Conservative British gay pundit Andrew Sullivan brought his unique perspective about marijuana to the International Cannabis Business Conference in Portland on Sept. 13 where he gave a keynote speech and hosted a luncheon.
Anthony Johnson, who's coordinating the Measure 91 campaign which would legalize marijuana in Oregon if passed by voters in November, recently conducted an interview with Sullivan. It's excerpted here, with permission from the ICBC, where it was originally posted.
• Sullivan: "I’ve always been in favor of legalization of marijuana as an adult. The evidence was overwhelming. Now, that feeling was passive until the AIDS epidemic. I saw friends of mine survive because of medical marijuana. I know people that are alive because of marijuana. The AIDS epidemic turned me from passive to active and the blog took it up more and more. The reader response, because so many of my readers wrote in about being middle class, with children, not a giggling stoner. Not that I’m against giggling stoner, some of my best friends are giggling stoners. The testimonials from my readers were in contrast to the media portrayals. This spawned the e-book, The Cannabis Closet."
'Part of the history of the cannabis reform movement is similar to marriage equality. It's been crucial for marriage equality to have conservative support and that support is just as important for marijuana legalization. I certainly see many similarities between the fights for marriage equality and for legalization. Limited government and personal liberty are at the core of both arguments.'
• "Conservatism doesn’t mean Republican. Today’s Republican Party has earned the reputation of being intolerant on a host of issues. There are certainly liberal reasons for legalization as well, I just make and support the conservative ones. Finding a consensus is important to political success. Bill Maher and I may disagree on many things, but we agree on personal liberty and freedom."
• "I do think that the way we live now, this digital career and digital life, has made cannabis more appealing and is helping increase support for legalization. Cannabis is one way that people find relief from too much stress and too much information. It works better, and is safer, than alcohol and other drugs."
Tickets are still available for Sullivan's luncheon. The conference is being held at the Oregon Convention Center on Sept. 13-14.