Americans United for Separation of Church and State

Greater Phoenix Chapter

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Church State Issues

The "War on Drugs" is a religious problem, not a "government problem"???

Jul 1, 2014


Dennis seems to think the system works and can be fixed. I disagree with him on that and think the system is corrupt to the core and can't be fixed.

But I do agree with him that part of the problem is almost certainly caused by mixing government and religion which is a violation of both the US and Arizona Constitutions.

Dennis Bohlke

This is how Robert and I think the problem can be solved.

The war we fight is a political war, this war on drugs has been put upon us by politicians.

Therefore the only acceptable solution is political any other means to the solution is repulsive.

We have chosen the battle to fight to legalize the use of marijuana for people in Arizona.

We live in a state where citizen initiatives are part of the state’s constitution. Citizens initiatives are not intended to be easy or frequent and therefore a true grassroots citizen initiative is difficult to achieve, it is there as a method of last resort.

When we undertake the efforts to put an initiative on the ballot to legalize marijuana, we are saying through our actions we find no other way to make our voices heard.

We cannot have public gatherings with out fear of retribution from the state. Many among us cannot publicly admit supporting our cause in fear of loosing their jobs. We cannot put bumper stickers on our cars in support of this cause. We are not out laws but the state has deemed that our living is against the law. We are subject to being incarcerated, our property seized, humiliated and branded felons for the rest of our lives. We are subject to charges of driving under the influence, merely for having evidence of past usage in our body fluids. We have been by edict deemed sick and in need of re-education and are often given the choice between prison or rehabilitation re-education. Our children can be taken from us and put in foster care.

Under these circumstances it behooves us to act with stealth and cunning. In the beginning we are weak but we must act strong. Our networking tool is Facebook. Our network needs to be as loosely formed as the black and gray market we all participate in, but we all have a common cause and objective.

The legislature has not been acting in the best interest of the people of the state on this issue. The judges have turned a blind eye to our constitutional rights and the basic freedom to control over our own bodies and minds. We are living in a period in history where our rights as free citizens are being attacked and trampled on by our state.

Our political solution must go beyond just getting a state constitutional amendment to legalize marijuana.

We must also address the root cause and perpetuators of this insane war on drugs.

Our state legislatures are the primary high value positions that we must find ways to influence.

The county attorneys are the next highest value elected positions, the prosecutor’s discretion plays a large part in the war on drugs. We wonder why in the last election the county attorney’s for Maricopa and Pima County attorneys ran unopposed? Both are rabid drug war proponents over seeing the arrest and imprisonment of thousands of our family, friends and neighbors on totally unconstitutional charges, they look for ways around our rights clearly declared in the Bill of Rights.

There have been unintended consequences in our state’s public funding of candidates for public office. We now recognize this and we have a strategy to use it to our advantage. As it is, if you are a member of a church you have a distinct advantage in achieving the requirements to be a candidate, ergo our legislature has become a gathering of church members. Our laws have become laced with theological doctrine making sinners in the eyes of the lord to be criminals in the eyes of our peace officers. The separation of state and religion has been blurred which has made our peace officers turn into morality patrol officers.

There are ninety(90) legislatures in our state. There are thirty(30) legislative districts. Each district has one senator and two representatives. The legislature is made up of two bodies, thirty(30) in the senate and sixty(60) in the representatives. Each legislature is term limited to four(4) consecutive terms, each term is two(2) years long. Every two(2) years everyone in the legislature is up for election we must find ways to participate in this process or we will be doomed by our actions and subject to further repression.

On average it takes about five hundred(500) petition signatures to qualify as a candidate to run for a legislative position. There are no drug testing for these positions but you must be over twenty-five(25) years of age.

Public funding qualifications are that a candidate must get five hundred(500) people to sign a form and donate five(5) dollars. When a citizen qualifies they must agree to use only public funds for campaigning. Then they will receive about fifteen thousand(15,000) dollars for campaigning in the primary and about twenty(20,000) if they win the primary and compete in the general election. These figures are for Democrats and Republican Party candidates. A citizen can help more than one candidate qualify.

With this in mind we will set out to gather signatures to have a constitutional amendment on the next general ballot in November 2014. The deadline for gathering enough signatures is July 3, 2014. The number of valid signatures required is 259,213. We need to have more than that though.

We know the citizens overwhelmingly support the idea of legalizing marijuana.

Along the path of gathering these signatures we have an opportunity to find and meet candidates for the next election that are friendly to our cause. We will be helping our friends become candidates.

The more friends that we can help become qualified to run for office the more political posters will be put up touting legalize it.

Yes we can out smart the church lady.

Gathering 259,213 valid signatures is a daunting logistical task. Each petition must be attached to the full text of the initiative proposal which will require two(2) sheets of paper. The initiatives must be on 8.5 x 14 sheets of paper. Each petition can have fifteen(15) signatures. In a perfect world success would mean 17,280 perfectly filled out petitions, which would be 51,840 sheets of paper. With 5000 sheets of paper in a case of paper that’s almost nine(10) cases of paper. There is no such thing as a perfect world, we will end up with twenty to thirty cases of paper boxes with completed petitions in them, that’s more than one pickup load.

Each petition submitted with signatures needs to be notarized by a public notary. With at least 20,000 petitions required times two(2) bucks each for notarizing the cost just for this activity will probably exceed 40,000 dollars. It becomes obvious that we need to find public notaries that are friends of the cause.

We need to create an army of volunteers and we need to know what Legislative District they live in.

As the number of volunteers grows we will find among them friends that will volunteer to be pickup and drop off points for petitions, among them we hope to find candidates to support for public office in particular we would like them to compete for legislative positions.

There is no limit to number of candidates we can support in any given district. We would like each candidate that we support and help to qualify for public campaign funds to put on their roadside campaign posters “Legalize” and maybe a marijuana leaf as well. The goal is to game the system to our advantage, to take away the church lady’s advantage by being a member of a church.

By working this strategy we guarantee a political impact, we recognize that the Legislature has the power vested in them to put forth ballot initiatives and to change the current laws making marijuana illegal.

We encourage our friends to actively question and determine which incumbents in our current legislature are our friends or opponents. When we find incumbents as opponents we will work with due diligence to find candidates to challenge them in the primary of their party.

We recognize there are other paths to legalizing marijuana other than a citizen initiative on the ballot. By organizing and working to get the required signatures, it is only natural that our ability to apply political pressure on the legislature will increase.

We welcome political action committees being formed by our friends of the cause to support our efforts and political agenda.

We recognize that there is no limit to how many Political Action Committees can be created and the basic requirements for creating a PAC is two citizens with a common cause. The campaign financing laws put contribution limitations on individual candidates but not on PAC’s. There is no limit to contributions by individuals or that a corporation can give to a PAC. PAC’s that spend less than five-hundred(500) dollars on a cause do not have to make financial reports to the state. This can be used to our advantage over and over again.

Above all we recognize the useful tool Facebook provides us with as a means of networking and organizing.

At this point in time the draft of the initiative has weathered reading and comments.

A Political Action Committee has been formed and the initiative has been filed with the Secretary of State.

So, we can begin getting signatures to legalize marijuana.

From that point we have until July 3, 2014 to get the required signatures.

PAC – Safer Arizona

Robert Clark
Tucson, Arizona

Dennis Bohlke
Phoenix, Arizona