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.

"I think lots of people who identify as libertarians will like my message," Friedman ­speculates.

Describing himself as a Harry Truman blue-dog Democrat, Friedman notes his strategy is going to be "to talk common sense" about the economic benefits of legalizing marijuana.

"It's what forward-thinking people have been saying all along, control it and tax it just like tobacco and alcohol," he says. "Colorado is already realizing some significant revenue from legalization, and they've just passed a 25 percent tax on it. That's exactly what we need to do in Texas, so we can put that money to work on our real problems."

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.

"The way we're handling this now, we're just helping the Mexican drug cartels maintain their monopoly," adds Friedman. "I find it amazing the governor doesn't see that by the state legalizing and controlling the growth and sale of marijuana, that we could literally knock the legs out from under the cartels without firing a shot."

The rest of Friedman's economic engine involves farming hemp (a non-potent form of marijuana) for industrial use and export while realizing significant water conservation gains due to hemp's low water requirement vis-à-vis cotton; reducing insecticide use — hemp is essentially a weed and insects aren't interested; and opening casinos so Texas money stays in Texas.

"I've never understood why we give all this money to other states," Friedman shakes his head. "We're just waving good-bye to the money for school improvements and roads, for mass transit, money we can put into drought remediation, into water-conservation projects, stuff this state is crying out for. What are we thinking?"

Friedman says the last couple of years, all the governor and attorney general have done "is rant about Obama" and spend hundreds of millions of dollars in state money challenging federal laws to appeal to their right-wing voting base.

"They can call my campaign a joke, but if the Republicans have any answers to the great problems this state faces, why haven't they implemented them instead of obsessing about women's reproductive systems or gay marriage?" he notes. "They've had total control of this state almost 20 years now, but nothing is getting fixed."

"I really love it when they say I'm a gadfly," laughs Friedman, "like that's a negative thing, a reason not to take me seriously. Of course I'm a gadfly. Gadflies poke fun at problems and hypocrites, and there's plenty of that around right now."

"Someone asked Willie Nelson why he supported me for governor one time, and Willie told him, 'because Kinky listens to new ideas.' We are in dire need of some fresh thinking and creative, visionary problem-solving."
_____________________

Only days after announcing his campaign, Friedman is in Austin for an afternoon performance at the Texas Book Festival, clad in full Texas showbiz regalia. The music tent is positioned along 11th Street right next to the Governor's Mansion, an irony not lost on the failed 2006 candidate. A state trooper guarding the entry moves to the window of the green Chevy truck, recognizes Friedman and sticks his beefy hand in the window.

"Great to see you, sir," says the young trooper. "I voted for you; keep up the good work."

"I appreciate that maybe more than you know," Friedman says and drives to his designated spot.

It's immediately apparent candidate Friedman has what every politician craves: an astronomical recognition factor. In less than 15 minutes, he's posed for dozen of pictures, autographed several books and CDs, and met with a woman who wants to do his biography and a young independent documentary filmmaker who needs five minutes.

A tall, heavily mustached Marlboro Man cowboy in gray pearl-snap shirt, cowboy boots and a gray felt Stetson approaches Friedman and asks him to autograph a cowboy hat covered with the signatures of people like Billy Joe Shaver, Ray Price and Robert Earl Keen Jr.

"Are you sure you want me on here?" Friedman jokes and scribbles. "I'm running for Agriculture Commissioner, you know? My campaign is going to be a referendum on legalizing marijuana."

The tall Texan nods and tells Friedman, "It's about time. I could vote for that."

He introduces himself: Jim Delony, a minister from Houston who works with Impact Church of Christ, a ministry to the homeless that operates a worship space and a food distribution center on Weber Street just north of downtown Houston.

"I work around the poor and homeless every day," Delony explains. "It's the poor and minorities that get the worst end of the marijuana thing."

Delony, who declares, "I'm not a Democrat," goes on to lecture Friedman a bit on the topic, maintaining that he considers marijuana use to be as immoral as premarital sex, but pleading for "some true commonsense Christianity on this issue."

"When you arrest these men and send them away a couple of years, you're usually either putting a family in jeopardy or you're saddling these 18- and 19-year-olds with a record that sticks with them," the minister says. "Even if you just get 30 days in county, you come out with a record. From my perspective and what I'm trying to achieve, I can tell that's not a good way to begin a productive career or a successful married life."

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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. 

 
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