Although some members of the cannabis community do not believe it is appropriate to allow political strategist Roger Stone, a man they claim is “racist,” “misogynistic,” and simply in poor taste, to become part of the movement to legalize marijuana in the United States, no number of rebukes has prevented the “dirty trickster” from doing everything in his power to show that his position as an activist is stronger than ever.
On Thursday, High Times published an op-ed written by Stone, in which he attempts to defend himself against an article ran earlier this year by the same legendary magazine, suggesting that he was nothing more than an “attention whore” with no legitimate interest in the reform of the nation’s cannabis laws.
The previous article, entitled “The Lesson of Roger Stone: The Weed World Was Hustled, Don’t Let It Happen Again,” was penned by freelancer Chris Roberts and labeled Stone a racially insensitive opportunist who is now leaning on the popularity of marijuana in order to stay relevant.
“Roger Stone doesn’t care about legalization, any further than he cares about how he can use legalization to make himself relevant,” Roberts wrote. “He certainly doesn’t care about black and brown people being let out of prison. He definitely doesn’t care about police or prison reform—all threads with which marijuana legalization is woven.”
However, Stone, a man who cut his teeth on the guts of American politics by serving while serving as an advisor for President Nixon, says this evil depiction of him is not accurate.
“I am not a newcomer to this cause,” he wrote for HT. “I have written, spoken, marched and rallied for drug law reform for 20 years. I spoke at a “Countdown to Justice” rally along with Russell Simmons and Rev. Al Sharpton demanding reform of New York’s draconian Rockefeller drug laws, among the most racist in the nation. I actively wrote and spoke for reforms to the New York law in 2006 and 2008. Those who sneer that I am a racist or other sort of bigot don’t know me and can rely on no facts to support this slur.”
Last month, a group of cannabis industry leaders threatened to boycott the Cannabis World Congress & Business Expo if Stone was allowed to deliver the keynote speech at the Los Angeles event. Lead by the Minority Cannabis Business Association, boycotting groups cited Stone’s close relationship with Trump and a long, still standing, history of racist and sexist social media posts in their reasoning. Although organizers, at first, said they had no plans to remove Stone from the roster; his performance was eventually canceled.
In his piece, Stone says that while the cannabis industry would like to think that his connection to Nixon - the president responsible for initiating the war on drugs - automatically makes him an enemy, he notes that he has been in favor of marijuana legalization for decades, remaining “sharply critical… of [Nixon’s] disastrous launch of the War on Drugs.”
Stone says it was cancer that led to him becoming a cannabis advocate.
“I watched both my father and grandfather suffer and perish from terminal cancer,” he wrote. “Cannabis was the one thing that alleviated my father’s agony, so I made sure that he had access to it, an act of mercy that turned me into a violator of prohibition law. Without hesitation, I would do it again, because at the core of this cause are compassion and a desire to see all human beings afforded the dignity and the essential right of self-determination, especially in the most personal of health and lifestyle choices.
“My support for cannabis freedom has since been animated by much more than my long-held, live-and-let-live libertarian idealism,” Stone continued. “Now it is compelled by my firm conviction that freeing this plant from the tentacles of police state coercion is not just a societal imperative but also necessary to secure an essential human right that must no longer be suppressed by misguided government paternalism.”
Earlier this year, Stone launched a lobbying group called the United States Cannabis Coalition, which he says was created to pressure the government from the top down to legalize marijuana nationwide.
In his op-ed, Stone credits the organization for helping to persuade Congressional leadership as well as President Trump to allow the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment to be included in a recent appropriations agreement intended to provide emergency funds for those affected by Hurricane Harvey. Those protections are now in place until at least December.
He also claims to have been in communication with President Trump over the past couple of weeks, to which “[Trump] reaffirmed his support for state legalized medicinal marijuana.”
“The president must be reminded to keep his pledge to protect access to state legalized marijuana by millions of Americans including veterans who use it every day,” he wrote.
While it is evident that U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions wants to dismantle important marijuana protections, like Rohrabacher-Farr and the Cole Memo, Stone says “when it comes to the imperative of liberating our country, and if possible the world, from the scourge that is cannabis prohibition and the racist, reactionary, exorbitantly-wasteful, ignominious failure that is America’s “War on Drugs,” we cannot afford to be aiming fire at allies and friendlies.”
But even if the cannabis community insists on projecting their “narrow political and economic self-interests,” Stone indicated that he intends to keep doing the work he says they have failed to accomplish on their own.
“I will not be buffaloed or intimidated or silenced by disingenuous partisan zealots, laughably posing as social justice crusaders, while cynically employing exclusionary tactics and sowing distrust and division at a time when unity is so critical,” Stone wrote.