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Kinky Friedman for Agricultural Commissioner

By Kevin Curtin, March 4, 2014, 9:07am, Earache!

“There’re very few musicians who are politicians and I think the reason is musicians are really good, creative, and honest people with integrity,” grins Kinky Friedman. “When you’re in a room full of musicians, you’re with decent people. If you’re in a room full of politicians... Well, you know.”

Texas’ favorite Jewish cowboy still tries to be both. I caught up with the country singer, author, animal advocate, and onetime Lone Star gubernatorial candidate on the campaign trail for his bid to become the state’s Agriculture Commissioner, whose duties include supervising school lunches and addressing the needs of small farmers and ranchers. He lost in the primaries four years ago, but he’s got a new platform this year.

The centerpiece of Friedman’s campaign is lifting prohibition on marijuana and hemp. He says the agriculture office could assist with pilot projects and grants. What that would do, says Friedman, is bring the issue to the courts where he thinks, “Some fine lawyering could be done.”

Friedman points to both economic and social advantages of marijuana legalization. He believes it might finally bring the drug war, a battle in which, “We’re getting our asses handed to us,” to a screeching halt. It would castrate the Mexican cartels, make us taxpayers the new bosses, and save state money on incarcerating pot offenders and thus stimulate the economy.

“I’ve talked to left-wingers and right-wingers and they both think it could be the next big cash crop,” says Friedman. “I’ll tell you what, the Poteet Strawberry festival could be called something else in about a year.”

And that’s not the only new catch phrase the quotable cowboy is touting this election. He’s asking Texas voters, “Do you want to be seceders or leaders?” Legalizing marijuana, says Friedman, would make a political statement heard around the world considering Texas’ size and conservative reputation.

Friedman also advocates the legalization of hemp. During an event at the One-2-One bar last month – part campaign rally, part concert, part fundraiser for his dog rescue facility – the Kinkster informed his audience that China was the world’s leader producer of hemp.

“Do you know who the world’s biggest customer of hemp is?” he asked the audience. “Willie Nelson! No, it’s America and Texas should be the leading producer.”

That issue, he feels is especially relevant to the Ag Commissioner position, for which water conservation remains a primary issue, because hemp uses considerably less water than cotton and requires no pesticides. With any new idea, Kinky says voters should ask themselves, “Is it good for Texas?”

For Friedman to be on the ballot in November, he must win the Democratic primary today. He casts his vote this morning at approximately 11am at the Thunder Hills Biker Church in Kerrville.

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