A former political aide for John McCain has put up $2,500 of his own money to counter a medical marijuana inititiative that probably will be be on the 2010 ballot.
Max Fose, owner of a political-consulting and PR firm, has apparently been trying to "Stop the Pot" since he launched a Web site with that title back in December. He recently formed a campaign committee and donated funds to it.
Fose is also behind the marketing of an initiative that would add a 1-cent, statewide sales tax to boost treasury receipts.
Known for his Internet savvy, Fose helped McCain raise millions during the 2000 presidential race. Here's how McCain describes Fose, according to a May 29, 2000 Forbes article:
"Max is the loveliest of young men," McCain says, "and if you asked central casting to send you The Revenge of the Nerds, they'd send you Max."
An anti-pot, pro-tax crusader? Yeah -- major nerd alert.
In the Capitol Media Services article about Stop the Pot, a spokesman for the pro-pot initiative speculates that Fose is just doing it for the publicity.
That sounds about right. Previously, organized opposition efforts to Arizona marijuana initiatives have been small, (even though a majority of voters denied such an initiative in 2000). Still, maybe Fose's group will get a big check from the liquor lobby.
Fose's campaign, judging by his Web site, seems to focus on two themes:
1) Typical "reefer madness" propaganda.
2) The alleged sexual harassment of women by the executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project, who, according to Fose, "as office creeps go ... can lay claim to being king of the water cooler." Here's a sample:
For 15 years, Rob Kampia has served as executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), a nonprofit group dedicated to the reform of marijuana laws. In that capacity, Kampia, 41, has pursued two goals. One is the steady advancement of the organization, which he founded out of his Adams Morgan home in 1995. And the other is cultivating an office environment suited to his sexual appetite. A brief inventory of Kampia's knack for mixing business with pleasure:
*In 2008, Kampia dated a 19-year-old MPP intern.
*"How was the NORML Conference?" a staffer asked Kampia one year. Kampia replied, "I got laid."
*At a staff happy hour, Kampia guessed a female employee's breast size and told her that she would be "hotter with a boob job." (Kampia denies the conversation occurred).
This kind of creepy, oversexed behavior clearly bothers the moralizing Fose -- who would rather hang out with folks who cheat on their wives, like McCain.
The site also makes much of the fact that the initiative would allow patients to smoke 200 joints every 14 days. The bill seems to permit only certifiably sick people to obtain legal pot, however. Fose's point comes off like a scare tactic, implying those 200 joints will actually get smoked by Arizona children.
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SHOW ME HOW
Voters will probably see through the haze Fose is trying to put up, which is why his campaign is probably more about spreading Fose's name than eradicating medicinal pot.
Yet Fose's efforts to push through Proposition 100 on the November ballot might be even more of a struggle than convincing sick seniors that they don't need another pain reliever.
At an anti-Prop-100 rally a couple of weeks ago, McCain's human campaign prop, Joe the Plumber, showed up to blast the tax-increase proposal.
Fose, with his name linked to what may be the two most well-known ballot propositions this year, could end up with a lose-lose situation.