Sounds Like Some Citizens are Still in the Grip of “Reefer Madness”
Reefer Madness” is a Propaganda Film made in
the 1930s that is Jammed Full of Lies about Marijuana and its Effect on Humans
Dixie A. Walter
January 6, 2018
What do William Randolph Hearst, the DuPont Company, Henry Ford and Gulf Oil Corporation have in common with turning a rather benign plant into the “Devil's Weed?” Plenty!
Hearst was a power hungry newspaper man who made his own
newsprint. His “yellow journalism” papers were read by 20
million people daily at one time. Hearst had enormous power over the way
Americans reacted to various issues. He is also the character that Orson
Wells patterned his iconic movie “Citizen Kane” after. Said by most to be
the best film ever made, its main lessons are about how destructive the
obsessive search for power and the greed that often goes
along with that power can be.
Hearst owned a million acres of prime timberland and used the trees to make his newsprint. At that time hemp/marijuana/cannabis was legally grown in America. Hemp was found to be a cost-effective way to produce paper. After all, the Chinese had figured it out thousands of years ago.
Hemp, basically a weed, could be grown on far less land than timber and was an easy crop, as the plant rarely needed pesticides and can be harvested far more easily than huge trees.
Hearst was not happy. The idea of using hemp to make paper
meant his millions of trees would not be necessary, and his
forest holdings, not as valuable. Hemp growers had to be stopped,
This is where Andrew Mellon enters the hemp prohibition picture. Mellon was President Herbert Hoover's (1929–33 ) Secretary of the Treasury, and owned the sixth largest bank in America.
Among other interests, the Mellon Bank was most involved and invested in the DuPont Company's sulfur-based process of turning wood fiber into usable paper.
Now only was Hearst not happy, neither was Mellon and DuPont, all hugely powerful people. Remembering this, so far, is only about the production of paper for newspapers.
Hearst began his “crusade” against hemp/marijuana using his widely read paper with truly disgusting lies about what happens to a person who smokes the “weed.” Here is one of the completely racist statements he published in his paper: “Marijuana influences Negroes to look at white people in the eye, step on white men’s shadows, and look at a white woman twice.”
Here is an
excerpt from an article
on a website called Medical Jane titled “Exposed,” by
newspaper was the fuel to the fire for the prohibition of marijuana. He
painted cannabis as an extremely dangerous drug in his “Yellow
Journalism,“ and convinced millions of Americans (many of them
congressmen) that the harmless plant is in fact, evil. Films
like ‘Reefer Madness‘ had the public blaming cannabis for everything from car accidents to death.”
(The information contained on this site can be found in many, many places on the Internet. However, this publication has gathered most of the bits and pieces scattered elsewhere and put them into a concise, easy to read, near scholarly article. I have double checked the facts and they are accurate. You can do the same.)
What about Henry Ford you may ask? He actually was one of the good guys in this parade of the powerful and greedy. According to history Ford started producing his famous Model-T in 1913.
No one appeared to have many issues with the automobile except buggy whip/carriage makers, but Ford's next plan put him right smack in the middle of the hemp hysteria promoted by Hearst, Mellon and DuPont.
Ford had the audacity to open a plant in Michigan during the 1930s and found success proving that hemp could be used to fuel his cars and was “an alternative to fossil fuels,” according to “Exposed” and many other historically accurate sources.
“Exposed” informs us, “What this meant for Ford was that he could now not only produce their own raw materials to make cars, but he could make the fuel to run them as well. The discovery was horrible news for Andrew Mellon, who owned much of the Gulf Oil Corporation; a company who had just recently opened their first drive-through gas station.”
And now enters a new and venomous man, Harry J. Anslinger, an ultra-conservative, aggressive critic of any, and all, things equated to hemp. Ansliger was also a sycophant for Hearst and Mellon.
In 1932 Mellon's Treasury Department established The The Federal Bureau of Narcotics (FBN). Mellon then appointed Anslinger, husband of his (Mellon's) niece as head of the new department.
Following in the wake of Hearst's racially charged lies regarding hemp/marijuana, “Anslinger testified before Congress by parroting Hearst and adding more racist lies to his “crusade,” “Marijuana is the most violence causing drug in the history of mankind…Most marijuana smokers are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz and swing, result from marijuana usage. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes.”
Among other Anslinger quotes are these hateful and blatantly false statements, “The primary reason to outlaw marijuana is its effect on the degenerate races.” “Reefer makes darkies think they're as good as white men.” “Marijuana is an addictive drug which produces in its users insanity, criminality, and death.” “You smoke a joint and you're likely to kill your brother.”
history, Anslinger was not adverse to using Hearst papers' propaganda as
such revolting and improbable false brainwashing of the uninformed
The power, money and constant, fictitious indoctrination by these men culminated in the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937. The legislation effectively made possession or transfer of marijuana illegal throughout the United States under federal law, excluding medical and industrial uses, through imposition of an excise tax on all sales of hemp. (The exclusion of medical and industrial uses fell by the wayside as the tax crippled the hemp growers and eventually killed an industry that could be bringing in multiple billions of dollars today. It's true, you can look it up. And it took huge movements across this country to start recognizing the health benefits of medical marijuana.)
Marijuana was classified as a Schedule I drug by the pharmaceutical industry, claiming the drug had no proven medical benefits, and is an addictive and dangerous drug. Connect the dots here.
This is like
saying a Jack Russell terrier is as dangerous as a grizzly bear. Sure, a
Jack Russell with
cause possible death in humans, but there are pre-symptomatic treatments
for rabies. There are no treatments if a grizzly bear tears you limb from limb, then dines on your body.
Medical Marijuana is My Focus not Recreational
I voted against the recreational marijuana bill as did my husband, Bob, who is also a member of the Eatonville Town Council, starting his second four-year term this month.
We decided to vote “No” on this measure for the exact reasons that are now stirring up our community and other communities across the state. The fear that medical cannabis would be, in some cases, thrown out like the proverbial baby with the bath water when ill-informed communities decided recreational cannabis is a threat to the very heart and soul of a community.
This is what's happening today in Eatonville. Councilmember Jim Schrimpsher has long wanted to ban all marijuana related businesses in the Town of Eatonville. There is just one item of business on the council agenda for January 8, 2018, and that is to change the municipal code to read, in part, “It is the purpose of the chapter to stem the negative impacts and secondary effects associated with all marijuana uses, whether it be medical or recreational...” [Emphasis mine.] You can see this full agenda business at http://eatonville-wa.gov/files/u2/010817_2018-1.pdf.
There are so many falsehoods, perpetuated even today, that echo the wild accusations of these men who managed, in the end, to pretty much kill the production of hemp for various uses, like rope, clothing, and worst of all - at least to the architects of destroying hemp production - the use of its cost-effective pulp to make paper, and a cost-effective way to make fuel to run cars.
Among the arguments still parroted today are that marijuana is a gateway drug and will lead users to heroin and other hard drugs. This can be true in some cases, but on the whole this is not true at all. Studies show the most common gateway drug is alcohol. Nicotine can also lead to other drugs; however, those drugs are most often alcohol-related drugs.
Another claim is that cannabis is addictive. This can be true in the rarest of cases. While some people may become psychologically “addicted,” physical addition is so rare as to be almost non-existent.
Again, none of the dozens of users I know, or have known in the past, were “addicted” to marijuana, be it medical or recreational. Nicotine, alcohol, even caffeine, are much, much more likely to cause physical addiction, and now opioids are the huge addiction problem in America, leading to deaths in some cases.
These are pharmaceutical drugs prescribed by doctors. Humans cannot physically take enough marijuana to cause death; it's impossible.
In the past few days the federal government under Attorney General Jeff Sessions has tried to restart the failed “War on Drugs.” In my opinion this is just another distraction to keep our minds off the very real, multiple investigations happening to the Trump administration. I see this, as do millions of other citizens, as a state's right issue. Taxpaying citizens in over two dozen states have voted to legalize this plant. Why don't these states and their voters have the power to say what is legal? Especially when many of us know cannibis does not belong on a list that includes seriously dangerous drugs?
This latest attack is also something brought up by people who still seem to be brainwashed by nearly 80-year-old falsehoods still perpetuated by the men who wanted a monopoly on making paper, money from fossil fuels, and synthetic pharmaceuticals.
Medical marijuana has been legal in 29 states and has been in many since the 1990s. I have seen no “white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes.” Nor have I seen anyone desiring to commit murder. Same goes for all the other propaganda fed to the public for decades.
As for driving while using cannabis, I have seen reports such as this one “Since marijuana legalization, highway fatalities in Colorado are at near-historic lows.” This is a 2014 Washington Post article – here's a link - Since marijuana legalization, highway fatalities in Colorado are at near-historic lows - The Washington Post.
There are other similar reports on the Internet. This is about people who use cannabis without alcohol – adding alcohol to the mix is not smart. In fact, it's not smart to drive if using marijuana. However, I am a nervous passenger and have ridden in vehicles driven by people using medical cannabis and never been frightened. It seems the use makes them more careful drivers. The same cannot be said for those driving with alcohol in their bodies. They do scare me, a lot.
Interestingly there are very large numbers of adults who use cannabis to stay off of alcohol. While it doesn't work for all people addicted to alcohol, it does work for thousands and thousands of them. You can find their stories all over the Internet if you care to look.
I have personally known many, many people who have used marijuana illegally for close to 50 years...you probably know them too, but just don't know they use the plant. None of the people I know, or have known in the past, went on to hard drugs.
In fact cannabis has been used, in various forms, to combat opiod addiction – an addiction fueled by the medical field. The same medical field who in the past staunchly declared cannabis had no medical attributes.
This has also
been backed up by the federal government. Which is very interesting as the
the United States began taking out patents in 1942 – the patent I read is
dry as dust
and obviously written for people with medical/science backgrounds.
I have not quoted the dry-as-dust words and have just used what we lay persons can understand. In part the patent's abstract states, Cannabinoids have antioxidant properties...making it useful in the treatment of a wide variety of oxidation-associated disease such as age-related, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. And limiting damage following stroke or trauma, or in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and HIV dementia. You can read the patent at this link-United States Patent: 6630507
Used properly, and carefully, marijuana, whether medical or recreational, does little to no harm. And by-the-way medical marijuana is also used by veterans to seek relief PTSD. It may not work for all but it does work for many.
the 1940s Fiorello La Guardia, then mayor of New York City and
anti-prohibition (we all
worked out – for
organized crime), commissioned a study on the effects of marijuana. The La
Guardia Committee was composed of the New York Academy of Medicine and
“...The publicity concerning the catastrophic effects of marijuana smoking
in New York City is unfounded. Therefore, according to the La Guardia
Report, the gateway drug
theory is without foundation.” The committee's report was published in 1944.
Naturally Harry Anslinger, the fear monger, was incensed and started a crusade to bring into disrepute these medical experts and their study/report as “unscientific.” Of course he would do that; his hyperbolic frenzy had been proven wrong then, and it is still wrong today.
Yet, there are obviously people who continue to believe Anslinger, Hearst and their flunkies instead of actual science.
Medical marijuana has helped millions of people dating back thousands of years into ancient civilizations, when no one said it was the "devil's plant." In fact, those ancient civilizations didn't even conceive of the concept of a Satanic being. They knew evil existed but a weed that helped them feel better, and even feel good, was far from evil, it was a blessing as were other medicinal plants.
Medical marijuana has been legal in Washington State since 1999, and all I've seen has fine. People on chemo being more able to stop constant vomiting and be able to eat. Medical marijuana has also been used to help people with anorexia – the list is long and if you want to see what illnesses qualify a patient for medical cannabis check out this link - https://www.doh.wa.gov/YouandYourFamily/Marijuana/MedicalMarijuana/PatientInformation/QualifyingConditions
I leave you with
this true story about my late sister, Dona, who died in 1982 of
metastasized breast cancer.
Dona's husband worked for the FDA and had military privileges. So when it was discovered, in Texas, that Dona had breast cancer she came to Eatonville so mother and I could take care of her and her two very small children, a daughter who was a babe in arms to begin with, and a three-year-old son. Dona was 34 and would be able to use Madigan Hospital as her treatment center.
She was also a retired nurse who had worked in cancer wards. After she got a “clean” bill of health, meaning her cancer was “gone,” her husband made her move to Des Moines in a house under the flight path of SeaTac.
His work took him away for days at a time and she was still on chemo. One day I called her and her son answered the phone telling me his mommy had the “throw ups.” He gave her the phone and I found out she had been vomiting for two days and could barely get up from the sofa.
Yet she had two small kids to care for. By then her daughter was a toddler. I asked Dona if she wanted me to come to her house and she broke down in tears, she was so relieved to have help (I fight back tears as I write this).
Before I left Eatonville I remembered a man I knew back then, over 30 years ago, had given me a joint of home grown marijuana he had harvested from his land in Ohop Valley. He told me it was for my sister. I had stuck it away in a cupboard and forgotten about it.
However, I had heard about how extremely helpful cannabis was for nausea and decided it sure wouldn't do any more harm to her, as she was so sick.
Dona smoked less than half of that old joint, and within fifteen minutes (15) she was up and eating a sandwich. I documented (wrote it down) that experience because it was so stunning to me.
Here was a young mother, who had laid on a couch for 48 hours vomiting and getting more and more ill. But within minutes this “devil weed” had worked its healing properties on her, which allowed her stop feeling sick and even allowed her to eat.
If that isn't a healing plant I sure don't know what is
Dona died a few weeks after her 35th birthday and is buried in our family plot at the Eatonville Cemetery. However, that awesome little weed helped make her last months better.
And my story isn't unusual, it's one of millions. Yet we have people in this small town who want to ban the medical part of marijuana from people who need it and can't travel far away to get it.
It's cruel. I wouldn't much care if they just wanted to ban cannabis just for recreational use in town, but that can't happen because medical and recreational marijuana is lumped together so if one goes, they both go.
I fear the lack of empathy and information will do the cruelest thing and make positively sure the people who need this plant for illness/pain will be overlooked and forgotten, just because some apparently have lost their kindness somewhere along the line.
(Post Script: The late Dr. David Hellyer, a renowned pediatrician, author of books on child care and founder of Northwest Trek told me he wasn't against the use of marijuana in adults. However, he was against its use by young kids. He was a tolerant and very well educated man.)
Please see below for citizen and council comments about marijuana in the town limits during the last council meeting, December 11, 2017.
Near-Verbatim Transcript of Marijuana Discussion and Comments...
December 11, 2017 Council Report
by Dixie A. Walter
January 5, 2018
During citizen comments, Ron Heslop, Eatonville's municipal court judge in Bonney Lake, spoke about a trend he is seeing in his courtroom, and is being reported across the country. The major killer of individuals age 50 and younger in this country now is not heart attacks, not cancer. Its drug overdose. ?Heroin addiction is not treatable, or recoverable without a medical component, meaning the shot. You can take care of meth, cocaine and marijuana by counseling, and changing their ways, but heroin is a killer? I just want to tell you that its a serious problem. He went on to say much of the heroin, in the form of Fentanyl, is being introduced into the U.S. from China.
In citizen comments:
Dennis Clevenger:" I oppose the establishing of legalizing the sale of marijuana, or cannabis, in Eatonville, based on the constitution of the United States, and the rule of law. In the early stages of our constitutional republic, the federal government established a national bank branch in Maryland. Maryland did not like the national bank idea, so they decided to tax that bank hoping to bring it to its end. In 1819, the Supreme Court ruled, in the case of McCulloch vs. Maryland, and said that federal law usurps state law.
Maryland, the state, lost that case. The Supreme Court has never
changed that position. Federal law rules over state law if
there is a conflict between federal law and state laws. In 1970, federal
law classified cannabis as a dangerous drug. Congress has never overturned
this law. In 2005 in Gonzales vs. Wright, the U.S. Supreme Court held that
the federal government has the constitutional authority to prohibit
marijuana for all purposes.
"An analogy to the marijuana proposal would be for me to stand outside the city limits of Eatonville with a sign saying that a person gets to decide what laws in Eatonville he or she wishes to obey, or which to disobey. I know that this would begin to create chaos, and would be wrong. This is potentially what I see for our nation. Either we are a nation of laws, with a constitution, establishing how the government is to function, plus a Bill of Rights to define the rights of people, or we believe in anarchy, or no laws at all.
"Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution says that he, the President of the United States, shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed or carried out. The oath the president takes says, I will, to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. The prior President said that he was not going to enforce marijuana laws, which led to several states passing laws allowing the sale of recreational marijuana, or cannabis.
"The state of Washington and other states have passed an unconstitutional law, legalizing the sale of recreational marijuana, or cannabis. I always taught my students that the Constitution establishes a basis for the branches of government and their responsibilities. I also taught them how laws made by Congress and that federal law is always higher than state law. Without structure, chaos occurs.
"I always taught my sons that
even though everyone does something illegal or wrong, that does not
make it right, and they should stand alone, even if no one else joins
them. With this in mind, I am asking the council to stand alone from what
our state has unconstitutionally done, and do what is legal. Establishing
any legalizing of marijuana, or cannabis, in Eatonville, violates the
Constitution of the United States, federal law, and the ruling by the
Supreme Court concerning when state law and federal law conflict. Federal
law always usurps state law if there is a conflict between the two. I am
asking the council to reject any proposal that will allow the selling of
marijuana in Eatonville. Doing what is legal is more important that
supporting an unconstitutional law."
Terry Van Eaton. "Good evening to my neighbors. I think when each of you took office, you took an oath to uphold the laws of the country. Is that oath still valid? Will you stand by what you said? Will you obey the law? If we have the ability to choose, which Dennis so succinctly pointed out, you can denigrate any law because you don't happen to agree with it, then we will have chaos. There is no great asset to a marijuana shop in Eatonville, unless we are looking at the taxes that you might collect. I don't want to sell my soul, and my town, for taxes on marijuana. So if we can pick out the laws that we choose, that I can say to the chief over here (pointing to the police chief), well, I don't have to obey that law. I don't like that one; it doesn't agree with my philosophy.
"This is a small town, and recently the state arrested multitudinous Chinese nationals for growing marijuana illegally - a little ironic, that they collected a million dollars worth of pot which they're now going to burn, in a state which says its okay to sell it. And they all claimed that they were ignorant of the law. In this case, we are not ignorant of the law. So we have elected you to represent us, but not to run over the top of us. And especially in the name of the law.
"Recently there have been some changes in attitude towards blackberries in this town. I'll just say that my relatives were [unintelligible] over this issue. And right in front of the Baptist Church, there is a huge lot which is covered with blackberries and brush. And I haven't seen a single thing done about that. So you discriminate. And I think that its pretty poor discrimination to choose people that have invested their lives, their home, and their children, in this community. And its pretty blatant when you persecute the doctor, and let the other people go. (Town clerk calls: Three minutes; Terry Van Eaton continues): So take that for whatever its worth."
Thomas Van Eaton, M.D. [brother of Terry Van Eaton) "I'm here to speak about the marijuana. (Reading) A 20-year study into the effects of long-term use of cannabis demolishes [inaudible] drug of safe use. Cannabis is highly addictive, causes medical problems, and opens the door to hard drugs, the study found. This paper was written by Professor Wayne Hall, a drug advisor for the World Health Organization. He works as a professor of addiction policy at Kings College of London. He says one in six teenagers who regularly smoke marijuana becomes an addict. Cannabis doubles the risk of psychogenic disorders, and clearly schizophrenia.
"Cannabis users do worse in
school. Heavy users appear to have impaired intellectual development.
One in ten adults who regularly smoke the drug become dependent on it,
and are more likely to go on to harder drugs. Smoking cannabis doubles the
risk of car crashes. The risk increases substantially if the driver has
had something like alcohol to drink in addition. Smoking it during
pregnancy reduces the weight of the baby.
"And, what contributes to marijuana use?: the availability of the drug; social norms surrounding the drugs use; and perceived harmfulness of the drug.
"And what's happened in this country, is that a lot of people use this drug. A lot of people grow it. And all they do is say, Well, it ain't hurting me. But they're not capable of giving themselves an IQ test to see if it really is or not. There's lots of evidence, and I've got a whole stack of papers if you want to read them, that says, this drug is addictive. If cannabis is not addictive, neither is heroin or alcohol. Is what this Professor Hall states. I've found that to be true in my time out on the
reservation with the natives, and I just think that if you want to collect money at the social expense of you're going to encourage people to use this drug, and impairing their function, fine.
"The trouble with marijuana is, it stays in your system for 30 days. And if you think you're not impaired and you are, and you have an accident, you're going to test positive for that drug. And you're going to be liable. As a physician for the last 45 years, I've never prescribed the drug. Its like
saying why not prescribe cigarettes; they calm your nerves. The health hazards way exceed the benefits that people are going to get from them. Anyway, I just don't think that the tax money is worth the social costs of the drug."
Louise Van Eaton [wife of Dr. Van Eaton] spoke next. "I have three points about recreational marijuana sales in Eatonville. Tonight we said the pledge of allegiance. The council swore an oath of allegiance to federal and state laws when they were sworn in, and our town mission statement is to provide and protect the health, safety and the general welfare of our community. Our states top lawyer, the attorney general, determined that local governments can adopt outright bans of recreational marijuana. Even though the state has legalized it, we can say no to recreational sales here. When the federal government decides to enforce the law, those using, growing and selling can be prosecuted. That was my legal point.
"My second point is health. Alcohol and tobacco are legal under federal law. Their sales produce large tax revenues, but alcohol and tobacco cause problems. Alcoholics, car wrecks, fetal alcohol babies, [inaudible], etc.; tobacco causes lung cancer, COPD, emphysema, heart disease, even from second-hand smoke. Marijuana is usually smoked. It, like tobacco, has carcinogens and is addictive. The human brain isnt fully developed until age 25. One in six youths who use marijuana before the age of 18 develop a clinical diagnosis with marijuana disease for addiction dependence. This source comes from a Doctor [inaudible] in Colorado.
"Marijuana's active ingredient, THC, tetrahydrocannabidol, gives the high effect. This effect was only 3 percent but its now 8 percent because of the way marijuana is now produced by its growers. The THC high content [inaudible] to increase psychosis in some, and accelerates [inaudible] brain [inaudible].
"Financial. Revenue vs. regulation. How do you assess the cost of damage to a brain? Students dropping out of school. Not reaching their potential as a contributing member of society. The cost of rehabilitation, incarceration and jail [inaudible]. The cost to a family when a [inaudible] fails a drug test and loses their job. More impaired drivers, more accidents, more fatalities. How do you measure these costs? You do not need to adopt interim regulations. This community can say no to the sale of recreational marijuana. We want what's best for our citizens."
During discussion at the second reading of Ordinance 2017-15 there was a public hearing. Thomas Van Eaton, M.D., spoke again, citing an article in a 1982 issue of Cruiser News, written by a mother from the Washington State Mental Hospital, whose son was killed on 304th, under the influence of marijuana and alcohol. "How do you justify it? I've been a doctor for 45 years, and I haven't seen cigarettes, alcohol or marijuana make better people.
"?If you want to promote an idea that is obviously, by the World Health Organization, a dangerous drug, and violates the laws of the nation, and vote for this thing, then I won't respect you for anything. ?If you're going to sit up here and say you support the Constitution, and you pass a law that's obviously contrary to federal law, how can I respect you? Its got to be everybody for themselves, it sounds like around here. ?It's a bad idea.
"It's a gateway drug. It causes brain damage to adolescents up to age 25. By, quote, allowing it, you're saying it's okay. And the responsibility for the damage incurred toward youth and other people is going to have to fall back on you if you say, Well, the state says its legal. Also its going to undermine everybody's idea of what government represents. I served in the military and said I would uphold the Constitution, and put my life on the line whenever President Kennedy asked me to. I never thought I would see the day when states could pass laws that are contrary to federal law, and then think its okay."
Louise Van Eaton
spoke again. "I don't understand your urging to put in the interim
regulations. My understanding from the attorney general, was that you
could just say no, and then you wouldn't have to spend any of the time,
effort or energy on introducing interim regulations. I know people in this
town who grow marijuana because they want to use it. I know people who go
and get it illegally. If they want to do that illegally, that's their
choice. But for our town to say, we're providing an illegal substance,
that's not right.
"Proximity makes it easier to have the [inaudible]. As you stated at the last meeting, probably the only place in our community where it could be, is just down there by the pawn shop, because, we have too many churches and schools placed in other areas. I don't think that's bad. T.C. Van Eaton, when he founded the town, in one of his statements said, good schools and good churches make a good community. Maybe because they do set a standard that should be held, instead of saying, I don't agree with this law. I'll do what I want.? You don't have to say, well it was a bother to say we hold a moratorium every six months, and then we have to bring it up again for another six months. I don't think that's a [inaudible]. Thank you."
Colin Stephens spoke next. "You know how I feel about it. We've talked about it every time it came up. [inaudible] in this town. It was supposed to go to a vote of the people. That was overlooked, and did what you wanted to do, I guess we'd say. One of the things was brought up that it will bring jobs and economic capital. What are we talking? Two, three people inside of a pot shop selling dope?
"And Yelm just had a deal saying they could get up to $64,000. And as we talked before, the state is going to be cutting these fundings back, three times I think in the next year? So what are we talking, $40,000 bucks? What's it going to cost us to cure the problems that its going to bring in? The people here are pretty clear that we don't want it. You can't go off the survey off Facebook, cause that's a joke. So, I think the people have spoken on what we want."
Len Throop was the next citizen to comment. "I'm going to speak in favor of it. I don't see anything wrong with it. In the past [inaudible] the people of Washington that marijuana is legal in this state. There is some revenue to be made, granted, but I say that we do it because it's legal in the state of Washington. How many other states have passed it since Washington? I believe four or five states for recreational use, as well as several others, for medical use. And it does definitely have a medical use within the state, within this country. And we can argue about federal law and state law, but as of today it is legal in the state of Washington, and I see no reason why it shouldn't be legal in the Town of Eatonville."
Dennis Clevenger then spoke again. "The analogy I'm thinking of is, I listened to our police chief talk, and it's like, if we expect him to obey the law and I know that he does but if we expect him to obey the law, and all of a sudden he comes to the mayor and says, You know, there are two laws that we have in the Town of Eatonville that I am just not going to enforce, exactly how would we feel under those circumstances? Because we might not like a law doesn't make it legal. Its either constitutional or its unconstitutional.
"The Supreme Court has ruled that it is unconstitutional. They have said that the states cannot override a federal law. The Supreme Court has defended the right of the federal government to pass a law, saying that marijuana is not to be allowed in our nation. And now were at a point where we're willing to say, because our state took a stand against the federal government that we're going to take the same stand against our federal government?
chaos. That is anarchy. And I really believe it is the wrong approach to
take. I would not want our police chief not to obey the laws.
He's taken an oath to support that. I would assume that the town should be
doing the same thing."
Mayor Schaub then asked if anyone else wished to speak.
Louise Van Eaton asked, "Are we allowed to speak again?" Not receiving a No from the mayor, she spoke again. "If you want recreational marijuana, if you want medical marijuana, you can get it at Yelm. You can get it on the way to Tacoma [inaudible] the name of the place. And yes, our citizens go there and get it. You know, if it were something that were not available, and it was essential, for, I mean, like, Arrow has a lot of things you'll need for a certain plumbing problem, a piece, so yes, we did have to go, for something that was essential. Recreational marijuana is not essential.
"I know of many people who say, Yes, I get marijuana for health reasons. I got it for my parents in their old age, or I get it in a crème. That still doesn't make it legal. I don't think our youth are going to go trying to get it [inaudible].
if you want to be illegal, you can get it someplace else who voted to have
sales of illegal [inaudible]. Does that mean we have to follow
With no other citizen comments, the mayor then closed the public hearing.
Councilmember Jennie Hannah moved to table the matter for further discussion and/or a special study session. It received no second. She then withdrew her motion.
Bob Thomas said he
thought the comments about the councils' oaths and the
constitution were spot-on. He said the view that accepting legal use of
recreational marijuana was a slippery slope argument. If you want to take
the same principle that were advocating here in favor of retail sale of
marijuana, substitute slavery. States rights against federal law. The
principle, while not the substance, is exactly the same. ?As citizens of
this country, we do not, nor should not, have the ability to selectively
choose which laws we obey for that. Unfortunately, we had a chief
executive for eight years in charge of the country that felt that he had
the right to do that, and set a horrible constitutional precedent for the
rest of the country?.
"As leaders in the community, I don't think that voting for this would be consistent with our oath. I don't think [it] would be consistent with the Town's mission statement. And based on my own personal experience with friends who are no longer with us, at least in part to drug use, I can't see possibly condoning the retail sale within Eatonville. I'm not responsible for the rest of the county or the state. I think that we as a town council can only do the right thing given the area of responsibility that we are charged with." Thomas then clarified the point of the ordinance as he saw it: If it passes here tonight, its an interim regulation, pending the Planning Commission, with public input, coming up with permanent regulations for the sale.
Councilmember Walter spoke next. "This is obviously an issue that a lot of people feel very strongly about, and you can just feel the emotion in the testimony as well. And I respect that and appreciate that.? However, the fact is, it is legal. Marijuana is legal in Eatonville, whether or not we approve these interim regulations. So I don't agree. If we are looking at it in terms of a few more local jobs, and we desperately need new businesses and new jobs, and a little bit of revenue, I don't think that should be discounted.
that should be weighed along with everything else. I looked up on the
Municipal Research Services Center [MRSC] site, as well as the Liquor
Cannabis Board's (LCB) site, And
here are some stats that I found.
"Fourteen municipalities in the state? allow marijuana businesses, simply through their existing zoning ordinances for retail. Ninety four additional communities have established permanent zoning regs specifically allowing and regulating marijuana businesses. So that's 108.
"Seventy seven municipalities have enacted legislation prohibiting marijuana businesses. Thirty nine municipalities have taken no action. And by allowing our moratorium to terminate, we are now in that latter category of no action at this time. I believe that the state regulations are quite thorough and they've been fine-tuned over the last five years since 502's passage. I've learned that the LCB does routine checks of marijuana retail shops, just like they do at liquor stores, to test to find out if there are any sales to minors. Licenses can be revoked immediately if that happens, just like with liquor stores.
"Marijuana tax revenues statewide for 2016 were around $300 million in marijuana excise taxes. In Pierce County, $24.5 million, roughly, in excise tax revenues, generated by 27 retail outlets, 20 of those in cities and towns, and seven of them in unincorporated areas. Six million of that is to be distributed back to the cities and towns.
"Now that's not a lot for each,
but in the 2017-2019 biennium, if the state tax revenues that are
generated surpass forecasts, that $6 million could go up to as much as
$18 million in funds allocated to cities and towns, through those excise
taxes. That's just for that two-year biennium though. They're supposed to
then go back down, to remain at what it is now, apparently. So I think
these are things that we should keep in mind as we consider this.
"Colin Stephens, you mentioned a Facebook poll. I don't know if the one that I'm going to mention is the one that you saw. But I do have a copy of a summary of total responses of a poll. (Walter passes it out to council and staff) The question was posed by William Lewis ?he asked how people thought about recreational marijuana businesses in town.
"And the respondents registered
234 Likes, 135 Dislikes and 16 of the Heart icons. So that's 250
positive, 135 negative. Another poll by Nick Junka: 230 said Yes, 135 No,
45 don't care." (Stephens
asked how many of them live in town.)
"These are Facebook friends of these people who live in the Eatonville
Walter then described meeting a council member from the city of South Bend, who is also the clerk-treasurer in nearby Raymond, where several new marijuana businesses mostly production, with one retail outlet had been established. He said asked her if these new marijuana businesses had any noticeable impact on property values. And that she said, No. She said, in fact, you can't find a home to buy or a rental in the South Bend-Raymond area.
Councilmember Bill Dunn spoke next, saying that federal law is not necessary automatically pre-emptive of state law. "It's not necessarily so cut and dried. And I think there's a message to be received in the fact, that in the five years since the passage of this initiative, the federal government hasn't taken any significant steps to indicate its intent on initiating any type of pre-emption litigation. And quite honestly, until the federal government tells the State of Washington, You can't do this, I'll be of the position of the State of Washington."
Next was Councilmember Schrimpsher. ?"There's a little clarification of Councilmember Walter's budget numbers. The Liquor and Cannabis Board and the Governors budget, correct me if I'm wrong, unless I read the budget wrong - they plan to cut the 12 million down to six, and six down to three, by '19? You heard our judge earlier, saying drug DUIs are up. I asked for a study to be obtained from the town staff, that was done by the University of Washington and the King County Health Department which proves that to be true and correct. Young youth drug DUIs are up dramatically, and its attributed to the legalization of marijuana. So, lets get back to the rule of law."
then complained that the town staff did not follow the
resolution passed earlier by council authorizing an advisory
vote. He said the advisory vote was to be conducted at the end of the
moratorium, and the staff ignored it. He then said the research that he's
done on real estate websites shows that property values have declined
around marijuana businesses in the State of Washington. He then said he
talked with two men who where inspecting a property in his neighborhood
who told him they were planning on opening up a marijuana shop there.
"So, I've been opposed to this since it came up, and I agree that we are in direct contrast with federal law. And yes, I believe that the State of Washington thumbed their nose at the federal government. And if that's the will of the people outside this venue, then so be it. But I, like many other people in this room, raised my right hand and swore to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, well before I was a councilman.
"My oath is to the Constitution. My oath is also to the people, and I do not think that marijuana is within the best interest of the people. And I also think that passing interim regulations would create a loophole for somebody that plans to get a marijuana shop up and running in this town. So, they get it up and running under the interim regulations, we set different regulations, we cannot hold them to those different regulations, because they came in they'd have to be grandfathered. So were creating a legal quandary for ourselves.
“As slow as things move in this body and through the Planning Commission, I have no faith that we could get permanent regulations done in time to regulate anything that would be coming down the pike. Just don't do it. Things just move slow here. He concluded by saying he feels the Town should just ban it [a retail marijuana business], until an advisory vote can be conducted, and, if the people say it's time for marijuana to come into this town, then let's do it."
Councilmember Jennie Hannah spoke next. "This a tough one for me. I've always said that my position up here was to represent the citizens of Eatonville, not my own agenda. I don't have a horse in this race. My vote is, ninety nine percent of the time, going to be a fiscal one. That being said, the representation here, for the populace against this, has spoken volumes, and it's left me in a quandary. I came in here tonight, steadfast in my decision, and my most revered, respected teacher is here tonight, and I don't know what to do. So I'm almost inclined to make a motion that we ban the sale in Eatonville, rather than send this ordinance to the Planning Commission."
Discussion followed about
Parliamentary Procedure. The ordinance before the council had to be
dealt with first, before another, potentially conflicting, motion
could be considered.
then asked for a roll call vote on Ordinance 2017-15 establishing interim
regulations. The ordinance failed 2-3, with
Dunn and Walter
voting "Yes" and
Thomas and Hannah voting
Schrimpsher then moved to ban the sale of marijuana until an advisory vote of the public can be done. Thomas seconded. Town Clerk Kathy Linnemeyer clarified that a public hearing was part of the ordinance process, as well as each moratorium continuation, and a public hearing would again need to be noticed and held before a ban could be enacted.
then rescinded his motion, and changed it to, begin the process of banning
marijuana within the town limits of Eatonville, until an advisory vote
takes place. "I'm not asking for a moratorium. I'm asking for a ban."
Thomas said he felt production and processing should be included in addition to retail, in the motion, at which Schrimpsher amended his motion to include them. Dunn asked for clarification that a vote against Schrimpsher's motion would essentially be a vote in favor of there being no regulations other than those imposed by the state.
The motion passed, 4-1, with Walter being the only "No" vote.