May 20 The Times ran a big op-ed piece about marijuana this morning by Bill “I-was-wrong-about-Iraq-but-let’s-do-Syria-anyway” Keller. On the Times website the piece is accompanied by a photo of Keller, above which is the twitter address of the editorial page editor, Andrew Rosenthal. Andrew’s father, Abe Rosenthal, who had been managing editor and executive editor of the Times in the 1970s and ’80s, and was an influential columnist in 1996, bemoaned the passage of Prop 215 by California voters. He weighed in with an op-ed entitled “While We Slept” (echoing the title of a book about Pearl Harbor). Abe Rosenthal and the Drug Warriors Back East were kicking themselves for having left the direction of the No-on-215 campaign to California Attorney General Dan Lungren. Lungren had arranged in early August for the state Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement to raid and close the San Francisco Buyers Club —which just happened to house the Prop 215 campaign office— to impress on voters that the infamous pot dealer Dennis Peron was behind the initiative. The raid was front-page news up and down the state, and voters were so impressed that they passed Prop 215 by a 56-44 margin despite opposition from Bill Clinton, Bob Dole, Diane Feinstein, Barbara Boxer, Governor Pete Wilson, 4-Star General Barry McCaffrey, the respected former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, California’s police chiefs’, police officers’, and sheriffs’ unions, and 57 of 58 the state’s district attorneys, the exception being Terence Hallinan of San Francisco.
In December ’96 the Drug Warriors held a series of high-level meetings at which California and federal officials developed both short- and long-term strategies to contain the medical marijuana movement. They realized they couldn’t put the genie back in the bottle; their goal was and is to hold it down by the shoulders.
Today we have Abe Rosenthal’s son running the Times ed page and his ideological offspring, Bill Keller, pontificating on “How to Legalize Marijuana.” Has the establishment come around to our way of thinking, or did our movement do x, y, and z to become acceptable? ANSWER TK.