THE POISON GARDEN website      Arum maculatum berries on a Cannabis leaf 


This free script provided by JavaScript Kit

Pontifications on Poison

Being some ramblings on events associated with poisonous plants.

Monday 30th April 2012

The May edition of ‘Addiction’ contains a ‘For Debate’ article offering possible policies for legalizing Cannabis sativa, marijuana.1 The piece was published online in October 2011 but events on 20th April, or that should be non-events, have rendered it out of date already.

In a section on the proposals but forward in 2010 under Proposition 19, the authors state ‘Although Proposition 19 was defeated, the support was so strong that a redesigned initiative is likely to be on the 2012 ballot in California, and possibly other states.’ That will not be the case.

Cannabis sativa, marijuana

Is legalisation of Cannabis sativa, marijuana
also wilting away?

The deadline for submitting items to be put to the electorate in California this November passed on 20th April and no proposals for changes in marijuana law were submitted. It appears that there may be several reasons for this.

Money, as with everything in American politics, is a key factor. For a proposition to get onto the ballot it has to be supported by 500,000 registered voters. Most organisations trying to get a vote on something will seek to have 700,000 signatures before the deadline to allow for any that are invalidated as illegible or not from a registered voter. It is estimated that just getting those signatures involves an administration cost of up to $2m and then, of course, there are further costs leading up to the vote.

In 2010, Richard Lee, founder of the Oaksterdam University, spent his life savings, said to be $1.5m to get Proposition 19 onto the ballot. He made it clear after the close-run but unsuccessful campaign that he would not be leading any 2012 effort.

No-one seems to have been able to fill his shoes either in providing funding or in galvanising fund-raising.

Cannabis sativa, marijuana

It may also be that those willing to invest in a campaign believe the next opportunity, 2014, offers more hope of success. Assuming Barack Obama is re-elected in November, many believe he will use the opportunity afforded to all second-term US Presidents to do what he believes rather than what he believes will win votes. I’m not wholly convinced by the argument that a second-term president, who will never fight another election of any sort, can act much more freely. He still has to consider his party’s needs.

However, there is an expectation that, in his final four years in public office, Obama will do what he is understood to believe in and put an end to awful cost of cannabis prohibition both in terms of federal and state spending and its effects on so many lives. That expectation seems to have been a factor in deciding that this was not the year to press forward. It may even be that reformers felt that might provoke a backlash that could lead to a Republican presidency.

Then there is the fragmentation of the reform movement. There is, at this time, no single agreed goal of marijuana reform. Some groups simply want ‘medical marijuana’ to be freely available, others want personal possession to be decriminalised and still others wish to see some form of full legalisation where commercial growing of pot would be permitted. This seems to have acted to prevent any single clear message coming forward.

Cannabis sativa, marijuana

Finally, there is the role of the federal government. In the run-up to the November 2010 ballot on Proposition 19, ‘the Attorney General, Eric Holder, warned that if the measure passed, his Justice Department would "vigorously enforce" federal drug laws’2. Some people believe that statement weakened support for Proposition 19 as people felt it was a waste of time if the federal government wouldn’t accept it.

I mentioned Richard Lee and Oaksterdam, above. Even though Lee was never going to be a leading light in any 2012 campaign the raid on his premises and home 3rd april by a combined force from a number of federal agencies pretty much took him out of the fight.

I said in that earlier blog entry that it appeared the federal government was attempting to interfere in state matters. It now appears that the interference has, for the time being, been successful.

That leaves the question of whether it is a good or bad thing that there will be no vote in California in November. The authors of the Addiction piece point out that California law on the proposition system is very restrictive and any proposition approved by the electorate has to enacted as written and is very difficult to subsequently amend. With so many unknowns about how a post-prohibition world will work they are likely to be unforeseen consequences. It will be important for the authorities to be able to respond quickly to such consequences so going down the proposition route may not be the best way in the long-term.

Follow @thepoisongarden on Twitter

Full Entries


Tuesday 25th October 2016 Saturday 20th August 2016 Sunday 6th March 2016 Wednesday 3rd February 2016


Saturday 28th November 2015 Friday 27th November 2015 Monday 17th August 2015 Wednesday 15th July 2015 Friday 26th June 2015 Thursday 25th June 2015 Thursday 30th April 2015 Wednesday 29th April 2015 Wednesday 11th March 2015 Tuesday 3rd March 2015 Saturday 28th February 2015 Sunday 22nd February 2015

November 2014

Monday 24th November 2014 Saturday 8th November 2014

October 2014

September 2014

Wednesday 24th September 2014 Monday 1st September 2014

August 2014

Tuesday 26th August 2014 Saturday 16th August 2014 Tuesday 5th August 2014 Friday 1st August 2014

July 2014

Sunday 27th July 2014 Wednesday 23rd July 2014 Sunday 13th July 2014 Sunday 6th July 2014 Tuesday 1st July 2014

June 2014

Wednesday 25th June 2014 Tuesday 24th June 2014 Sunday 22nd June 2014 Monday 9th June 2014 Wednesday 4th June 2014

May 2014

Monday 26th May 2014 Sunday 18th May 2014 Wednesday 14th May 2014

April 2014

Sunday 13th April 2014 Saturday 5th April 2014 Thursday 3rd April 2014 Tuesday 1st April 2014

March 2014

Monday 31st March 2014 Tuesday 25th March 2014 Friday 21st March 2014 Monday 17th March 2014 Sunday 16th March 2014 Tuesday 11th March 2014 Thursday 6th March 2014 Wednesday 5th March 2014 Saturday 1st March 2014

February 2014

Thursday 27th February 2014 Monday 24th February 2014 Wednesday 19th February 2014 Monday 17th February 2014 Thursday 13th February 2014 Monday 4th February 2014 Monday 3rd February 2014 Saturday 1st February 2014

January 2014

Thursday 28th January 2014 Thursday 23rd January 2014 Friday 17th January 2014 Wednesday 15th January 2014 Monday 13th January 2014 Thursday 9th January 2014 Tuesday 7th January 2014 Wednesday 1st January 2014

December 2013

Monday 23rd December 2013 Friday 20th December 2013 Tuesday 17th December 2013 Friday 14th December 2013 Thursday 12th December 2013 Sunday 8th December 2013 Wednesday 4th December 2013 Sunday 1st December 2013

November 2013

Friday 29th November 2013 Wednesday 27th November 2013 Tuesday 26th November 2013 Friday 22nd November 2013 Monday 18th November 2013 Friday 15th November 2013 Thursday 14th November 2013 Sunday 10th November 2013 Thursday 7th November 2013 Wednesday 6th November 2013 Friday 1st November 2013

October 2013

Thursday 31st October 2013 Sunday 27th October 2013 Wednesday 23rd October 2013 Monday 21st October 2013 Friday 18th October 2013 Friday 11th October 2013 Wednesday 9th October 2013 Tuesday 8th October 2013 Monday 7th October 2013 Tuesday 1st October 2013

September 2013

Monday 30th September 2013 Saturday 28th September 2013 Friday 27th September 2013 Monday 23rd September 2013 Sunday 15th September 2013 Monday 9th September 2013 Sunday 8th September 2013 Tuesday 3rd September 2013 Sunday 1st September 2013

August 2013

Tuesday 27th August 2013 Sunday 25th August 2013 Monday 19th August 2013 Friday 16th August 2013 Tuesday 13th August 2013 Friday 9th August 2013 Friday 2nd August 2013 Thursday 1st August 2013

July 2013

Saturday 27th July 2013 Sunday 21st July 2013 Wednesday 17th July 2013 Monday 15th July 2013 Saturday 13th July 2013 Friday 12th July 2013 Thursday 11th July 2013 Wednesday 10th July 2013 Tuesday 9th July 2013 Saturday 6th July 2013

June 2013

Friday 28th June 2013 Tuesday 25th June 2013 Friday 21st June 2013 Thursday 20th June 2013 Wednesday 19th June 2013 Saturday 15th June 2013 Sunday 9th June 2013 Saturday 8th June 2013 Saturday 1st June 2013

May 2013April 2013 March 2013 February 2013 January 2013 December 2012 November 2012 October 2012 September 2012 August 2012 July 2012 blog June 2012 blog May 2012 blog April 2012 blog March 2012 blog February 2012 blog January 2012 blog December 2011 blog November 2011 blog October 2011 blog September 2011 blog August 2011 blog July 2011 blog June 2011 blog


The POISON GARDEN website is not connected with Alnwick Garden Enterprises Ltd and/or The Alnwick Garden Trust.