Even Though He Doesn't Smoke It Anymore, Marijuana Is at the Core of Kinky Friedman's Run for Public Office

Political gadfly Kinky Friedman thinks winning the Agriculture Commissioner race is the key to legalizing marijuana in Texas.

Kinky Friedman hasn't smoked pot in more than 20 years, but that's not keeping him from running for Texas Agriculture Commissioner with legalizing cannabis as his main platform plank. So far, Democratic power brokers seem more willing to French-kiss a horned toad with bad breath than embrace Friedman's candidacy.

Friedman says the last couple of years, all the governor and attorney general have done “is rant about Obama.”

The "please, go away" looks are palpable, but no one really wants to debate this guy, look him in the eye or stand next to him in a photo op. You want to "out-Texas" Kinky Friedman? Go ahead on.

So now, if high-profile Alvin fastballer Nolan Ryan enters the fray on the Republican ticket as he has hinted, the race for Texas Agriculture Commissioner just might be Texas's top political circus of 2014 bar none, the stuff CNN and Fox and MSNBC can turn into CarMax ads for weeks and weeks. Even without Ryan, the race has the potential to create interesting ripples in a state that has been solidly red for two decades.

Kinky Friedman says he's the only politician in the statewho isn't too chicken to propose legalizing marijuana.
Daniel Kramer
Kinky Friedman says he's the only politician in the statewho isn't too chicken to propose legalizing marijuana.
Nolan Ryan pauses for a moment at his ranch.
Matt Lankes
Nolan Ryan pauses for a moment at his ranch.

Don't worry about the fact that a recent national Gallup poll indicated 58 percent of Americans now favor full legalization and that most recent polls show the same percentage in Texas. Don't worry that the Agriculture Commissioner can't actually enact a law legalizing pot. Just understand that the Friedman camp plans to frame the race as a statewide referendum on legalization. Period.

Of course, Friedman's sincerity was immediately questioned. The day of his official announcement, Republican candidate Eric Opiela quickly issued a press release that characterized Friedman's candidacy as a joke, saying, "The issues facing Texas are serious. Our Agriculture Commissioner should be too."

"We need an agriculture commissioner," added Opiela, "who will focus on jobs, not jokes; drought, not drama and water lines, not punch lines."

Yes, it was that scripted and wooden.

Eye roll from Friedman, who says he expected GOP candidates would take a dismissive tack in responding to his candidacy.

"But if they really weren't worried about me, I don't think they'd have started attacking me immediately."

"Look, I'm 69, I don't have time for stunts," the musician, novelist, cigar and salsa salesman, tequila distiller, former Peace Corps volunteer and maverick politician explains as he walks up the Drag in Austin puffing his trademark cigar. "I'm dead serious about this run and about pushing for legalization. Marijuana is at the heart of a crucial matrix that, if we can get it straightened out and in motion, will become a great economic engine we can use to solve some of the biggest problems we face as a state.

"It's time Texans asked themselves: Are we going to secede or are we going to lead?"

Friedman, who lives on a ranch outside Kerr­ville where he operates an animal rescue charity and a youth camp, bolsters his contention that times and Texas attitudes are changing with examples of lawmen telling him we are losing the war on drugs and that they are wasting their time on small-time pot-smoking cases instead of tackling more serious crimes.

"I had a constable in Bandera tell me a few weeks ago that we're never going to win the so-called drug war, at least where pot is concerned," says Friedman. "And this is some guy who would be your worst redneck nightmare in a late-night traffic stop.

"He also told me that he has to go somewhere nearly every night and stop some guy who's had ten beers or four whiskeys from beating his wife, and that just doesn't happen with marijuana smokers. The only thing a marijuana smoker is likely to beat up is a bag of Doritos."

Friedman cites the cost to the public for enforcement of marijuana possession as "a $250 million economic burden that has zero return for the citizens of Texas."

"We've let these corporate prisons become holding tanks for pot smokers, and most of 'em are inner-city minorities," Friedman explains. "That's a sad commentary on how the system is broken. I doubt most Texans want an economy based on prisoners and prison jobs."
_____________________

While the blue-versus-red face-off between Fort Worth Democrat Wendy Davis and current Attorney General Gregg Abbott will likely be the most bitterly fought and heavily scrutinized statewide contest in 2014, the race for Agriculture Commissioner may well be more entertaining. As The Dallas Morning News has already pointed out, that down-ballot race used to be about candidates positioning themselves as the most legitimate rancher or farmer, but that is almost a non-factor for 2014.

Not only is the irreverent Friedman in the race, Rick Perry lieutenant and former state representative Sid Miller — who introduced the sonogram portion of the controversial abortion law that elicited then-unknown Davis's now-­famous filibuster, making her a national name literally overnight — is currently thought to be the most likely Republican to square off with Friedman next November.

Friedman's name-recognition factor dwarfs Miller's, but adding to the potential for a circus spectacle campaign as candidates duck and dodge the marijuana issue is the recent announcement that right-wing lightning rod, rock guitarist and gun control opponent Ted Nugent will serve as Miller's campaign treasurer. But all bets on Miller even winning the Republican primary are off if baseball celebrity and beef purveyor Nolan Ryan enters the field.

1
 
2
 
3
 
4
 
5
 
All
 
Next Page »
 
My Voice Nation Help
23 comments
cdjtiger
cdjtiger

I'm voting  twice  for Kinky ....   

maxine.thomas
maxine.thomas

It makes no sense to me why either one of these folks would want to run.  Yes they both have land but neither can find their A _ _ with two hands and a flashlight.  Nolan Ryan's name actually came up at lunch today as someone who can't manage and is a 1% team owner of the of the Rangers for name recognition only.  Heck he was forced to step down just last October as CEO.  You can see his ranch land here http://secure.oginfo.com/fastmaps/fxmaps/flexgov_lite/mcmullencad.php#county=MCMULLEN


I haven't looked for Kinkys

aliasetc
aliasetc

Kinky for president! Why the hell not?

cafelinus
cafelinus

It don't matter who's in Austin Bob Wills is still the king.

(How long have I been waiting to use that on KF story thread? Years, years.)

pickrick4texasag
pickrick4texasag

I want to know his Qualifications to run! Seems he runs a pet rescue ranch that does NOT meet State Agriculture Code requirements to be a serious candidate ?

johncoby
johncoby

The man is no dumbass. His simple minded campaign on pot will attract the simple minded and we have a LOT of them in Texas.

The reality is that as Ag Commissioner he will have absolutely NO say on whether weed will be legalized here in Texas (and it wont). The house and senate will have to file, debate, and vote on the bill, all that the Commissioner will not be able to do. And the governor will have to sign it. The House and senate will never debate this bill. It will never be voted on. Yet this dumbass will use the issue to get other dumbasses dope heads to vote for him.

Puller58
Puller58

I don't take the Kinkster too seriously.  Checking his songs on YouTube makes me realize his "airtime" on the radio was "0" for good reason.  Never read any of his books, and his comments on Katrina refugees sounds like Howard Stern on a lame day.  Run all you want Kinky, but even Jim Hightower has a better shot.

Russ McClung
Russ McClung

Who cares? It's not like we're running short of dumbed down unmotivated people.. Legalizing pot just might make a few people put the pipe down ;)

sweetcookies3333
sweetcookies3333

the greatest plant in the universe is almost free, LET FREEDOM RING


20 years behind us Texas, it's not like you to trail us in anything, im disappointed....better to let the free yankee states get all the marijuana $$$ and the power, eh?.....figure it out texans


AMERICA'S WAR ON DRUGS IS A WAR ON AMERICANS!!!33

Nelo Maciel
Nelo Maciel

legalization is just around the corner

WhiteLightning
WhiteLightning

@maxine.thomas Time to wake up and quit thinking in the old way about this stuff. If Kinky wins the primary run-off -- and very likely will -- then look out, the sky is the limit, especially if people who haven't been turning out to vote come to the polls. Kinky's the only one who isn't reading from the same old script that has gotten Dems nowhere for two decades. 

WhiteLightning
WhiteLightning

@pickrick4texasag I'm gonna vote for honest, unbought politician and Kinky looks like the only one of those in this race. The Republicans in the race so far are all cardboard Rick Perry cutouts whose only qualifications seem to be that they know very well what corporate whores are supposed to do.

WhiteLightning
WhiteLightning

@johncoby I agree with Zip, you're an idiot. And it looks like you don't read very well. He clearly states he knows AG Com can't introduce the law. Wait til your son or daughter is doing six months in a for profit prison and get back to me with your Dark Ages view of this issue.


Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah
Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah topcommenter

@johncoby You are an idiot…..The Kinkster has my vote cuz he went to my junior high school and he is the real deal…..oh and he is on the right side of the fence regarding cannabis

WhiteLightning
WhiteLightning

@Puller58 So you're going to vote for some Republican cardboard cuttout politician I guess? I'll take KF over anyone in the race. And the legalization thing is just a bonus.

WhiteLightning
WhiteLightning

@Russ McClung People in prison care, Ross. People with family in prison care. Taxpayers who are tired of paying hundreds of millions for the "drug war" care. I guess you've got more important issues? Vaginas? Zero gun control? Flag burning? Yeah, your aloofness and superiority are so cool. Thanks for your superior-to-everyone yawn. 

 
Houston Concert Tickets

Around The Web

Loading...