Fairfax medical marijuana activist campaigns for lieutenant governor

September 24, 2006

Tad Whitaker, Marin Independent Journal

When the Rev. Lynnette Shaw's Fairfax house turned into a moldy health hazard after the New Year's Eve flood, she didn't do what everyone else did.

Shaw, head of the Marin Alliance, which runs a medical marijuana dispensary in Fairfax, declared her candidacy for lieutenant governor, moved to Hollywood and started singing lead in a blues band on the Sunset Strip.

Shaw developed a marijuana-friendly platform, says she figured out a way to solve the immigration problem and, along the way, picked up an endorsement from Willie Nelson.

"It's an opportunity to throw away a vote and support medical marijuana," Shaw said.

Shaw still runs the alliance and the Fairfax pot clinic, and she plans to return to town after the campaign.

The Libertarian Party drafted Shaw to run after finding out she collected 15,000 votes in 2002 in a bid for the Marin General Hospital Board. Party leaders gathered 1,000 signatures to qualify her for the Nov. 7 ballot.

Shaw moved to Hollywood for the dry, hot weather so her lungs could recuperate from health problems caused by her moldy Fairfax house. It's also where she came from 26 years ago before she moved to Marin County.

One of the first things Shaw did after heading south was find a Methodist church with an emphasis on music. Shaw said her old friend, John Belushi, planned to build a marijuana-themed singing act around her shortly before he died, and she said it finally seemed like a good time to give it a try.

"I'm not too old to rock 'n' roll," said Shaw, a 52-year-old graduate of Antioch High School. The blues act takes second billing to the campaign.

Shaw has addressed one group after another hoping to spread her message. The Retired American Alliance, Retired Police Officer's Association of Southern California and others like them have all heard her speak.

Her basic platform is outlined in a campaign statement:

"For years, the sick and terminally ill have been arrested, jailed and imprisoned for taking the medication of their choice. As lieutenant governor, I will stop this travesty. Medical cannabis was approved by the voters in 1996 and I promise to stop the federal government from overstepping their powers to interfere in medical choice. It has always been my opinion that government should be a referee and not a player in society. We need leadership that will foster the rights of citizens and their freedom to be left alone."

When talking to a bunch of retired cops about legalizing marijuana, Shaw said she sticks to the facts.

Prisons are full of nonviolent drug offenders, people can benefit from pot's medical qualities and taxes are going up in smoke to pay for

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