Talk about a grass-roots campaign!
A Jamaican-American woman from Crown Heights is running for Senate on a one-plank platform: legalize marijuana.
Her slogan? “Tax pot, not people.”
Vivia Morgan, a 43-year-old construction worker, says that legalizing ganja is the first step to righting the social injustices of the world while also providing much-needed jobs and revenue for the state.
“Young guys are standing on the corner selling drugs because there are no jobs out there!” said Morgan. “If we could legalize, regulate, and tax marijuana, maybe they could open up a [weed] store like the liquor stores that are on the corner every three or four blocks!”
Morgan, who is running as an independent under the Anti-Prohibition Party ticket, envisions sticky-icky dispensaries similar to the ones in California, in which people with a prescription can buy grass to their lungs’ content.
“The fact is … our education system needs a lot of help, and we need affordable housing in our communities — a portion of that money [to fill those needs] would come from pot,” said Morgan. “Legalizing pot makes more sense than higher taxes on all New Yorkers.”
But Morgan, who has run her own television show on Brooklyn Community Access, said that she does not mess with the wacky tobacky — and clammed up when we asked the tough question: did she ever inhale?
“I can’t recall,” she replied.
In fact, despite running for public office, Morgan did not wish to share many details about her personal life, saying only that she was married and lived with her son.
Still, this underdog candidate believes her victory is as guaranteed as the munchies after a few tokes of Maui Wowie.
“I’m going to win,” Morgan said. “I don’t have the funds, but I know what the average person is feeling because I am the average person! Once they see that, they’ll relate to me.”
That’s something she can’t say for the incumbent, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.
“I’ve never seen Gillibrand in my community,” Morgan said. “When people ask me who I’m running against, I tell them, and they say ‘who?’”
But will her message fly high with conservative voters upstate? Would Tea Partiers approve of a big-government takeover of the existing cheeba market, which is operating smoothly without state oversight?
“I think a lot of people upstate would appreciate [legalizing it],” Morgan said. “Right now drugs are on the black market — it’s like the days of prohibition! We could be spending our money much more resourcefully than just arresting people for smoking a joint.”
And at least 15,000 people agree with her, as she gathered their signatures with the help of only a small group of supporters (she couldn’t remember the exact number).
But now comes the campaign, and Morgan needs more cash if Mary Jane is ever going to emerge from the shadows in New York.
“I need people to donate — most people running for office have a silver spoon in their mouth! I’m working on a shoe string budget,” Morgan said.
To learn more about Vivia Morgan and her campaign, visit www.morgan