FLYING HIGH: Santa Monica may soon be home to medical marijuana dispensaries. (Illustration courtesy of Cary Shulman)
FLYING HIGH: Santa Monica may soon be home to medical marijuana dispensaries. (Illustration courtesy of Cary Shulman)

Given recent nationwide polling, I’m reminded of the 1964 Bob Dylan song, “The Times They Are a-Changin’.” I’m referring to three major political issues: immigration reform, gay marriage and the legalization of marijuana. Simply put, now just might be the best time in American history to be a lesbian Latina pot smoker. Huh? So sit back and I’ll try to explain.

How far has the country evolved on the issue of gay marriage? It could be argued that in 2004 the issue helped re-elect George Bush. (It certainly wasn’t his pronunciation of the word “nuclear.”)

Karl Rove, or as Bush affectionately called him, “Turd Blossom,” was the mastermind behind exploiting anti-gay prejudices among the political right. In retrospect, how ironic or even tragic is it that in 2010, Ken Mehlman, who managed Bush’s re-election campaign and subsequently chaired the Republican National Committee, came out of the closet and revealed he was gay. (And how is Turd Blossom affectionate?)

As though feeding red meat to the base, Turd Blossom put gay marriage on the ballot in 11 states, assuring a big turnout. Sadly, gay marriage went down to defeat in all 11 states. That was nine years ago. If those measures were put on the ballot today, the results might be exactly the opposite. And given future demographics, including younger voters and minorities, it’s not good news for the GOP.

There seems to be a similar turnaround on immigration reform, although no legislation currently seems likely to pass. That said, after last November when Obama got 70 percent of the Latino vote, Republicans have been stepping all over each other to court their votes.

Just a few years ago a video clip on Fox News of Mexican-American undocumented workers protesting for their rights could guarantee a xenophobic counter rally of Teabaggers. Currently, however, GOP presidential hopefuls are probably busy listening to Berlitz Spanish Language tapes and practicing posing in the mirror wearing a sombrero. Suddenly being Latino is very in.

This brings us to marijuana. (High time, you say?) In 2012, Colorado and Washington made recreational use of marijuana legal. (It’s still unclear what the Obama administration and Attorney General Eric Holder’s response will be, but that’s a whole other column.) In the meantime pro-marijuana pundits predict that California and Oregon may be the next states to legalize pot and as soon as 2016. As of now, 20 states and the District of Columbia permit use of medical marijuana and the trend is growing.

As for women, it was this week in 1920 when the 19th Amendment was ratified and women were first granted the right to vote in federal elections. It’s mind boggling that in the past 93 years we haven’t had a woman head the ticket of either national party.

The following countries have had female heads of state: England, France, Israel, Germany, Canada, India, Ireland, Indonesia, Argentina, New Zealand, Switzerland, Pakistan, Poland, Peru, Chile, S. Korea, Finland, the Philippines, Mozambique, Malta, Turkey, the Ukraine and Lithuania, to name but a few. (Whew!) Hillary haters out there rightfully fear in 2016 all that may change.

So, hopefully I’ve supported my admittedly “unusual” theory that times have never been better for a lesbian Latina pot smoker. (As the late Johnny Carson might have said, “That was a long road to travel for such a paltry punch line.” Speaking of Johnny, do you miss him as much as I do?)

Please forgive the discursive nature of this week’s missive but, believe it or not, what prompted me was the City Council’s recent 4-3 vote opening the door for possible medical marijuana dispensaries in Santa Monica. Personally, I’m in favor of the idea, not because I’m pro-marijuana, but because I need the material for future columns.

In fact, here are the top 10 suggestions for entrepreneurs in the naming of their prospective medical marijuana dispensaries: The Grass is Greener; The Joint Joint; Pot Palace; Cannabis Central; High as a Kite; The Need for Weed; Chronic Connection; Stoner Avenue; Toke of the Town; and the number one name for a Santa Monica pot dispensary, Ganja but Not Forgotten.

On a serious note (I can still hear the groans), CNN’s chief medical correspondent, Sanjay Gupte, recently narrated a brilliant documentary, “Weed.” The program featured the touching story of 5-year-old Charlotte Figi of Colorado who started having seizures soon after birth. By age 3, she was having 300 a week and, despite being on seven different medications, was essentially vegetating. Today medical marijuana has calmed her brain, limiting her seizures to two or three per month.

We see young Charlie return to life, which is absolutely miraculous. Granted, it doesn’t make up for “Ganja but Not Forgotten” but I thought it was worth mentioning.


Jack can be reached at, or via e-mail at

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