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Anti-Marijuana Funder Says Jailing Of Grandmother For Medical Cannabis No ‘Big Deal’

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A retired art professor who donated more than $1.4 million in a failed effort to defeat marijuana legalization has come to the defense of Michigan police who arrested and jailed an 80-year-old grandmother for marijuana possession.

Julie Schauer’s political contributions to anti-legalization group SAM Action in 2016 were that organization’s main source of funding (and also led to fines from the California Fair Political Practices Commission, after the prohibitionist campaign committee failed to properly report her involvement). Schauer donated to the anti-legalization efforts in California, Massachusetts and Nevada that year, all of which ended up legalizing recreational marijuana for adults 21 and over.

This week, Schauer argued that it was “not such a big deal” for 80-year-old Delores Saltzman—an arthritis sufferer who was arrested and jailed for possessing less than an eighth of an ounce of marijuana in June, after she let her medical cannabis card expire—to be incarcerated overnight.

Saltzman said the night behind bars aggravated her arthritis. Charges against the octogenarian great-grandmother were dropped earlier this month, and Saltzman is now a vocal supporter for a campaign to legalize recreational marijuana in Michigan.

Michigan Cops Lock Up 80-Year Old Grandmother For Expired Medical Marijuana Card

The comment is consistent with Schauer’s regular output of anti-marijuana hysteria—she recently suggested that cannabis played a role in the February mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida that left 17 dead—but it also marks a significant flip-flop.

Last year, when Schauer attempted to unsuccessfully challenge California’s campaign finance reporting fine against SAM Action, she claimed—inaccurately—that “no one ever goes to jail only for possessing small amounts of pot.”

This is messaging routinely used to downplay the importance of marijuana legalization—but, as Saltzman’s arrest demonstrated, it is not accurate.

According to the American Civil Liberties Union, of the 8.2 million people arrested on marijuana charges between 2001 and 2010, 88 percent were for possession. And in 2016, police arrested more people for marijuana possession than they arrested for all violent crimes, including murder, rape, assault and arson, according to FBI statistics.

In her letter to California officials—dated April 20, 2017—Schauer also claimed to have a friend in the state “whose son… was killed by marijuana.”

According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, “no death from overdose of marijuana has been reported.”

Schauer also blamed California for leading “the long-term disabling of so many youths through medical pot” and blamed the state’s election laws, which allow for transparency by publishing the names of donors, for “ruining my career.”

“My reputation as a teacher of 30 years is now tarnished and damaged so that I can never go back to teaching again,” she wrote. “Thank you, California, and thank you, marijuana activists and marijuana groups, for ruining my career and harming my reputation.”

Though some news organizations have investigated the source of Schauer’s money—a significant sum for anyone to contribute to a political cause, particularly for a self-described teacher—the source of her anti-cannabis fortune is not known.

Another anti-legalization nonprofit to which Schauer donated $200,000, called Strong Economy For Growth, paid Massachusetts $31,000 in fines for also failing to properly disclose its donors.

Schauer is one of handful of large donors to anti-legalization efforts. In nearly every ballot-initiative campaign where legalization was in play, fundraising in support of legalization has dwarfed spending in opposition.

That was not the case this year in Oklahoma’s medical cannabis ballot fight, however, but supporters prevailed nonetheless.

Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Campaign Reports Show Grassroots Can Trump Big Money

Marijuana Moment is made possible with support from readers. If you rely on our cannabis advocacy journalism to stay informed, please consider a monthly Patreon pledge.

Chris Roberts is a reporter and writer based in San Francisco. He has covered the cannabis industry since 2009, with bylines in the Guardian, Deadspin, Leafly News, The Observer, The Verge, Curbed, Cannabis Now, SF Weekly and others.

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Elon Musk: ‘I Have No Idea How To Smoke Pot’

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Elon Musk got himself into a bit of trouble after smoking marijuana during an appearance on Joe Rogan’s podcast in September.

The move reportedly led to NASA launching an investigation into his company SpaceX’s “workplace safety” and “adherence to a drug-free environment.”

But now, in a new interview 60 Minutes, the Tesla founder indicated the on-camera puffing was a fluke and that he actually doesn’t even know how to smoke weed.

“I do not smoke pot,” he said.

“As anybody who watched that podcast could tell, I have no idea how to smoke pot or anything. I don’t know how to smoke anything, honestly.”

Musk seems to be telling the truth, at least judging from the widespread reaction to the fact that he didn’t seem to actually inhale the blunt that Rogan passed him.

The full 60 Minutes interview with Musk is set to air on Sunday.

Elon Musk Smokes Marijuana With Joe Rogan

Marijuana Moment is made possible with support from readers. If you rely on our cannabis advocacy journalism to stay informed, please consider a monthly Patreon pledge.
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U.S. Air Force Warns About Grandma’s Marijuana-Infused ‘Miracle Sticky Buns’

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The U.S. Air Force wants its members to be extra careful around “grandma’s miracle sticky buns” that might contain marijuana.

In a post on the Air Force Medical Service site on Wednesday, the military branch reminded members that cannabis is illegal under federal law and that testing positive for THC metabolites will result in likely separation from service under “less than honorable conditions” and other possible punishments.

“Marijuana consumption is not permitted in any fashion, period.”

The department stressed that with state-level legalization expanding, there’s wider availability of “THC containing products,” so military members “need to be extra vigilant about the foods and drinks they consume, especially during the holiday season.”

“Many of us attend parties or gatherings with friends and relatives and have meals and libations prepared by others.”

Maybe the Air Force got the memo from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which also recently put out an advisory about holiday-related cannabis consumption and encouraged people to “#DitchDanksgiving.”

While the message was serious, the warning to military members at least ended on a lighter note, seeming to acknowledge the therapeutic use of cannabis edibles, something that federal law still doesn’t officially recognize:

“Your friend’s grandma’s miracle sticky buns might look mighty tasty and get rave reviews at the big shindig, but if you’re in the military or work for the federal government you might want to think twice and make sure they weren’t made to treat her bad hip first before you jeopardize your career.”

To be sure, more seniors are using marijuana, primarily for medical purposes. But unless they’re homemade, marijuana products are generally labeled accordingly. So federal workers should probably pay closer attention to pastry packaging if they want to avoid accidentally ingesting prohibited sticky buns.

The Feds Are Hiring Professional Marijuana Joint Rollers…Kind Of

Photo courtesy of Stacy Spensley.

Marijuana Moment is made possible with support from readers. If you rely on our cannabis advocacy journalism to stay informed, please consider a monthly Patreon pledge.
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Michael Moore: Put Marijuana On The Ballot To Drive Voter Turnout In 2020

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Documentary filmmaker and activist Michael Moore says that if Democrats want to win in the 2020 election, they ought to put marijuana legalization proposals on the ballot in states across the country, especially in swing states.

Moore, whose home state of Michigan legalized cannabis during the midterms earlier this month, said the outcome of the election—in which Democrats won the state’s gubernatorial, attorney general and U.S. Senate races—proved that ballot initiatives “are the answer” to electoral victories.

“This is what we did in Michigan two weeks ago: we had a ballot proposal to legalize marijuana,” he said on MSNBC’s The Last Word. “Largest turnout of young people in we don’t know when came out to the polls.”

It’s not entirely clear how large youth turnout specifically was in the state compared to past elections. But in general, Michigan turnout reached its highest levels in 56 years—and across the country, young people did cast ballots in higher numbers.

Besides marijuana legalization, Moore said putting issues like free college and outlawing gerrymandering on the ballot will drive Democrats who “don’t vote that much” or “don’t like the politicians” to the polls. He emphasized the need to get those issues on the ballot in swing states.

The filmmaker also seems to be speaking from a place of experience, as he made his vote in favor of Michigan’s legalization measure a late night TV spectacle when he filled out his absentee ballot in an appearance earlier this month on NBC’s Late Night with Seth Meyers.

Michael Moore Votes For Marijuana Legalization During Late Night TV Appearance

There’s some limited data that seems to support Moore’s theory about marijuana and voter turnout, too. For example, an October survey of registered voters in Wisconsin found that 56 percent said they’d be more likely to cast their ballot if it included a cannabis-related question.

The Midwest May Be the Next Frontier In Marijuana Legalization

Photo courtesy of MSNBC.

Marijuana Moment is made possible with support from readers. If you rely on our cannabis advocacy journalism to stay informed, please consider a monthly Patreon pledge.
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