While cannabis activists across the United States continue to brainstorm creative ways to persuade more supporters of pot reform to head to the polls, one California organization has developed a simple method for getting voters in the Golden State to cast a favorable ballot for a couple of marijuana initiatives aimed at legalizing the leaf for recreational purposes – bribe them with free weed.
Earlier last week, an organization called Weed4Votes showed up in San Jose to distribute vouchers for 2,000 grams of marijuana to residents willing to listen to their spiel about what is happening this year in the realm of California marijuana legalization. The group, overseen by self-proclaimed “professional marijuana activist” David Hodges, handed out free pot coupons on Friday at a booth set up across the street from City Hall to every person who was willing to cough up their personal contact information.
Unfortunately, there is a catch — California must legalize a recreational cannabis industry in 2016 before the vouchers can be redeemed.
“Recreational marijuana users can redeem their vouchers for free pot after legalization passes,” the organization said in a press release.
All of this complimentary cannabis is really just a greasing of the palms to get residents to tender their support for a couple of proposals up for consideration in November’s general election.
But Weed4Votes is only shelling out vouchers to those willing to stand behind two specific ballot measures: the “Marijuana Control, Legalization and Revenue Act,” which seeks to make it legal to “possess, furnish, process, concentrate, use, grow, transport and sell cannabis for social use in the state of California subject to reasonable regulation and taxation in a manner similar to alcohol,” and the “California Hemp Initiative,” another solid proposal aimed at permitting “the use of marijuana by adults 21 and older and licenses, regulates, enforces, and taxes recreational marijuana sales just like beer and wine.”
The one proposal Weed4Votes does not appear willing to support is one spawned by tech billionaire Sean Parker called the “Adult Use of Marijuana Act.” Organizers told The Bay City News this was because Parker’s proposal “doesn’t permit free distribution of weed.”
However, as The Los Angeles Times pointed out on Monday, if California stands a chance at legalizing a recreational cannabis industry in 2016, it will only be because supporters behind the “Adult Use of Marijuana Act” have pockets deep enough to run a successful campaign. It has been reported that Parker alone has contributed $1.5 million to the campaign coffers in order to get the initiative poised to collect the more than 300,000 signatures needed to earn a voice in the forthcoming election. Other supporters, including investor George Soros and family members of the late insurance billionaire Peter Lewis, have also kicked in substantial funds – a total of $2.25 million has been raised at this juncture.
“We have the largest coalition that’s ever supported a marijuana measure, probably in the country,” Jason Kinney, a spokesman for the Adult Use of Marijuana Act campaign told the Times. “We were determined that this measure would be the consensus measure on the ballot regarding regulating marijuana… not everyone is going to get what they want.”
So, while free weed may earn the other two ballot measures a few thousand additional supporters in the next couple of months, neither seems to stand much of a chance against the financial endowed “Adult Use of Marijuana Act.” It was reported last year by the ArcView Group that marijuana activists should come prepared to spend in upwards of $20 million to run a successful recreational marijuana campaign in 2016, because opposing forces would easily spend at least $10 million to get voters to reject the measure.
It is expected that California will know exactly which marijuana initiatives have qualified for the ballot within the next couple of months.
Would free cannabis sway your vote? Tell us in the comments below.