Drug Law

Meet the Morons Who Hurt Marijuana Movement

| by NORML

One of the most difficult parts of our job at NORML is overcoming decades of stereotyping and propaganda about cannabis consumers. We know the adults who consume cannabis regularly (25 million adults annually, 15 million adults monthly, and 2.5 million adults daily) are regular folks who work hard, raise families, and pay taxes.

Exhibit A: Montana Caregivers Network's Jason Christ (AP Photo)

So it is incredibly frustrating to see the hard work of so many dedicated activists dashed by the idiotic actions of one who claims to represent our best interests. With friends like these, our movement needs no enemies.


We’ve recently recounted the tale of Jason Christ in Montana, whose traveling medical marijuana caravans, internet video “medical exams”, and anti-social behavior has legislators in the Big Sky State on the brink of the first-ever repeal of a statewide marijuana law reform.

Exhibit B: Dominic Vita (former VP, NORML Connecticut)

A couple years back we told the tale of Dominic Vita in Connecticut, who, on the eve of an important vote on a decriminalization bill, sent a threatening email to a state senator who opposed the bill. Dominic topped it off by wearing a t-shirt that said “well hung” in his booking photo.

Now we get to add Miguel Lopez in Colorado to the list – with video!  What we have is a Colorado State Rep. Jerry Sonnenberg, a Republican who was sponsoring an amendment to a bill that would have ended the videotaping of Colorado patients as they purchase medical cannabis in a dispensary.

(Colorado Independent) The video shows Sonnenberg on the night of a committee hearing on HB 1043– a bill bringing increased regulations to the marijuana industry– asking a man who calls himself Cap’n Cannabis…

Cap’n Cannabis?  Were Frankenbong and Count Dankula there, too? Look, I may not be the guy to say it, but there is a time and place for clever nicknames.  On the radio and blog it’s “Radical” Russ; in a statehouse it’s Russ Belville. Anyway, continue…

…asking a man who calls himself Cap’n Cannabis to stop videotaping a discussion between Sonnenberg and a number of regulatory and law enforcement employees about his amendment.

After the man refuses to stop videotaping, Sonnenberg moves to go to his office. Later, reaction to Sonnenberg’s desire to hold a meeting away from the camera brought Sonnenberg back into the public space. Reaction to Sonnenberg’s move to go into a closed-door meeting included statements made by activist Miguel Lopez.

“Secret police, secret police. No transparency in government here,” Lopez said.

Watch the video for yourself – cue to about the 1:50 mark for the ripping and the “secret police!” protest.

Click here to view the embedded video.

There you have it – a patient-friendly amendment to a dispensary regulation bill shredded because Miguel Lopez taunted the sponsor of the amendment with cries of “secret police” when asked to stop videotaping and then allegedly spat on another lobbyist who called him out for dashing the friendly amendment.

I’ve met Miguel Lopez at the Denver KushCon last December.  This story doesn’t surprise me in the least.

What’s sadder is that the video I’ve placed above comes from the “420 Coalition” which seems to be spreading it around as an example of aberrant behavior on the part of Rep. Sonnenberg for ripping up the friendly amendment and “throwing a temper tantrum”!  

Sorry, you lost that moral high ground when the shouts of “Secret police! Secret police!” rang out.  ”Secret police” conjures visions of the East German Stasi, the Russian KGB, and the Nazi SS – not exactly a legislator asking you not to tape a conversation in the rotunda where you are allowed to be right there joining in the conversation.

Whether Colorado’s HB 1043 is an overall good or bad bill is irrelevant.  Whether the lawmakers have been acting with the best of behavior is irrelevant. If you are going to represent cannabis consumers, you need to rise above that and behave impeccably. We already start with a deficit in the public’s eyes for merely