The privilege of participating in a free, democratic election should be reason enough to vote for most Americans. Getting free burritos or coffee for sporting “I Voted” stickers sweetens the deal. But San Jose is one-upping all of that with the promise of weed for voters in Tuesday’s primary elections.
Top that, Starbucks.
The marijuana, for card-carrying medical marijuana users only, comes courtesy of the Silicon Valley Cannabis Coalition as part of its “Weed for Votes” campaign. Just show up at participating cannabis clubs with an “I Voted” sticker or ballot stub to qualify for discounted or free marijuana.
SVCC wants to encourage voters to get out and cast votes for “cannabis-friendly” candidates running for city office, such as council members and the mayor. The sheriff and state’s attorney are also on the ballot, and the group’s voter guide makes it clear who they want in office.
No marijuana-specific measure appears on the ballot, but pro-cannabis activists want to mobilize their base to back candidates who they feel take “reasonable” approaches to marijuana policy. The city is in the middle of considering increasing regulations on medical marijuana.
“We have a huge opportunity to make a large impact in who runs San Jose,” SVCC director John Lee said in a statement. “Although we may not have regulations on the June ballot, insuring the right politicians are elected is even more important.”
The political impact of playing up marijuana is something Democrats have been eyeing as a way to help them in a midterm cycle, when they typically struggle to get their base out to vote. Some polling suggests that marijuana ballot initiatives will help boost turnout, particularly among younger voters. Take Colorado or Washington, where turnout among 18- to 29-year-olds spiked in 2012 when pot-legalization appeared on the ballot. But that didn’t happen in California; youth turnout as a share of the electorate actually dropped in 2010, when a marijuana legalization measure appeared on the ballot.
But is San Jose’s pot giveaway even legal? Well, the marijuana is only for those who already have medical marijuana cards. And the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office has said in a statement that the offer on its face doesn’t appear to violate California’s vote-buying law, which bans trying to influence voters with the promise of things like free money, gifts, and employment. But, depending on how the offer plays out, it could still violate state or even federal law, especially since there are federal candidates on the ballot.
The number of small and large businesses and corporations who offer freebies to voters on Election Day has boomed in recent presidential cycles. Those giveaways do appear to violate federal election law.
One easy way to avoid getting into legal troubles is to give the free stuff to all people, regardless of whether they voted. Although just giving away pot to everybody who has a medical-marijuana card in San Jose would surely pose plenty of problems of its own. Like, supply-and-demand-type problems.
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Before we get to the specifics of this exposé about escorts working the Iowa and New Hampshire primary crowds, let’s get three things out of the way: 1.) It’s from Cosmopolitan; 2.) most of the women quoted use fake (if colorful) names; and 3.) again, it’s from Cosmopolitan. That said, here’s what we learned:
- Business was booming: one escort who says she typically gets two inquiries a weekend got 15 requests in the pre-primary weekend.
- Their primary season clientele is a bit older than normal—”40s through mid-60s, compared with mostly twentysomething regulars” and “they’ve clearly done this before.”
- They seemed more nervous than other clients, because “the stakes are higher when you’re working for a possible future president” but “all practiced impeccable manners.”
- One escort “typically enjoy[s] the company of Democrats more, just because I feel like our views line up a lot more.”
No matter where you stand on mandating companies to include a backdoor in encryption technologies, it doesn’t make sense to allow that decision to be made on a state level. “The problem with state-level legislation of this nature is that it manages to be both wildly impractical and entirely unenforceable,” writes Brian Barrett at Wired. There is a solution to this problem. “California Congressman Ted Lieu has introduced the ‘Ensuring National Constitutional Rights for Your Private Telecommunications Act of 2016,’ which we’ll call ENCRYPT. It’s a short, straightforward bill with a simple aim: to preempt states from attempting to implement their own anti-encryption policies at a state level.”
Much has been made of David Brooks’s recent New York Times column, in which confesses to missing already the civility and humanity of Barack Obama, compared to who might take his place. In NewYorker.com, Jeffrey Frank reminds us how critical such attributes are to foreign policy. “It’s hard to imagine Kennedy so casually referring to the leader of Russia as a gangster or a thug. For that matter, it’s hard to imagine any president comparing the Russian leader to Hitler [as] Hillary Clinton did at a private fund-raiser. … Kennedy, who always worried that miscalculation could lead to war, paid close attention to the language of diplomacy.”
The New Covenant. The Third Way. The Democratic Leadership Council style. Call it what you will, but whatever centrist triangulation Bill Clinton embraced in 1992, Hillary Clinton wants no part of it in 2016. Writing for Bloomberg, Sasha Issenberg and Margaret Talev explore how Hillary’s campaign has “diverged pointedly” from what made Bill so successful: “For Hillary to survive, Clintonism had to die.” Bill’s positions in 1992—from capital punishment to free trade—“represented a carefully calibrated diversion from the liberal orthodoxy of the previous decade.” But in New Hampshire, Hillary “worked to juggle nostalgia for past Clinton primary campaigns in the state with the fact that the Bill of 1992 or the Hillary of 2008 would likely be a marginal figure within today’s Democratic politics.”
At first, “it was pleasant” to see Trevor Noah “smiling away and deeply dimpling in the Stewart seat, the seat that had lately grown gray hairs,” writes The Atlantic‘s James Parker in assessing the new host of the once-indispensable Daily Show. But where Jon Stewart was a heavyweight, Noah is “a very able lightweight, [who] needs time too. But he won’t get any. As a culture, we’re not about to nurture this talent, to give it room to grow. Our patience was exhausted long ago, by some other guy. We’re going to pass judgment and move on. There’s a reason Simon Cowell is so rich. Impress us today or get thee hence. So it comes to this: It’s now or never, Trevor.”