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John Sinclair

The hardest working poet in the industry

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A Column by John Sinclair

Highest greetings from the northeastern sector of Detroit, where I’m visiting with my daughter Sunny and my granddaughter Beyonce for the next few weeks since returning from my summer in Amsterdam. I’d like to thank once again the people at Sensi Seeds for putting me up in one of their lavish guest apartments at the beginning and end of my stay, and to my man Tariq Khan for taking me in at his pad in the Heesterveld Creative Community in the Bijlmer for all the days in between. That was really sweet.

Now I’m back in the U.S.A. in the middle of the toxic waste dump called the presidential election season, trying to get mentally prepared for either the best—our first female president—or the worst, which would be the installation of Mr. “You’re Fired” in the White House.

This reminds me of the fall of 1991, 25 years ago, when I moved from Detroit to New Orleans in time for the historic gubernatorial race that pitted former Democratic governor Eddie Edwards—known as “the crook”—against popular Ku Klux Klan candidate David Duke. I say popular because Duke, running as a Republican, was deeply beloved by the white people of Louisiana and ended up with 58% of all Caucasian votes for governor.

Fortunately the City of New Orleans and its mayor, Marc Morial, now director of the National Urban League, mobilized an incredible percentage of the Democratic voters in the city—in some precincts 88 to 90%—to register and vote for Edwards, bringing the statewide total to the point where Duke was driven back into relative oblivion. What a relief! This guy David Duke, who celebrates 4/20 every year as Adolph Hitler’s birthday, has done a lot of goofy things in the past 25 years. Now he’s running as the Republican candidate for Senator in Louisiana and has roundly endorsed Donald Trump for president. Trump acted like he didn’t know who Duke was, and took a while to say maybe he wasn’t exactly looking to the KKK for support.

This is what we’re up against: as if Ronald Reagan wasn’t bad enough, a mediocre actor who could play the B-movie role of President of the United States to perfection, now we’ve got a candidate who played The Boss on the most popular reality television show of the past 10 years and amassed a fanatical following of people into whose living rooms he’s been invited week after week for more than 500 times.

I guess what we’ll see in November is whether there are more reality television addicts casting their votes for The Boss than intelligent citizens—whether Democrats or Republicans—that want someone in charge who knows what she’s doing. Me, I’m one of those people who Bill Schuette is fighting that always votes straight Democratic, and I’ll be doing that once again on November 1st.

I’ve always been quite a bit to the left of the Democratic party, but never to its right. I’m more of a democratic socialist, like Bernie Sanders, and it was quite a thrill to see Senator Sanders drum up such a massive groundswell of support for the principles of economic democracy and comprehensive government service to the populace.

If we’re lucky, the young people who were attracted to the Sanders campaign and continue to fight for his positions within the Democratic platform for the coming election will maintain their interest in changing our political system during the four years before the next presidential contest. Usually some good ideas come out during an election cycle, but they go away for four years until the next go-around. Maybe this time it will be different, but who knows?

What does all this gibberish have to do with freeing the weed? Well, first of all, the reason we’re still being persecuted by the federal government and more than half the states for smoking weed is because we’ve consistently elected the wrong people into office. They can only flim-flam us as long as we agree to keep returning these numbskulls to the legislative and judicial seats they’ve occupied for so long. Put in some people who think and feel as we do and you’ll have a different country to live in.

I’d like to say here how much I’ve enjoyed having our first African-American president for the past eight years. I’ve always wanted to have a black president and I wish he could stay for eight years more, but it will be kicks to replace him with our first female president and witness her progress in maintaining and extending the progressive elements of the Democratic administration.

Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump

From my point of view, the one good thing about Donald Trump’s idiotic campaign is that it may well have the very positive effect of blocking the Republican party’s domination of both houses of the legislature through a resounding rejection of The Boss and his stablemates in the GOP by the voting public. This would return our democratic system to some semblance of balance and allow the executive to get some of its initiatives enacted into law.

In my long lifetime I’ve never witnessed anything like the Republican obstruction of every presidential initiative by the hated Obama for every day of his eight-year reign. Our democratic legislative system, bad enough in practice under the best of conditions, has been completely stymied by the GOP obstructionists and has frozen our country’s progress in many ways.

Again, from my personal point of view, a lot of good things have happened just the same, like the movement toward an actual comprehensive health care system, the recognition and regularization of relations with Cuba, the pardoning of hundreds of drug prisoners, the attempt to develop a humane immigration policy.

But here’s the question: why hasn’t the president, known in college as “The Interceptor” for his practice of moving himself up in the toking order to get a few more puffs in a group setting—why hasn’t this guy acted to bring the federal war on marijuana to a shuddering conclusion? Why are we still waiting for this dumb shit to end? And will it be any different when another notorious student pot smoker, Hillary Clinton, comes into office? What’s wrong with these people? FREE THE WEED!

In closing, I’d like to send a word of greeting to the people from High Times magazine who have decided to present a series of Cannabis Cup events in Clio, Michigan, just outside of my home town of Flint, including the one I’m getting ready to attend this weekend as a guest of my friend Laith al Saadi, the powerful guitarist and singer from Ann Arbor who’s headlining he celebration.

As the one and only High Priest of the Cannabis Cup (Amsterdam, 1998) and recipient of the High Times Lifetime Achievement Award (Detroit, 2011) for my 50 years of marijuana legalization activism, I’ve felt slighted that the organizers have never even extended an invitation for me to attend their event in my home town, and I had to invite myself into Laith’s band for this appearance so I could be even a small part of the proceedings. One always hopes for more from people like this, but so what? I’ll be there anyway. And I’ll say it again:



August 23-24, 2016

© 2016 John Sinclair. All Rights Reserved.