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Indybay Feature
Fri Aug 4 2006
Legalizing Marijuana - A New Republican Strategy?
Signature Gatherer in Fresno Could Mislead People to Register Republican
Independent journalist Mike Rhodes reports that he was recently asked to sign a petition to legalize marijuana. "I don’t have to think twice and say 'sure, where do I sign?' That is when it got interesting." The young woman holding the clipboard asked him for his id, to "verify" his ID. As Rhodes filled out his name and address, he noticed that the woman was filling out a "very official looking form." Then, she asked him, "is it OK if I register you as a Republican?" Mike Rhodes did not want to re-register, in spite of the woman's statement that she would be paid an additional 10 cents if she registered him. He says, "I am repeatedly told that it is OK and that they just want to update my voter registration records. She also tells me that she is working for the Republican party, being paid hourly, and that the ploy about the '10 cent bonus' was not accurate."

"This Republican party employee goes on to tell me that she is there to attract people to the table that is set up in Fresno’s Courthouse Park, and that the legalize marijuana petition is just a prop. She confirmed that there is no ballot initiative to legalize marijuana. She said that the petition will be given to an elected official in Sacramento. I have my doubts about that." The woman called her "boss" over, and Mike told the man that he wanted to write a story about the petition campaign for the Community Alliance newspaper. The man refused to give Mike any information, or even a copy of the marijuana legalization petition. A photo of the petition shows that it not only calls for legalization of marijuana for medical use, "but for recreational use as well." It details no specifics about how this "legalization" would take place, or what it would consist of.

Victor Salazar, the Fresno County Clerk, said that the process sounded deceptive, and referred him to the Secretary of State fraud investigation unit. Mike was unable to reach anyone at the fraud investigation unit by phone, despite repeated calls.

imc_photo.gif Mike's report and photos | Community Alliance
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Related Categories: Central Valley | Drug War
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