In the Spotlight: Ellen Bukstel Asks “Who’s the Pusher Now?”
Date:  11-17-2014

With a catchy song, singer-songwriter muses about the war on drugs, mass incarceration and Big Pharma
Recently Reentry Central received an email from Ellen Bukstel asking if we might like to feature her music video in our Weekly Headlines.

After listening to the toe-tapping tune and the brilliant lyrics, did we ever! Bukstel's song title, “Who’s the Pusher Now?” is a pointed reference to Big Pharma’s promotion of some drugs for hefty profits, and the government’s obstinate opposition to legalizing marijuana. The hypocrisy is sung in a bluesy song that just might become the theme song of the millions of people who want to see marijuana legalized. Today, people across the country seem to want just that. CBS News reported 51 percent of Americans support the legalization of marijuana use.

On November 4, citizens in Alaska, Oregon and Washington, D.C. voted in support of ballot initiatives that would allow recreational use and the possession of a small amount of marijuana, as well as being able to grow it. Other states are expected to follow. Ellen Bukstel might be the pied piper that drives people to passing marijuana reform legislation.

Bukstel is also passionate about ending mass incarceration, telling Toke Signals in August, “Stop the proliferation of private prisons. Stop the hypocrisy of the Federal Government from incarcerating people for fallacious marijuana laws, while at the same time providing legal protection for deadly pharmaceutical drugs that kill hundreds of thousands of people every year. The Drug Wars are a political joke and have hurt and unnecessarily incarcerated millions of Americans for too long.”

Ellen Bukstel has been praised for her songwriting talent by some of the top names in music, including Tom Paxton, Michael Bolton, Christine Lavin and Peter Yarrow. But, “Who’s the Pusher Now?” is also receiving accolades from activists who are fighting to keep nonviolent marijuana users out of prison and from suffering the collateral consequences of a criminal record.

Big Pharma, mass incarceration and legalizing marijuana are not the only thing Bukstel sings about. She has taken issues like domestic violence, HIV/AIDS, and living with Alzheimer’s disease and crafted them into songs of empowerment and love. Read more of Bukel’s life and music here.

Everyone might not agree with legalizing marijuana, but Buskel’s song might make some people stop and reconsider their opposition while asking themselves, “Who’s the Pusher Now?”

(Who’s The Pusher Now?” Copyright 2012 Written by Ellen Bukstel Co-Writers: Nick Annis / Brett Segal, Vocals: Ellen Bukstel. Produced/ Arranged/ Engineered /Sound Design/ Mixed: Brett Segal. Motion Graphics/ Editing: Todd Segal