Mainstreaming Marijuana: Legislators at NORML forum

Mainstreaming Marijuana: Legislators at NORML forum

Monday, January 26, 2015

It’s funny how issues get mainstreamed, and how fast some issues move.

Just a few years ago, I was considered a crazy radical for supporting marijuana legalization.

Then in the last two years, through the justice center campaigns (but not the November 2014 courthouse campaign, because there WAS no campaign) and the 2014 county attorney primary, I was a hopeless reactionary, a “tool” of the “Democrat machine.” My position hadn’t changed a bit; I still supported legalization, I just didn’t believe a county attorney could do so unilaterally.

In any case, things have evolved so fast that the legalization movement hardly needs me anymore.

On Sunday the Iowa chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, or NORML, met with about 25 Iowa City community members for its first community and membership meeting in the area at the Iowa City Public Library.

I didn’t hear about this ahead of time. I might have gone to show support. I might have stayed away, to avoid people whom I agree with on the issue but disagree with on tactics, or on some other things, or who I just personally dislike.

But it turns out that some of those in attendance matter far more than me. The most important part of the article is buried low:

“State Sens. Bob Dvorsky and Kevin Kinney attended the meeting.”

That’s two legislators. Two members of “the Democrat machine” which sometimes gets called “the Dvorsky Machine.” That’s Bob Dyorsky, a retired corrections official, and Kevin Kinney, a just-retired deputy sheriff. And Johnson County’s third Democratic Senator, Joe Bolkcom, is the lead sponsor of medical marijuana issues in the legislature.

With those guys there, you hardly need me, do you?

“My political advice would be all your emphasis should be on (Senate Study Bill 1005) to get that changed to try and move forward with what we actually got passed last time,” Dvorsky said. “I’m not sure why decriminalization is in there either. I think you need a clean bill that just moves it from Schedule I to Schedule II, and that’s part of the holdup, I think, in trying to get something done.”

Pragmatic advice from a key legislator. Popular opinion is moving faster than I’ve ever seen it move on any issue except marriage equality. (Pleeeease let Alabama’s first gay marriage be interracial too. I want to be SURE heads explode.) And Kevin and Bob see that.

Here’s hoping that the nullifiers who opposed the justice center and Janet Lyness give credit where it is due, and praise Kinney, Dvorsky and Bolkcom as loudly as they attacked Lyness and justice center supporters.