Radical ways of pushing legalization
So for many many years I listened to Russ Belville talking about “Legalize if for everyone”. “Medicalization of marijuana is regressive”. There were a whole lot of catch phrases used, personal insults dealt, and the main goal was always stated and restated “lets legalize marijuana for everyone”.
During Prop19 there were a handful of medical marijuana patients/providers who rejected the notion of what was being proposed in Prop19, because it looked like a very ambiguous reach that could effect their medical grow rights and other issues relating to their medicine.
It was an honest concern for some, and it was blatant greed and exclusiveness for others.
But Russ took this as an attack on his freedom, and his work and made it very personal.
In radio interviews with other NORML folks, like Kevin Oliver and others it was always a big “us against them” type of thing. This made for some pretty explosive conversations on the NORML Daily Audio Stash. Aside from the name calling it was also just a way to belittle, berate and take frustions out on other activists from what I could tell.
This insult swap match reached all time lows as “Radical Russ” attacked Roger Christie in Hawaii in multiple posts. One after another insulting Roger for taking donations. Of which NORML did as well as many of their advertisers too. But when Roger Christie did the same thing, it caused posts on the NORML stash titled such things as “The Church of Lighter Wallets”.
Mind you, Roger Christie has always been on board with what Russ proposed as “legalization for everyone”, and Roger to my knowledge had NEVER opposed any legalization initiative or movement. In fact Roger often attended NORML conferences and supported NORML.
But in Roger’s time of need, when the authorities were persecuting him most, and before he was arrested for anything over a half a dozen posts on the NORML Stash blog, and several live broadcasts were launched against Roger for his religious beliefs and nothing else.
Russ claims that the attack was because Roger was taking donations for “get out of jail free cards”. But up until that point and even some time after that Russ had advertisers on the NORML stash, as well as reports about and in favor of Medical Marijuana doctors and card issuers and it was never a problem for Russ to endorse, advertise and praise those folks who were issuing “get out of jail free cards” in regards to medical marijuana.
Fast forward a few years, and I-502 comes out, which is NOT AT ALL what Russ had been promoting for years prior to the release of I-502. But Russ along with his friend Alison Holcomb at the ACLU started berating those opposed to I-502, who based on the restrictive, un-scietific, and regressive driving provisions reject the initiative. But Russ’s take on it was “these people are just greedy patients”. Saying that the reason people were opposing I-502 is because they are worried about their bottom line. Alison Holcomb picked up on this, and waged the same kind of attack on those opposed to I-502. Despite that she herself opposed EVERY other legalization initiative in Washington prior to I-502. Not only did she not endorse or help those initiatives, she outright denounced them and rejected them.
Yet Russ didn’t complain too much about that. He didn’t mention how much lawyers have to lose when cannabis is ACTUALLY legalized, or delve into the motives behind why the ACLU has remained practically silent on this major civil rights issue for over 75 years. No Russ only had crass words for the pro-cannabis crowd.
Well this election season is no different. Russ has complained several times about the OCTA 2012 (Measure 80 initiative) in his shock jock kind of way. In fact I’ve recently started slipping when referring to Russ and the words have came out of my mouth “Russ Limbaugh”.
First it was that Measure 80 wasn’t going to make the ballot, and Russ thought that his devine wisdom in the form of insults could motivate the initiative drive and get Measure 80 on the ballot.
Well congrats Russ, your motivational speeches worked. YOU did it!
Now that it is on the ballot, Russ is sure that he can push Measure 80 through by insulting Paul Stanford for throwing a cannabis festival outside of city limits rather than taking the platoform of Hempfest (which of course was a festival this year in solidarity mostly against Russ’s beloved I-502).
Not to mention Russ’s disapproval of the way Measure 80 has been funded and such.
RE: While marijuana legalization campaign struggles, Oregon activists throw a smoke-in
I just wonder to myself after reading Russ’s biography. About how he has had some superb jobs, some as an IT consultant, some as a Wall Street consultant, etc. I just wonder with all of this excellent intellect and ability to influence financial firms and such. Why isn’t Russ bank rolling these efforts?
I know that Russ has been taking a pay check for his efforts. But if this was true activism, and if Russ is as good as he says he is. Wouldn’t it make sense that Russ could use his financial wisdom to help rather than criticize?
Paul Stanford has dumped more money into legalization cannabis than anyone I know. And there may be others, but I certainly don’t consider any efforts in I-502 to be working towards ending prohibition, especially when they are introducing many new prohibitions. So in all of history I can’t think of anyone who is working towards personal grows, personal possession, personal distribution, etc any more than Paul Stanford.
So is this really the way to push legalization? Insulting others. Harming their reputation? ralying his audience against this person or that person? Or is that just mob mentality which places Russ at the helm of the mob, adding to just one more position on his long and impressive resume?
Although I don’t know how that would look on a resume or what job you would apply for in something like that. “2008-2012 Worked at the front position of a mob to rally people against others who I disagree with”?
Maybe he could get a job with the League of Militant Atheists if they ever reorganize, now that Stalin is dead and all? I wrote about that awhile back: Is militant atheism a sore spot for the legalization movement?
But over all, I don’t see this Radical notion of “divide and conquer” helping the legalization movement. Nor to I think consenting to new prohibitions is helping either such as is found in Initiative 502 in Washington state.
What would impress me however is if Russ dumped the kind of money many other activists that he is working against do into legalization. I personally spent over 15% of my income for several years into this cause, despite having children and responsibility that Russ doesn’t have. Which 15% isn’t nearly what Paul Stanford is pouring into this cause, but it is a good portion of Russ’s annual salary with NORML. (according to what Russ revealed in his debate at the Baker Institute).
There are many people doing more than myself, more than most. But certainly none that I know of that are doing more than Paul Stanford is.
So I think it really makes Russ lose credibility to insult people that are devoting their lives to ending prohibition and instead backing lawyers in the ACLU who have grossly ignored prohibition for over 75 years.
I don’t know if this is a pissing contest, or if Russ actually thinks this will help some how?
Point is I have to denounce this behavior because as Russ asserts, he is trying to be “The Voice of The Marijuana Nation”. But his voice does not represent me at all.
However I have to give him credit for putting together a very professional show, and for presenting very good facts. I just think his ambition to be a leader is contradicted by his inability to lead very well.
- Is militant atheism a sore spot for the legalization movement?
- On Religious Use of Cannabis
- By “Radical” Russ Belville on November 16, 2010Stash for Mon, Jul 19, 2010
- By “Radical” Russ Belville on July 19, 2010Roger Christie’s THC Ministry raided by the DEA
- By “Radical” Russ Belville on March 11, 2010Yet another member of the Church of Lighter Wallets about to lose a religious use marijuana caseBy “Radical” Russ Belville on March 9, 2010
- Credit for photograph to: Torsten Kjellstrand/The Oregonian