When I was a week shy of my 18th birthday and getting released from the “school” in Maine I attended (via court order) for the previous year, I was given words of advice from a guard named Jamal. He said to me “keep to a routine and you won’t get in trouble. Never eat too much, but never let yourself get too hungry. Never oversleep, but always get your 7 hours” and so on. Although I have trouble not doing things to excess at times, I do generally stick to a routine. Part of my morning routine is having a cup of coffee and reading news. I read everything from mainstream newspapers to Wikileaks and anarchist news and many in between. One of the papers I read, because I spent seven years in Boulder, is the Daily Camera.
Earlier this year, a man by the name of Sean Marino, after taking more than the recommended dosage of a number of different prescription pills, crashed his car into 15 – yes 15 – other cars. I remember this because I was sitting at the trimming table at work talking to my co-workers about it. We spoke about the dangers of pills and how many people, especially in Boulder, abuse them. We talked about the children who die every year after rummaging through their parents medicines cabinets. Then, life went on.
Today I went to the Daily Camera website and saw that Sean Marino was sentenced, so I clicked on the article. The first line said, “A Boulder District Court judge sentenced a Longmont man to two years of work release and five years of supervised probation for crashing into eight cars in Boulder last spring after smoking marijuana. “ The rest of the article continued pretty much the same way, with one or two other line mentioning that he had marijuana in his system. There was no mention of him admitting to being high when he was driving and even if there was, smoking marijuana does not lead to blacking out, going 85 mph down a side street; crashing into 15 cars. In one paragraph it was mentioned that he had prescriptions for seizure medication, but nothing was said about how many pills he popped or that a seizure could have caused the accident.
I’m not an idiot, I don’t think the Daily Camera actually reports news, but at the same time I considered them a liberal newspaper, a paper that has always been fair to the marijuana culture and industry. They interviewed me a number of times for articles and they were all positive. The few reporters and camera people I met over the years have all been almost down to earth and left leaning in their beliefs. They have always been a good counter-punch to the more redneck newspapers like the Denver Post and Longmont Times-Call. So, what gives?
I know that there is pretty much no such thing as an independent newspaper that has large distribution, so I didn’t harbor any fantasies about that. However, I was pretty shocked to find that the company that owns the Daily Camera, MediaNews Group also owns the Denver Post and Longmont Times-Call along with dozens of other newspapers and TV stations, and even a woman’s magazine in Connecticut.
This made me a little sick, but also more curious. Who runs MediaNews Group, I wondered. Turns out it is a man named William Dean Singleton. Running one of the world’s biggest media groups is a job, I imagine, that keeps Mr. Singleton pretty busy. He must have a hell of a work ethic though, because this isn’t the only company he’s in charge of. He also is the chairman of the board of directors for the associated press. What? How is that not a conflict of interest?
The reason why this specific story, as opposed to the dozens of other translucent articles I read every day, caught my attention is because of the marijuana angle. This year Oregon, Washington, and Colorado all have the legalization of marijuana for adults on their ballots. It’s not looking good in Oregon, but Washington and Colorado polls show that it stands a pretty good chance of passing in those states. This does not make the Feds happy. The Feds, in this situation are like an old, cranky, cornered dog showing their teeth even though they know they don’t stand a chance. Marijuana is gaining acceptance in every part of the country, among every age group, every race, every religion, but the feds are still trying to flex their muscles. We’ve seen in hundreds of similar circumstance (Civil Rights, Suffrage, and so on) that when the government knows it’s about to lose on a big issue, it starts to get very paranoid that its power is diminishing and responds accordingly.
Along these same lines, they are beginning to crack down on dispensaries in the states mentioned above. I owned a dispensary from 2009 until late last year and received a phone call earlier this week that I am being audited for 2010. Maybe this is a coincidence, but according to the few accountants I’ve spoken with, the amount of dispensaries being messed with by the IRS is higher than any other industry.
It’s hard to believe that there isn’t a direct link between the agenda of the Federal Government and what gets printed in the mainstream “news”papers.
Update- I emailed and have heard back from the Daily Camera. According to the reporter, Marino told the police that he had taken Percoset, but the lab results showed that none was in his system. Still, what research was done into forming a connection between him having marijuana in his system and him crashing into 15 cars? None.