This is the true story of a Michigan woman named Louisa who every so often can’t move her arms or fingers or turn her head, a woman who was overjoyed in 2008, when Michigan voters overwhelmingly approved the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act (MMMA) that legalized medical marijuana growing, possession and transfer.
It’s also the story of a Michigan Republican politician who led the main opposition to the medical marijuana law before Michigan voters approved it. Meet Michigan Republican and former congressman and appellate court judge, Bill Schuette, who was elected Michigan’s Attorney General (AG) in 2010.
Before she tried medical marijuana, Louisa watched with horror as the nerve disease slowly turned her arms and hands into a dead zone. Ever since it started happening the doctors gave her pharmaceutical meds that made her vomit and gave her diarrhea. But the meds didn’t stop the disease from advancing.
The doctors told her that the disease was “something like multiple sclerosis and it’s not going to go away it’s going to get worse and every time it comes you’re going to lose a little bit more of your body until one day you’re muscles are out of your control and all you’ll have left is your brain. You’ll be trapped in your body like an animal in a cage.”
That’s what they told her and that’s what she feared every day and night until someone invited her to try medical marijuana. It provided total relief first time, every time, and she didn’t get those attacks anymore. For the first time in years she felt hopeful about life and her depression and thoughts of suicide were relieved.
After the MMMA passed, the years from 2008 until 2010 were the best years she’d had since getting sick. She was able to get potent, properly-grown medical marijuana from dispensaries for a good price. Her symptoms completely went away and she was able to go back to work, clean her house, and plan for a future.
But then Bill Schuette got elected attorney general. Using his power as the state’s top law enforcement official, Schuette has spent almost all his time attacking Michigan medical marijuana patients, cultivators and dispensaries.
In a state suffering from rampant violent crime, severe economic decline, joblessness, and environmental problems, legalization of medical marijuana was the only “green” growth industry from 2008 until Schuette took office.
Hydroponics stores, real estate, medical marijuana dispensaries, sick and dying people, doctors and communities all benefited tremendously from the multi-million dollar medical marijuana industry and the MMMA.
The Michigan medical marijuana industry provided jobs for thousands of people, generated tax revenues, and revitalized dying towns and cities ravaged by the death of Michigan’s automobile industry. It also provided high-quality, lab-tested marijuana for thousands of sick and dying people like Louisa.
But Bill Schuette didn’t care about Louisa or any of the other people who get unique relief from marijuana. He didn’t like it that the voters of Michigan rejected his anti-marijuana politics, and he’s gone on a crusade against marijuana that has trashed Michigan’s medical marijuana law and the marijuana-hydroponics economic boom that began in 2008.
Schuette and his Republican and conservative-Democrat allies in the state legislature have gutted the MMMA, forcing closure of most medical marijuana dispensaries, frightening growers, cutting the business of hydroponics stores, and introducing confusion and dread for sick and dying people and their caregivers.
Now Louisa can’t get her marijuana at a dispensary near her home anymore. She has to get meds from the black market. Prices are higher and supply is unreliable. The black market buds aren’t as good as the dispensary buds. One of the growers who supplied her got arrested, even though he only had nine marijuana plants and was fully complying with the medical marijuana law.
Louisa remembers how those attacks would paralyzed her, and she’s scared. Scared of what Schuette has done to her, and she’s angry too.
Schuette recently told Michigan law enforcement officers that they could seize legal medical marijuana and plants from legal medical marijuana patients and never return the medicine, even though the MMMA specifically forbids such actions.
Schuette defended this by saying that marijuana is still illegal under federal law. Many Michigan citizens want to know who Schuette actually works for – the people of Michigan who pay his salary, or the federal government.
Who Schuette really works for when he attacks marijuana is only explained when you examine the tangled web of bad karma that goes back to the origins of the drug war, the rise of the corporate takeover of America, and the links between the drug war and other wars.
Schuette’s family history and dictatorial ideology show the links between the drug war, other wars, corporate criminality, war crimes, and crimes against the environment. You see, Schuette’s parental lineage can be traced back to one of the most dangerous corporations on earth: Dow Chemical.
Schuette’s grandfather, Carl Gerstacker, was CEO of Dow during an era when Dow committed many corporate crimes. Of course, when you’re one of the world’s major chemical companies, it’s hard not to commit corporate crimes. The indiscriminate, profit-driven manufacture and use of agricultural and industrial chemicals is slowly poisoning our entire planet.
Schuette’s stepfather, William Schuette, Sr., was a leading executive of Dow slotted to become CEO of Dow, but Schuette, Sr. died before he gained the CEO job.
Attorney General Schuette has a long history of personal and financial connections to Dow Chemical, and not just because his grandfather and stepfather were captains of the company. He managed a “philanthropic” trust in honor of Gerstacker, and grew up in Midland, Michigan, hometown of Dow Chemical headquarters – long recognized as a corporate-owned town, polluted, corrupted and run by Dow. Schuette was quarterback for the Dow High School football team.
During various campaigns in his political career, Schuette has taken heat for his family ties to Dow, and for taking big-money political contributions from Dow and other polluters. His response has always been to passionately defend Dow and his family’s involvement with Dow. It’s clear that Schuette is Dow’s boy in the Michigan government.
Schuette says he’s against marijuana because people who use, produce and dispense it are immoral criminals, endangering children and communities. Ironic, given that Dow Chemicals constitutes one of the most immoral corporate criminals our solar system has ever known. Ironic, given that one of Schuette’s main campaign contributors is the alcohol industry.
And no matter how many of Schuette’s drug warrior lies you’d believe about marijuana growers and sellers, they can’t compare with the truth about the moral, environmental and statutory crimes Dow has committed. The list of Dow misdeeds is staggeringly long and sordid, but let’s enjoy a brief overview:
- Dow Chemical made Agent Orange, the toxic herbicide used during the Vietnam War that killed millions of acres of trees, plants and ecosystems while also causing birth defects, mutations, cancers, and deaths for Vietnamese, and for American soldiers and their children.
- Dow Chemical made napalm, otherwise known as jellied gasoline, which was used to burn the flesh off of and incinerate tens of thousands of civilian Vietnamese during the Vietnam War. In 1969, Schuette’s grandfather Carl Gerstacker as Dow’s CEO defended the company’s manufacture of napalm, saying it was a profitable product and good for the US military to use.
- Dow Chemical was the contractor running Rocky Flats nuclear weapons plant located near Denver, Colorado. During the period of 1951 to 1974 when Dow was in charge, a number of avoidable mishaps and management errors led to widespread radioactive contamination and harm to people and land.
- Dow Chemical’s Midland operations are known for polluting Michigan and the Great Lakes region with toxins such as dioxin. Dow’s way of handling this was to find researchers who’ll say dioxin doesn’t harm anybody.
- When protesters in the early 2000’s began showing up in Midland to protest Dow’s corporate criminality, protesters were viewed as hippies, environmental whackos, niggers, outsiders, and tree-hugging commies who would harm Dow’s ability to provide jobs. As with many polluting industries and corporations (such as Canada’s Tar Sands oil project), people who protest on behalf of environmental and human health are portrayed as “job-killers.” Not only did protesters from outside the community face hostility, but Midland residents who’ve sought legal recourse against Dow for pollution and health problems have also faced opposition from Dow loyalists afraid that if the company was forced to clean up its act, jobs might be lost.
- In 1984, American-based Union Carbide Corporation killed at least 8,000 citizens living near a Union Carbide pesticide plant in Bhopal, India, when a cloud of toxic gas from the plant engulfed the community. Since then, at least 20,000 more people have died due to the toxic gas. In bed with American corporations then as it is now, the Indian government refused to let Bhopal residents sue Union Carbide individually, and negotiated a pathetic settlement that allowed Union Carbide to abandon the plant and pay an average of $420 for each Indian person killed or injured by the company’s negligence. Dow Chemical took over Union Carbide in 2001, and has refused to consider Union Carbide’s Bhopal disaster as any part of Dow’s responsibility. Not only has Dow refused to step up to compensate Indian victims for the ongoing environmental and health disaster that the toxic chemicals continue to cause in Bhopal, Dow even had the audacity to sue women protesting the Bhopal disaster in front of Dow’s Mumbai, India headquarters. This is in line with Dow’s worldwide corporate presence and its network of public relations propagandists who’ve filled the internet with attacks on environmentalism, applause for toxic chemicals such as Dow’s DDT, and websites disguised as anti-Dow which are actually run by Dow and contain embedded lies designed to make people feel good about Dow.
- Dow Chemical is a leading user of animal testing, and has refused to end the practice.
- In a September, 2010 article in the journal Critical Criminology, investigator Rebecca Katz absolutely documents worldwide criminal corporate behavior by Dow, and the hypocrisy of the company in its attitude and handling of Dow’s poisoning of people and the environment. The report, entitled “The Corporate Crimes of Dow Chemical and the Failure to Regulate Environmental Pollution,” is a thorough and undeniably true indictment of Dow. Given that the United States Supreme Court has ruled a corporation is a person, Dow Chemical could be brought up on criminal charges of mass murder, easily found guilty, and sentenced to death. And yet, Mr. Morality Anti-Marijuana Bill Schuette is proud of Dow Chemical and his association with it?
So let’s take a moment to see what we’ve discovered, and then we’ll tie it all in to the war on marijuana that started in 1937 in America and is continued to this day by people like Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette…
First of all Schuette’s grandfather and father were leading executives at Dow during a time when Dow was engaging in its customary activities that inherently harm people and the planet.
Secondly, Schuette is a Dow-backed politician, part of the many politicians owned by the corporate elites, and as such is a bought and sold corporate agent using his position in government to do what’s best for Dow. Michigan’s attorney general is the state politician most responsible for investigating and prosecuting corporate violations of environmental laws. It’s very useful for Dow to have Schuette as attorney general. You can bet no prosecutions of Dow will take place with Schuette at the helm. After all, Dow is his family heritage.
Third, in a state plagued by violent crime, property crime, corporate crime and environmental crime, Schuette has spent almost all his time since being elected AG in a vicious crusade against marijuana.
It goes back to the origins of the war against marijuana. Remember: the cannabis plant was grown by George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and tens of thousands of other Americans until it was criminalized in 1937.
The people behind the criminalization were part of corporations like DuPont, and Dow. These corporations feared the formidable competition the hemp plant posed to their corporate interests. This is old news to anyone who has read Jack Herer’s The Emperor Wears No Clothes.
Dow and DuPont were and are involved in manufacturing artificial chemicals, fibers, plastics, fuels, and are involved in the fossil fuels industries as well. In the 1930s, scientists and agricultural experts demonstrated that hemp could make food, fuel, fiber, oils, paper, clothing, plastics, and medicines better than similar items produced by chemical companies such as Dow and DuPont.
So Dow, DuPont and other companies found a right-wing, dishonest nutcase federal employee named Harry Anslinger, Jr., who convinced Congress to tax and later to fully criminalize marijuana. Anslinger’s Reefer Madness propaganda is today echoed by Bill Schuette. In fact, Schuette channels Anslinger and is a prime example of a modern Reefer Madness propagandist.
Today, the United States government still doesn’t allow marijuana or hemp to be legally cultivated for industrial, medical or recreational purposes, and the chemical companies like Dow and DuPont continue to pollute and destroy our planet, making products that could be more sustainably made from cannabis.
Bill Schuette spends taxpayer money running around the state of Michigan attacking sick and dying people, gardeners, and marijuana providers, dreaming of being a Michigan governor or a federal Senator one day, serving the interests of Dow Chemicals, police, and the alcohol industry – ruining Michigan’s only clean, ethical growth industry and causing misery for thousands of people who know that marijuana is a healing herb.
Schuette’s single-handed destruction of the law that voters passed shows that America is not a democracy. The only real chance Michigan medical marijuana advocates have is to recall Schuette and retire him from political life permanently, or to convince him to do penance for his family’s evil karma and Dow’s evil karma by ending his insidious, tyrannical war against the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act.
Otherwise, Schuette and his allies will have thwarted the will of the nearly 3 million people who voted for the MMMA.
That’s really what this is all about, beyond the fact that medical marijuana is a far safer and more effective medicine than the pharmaceuticals it competes with. What better example of how far America has strayed from democracy do you need than when one guy – an arrogant and cruel scion of one of the most destructive corporations on earth – can squash the wishes of millions of his state’s voters?
Louisa caught up to Schuette at a public event. She told him his war against medical marijuana was a war against a plant, and a war against sick and dying people. She tried to explain to him that marijuana helped her when no pharmaceutical drug could. But he wouldn’t listen. He interrupted her as she tried to speak, dismissing her concerns. He wouldn’t even look her in the eye. He told her he was sure her doctors could do better than to “recommend an addictive drug that you have to smoke.” And then he walked away, leaving her in tears.
“You get the feeling that people like Mr. Schuette want you to die,” Louisa says. “That’s their Republican philosophy. They’re supposed to be for small government and creating jobs, but look what they’ve done to medical marijuana. On my gravestone I will have it carved: ‘I would surely be alive today, except for Attorney General Bill Schuette.'”
If you want to contact Schuette to tell him he needs to stop doing this bad stuff, remember he is an attorney general, and may well report you to law enforcement at the federal or local level. Therefore, I suggest you use an anonymous email address and a pseudonym. If you call his office via phone, use a phone number that can’t be traced. Contact information is below.
You could also help out by contacting the Michigan Medical Marijuana Association to find out if anyone is trying to recall Schuette to get him out of office.
Here’s Schuette’s contact info:
Attorney General William Schuette
G. Mennen Williams Building, 7th Floor
525 W. Ottawa St.
P.O. Box 30212
Lansing, MI 48909
Phone Number (517) 373-111
Email: [email protected]