Kinky Friedman: The Chess Piece of Texas Agriculture

 

On March 17th, I had the unique pleasure and opportunity in getting to talk with candidate for Agriculture Commissioner, Kinky Friedman! We talked of many things, from the primary to his approach on legalizing marijuana and hemp to how he likes to spend his off time, to his humanitarian contribution in helping strays. Kinky Friedman is a great individual to strike a conversation with, he's easy going and brings a new perspective to what the future of Texas could be!

AUSTIN420: What are your thoughts on last week's Primary?

KINKY: Well one thing, it's passed and we're in a runoff, in a pretty statistical dead-heap with my opponent, so we will see what happens here. I think this will be a very different group of people voting, because they'll be voting purposefully, they'll be voting consciously for a given candidate. I think in the Primary, they were voting for Wendy Davis, just voting Democratic and they just happened to glance at the Agriculture Commissioner race, so that's probably what happened there. But, if we can win this runoff, May 27th it is! By the way, anybody can vote in this as long as you didn't vote in the Republican Primary. You can vote and we need your support because I think we're very close to making this happen and as I told the NORML folks, I view this as a referendum. If I win this thing, it will be a huge referendum on lifting the prohibition on pot and hemp in Texas!

AUSTIN420: What was your upbringing like before entering the political arena?

KINKY: Well, like they say, a happy childhood is the worst possible preparation for life, but I had a happy childhood and it didn't really prepare me for politics. It would be good to have a non-politician in there. I've always thought that, especially now that we're looking at 20 years of the usual suspects all belonging to one political party and they're not even the best of the party. They are people that have been groomed for the jobs, so they have been using the Ag Commissioners position as kind of a political stepping stone. By the way, did you happen to see that Sanjay Gupta thing on CNN on weed? I thought that was very interesting. It's helping patients with MS, Parkinson's, Autism, Epilepsy, and so forth. If it can cut seizures from 70 a day down to one, you really got something there. And the fact that America is not researching this, because of our own government making it difficult, is just ridiculous! Like Josh Stanley was saying, when the cancer patient friend of his told him that the nausea of chemo, the lack of sleep, and the inability to eat anything just about killed him and that pot alleviated all that. It helped enormously and they credit it largely to him getting through. Stanley said he believes him and that's why he joined his brothers to do this. It's really ignorance that's keeping this out of Texas! I figure, if I can win this run-off, I have six months to enlighten and educate the people of Texas who are against lifting the prohibitions.

AUSTIN420: What can the legalization of hemp provide for the state of Texas?

KINKY: If we can turn the agricultural business to hemp, which is a weed, it will grow in certain ground conditions and doesn't require anything but 50% of the water that we're wasting on cotton, it requires no pesticides whatsoever, and it puts nutrients back into the soil. And with the experimentation with hemp oil, it's really showing medicinal signs that could be really important. So, what are we waiting for. Instead, the Republicans are trying to shut down immigration, if each immigrant were to pay $5000, which they can't pay, yes, they can shut off immigration. If they do that, they are going to shut off Texas agriculture, especially if we go to hemp. I'm thinking of it as "expanding" Texas agriculture and there are 247,000 small farmers and ranchers in this state and that number is dwindling daily! Those people know that I'm serious about this! When you lose a family farm that's been with you for generations to foreclosure, that's a very sad day and we want to see that reversed! It's the small farmers and ranchers that I want to stand up for, not Nolan Ryan, someone like that who has 10 million cattle, who sells beef for huge profits. That's fine, but the Ag department doesn't need to be helping the corporate guys!

AUSTIN420: How do you feel about cannabis as a medicine as compared to pharmaceutical drugs?

KINKY: Well, again going back to that piece on WEED, the documentary. You know, you saw the secret lab in England, turning cannabis into a prescription drug. Now, they're just starting to do that in Colorado, but it's tough! As I've said, not being much of a pot smoker myself, I only smoke when I'm with Willie and that's kind of just courtesy, you know, Texas etiquette and the last time I smoked with him was three months ago in Hawaii. Once again, this is not about hippies smoking dope, that's not what it's about at all. It's about a disease that will kill one in three of us, we will have that battle, 1 in 3 Americans, and that's bigger than terrorism and just about anything you could think of.

AUSTIN420: Yes, that's totally across the board! What do you like to do in your off-time when you're not campaigning?

KINKY: Play chess, smoke cigars, listen to classical music which I'm finding a great linkage between classical music and what we call classic country music, not what you hear on the radio today. I'm convinced that all great music is melancholy. Chess is, (laughs) that also, like politics, is a game that should be played with a smile; it's like war. I think Churchill said that.

AUSTIN420: I hear you have a love for rescuing dogs. Can you tell me about that?

KINKY: Sure. I like to think of myself as a defender of strays because when you come across a stray, it's as close to God as you're going to get! And I'm talking about two-legged strays, four-legged strays, all kinds of strays. What you do when you do cross the path of a stray is a measure of your humanity, whether you're too busy, don't have the time, or pretend you don't see, or whether you try to do something about it. This may be pushing it, but I think of myself as kind of a pioneer. The easy way to win is to have the right focus groups, buzz words, and code words, and do what your handlers tell you to do. So I'm just saying, if I can keep others moving forward then I will have won. Every drunk is not a poet and every pioneer is not Moses and you may not get to the promised land, but I think there's something to this that involves embracing the future. That I am sure of!

AUSTIN420: And in speaking of the future, in looking at Texas, what do you think the next two legislative sessions may hold for Texas that could be positive for us?

KINKY: I think there will be more and more talk. I think the whole country is talking about it. Only the candidates running for office in Texas are not talking. (laughs) Occasionally, you'll hear something about maybe medicinal marijuana should be something we should look at. Hell, we already have the finest cancer hospital in the world, with no medicinal marijuana program...absolutely ridiculous! Look at these politicians, our elected officials, I don't see any of them that are really embracing the future. All I mean by that, is to be open to new ideas, the future may slap you in the face, that could happen. It may happen to me May 27th, but on the other hand, on May 27th, the future may hug me back. I don't see these other candidates embracing the future. They talk about education, I'm telling them how we fund it. They talk about immigration and the problems on the border, and the fact is, most of the Mexicans coming over here are doing just what we would do, whether they're rich and have bodyguards or whether they are middle-class or poor. Security has completely vanished, its deteriorated to the point where you can't protect yourself or your family and because of that, everyone wants to get the hell out! And many of them are very decent people and cannot pay $5,000 as the Republicans want them to or whatever, and what I'm suggesting is the legalization of pot. My friends on the border and in the valley, are telling me that I've been saying 30% or 40% of the cartels revenues will be cut; they're estimating 50% or 60% of the cartels revenues will be cut. They're saying, the turf wars will be largely a thing of the past and that will make Mexico safe, safer, and more secure, and will make immigration something that can be handled.

AUSTIN420: In closing, what can the people of Texas do to help KINKY?

KINKY: I think the best thing is to talk it up amongst your friends, there is just a few months left here and this is not going to be easy to vote on May 27th because a lot of the polling places change, it'll be a much smaller vote and it's not as if a number of the candidates are for legalization because they are not. In fact, I went to an event where I explained all this, about legalizing pot and hemp, and then, my opponent got up to speak, all he said was "I promise you I will not sell drugs to your children," which shows a complete lack of understanding of what we're talking about and plays to ignorance. You almost have to look at Colorado; every other week they're finding a $112 million dollars they didn't think they were going to get. I mean the thing is huge, even in Colorado. You can imagine what it will be worth in Texas! It would be enormous! So, just financially I think people are interested in lowering their taxes, lowering property taxes, having a huge revenue stream coming through like we've never seen and making Texas leaders! I understand why the people want to secede, I really get it, but that's giving up, that's quitting. We can be leaders in this country, if we act soon and act like leaders, which leaders act decisively, they are pioneers! Here's the deal, the children of the world look to Texas; Texas is a magical state, it's a mythological state and if Texas legalizes, that's a big deal and that will end the Drug War which has already lasted 50 years and spent over a trillion dollars. When Nixon was President, we had twice as many incarcerated people as the other developed countries, 2 to 1! Today, it's 8 to 1 incarcerated people, so, we're headed the wrong way here. Whatever we're doing is not working and we need to try something different! ~

 

KINKY FRIEDMAN