Being the Dopest Dad can get heavy at times.
I often find myself depressed thinking about the mess of a world we’re leaving for the next generation. Let’s face it, most of our kids will be cogs in the machine; just like many of us are or have been at some point.
To maintain my emotional and mental health for this year’s 3-day federal holiday weekend, I’ve decided to write to you all about politics... :-D
Looking back on the last 365 days, I can’t help but think of the current positioning of laborers in cannabis; specifically how they’ve been left out of the conversation as speculation surrounding federal legalization has increased exponentially.
Republicans have stayed on-brand, making arguments mostly about top-down economics (although recent remarks on healthcare have crept into their cipher). A straightforward legalization effort led by GOP congressmen Don Young (Alaska) and Dave Joyce (Ohio) seeks regulatory structuring similar to alcohol; allowing the VA prescription authority for veterans and protecting financial institutions from prosecution for banking with weed companies via passage of the SAFE Banking Act.
Democrats have dug deeper into cannabis as a civil rights issue. In the wake of the House’s passing of the MORE Act and New Jersey Senator Cory Booker’s grandstanding efforts promising to block any bill language absent of social equity, you’d think the labor movement would be an easy add-on.
Of course, this is given the historical big (D) support for labor unions and bottom-up, worker-driven initiatives. However, Dems have been mostly silent on specifics tied to the workers whose lives will be most affected by any passed legislation.
Bringing things closer to home, we’re 8 days away from California Governor, Gavin Newsom’s 90-day evaluation Recall Election.
In 2018 the sure-bet Newsom was ushered into office by an outgoing Jerry Brown, who weeks prior to leaving controversially lifted the 1-acre cultivation cap off cannabis grows.
This opened up the state to mega-operators and instantly forced a fledgling legal adult-use industry with infinite potential for small businesses into a perpetually abrasive agricultural class war with little more than lip service protecting the rights of small players and laborers.
Never attempting to squeeze the toothpaste back into the tube, it’s probably no surprise 3 years into term, Gavin’s facing a credible recall effort with only lukewarm support from the cannabis community.
Though known by many as “not a fan” and even quoted as never using cannabis personally, Newsom’s administration has overseen The Golden State’s green lane grow into a $5B superhighway of nearly 10 thousand active licenses.
Along the way, we’ve seen 280E upheld, numerous businesses raided, and permanent licensure only recently granted to operators following the announcement of a $100M industry relief grant due to operators no longer being able to afford the excessive taxes while attempting to compete with illicit businesses (who pay none) and no clear path beyond provisional licensing.
Folks are pissed!
But let’s look at the most viable alternatives on both sides:
(R) Larry Elder (32%) - Publicly criticized the federal government cannabis classification, LA City Council for voting to ban pot dispensaries, attacked the war on drugs, and called drug use a health care, not criminal issue. Elder’s ex-fiancee also claims he pointed a gun at her last time he was high...
(D) Kevin Paffrath (13%) - Took to his website and Twitter to criticize CA’s fight against the illicit market, claiming “80% of cannabis sold in California is illegal… [Illegal farms] pollute our groundwater & steal water from fire hydrants. California’s solution? REMOVE 100 fire hydrants in an area relying on them for fire prevention. The Governor has not led the effort to ‘decriminalized’ marijuana, he’s encouraged illegal farming and poor leadership in getting legal business licenses.” He’s also g
iven some pretty questionable personal wealth advice on his YouTube page...
(R) John Cox (3%) - Recommended cannabis consumers’ hospitalization to cure their substance abuse before brilliantly flipping to be “certainly for medical marijuana,” claiming he’s “not necessarily demanding” hospitalization...
(D) Jackie McGowan (3%) - An avowed medical cannabis patient saying she’s “actively lobbied local governments for common-sense regulations and permitting since 2014.” She’s highly critical of Prop. 64 for “over-regulating and taxing the industry,” says all adults, especially patients should have more access. Last week, she ran up on Larry Elder in church mid-Sunday service demanding that he grants her a live debate...
While all candidates besides John Cox have said nice things about cannabis- some even claiming to fix things quickly with access to the governorship, the truth is none of them have the executive leadership skills necessary to run the 5th largest economy in the world.
Should Democrat leader Paffrath or longshot McGowan win, both would be utilizing much of their first months figuring out how the machine works. If it’s the lone viable Republican, Elder- he’ll most likely be a lame-duck, trump-loving, ultra-conservative governor in an overwhelmingly liberal state.
In the spirit of Labor Day weekend, no candidates have really spoken in-depth about how they’d help the ailing cannabis economy’s most at-risk “essential” assets.
On the surface, McGowan would mayyyyyyybe be the best bottom-up candidate?
As a “cannabis business adviser,” she at least knows some parts of the industry accounting for most of California’s revenue and how they work...
But, she still hasn’t mentioned specifics on how workers are to be treated, how to deal with automation, or how we’d fare in a federally legal environment.
Also, I’m also pretty sure her last visit to a black church didn’t end with an uptick in BIPOC working-class support...
I rolled my eyes when NORML recently piled on with many other left-leaning establishment organizations and politicians’ efforts, pleading for us to “VOTE NO ON THE NEWSOM RECALL”. The massive, outdated, tone-deaf organization is just as much part of the problem as Newsom, himself.
But after digging deep into the candidates’ backgrounds and how they stack up against our beleaguered incumbent, I had to agree…
At least at this point, it makes no sense rolling the dice on any of these new jacks.
Newsom’s at least a devil we’re familiar with.
Yes, his first 2+ years have been a slog for issues our industry deems beyond urgent.
He owes us.
Last week, the governor pulled ahead sharply in polls and barring anything crazy popping up, reversal is unlikely.
If Gavin Newsom wins, not only will we largely be the reason he gets that W; he’ll also be well-aware of our gripes; affording himself another year to fix shit and prove himself worthy (or not) of a second term.
Should he lose…
At least the outgoing president gave us experience in dealing with blowhard media personality-turned politico-types unable to speak without gaslighting “the haters”.
Governor Elder would be an “interesting” leader.
I’m just not sure that’s the smoke we’re in the mood for…
But uh... where the barbecue at, tho?