Friday, May 30, 2014

San Jose pot clubs to offer voters free weed on primary day...

California voters can expect to receive free weed from some pot clubs in the Bay Area city of San Jose for casting ballots in state primary elections next Tuesday that include local races and battles for governor and secretary of state. - Reuters

The city’s cannabis collectives, which have also offered up a voter guide to the races, are offering free marijuana and discounts when members show a ballot stub or an “I Voted” sticker on June 3.
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Hey! Isn't that illegal???

Yep. Illegal.

Codifying the ban on voter bribery, the United States Congress has prohibited the conspiracy to encourage illegal voting and stated that anyone who "pays or offers to pay or accepts payment either for registration to vote or for voting shall be fined not more than $10,000 or imprisoned not more than five years, or both."

And that's not just cash for votes that's outlawed there! "Not only is a direct payment for a vote prohibited, but any other 'valuable thing, to or for the use of another.'" Like delicious ice cream, which is very valuable. Or pot which is illegal....

BUT... "California...allows voters to receive incentives for voting, so long as the incentives are not offered to induce a voter not to vote, or to vote, or to refrain from voting for a particular candidate or ballot measure, and so long as no federal candidates are on the ballot." Richard L. Hasen, Vote Buying, 88 Cal. L. Rev. 1323, 1355 (2000) (citing Cal. Elec. Code. § 18522(a)(1996)).

6 comments:

  1. According to the last paragraph... not illegal... at least as far as vote buying is concerned.

    The free MJ is given only after a vote is cast, without regard to how the vote is cast. It's no different than McDonald's giving away a free coffee or fries with proof of voting.

    Now, giving away MJ to non-215 eligible people... I think that would be illegal.

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  2. Depends on if they have any federal candidates, too.

    But giving away MJ to non-215 eligible people... I agree, that would be illegal no matter what.

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  3. Sorry, this stinks almost as bad as walking by someone smoking.

    Let's say the local pot shop advertises ahead of time, say before the registration deadline, that with an "I vote" sticker you get a free joint.

    Would not that change the election? It would sway, ie bribe, the pro-pot voters, to register and vote, influencing the outcome of an election by giving away free stuff.

    Stinks. I think McDonalds or the Coop doing the same too also stinks.

    Keep our elections free of schwag..

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  4. It shouldn't be illegal to provide incentives or thank-yous for voting, as long as it's not only given to people who vote for a certain candidate or issue. Which, given the fact that we vote by secret ballot, would be pretty hard to do anyway.

    By the way, does "Liberal Jon" also object to unions and civil rights groups and environmental groups spending money to "sway" their constituencies to register and to turn out to vote, and thus "influence the outcome of the election?" (Oh the horror!)

    For my part, if MacDonald's decided to give free Big Macs to everyone who showed a ballot stub or "I voted" sticker, or the Co-op decided to give out free vegan burritos to voters, I would support both.

    As far as I'm concerned, the more people who vote, the better, whether they be pot users, Big Mac eaters, or vegan burrito aficionados, or any combination of the three.

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  5. By the way, does "Liberal Jon" also object to unions and civil rights groups and environmental groups spending money to "sway" their constituencies to register and to turn out to vote, and thus "influence the outcome of the election?" (Oh the horror!)

    No. I'm OK with public interest groups, well documented, spending money. Like the HCDCC does btw, no problem.

    What I'm not OK with is PACs and undocumented money. I will be OK with it for liberal groups now because I don't believe in unilateral disarmament (apologies for the war analogy). But PAC donations should have the same scrutiny as donations to a candidate.

    So I guess, following your slippery slope argument, McDonalds and their free Big Macs and the dispensaries and their free weed should really declare those as political in-kind donations if they were advertised before registration and/or election day. Get's complicated, but the ethics of dolling out free weed for a "I Voted" sticker is pretty tenuous you have to admit.

    "As far as I'm concerned, the more people who vote, the better, whether they be pot users, Big Mac eaters, or vegan burrito aficionados, or any combination of the three"

    Yes, but what if people who vote are motivated to do so by schwag? Are you still down with more people voting if they vote quid pro quo?

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  6. "I'm OK with public interest groups, well documented, spending money. Like the HCDCC does btw, no problem."

    So the HCDCC never acts as a conduit to circumvent donation limits or anything like that, right?

    And by the way, the HCDCC isn't some
    "public interest group," it's a political party committee, of which you are a flunky.

    "...the dispensaries and their free weed should really declare those as political in-kind donations..."

    Absurd -- they're just providing an incentive/reward for people to vote, not to vote for a specific candidate or party.

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