May 14, 2010
Governor GanjaBy Bruce Hanson
If money is the mother's milk of politics, Marijuana, Inc. is a wet nurse of the Democratic Party. Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer's suckling rise to stardom perfectly illustrates the point.The political reality of the drug legalization movement never enters the national debate. Playboy's Hugh Hefner financed the movement in the beginning, before such figures as George Soros, Peter Lewis of Progressive Insurance, and George Zimmer of the Men's Wearhouse took it over.
Meet Team Soros
Drug culture magazine Heads calls George Soros "Daddy Weedbucks" and declared, "He drops the bucks exactly where they're needed." Soros provided the seed capital to fund the start-up of MoveOn.org and the Center for American Progress.
In 2002, Soros funded a referendum on the Nevada ballot calling for the legalization of marijuana use, which would have mandated that the state begin the growing and retail distribution of the drug to anyone over twenty-one years of age. A Washington, D.C.-based group, the Marijuana Policy Project, which received* direct funds from Soros, spearheaded the effort.
In 2004, David Sirota, a member of the start-up team of the Center for American Progress, took a leave of absence to serve as senior strategist to Brian Schweitzer in his successful run for governor.
When Schweitzer was campaigning for governor, the Montana Republican Party was accused of hitting below the belt because they linked Schweitzer to Earthjustice, claiming he "had intimate ties" to that nonprofit environmental law firm. The link was based upon the fact that Earthjustice trustee Dianne Stern and her husband, National Basketball Association Commissioner David Stern, contributed to his campaign and because their son Eric was his campaign manager.
Earthjustice proudly boasts, "On September 8, 2004, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ordered the Forest Service not to allow logging of old-growth trees on 6,600 acres in Oregon's Siskiyou National Forest." Some of the world's highest-grade marijuana, its pedigree sometimes compared to Cuban cigars, is grown in the Siskiyou National Forest. CannabisNews.com showed their appreciation of the Siskiyou crop with this opinion: "Connoisseur grade [ganja] some of the best growers in the world are in Oregon."
The same year, Montana voters approved the Soros-funded "Medical Marijuana Act" and elected Schweitzer on the same day. The victories were intrinsically linked.
In 2007, Governor Schweitzer sought out "venture capitalists to promote investment opportunities in the state" while on a campaign fundraiser with Marijuana Policy Project director Bill Maher in San Francisco. Much of the area to the north, the "Emerald Triangle" is supported economically by the exportation of marijuana. The large quantity and high quality of marijuana grown in the area requires shipping the bulk of it to other parts of California and the United States. Growers often refer to themselves as "venture capitalists."
Schweitzer won acclaim by declaring, "The state is getting a free ambassador out of the Bill Maher show." Maher, once named Top Pot Comic by High Times magazine, is a board member of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) and is also on the advisory board of the Soros-funded Marijuana Policy Project. Maher is quoted as saying that kids should avoid legal drugs and "stick with marijuana." He has also said, "I'm the guy who thinks religion is bad and drugs are good."
The 2008 Democrat National Convention [Hempfest] paid homage to Brain Schweitzer's cannabis culture persona by naming him the "Surprise Hit" of the convention. In addition, his presence apparently prompted the Denver Marijuana Policy Review Panel to officially adopt the following resolution: "The Marijuana Policy Review Panel recommends that the Denver police department should refrain from arresting, detaining, or issuing a citation to any adult twenty-one years of age or older for the private possession of up to one ounce of marijuana during the 2008 Democratic National Convention."
Governor Ganja does indeed have something to brag about within the cannabis culture. Missoula (home of the Montana Hempfest) had the highest rate of illicit drug use in America, according to the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration's most recent household survey. SAMHSA said that averages taken in 2004, 2005, and 2006 showed 13.8% of households polled in the Missoula region reported using illicit drugs in the prior thirty-day period.
Team Soros members Schweitzer and Obama must both feel a measure of solace when realizing that drug addicts are passionately loyal to their providers. The number of medical marijuana patients in Montana began rising exponentially after the Obama administration changed federal policy last year to say it wouldn't seek to arrest users and suppliers as long as they conformed to state law. However, that policy conflicts with federal law.
Livingston, Montana's top cop, Darren Raney, recently said that since last fall's policy changes, anyone could get a medical marijuana card. The patient count has exploded from about 1,000 to more than 10,000 in the past year. If Mexican drug cartels can get their smuggled marijuana across the Montana border, it can easily become legal medicine worth between $250 and $400 per ounce. Radio station and newspaper ads seek ganja customers like any other product.
Despite warning about the risks of smoking marijuana, Montana's director of the Department of Public Health and Human Services, Anna Whiting Sorrell, who was appointed by Brian Schweitzer, remains deaf, dumb, and willfully blind to the overwhelming clinical evidence from all over the world.
In one example, Robin Murray, professor of psychiatry at London's Institute of Psychiatry, estimates that at least 25,000 of the 250,000 schizophrenics in the U.K. could have avoided the illness if they hadn't used cannabis. UK statistics from the National Treatment Agency show that the number of young people in treatment almost doubled from about 5,000 in 2005 to 9,600 in 2006 and that 13,000 adults also needed treatment. The U.K. relaxed its marijuana laws in 2005.
Despite warning about the risks of smoking marijuana, Montana's pharmacy board, appointed by Brian Schweitzer, also remains deaf, dumb, and willfully blind to overwhelming clinical psychopharmacology evidence from all over the world.
British researchers have concluded that adolescent cannabis use can lead to a psychotic illness called schizophreniform disorder. Certain young people are 900% more likely to develop the disorder by smoking cannabis before they turn eighteen. Therefore, a sizeable number of Montana youth are being exposed to a serious risk of mental illness when they smoke marijuana heavily before they're eighteen years old.
Unfortunately, many Montana adolescents are being prescribed marijuana for complaints as insignificant as a headache. Only time will tell the ultimate cost Governor Ganja's drug policy will have on Montana's young people.
*Corrected from the present tense. The Marijuana Policy Project informs us: "We currently receive zero funds from Soros and have not for quite some time."