Saturday, January 24, 2004


Kerry's campaign is not the only one trying to shut down the debate on drug policy reform (see post below). Daniel Forbes reports that Sen. John Edwards' staffers used "bully boy tactics" against activists in New Hampshire.

They singled out one activist in particular. They recognized him.

...Aaron Houston, who clutched a recorder in his hand throughout. The sole paid staffer of Granite Staters for Medical Marijuana, Houston has been bird-dogging the Democratic candidates since last summer, praising those accepting - or even open-minded - on medical cannabis, damning those who are not. He's paid by the Washington-based lobby group, the Marijuana Policy Project. On January 13th, Houston and a colleague attended a publicly announced campaign appearance by Sen. John Edwards at Exeter Town Hall.

It hardly sounds as if Houston was agitating.

As a hundred-odd citizens milled nosily around the meeting room prior to the event - Edwards not yet in the building, nothing emanating from the podium - Houston passed out his single sheet castigating Edwards' stance endorsing the current federal raids on medical marijuana. Stopping them now would be "irresponsible" Edwards has said, and GSMM links him with Attorney General John Ashcroft as "both want[ing] to arrest cancer patients."

Houston maintains he was leafleting in low-keyed fashion; if anyone queried him, he said he simply replied, ask the senator about his position and moved on. The Edwards staffers were similarly distributing literature.

Aaron was surrounded and one staffer attempted to rip the literature out of his hand. They called the police. Despite the whole exchange having been recorded, the Edwards' campaign is declining to comment. I don't suppose they have an excuse for such bad manners much less for suppressing First Amendment freedoms.

Already, anyone but Bush is winning in the polls. So I urge you, in light of these disturbing developments among the Democratic front-runners, to support Kucinich all the way to Boston. He is the only candidate to address the failure of the drug war honestly and his continued presence in the race amplifies the reform movement's voice.


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