his name and face as the poster boy for the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA) will prove to be its ultimate downfall. Just like nobody likes the Bush family anymore, people hate Sean Parker. The portrayal of him by Justin Timberlake in the movie Social Network s how the majority of people see him… as a rich over-privileged conniving asshole that will do or say whatever is necessary to get his way. Everyone keeps asking me the same thing about Parker; “What does he want?”
Reports surfaced this week that Parker had contributed a cool million to the AUMA effort to date, nearly half of the campaigns total of $2.25 million dollars in funding. Weedmaps, George Soros funded Drug Policy Alliance, and the late Peter Lewis of Progressive Insurance’s funded New Approach group make up the rest of the funding, which I anticipate is just about the cost that gathering enough signatures to qualify the thing will cost. The LA Times did a piece entitled “Only one of California's pot legalization initiatives has the green that counts” where they spell out the whole deal and just like the press did for Jeb Bush early, coroneted the effort as the winner of the race long before any votes are cast.
The way you know that the Adult Use of Marijuana Act will be a loser like Bush is that nobody has ANYTHING good to say about the thing. Even those who claim to be supporting it sound like a hostage video, or something. The bulk of the “endorsements” (and I use that word lightly) are people talking out of the side of their mouths with statements like “It is really our only option, so I guess I will support it”; or “It has a lot of flaws, but it is better than nothing.” Nowhere is there a full-throated endorsement where anyone with half a brain has stated that it is a good law. Even the normal Yes-Men group of advocates and reformers are unable to bring themselves to lie that it is a good option. Everyone knows that it is 62 pages of straight bullshit that turns over the majority of the industry to the 1%. They know that it is a set-up and that it does too little way too late and will likely retard the industry for years to come. It is a terrible initiative by all measures. Nobody likes it. It sucks.
CalNORML, who has a reputation for normally being fairly tolerant of imperfect legislation for the greater good had this to say about Parker’s Adult Use of Marijuana Act and the resentment of his group for Parker’s slimy way of going about his business:
“We stood down. Basically, he sucked all the funding oxygen out of the air, and we were left high and dry,” Dale Gieringer, director of the state chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, said of the Parker donations, tongue firmly in cheek.
Still, these groups take it seriously. “I’d describe it as a hostile buyout by a billionaire ... so small growers are going to be in real trouble," Gieringer added.
Jeb Bush did not lose because he was a bad guy, or unqualified for the position. He lost because no one liked him, and because he was associated with his brother who damn near destroyed the entire world. It is hard for the average voter to get past that. It might be hard to remember back 8 years for a lot of people but when GWB left office America was super fucked up and everyone hated that asshole. There is a reason that last week’s appearance in South Carolina to campaign for Jeb was the first time you have seen George W. Bush anywhere in public really. He has been hiding for real. Even Dick Cheney ended up hating him when it was said and done for not pardoning Scooter Libby. So Jeb carries around all that baggage and ended up getting his ass handed to him by voters. No one was falling for his bullshit either, no matter how much money he had. Sound familiar, Sean?
Just like our friends Peter Lewis, George Soros, and John Sperling found out in 2004 found out when they attempted to back the three strikes reform law with Proposition 66 and were defeated by a group of small but loud opposition leaders, including then Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger… passing an initiative in California is extremely difficult and severely unpredictable. It is really like 8 states in one, all with very distinct populations and voting habits that vary from extremely conservative to the most liberal places on the planet. While California is largely considered a blue state, it often will vote for initiatives like a red state. Remember Proposition 8 that took away the right for gay people to marry? What about the failed cigarette tax a couple of years back? Cali is not as reliably liberal as you would think, and voters are pretty sophisticated in a lot of respects. They have no problem rejecting ballot initiatives on principle either, especially when they think there are a bunch of jackasses trying to shove bad laws down their throat. AUMA is a bad law, plain and simple. It will lose.
Losing is the worst part for egomaniacs like Parker. These rich cats hate putting their name on something and having it end up a loser. Parker being associated with the AUMA will assure that people who normally support legalization will not support the initiative on Election Day. Many consider Parker to be the epitome of what is wrong with the world. His history of being a con man that used his money and connections to swindle his way to the top makes people hate him really. Just like Timberlake portrayed him in the movie, he is thought to have taken advantage of poor young and innocent Zuckerberg to get his stake in Facebook. His music stealing website Napster changed the music industry forever… and not for the better. It changed how artists were developed and paid. His public battle with Lars Ulrich of Metallica on behalf of artist who sued Parker for theft of their intellectual property painted him as a thief and a huckster. Both sides of the debacle were hated by the public in the end. The bottom line is no one thinks Sean Parker is a great person; just like no one thinks AUMA is a good law; or just like they do not think that Jeb Bush would be an awesome President.
Yeah… The Adult Use of Marijuana Act is well-funded. It will have the money to qualify for the ballot no doubt. The big money players will make sure of that; but in 2016 it doesn’t seem that all the money in the world can help a loser not be a loser; and AUMA is certainly a loser. It will lose because it is an ill-conceived plan of complex and unfriendly regulatory requirements that nobody like and that is put on by a group of ass clowns who obviously have no idea how the weed game works. Sean Parker, Peter Lewis, Justin Hartfield, and George Soros walk into a bar…. There is no punchline to the joke. That is pretty much what happened, and in doing so they decided to disregard everyone and try to make a law that barely legalizes weed and serves the interest of very few. Weed is all over California right now. Everyone knows it. Regardless of what adorable laws get passed by voters or the State legislature regards to weed there will still be weed all over the state. Legal.. Not legal. Who gives a shit really? But unless the campaign can miraculously get anyone of any substance on either side of the argument to tell us why this thing is a good idea and a good opportunity for voters, then you can almost rest assured that it will not pass. Since you geniuses decided to base your entire program on the non-existent MMRSA program that is proving to be a disaster on all fronts, then you can count on voters being skeptical and anyone who may have once supported it eventually running far away from the thing. It is a long time to Election Day. What the AUMA and Parker have shown is that they are out of touch with voters, and that their best laid plans are sure to go awry due to over-planning and the assumption that with enough money you could sucker people into believing in you. Jeb Parker or Sean Bush. You can decide. But you can believe that the AUMA has about as good of a chance at becoming law as Jeb did at becoming President in 2016. Maybe we can try it again 2020, stupid.
Sean Parker is the Jeb Bush of Marijuana.