Posted on May 29, 2013 by News Admin
Just over a week ago, on May 21st, the voters in the city of Los Angeles resoundingly passed Proposition D, an ordinance designed to raise taxes on sales of medical marijuana and limit the total number of allowable weed dispensaries in the city to 135 storefronts or less. On that same ballot was a hotly contested and grossly over-funded mayoral race pitting two openly pro-cannabis Democratic candidates against one another, resulting in a dominant win for LA City Councilman Eric Garcetti who captured 54% of the vote.
In spite of one of the lowest voter turnouts in the city's history, Garcetti overcame the aggressive financial campaigning that Los Angeles' most powerful labor unions could throw at him, becoming the city's 42nd mayor, and earning himself the power to rule over everything from potholes to pot shops in the nation's second largest city.
Garcetti, who has served on the LA City Council since 2001, was an outspoken supporter of repealing the 2011 LA city ban on all pot shops, and openly expressed his support for medical marijuana throughout his mayoral campaign. In an interview with The Huffington Post in January of this year, then-candidate Garcetti was quoted as saying,"I have publicly and repeatedly stated the best thing that the federal government could do is reclassify cannabis so that we can actually get folks the medicine that they need. I have consistently supported measures to enforce and maintain a reasonable number of dispensaries for sick individuals to get their medicine.
Coined as "The Hipster Mayor" by The Huffington Post, Garcetti reportedly drives a Prius and grows his own veggies, but doesn't stop there when talking about "going green".
In a race for mayor that saw strong bilateral support for the use of medical marijuana, hearing both candidates toss out words like "compassion" and "safe access" was to be expected, but the fact that a city of 3.8 million people was sure to get a mayor who would allow medical marijuana may have signaled a turning of the tide for cannabis support nationwide.
With the election decided, and the weed-related ballot proposition that he supported passed, what came out of the mayor-elect's mouth in his first interview with a national news outlet put a grin on the faces of cannabis enthusiasts from Hollywood to Inglewood.
In a brief interview this past Sunday with Univision's Jorge Ramos,
Garcetti upped the ante in the ever-evolving weed debate, praising not
only medical marijuana, but
stating outright that he wouldn't have any problem if cannabis was
legalized for recreational use in the Golden State - if the voters in
the state approved it.
Garcetti told Univision that beyond just medicinal use, "if in the future, California's voters want it for casual use, for me, it's not a problem." And in a rare display of truth about what cannabis prohibition does to local law enforcement, he added," I want to use the police department's resources for more serious crimes, but they are usually tied up in these crimes that aren't as important."
While it's not the first time that Garcetti has advocated full legalization of weed, it is the first time that a sitting mayor-elect of Los Angeles has done so on the national stage.
Garcetti is not alone as a mayor on the front lines of the war against the prohibition of cannabis. Roughly 100 miles south on Interstate 5, San Diego Mayor Bob Filner has been making headlines with his strong support of medical marijuana, denouncing recent federal raids on local dispensaries, controversial cannabis related court cases, and intervention from his own City Council.
NORML and The Marijuana Majority have teamed up in a campaign designed to spread useful facts and information about marijuana reform, and put voters who support cannabis directly in touch with their city's mayor. Posted on their blog earlier this month, NORML's call for action reads:
We are at a pivotal moment.
Support for legalization is the highest it's ever been and it's still growing.
Now, Washington and Colorado have taken the first step toward ending prohibition for good.
But the feds still have reefer madness and are threatening to stand in the way of these states.
Thankfully, mayors across our nation are taking action.
They see the harm of these laws first-hand, and they are calling for change.
Is your mayor one of them?
By way of a flashy, easy-to-use website, visitors can determine if their local mayor supports the use of cannabis or not. Then, depending on their past record and statements on the issue, a friendly digital message is created that can be customized by the user and automatically sent to their mayor.
If your mayor has a history of supporting pot, the letter thanks them for their efforts and encourages them to keep fighting. If they do not, the message bombards them with truths and facts, and points them to a list of their fellow mayors who have decided to support cannabis use in some way, shape, or form. As of May 28th, the site boasts that 2673 messages have been sent to 688 mayors across the United States. Peer pressure, baby!
Tip O'Neill, former Speaker of the House in the U.S. Congress, once said that "All politics is local." That may not be true anywhere more so than in the debate our nation is currently having about our favorite flower.
Contact your local mayor today and thank, inspire, or educate them about cannabis.
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