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Doug Clark: Don’t weed anything into I-502 endorsement

Holy smokes!

Did you catch last week’s herbal announcement from State Sen. Michael Bongartner?


Anyway, Baumgartner – who is in the death throes of his campaign for the U.S. Senate – publicly endorsed I-502, or “High 502,” since the initiative would legalize personal pot use in Washington state.

Drat. Had I known this was coming, I would have strummed some Grateful Dead when Baumgartner joined me last June during Spokane Street Music Week.

“Truckin’, got my chips cashed in …”

After decades of observing the rancid phenomenon known as the American political process, I believed I’d become too jaded to be surprised.

But Baumgartner’s I-502 backing is a mind-twister.

See, nobody says boo when some sandal-wearing lefty comes out in favor of legalizing weed for recreational purposes.

But Baumgartner?

This is a clean-cut Spokane Republican we’re talking about.

Republicans don’t like to say “joint” even when it’s followed by the word “session.”

So what’s candidate Baumgartner up to?

A clever friend of mine thinks he knows. The rookie state senator, he claims, faces long odds in his quest to unseat his Democratic opponent, incumbent U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, who does NOT support I-502.

So this is Baumgartner’s way of throwing an “inhale Mary” pass.

Good one. But I don’t buy into the desperation scenario.

Baumgartner’s too savvy to think that courting the stoner vote will gain him much political traction.

From what I’ve learned watching “A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas,” potheads wouldn’t be the most reliable political supporters.

As in …

“Maaan, like what month’s the election?”

Or …

“Register? No way. I don’t wanna get drafted.”

No, the only sensible explanation is that Baumgartner sincerely believes in the many societal benefits from legalization, which are:

Billions raised in tax revenue.

Better control through regulation.

Waaay more hacky sack.

And I’m not even counting the guaranteed hilarity at office parties and church socials.

“Yo! Bishop Hempstead. These brownies are killer!”

This is Spokane, of course. Many of you squares don’t think there’s anything funny at all about marijuana.

Or bud or chronic or ganja or giggle twig or green-sticky or happy backy or mountain cabbage.

Or shwag or skunk or sweet wheat.

Or even doobage.

In an effort to change your minds, I checked out “Weeds that Please,” an actual website that offers “marijuana humor and jokes.”

Here’s one of the site’s belly-busters:

“Q – How do you know when you are stoned?

“A – When you are too phoned to stone home.”

(Go ahead. Take a moment to catch your breath.)

The more I think about it, the more I believe that Baumgartner is on the smoldering edge of something beneficial.

Have you checked your current events lately?

The Middle East is about to erupt into World War III.

The American economy stinks worse than an Appalachian outhouse.

People are out of work, depressed and barely able to pay for their extended cable TV sports packages.

And all we ever hear from political hacks is the same ol’ jive.

Forget 502. We need to pass an initiative that would force all political candidates to smoke up 15 minutes before any televised debate.

Now that would lighten the nation’s mood.

ROMNEY – “It’s all about jobs, man. Like we need more jobs.

OBAMA – “Duuude.”

ROMNEY – “Dishwashing jobs. Ditch-digging jobs. Steve Jobs …

OBAMA – “Duuude.”

All together now:

“Keep truckin’, like the do-dah man… Just keep truckin’ on.”

Doug Clark is a columnist for The Spokesman-Review. He can be reached at (509) 459-5432