Willie Nelson kicks off national pot movement

December 16, 2010 9:32:50 AM PST
A new push to legalize marijuana is gaining traction online. It's dubbed the "Teapot Party" and supporters say they will actively back political candidates who think pot should be taxed, regulated and legalized.

In San Jose's Calabasas Park, a small group met to talk about a growing movement. It's called the teapot party -- a political effort sparked by musician Willie Nelson. After being arrested for marijuana possession last month, he said, "There is the tea party. How about the teapot party? Our motto: We lean a little to the left. Tax it, regulate it, legalize it."

Since then, the idea has gone viral. A Facebook page popped up marking Dec. 15 as the first official meet up day. People in more than 500 cities across the country planned events.

"I think it's a good idea actually. I personally believe marijuana isn't just for getting high, there's other reasons behind it," said San Jose resident "Suraj."

Much like the tea party, which backs candidates who support specific ideals, the teapot party backs candidates who believe in legalizing marijuana.

"I'd love to see this get to the point where we actually have a marijuana movement party and an actual political party that supports marijuana in general," said Dave Hodges from the San Jose Cannabis Buyers Collective.

"If it's going to be here, then there might as well be regulation, taxation," said San Jose City Councilman Pierreluigi Oliverio.

Oliverio believes in the 'tax it, regulate it, legalize it' idea, although he's not affiliated with the teapot party. On Monday, the Council voted to tax pot clubs 7 percent. Councilmember Pete Constant has always opposed the idea and doubts the movement will change things.

"I don't think it has a lot of popular support and I really don't think the mainstream politicians will be attracted to it," said Constant.

The next national teapot party meet up is scheduled for Jan. 18.


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