Weed Activist

Great piece from FireDogLake.com

October 31, 2010 in Legalization

On Cannabis & Proposition 19

by Kit O’Connell

My friend Michael Watts of Michael’s Rant recently asked me to write something for his blog about the use of cannabis (marijuana) and the upcoming vote in California over Proposition 19. Without naming names, I am aware that he recently witnessed the effect this drug had on a loved one of his with a chronic pain condition. As a basically healthy person who does not partake, I think he was surprised at how effective it was in alleviating his friend’s discomfort. Since I am fairly outspoken about the effectiveness of cannabis on my Fibromyalgia, I am happy to write a bit more about it here.

Writing about this is a bit of a daunting task however — I have spent much of my adult life educating myself about the drug war in general and cannabis in particular, since it is both illegal where I live and the most effective, sustainable treatment I have found for my illness. It’s hard to know where to begin, assuming I am writing for a novice. Do I talk about the potential health benefits it has for people with scores of illnesses? The ways in which its risks have been inflated out of proportion by the agents of the drug war? Should I give examples of how other countries have fared in the wake of decriminalization? Complain about the hypocrisy of the Obama Administration‘s continued use of the Justice Department and the DEA to oppose state-level marijuana laws?

I will start, instead, by talking a little about how it has helped me and why I wish I could legally make use of it. My condition, Fibromyalgia, is poorly understood but causes intense, chronic pain as well as related issues like difficulty sleeping. At one time — when I had a shiny, private health plan — I took as many as 6 different pharmaceutical drugs multiple times a day. Each one had its own side effects which, when mingled with my already debilitating condition, made my life even worse. I had prescriptions to help me deal with the side effects of other prescriptions! Worst of all, people with Fibromyalgia seem to develop a rapid tolerance to many pharmaceuticals — especially painkillers — so eventually I’d be feeling just the side effects and not the benefits at all.

By contrast, cannabis creates minimal tolerance, and what tolerance it does create goes away quickly after a break. Though I am rarely completely pain free, a few tokes can on many days make the difference between productiveness or a day spent laying in bed in pain. While I can’t pretend that I do not enjoy the more recreational side effects — certainly they are far more pleasant than the ones I suffer from pharmaceuticals — with regular use in moderation I find that I am not ‘too stoned’ to function. Though I don’t have concrete scientific evidence to back it up, I believe that my body is using cannabis to supplement for the painkilling effects of its own endogenous cannabinoids, and therefore there is less available to create the euphoric “high” that purely recreational users experience.

Which brings us to the topic of recreational vs. medicinal use. Many people, especially those against legalization, argue that the medical marijuana issue is a false one, designed to draw attention away from the real goal of legalization. I agree — I believe that everyone should have the right to decide what substances to put in their bodies without fear of arrest, especially when it comes to a substance that is arguably safer than alcohol. While it certainly has negative potential just like any mind-altering substance, I have seen cannabis bring people closer together, open minds to new ideas, and aid in the creation of beautiful art. The truth is that I believe almost everyone is potentially a medical user, whether for chronic health conditions or everyday aches and pains — let’s not forget to point out that once upon a time cannabis was part of every doctor’s pharamacopia and could be easily obtained in tincture from neighborhood drugstores.

Proposition 19 builds on the publicity created by California’s successful (though federally persecuted) medical marijuana program by actively legalizing possession and sale under certain conditions. Since I can’t afford to move to California, I don’t think I’ll ever benefit from it directly except on my rare visits to the state. However I applaud this proposition as a step in the right direction, as a first step in reclaiming our society from the harmful effects of the drug war. If Proposition 19 passes, I believe the people of California will see an economic benefit, a reduction in crime and the percentage of the state population in prison, and a less stressed police force who will be freed from pursuing harmless drug users instead of real criminals.

There are many sources for information on the drug war and cannabis on the Internet — some of them linked above in this article — but I wanted to close by pointing readers to Firedoglake‘s Just Say Now, a new transpartisan alliance dedicated to supporting efforts toward saner drug policies throughout the United States.

I hope this brief introduction has offered some new ideas or information; I am happy to answer questions in my comments.

Source: http://my.firedoglake.com/kitoconnell/2010/10/30/on-cannabis-proposition-19/

Weed Activist

MMAB: 19 Reasons to vote YES on Prop. 19

October 31, 2010 in Legalization

Prop 19 is a regulatory approach we can live with. The purpose is to mainstream marijuana thru limited adult legalization and local control. That means cities and counties can decide their own rules regarding taxation.

The state-wide policy will be that adults can legally possess up to one ounce of marijuana and cultivate a 25 sq ft garden of plants. That is the floor for outright protection and no locality can lower the threshold below those minimums.

Anything over one ounce and 25 sq ft allows localities to choose whether or not to develop their own policies for regulating cultivation and sales and collecting taxes (similar to alcohol prohibition, where policies were determined locally).

The following are 19 reasons to support Prop 19, Tax Cannabis 2010.

1) The most important reason to support 19 is to break the irrational and unenforceable marijuana prohibition logjam we’ve lived with for 3/4 of a century, with all its injustice and inequality.
Marijuana prohibition effectively organizes crime, corruption and violence, extending back to the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act and the 1970 Controlled Substances Act (which ended prescription access). The Marijuana War is the longest most protracted war in US history.

Prop 19 is a sea change in direction away from prohibition. The genie could never be put back into the bottle, once the benefits of legalization are experienced. A New York Times ad entitled “Appeal for a new international drug policy,” signed by former public officials Joycelyn Elders, George Schultz, Willie Brown, among others, stated: ”We now believe the global war on drugs is causing more harm than drug abuse itself.”

2) Prop 19 protects all adults from bogus vehicle searches and bogus structure searches based on alleged smell. There must be probable cause of a crime and aroma is not grounds for a crime.

3) Prop 19 will not dilute or restrict Prop 215, the Compassionate Use Act. There is neither initiative content nor legislative intent that would allow that.

4) Prop 19 prohibits discrimination against cannabis users. Workplace policies must be applied equally.

5) Prop 19 creates a defense in court for personal use possession and cultivation, similar to Prop 215 for medical use.

6) Prop 19 would significantly reduce the disproportionate burden of the marijuana laws on the African-American community. 850,000 people are arrested annually in the US for marijuana violations, the majority for possession of small amounts. A recent study shows that cannabis arrest rates for African Americans in Los  Angeles is more than 300% higher than that for whites, even though the US Dept of Health & Human Services has data showing that young blacks are less likely to use cannabis than whites. They are also more likely to suffer disproportionate sentences than whites, on top of more frequent arrests.

Racism was a big factor in getting the marijuana laws passed in the first

place. Prop 19 would start the process of correcting that intolerable historical
injustice. 1 out of 3 (?) African American men are caught in the clutches of law
enforcement for minor drug offenses. The government spends more on prisons than on post-secondary education, largely to lock up the poor and people of color in the drug war. Legalizing possession of one ounce will surely reduce the number of people victimized for being “black in public”. That alone is worth a Yes vote.

7) Prop 19 is lined up against the entirety of law enforcement associations, the US Attorney General, virtually all politicians and leading corporations, including the alcohol, pharmaceutical and tobacco industries, which are all spending big money to prevent Prop 19s limited personal use legalization. Why? Because cannabis is an effective medical alternative to all three. A victory for Prop 19 will be a blow against big pharma, alchohol and
tobacco as well as law enforcement’s entrenched powers, with vast unlimited marijuana war resources at their disposal year after year.

8) Prop 19 would rearrange how taxpayer money is being spent to prosecute marijuana in California, which has been estimated at up to $1.9 billion. It is also estimated that the yearly California underground market in
cannabis is estimated at $14 billion and that $1.4 billion in new tax revenues annually could be generated. The legalization movement aims to redirect the flow of these dollars from violent drug cartels to government coffers to stabilize local economies and prevent economic collapse. 478 cities and 58 California counties need the annual sustainable revenue stream marijuana legalization would provide. Only amounts over the minimum would be subject to tax.

9) Prop 19 would be a huge gain for vast numbers of marijuana users, who would no longer have to fear being victimized by having small amounts on their person or in their garden. Anything under an ounce or a garden within 25 sq ft would be legal. No crime. No infraction. No penalty. No ticket. No violation. No nada. The beginning of a new start.

10) Prop 19 allows localities to develop their own policies that respond to local concerns for regulating cultivation, sales and taxes, as long as it is above the 25 sq ft minimum. According to the Orange County Register which editorially endorsed Prop 19, ”The beauty of local option is that the experience of different cities will serve as a laboratory of policy alternatives from which policy students and other city councils
can learn what works and what doesn’t. The local option grew out of the experience of the cities implementing  medical marijuana policies. Prop 19 allows local jurisdictions to make the choice.”

11) A clause in Prop 19 allows the Ca Legislature to make initiative changes without voter approval, unlike Prop 215. There are undesirable parts of the proposition that can be deleted or revised thru the normal legislative process, such as penalties for use around minors.

12) Prop 19 comes up against the Supremacy Clause under federal law which prohibits marijuana for all use. One plant is a felony. But that doesn’t mean the Feds will win.
Former San Jose police chief, Joseph McNamara, wants to take on the challenge of federal marijuana prohibition. He says, “It takes the states to push the federal government to change policies.”

In the words of ACLU’s Allan Hopper: ”If the Federal Government goes into court to stop 19 based on pre-emption under the Supremacy Clause, they will lose. The Feds cannot force California to leave state marijuana laws on the books or force California to use state law enforcement personnel and resources to enforce federal marijuana prohibition.”

An example is the People v Kha Return of Property case, successfully litigated by Joe Elford of Americans for Safe Access. The Government took the California Appeals Court Return of Property ruling favorable to patients to the US Supreme Court for review to have it overturned as a violation of federal law. The Supremes refused to review it, let the Appeals Court decision stand and told state law enforcement to return the property and that it was not their job to enforce federal law.

13) Prop 19 will open up California to the benefits of legalization, saving billions in enforcement expenditures, gaining a revenue stream of billions in taxes. In the words of Dr Carol Wolman of the Green Party, ”My guess is that legalization will greatly expand the market and prices will be stable.”

14) Prop 19 will release the creative cultural/social/spiritual energy that has been bottled up for three generations by oppressive laws.

15) Prop 19 will usher in a plant-based, food-based, medicine-based value-added economy, revitalizing whole communities thru economic localization and distribution.

16) Prop 19 will reduce civil liberties’ and constitutional rights’ violations, by removing law enforcement’s tool of aroma as probable cause to enter patients’ vehicles, homes and other structures.

17) Prop 19 will set a higher bar protecting personal use possession and cultivation, trumping the era of misdemeanor penalties and infraction possession with tickets and fines for small amounts (Leno bill signed by Gov Schwartzenegger).

18) Prop 19 will open up an evolution in consciousness by recognizing the cannabis plant as a valuable and viable dimension in our modern world, medicinally, economically and culturally.

19) Prop 19 has opened a serious unprecedented marijuana legalization discourse throughout the country, which will help move the issue to other states’ ballots and ultimately to Congress, where prohibition can be ended with hearings and a vote.

Marijuana is an ancient physical and spiritual medicine used for thousands of years by hundreds of millions of people from all walks of life and religions the
world over, without there ever being a single death attributed to its use. That qualifies cannabis as the safest medicine on earth.

Going back further, 600 million years ago the first 2-celled hydra sponges  emerged with an endogenous cannabinoid system that allowed the cells to communicate with one another. That cannabis is known culturally as an ice-breaker and a peace-maker, starts here.

The inter-cellular cannabinoid system has followed an evolutionary pathway through multiple species from hydra to human, where millions of cells communicate and interact through an endo-cannabinoid signaling system that modulates biological processes.

Endo-cannabinoid modulating action stimulates digestion or quiets inflammation or mutes pain.
It runs the gamut from the endocrine, immune, circulatory
and reproductive systems to mother’s milk and the digestive system. Cannabinoids enable the child’s ability to suckle and absorb the nutrients. Suckling is a necessary function of eating and drinking. Evolution favors it. It’s called the “munchies”. It’s insanity to outlaw the munchies. It goes against nature.

With the discovery of 70+ cannabinoids (THC, CBD, etc) and internal receptor
sites which cannabis molecules bind to, we can see more clearly now what the  science is teaching.
1) The human brain has a natural endo-cannabinoid system that regulates all
of human physiology.
“Everyone cultivates marijuana in their own brain whether they know it or
not” (Dec 2004 Sci American).
2) Science is affirming that cannabis and human beings have a symbiotic
relationship,
devised by Mother Nature for survival and evolutionary purposes.
3) Such a natural and necessary healing plant should be enabled, not
prohibited,
through scientific research, labeling, testing for toxins and a local legal regulatory system everyone can live with.
Pebbles Trippet
Mendocino Medical Marijuana Advisory Board
MMMAB steering committee endorsed Prop 19

Weed Activist

FUNNY….as the discourse in the movement grows I need humor

October 31, 2010 in Funny Stuff

Weed Activist

Grateful Dead Drummer endorses Prop. 19. "Jerry Garcia would've voted YES."

October 31, 2010 in Legalization

FROM Toke of the Town. Please visit www.tokeofthetown.com

Grateful Dead drummer Bill Kreutzmann has endorsed California’s Proposition 19 to legalize, tax and regulate marijuana.

“I smoke marijuana and I’m not a criminal; please vote YES on 19,” Kreutzmann said.

“Jerry Garcia would have voted Yes on 19,” Kreutzmann added of his former bandmate.

The famed rocker made the endorsement on The California Marijuana Report radio show.

The California Marijuana Report, with former Westwood One news reporter and current screen actor Eric Brenner, broadcasts every Sunday at 6 p.m. on KRXA AM 540 Monterey.

This ground-breaking show focuses on legalizing marijuana in Calfiornia.

“We are strongly promoting YES on Proposition 19,” Brenner said. “We go beyond the headlines and interview elected officials, marijuana law experts as well as profile California residents currently incarcerated or being prosecuted for marijuana offenses. We also showcase celebrities who continue to endorse the right to use this remarkable substance and call for the immediate release of all marijuana prisoners in California.”

Source: http://www.tokeofthetown.com/2010/10/grateful_deads_bill_kreutzmann_endorses_prop_19_le.php

Weed Activist

FREE EDDY LEPP! Vote YES on 19!

October 30, 2010 in Legalization

On an episode of Time 4 Hemp with Casper Leitch that Eddy has endorsed Prop. 19. FREE EDDY LEPP! Here is a link to that video:

EDDY LEPP’s wife Linda sends a message from Eddy: VOTE YES on 19!

This is an article I did for WCC on Eddy’s going to jail…

FREE EDDY LEPP!

Old Man Gets a Decade in Prison for Growing Some Plants

It was crazy windy. Debris was blowing around the streets of San Francisco at a fevered pace. The wind was howling through the skyscrapers on the skyline.  The Reverend Eddy Lepp was wearing flip-flops; a suit jacket, a small brim pinstripe fedora with a Rasta colored band, some blue jeans, and flip-flops. It was May 18th, 2009 and this was the day Eddy would face federal sentencing for his role in the cultivation of over 30,000 cannabis plants. He would receive a mandatory minimum sentence of ten years in federal prison from Federal District Judge Marilyn Hall Patel before a courtroom packed with supporters.

No matter what your views are on cannabis, I think we can all agree that a decade is an awful long time for growing some plants. For Eddy, it may be a death sentence. This 57-year-old man has seen a lot and his health is not what it used to be. A lot of thanks for a man who served his country proud in his military days and whose crime hurt nobody. It is a sad day for society when rapists and murderers receive less time than a gardener. But maybe a gardener is a bit too plain for Reverend Lepp, as he is much more than simply that. He is also a dedicated political activist and a Rastafarian Minister. He is a caring soul and a generally happy guy who is always smiling. Even on this cold and windy day where he saw a decade of his life evaporate before his eyes he manages a smile.

Eddy has fought his fair share of battles for the medical cannabis movement and to him this was just another step in the process to freeing this plant from tyranny. Eddy began cultivating full-time in 1996 when California passed Prop. 215. He was the first person to test the legal system on this new law, as he was arrested, tried, and acquitted for growing medicinal cannabis. He was driven to growing cannabis to serve the medical needs of his loving wife, Linda, who was dealing with a second bout with cancer. Eddy saw how cannabis had given his father a decent quality of life in his final days fighting cancer and he decided that it was his duty to his wife to grow this healing and beneficial plant. Linda Senti lost her fight with cancer in the midst of Eddy’s battle with the federal government. She was not there to see her husband convicted in a short two-day trial that was anything but fair.

In trial Eddy was not allowed to bring forth a religious or medical defense to explain his purpose for growing cannabis. He was railroaded into fighting with his hands tied behind his back, but he was unwilling to accept that he had done anything wrong and refused to accept a plea agreement from the prosecution. He still does not regret his decision. “The only thing I regret is that these conflicts in laws are the reason I am going to prison,” declared the Reverend. “If I had to do it all again, I would do it just the same. I have done nothing wrong.” And in a sense he is correct. The laws that lead him to commit these crimes are unclear and misleading. Without a clear framework many folks like Eddy have been made into criminals for growing medicinal plants. It is unacceptable.

Don’t get me wrong. Eddy Lepp is no Saint. He is from the school of hard knocks, tells crass jokes, chases most women, and curses like he just banged his thumb with a hammer. But he is also a caring, courageous, friendly, and smart man who does not deserve to spend his final days on this planet locked up for growing cannabis. “I think the reason they are so pissed at me is because they felt embarrassed. Because I grew so openly and highway 20 ran right down the middle of it, they felt I was slapping my dick in the face of the DEA. This was never my motivation,” says Lepp. “I never wanted all of this bullshit to happen.”

Eddy took a rough road in his battle with the federal government. Medical cannabis activists and political organizations turned their back on Lepp because of his religious use defense. They saw it as a far too risky political statement and it did not fit within the parameters of their work, even though his farm was named Eddy’s Medicinal Gardens. “These organizations don’t want me to succeed anymore than the government does,” said Lepp. “If I win they are all out of business. You gotta ask yourself, with all of the money donated, couldn’t more have been done to create real change after 40 years of fighting these laws? Hell. I have done more myself to change the laws than some of these well-funded organizations.” He admits that the leaders and staff of these organizations are all likable and that some are even his close friends, but he is frustrated with the lack of direct action he sees from them at times.

And maybe he has done more himself for the movement. Lepp says his legacy lies in the proliferation of cannabis farming and the way that people approach gardening. “When I began growing no one dared grow over 100 plants. Now there are sprawling cannabis farms all over northern California,” says Eddy. “I believe my vision to grow affordable medication with no government involvement did a lot to show others that they too can expand their horizons.” There is some truth in that too. Eddy set the bar so high that many others felt comfortable in growing larger gardens and serving more patients.

Eddy’s work with the Rastafarian religion is a way of life to him. He believes he was born a Rasta. In the late 90’s a bright young man enlightened him in the ways of the religion and he understood he had been living this way of life since he could remember. “My religion is sacred to me,” said Lepp of his beliefs. “I am a very public guy, but my relationship with the creator is a private matter.” His religion helps him to lead by example. He believes in being happy and avoiding anger and hatred at all costs. Which is probably where that constant smile comes from.

Since being sentenced Eddy says his life has not changed much. He is living every day like he is not going to prison because he believes that he is not. “I still don’t believe I am going and I will not give them the satisfaction of ruining the days leading up to my fate,” he explains. “If I go, I go. I will accept and face that when the time comes.”

That time is July 6th when he is scheduled to turn himself over to authorities at Lompoc Prison located 175 miles northwest of Los Angeles. Barring a miracle he will begin serving his time as he awaits appeal. It is insane that he may walk in a prison on that day and not see his home in Lake County for nearly a decade. He hopes that it will take much less time to change the laws that will be imprisoning him. He could win his appeal, he could receive clemency from the POTUS, or he could hope that Timothy Leary’s friends are still around. All of the above are relative long shots, but if Eddy is anything he is optimistic.

No matter what you think about Eddy and his infamous gardens, you must admit he has balls the size of Jeep tires. His effort to legitimize the way cannabis is produced is legendary. His collective gardening experiment may have landed him in trouble, but it helped to open the doors for the current proliferation of people who grow cannabis for patient (and religious) uses. He may be batshit crazy, but he is also very wise. He understands that his case has the ability to create awareness and make real progress for the cannabis movement. More information regarding his whereabouts in prison and his ongoing appeals can be found at www.freeeddylepp.com. The message he hopes to convey with his journey is, “Respect All. Hurt None. Love One Another.” That is not too much to ask.

For everyone’s sake we should hope that his situation changes for the better. If our government is allowed to continue to lock up old men for a decade for growing plants on their own property then we may all be doomed. Can we live in a society where injustices like these are a reality? It is easy to look the other way and be glad that it is not you. But what if it were? What if it were your loved one losing ten years of their lives for growing medicine? Please do your part to write letters, call public officials, and protest viciously to demand the release of Eddy and the many other political prisoners being held by our own government. We must demand that justice and morality be restored to our country and that these horrible wrongs be righted immediately. It is too important to let go. Rise up and be heard. No more mandatory minimums for growing safe and effective medicine. No more drug war. No more senseless acts of tyranny. FREE EDDY LEPP!

GO TO EDDYLEPP.com AND GET HIS UPDATED ADDRESS AND WRITE EDDY A LETTER.

Weed Activist

Attorney and Activist David Pullman on the state of the race for cannabis freedom

October 30, 2010 in Legalization

There are a few days until election day and it looks close. I’m gonna bust my ass for this cause until the day comes, but I’m also taking a realistic assessment of the situation (something I highly recommend to all of those who are voting down Prop. 19 in favor of their fantasy of Hemp 2012 passing). The usual cast of characters has come out against this initiative with a reefer madness that apparently never gets old, but what has really disturbed, disappointed, and disgusted me is that some of the modern day Harry Anslingers of prohibition come right from the ranks of those groovy people that until now I had idealistically called my “family.” There has been a lot of disinformation and division amongst the pro-marijuana community and what arises in me is a deep sadness and a disillusionment from the notion that there is a tribe of us that I’ll inaccurately call hippies (hipsters, burners, rainbows, deadheads etc.) that actually share a higher ideal and a vision for a more just  world, rather than just pursuing our own self-interests.

As a young deadhead, I spent two and a half years in New York State prison for selling LSD (from age 19-22). This is the mighty wrong and the big wound of my life – the time where I suffered alone in the darkness of the dysfunction of society and felt the deep hurt of a brutal injustice burn deep into the visceral core of my being. For my intended audience here, I don’t need to explain why locking me up was an injustice, however foolish my actions may have been. Instead, I want to talk about what that injustice motivated me to dedicate my life to.

When I got out of prison, I moved to California, grew my dreadlocks, flew my freak flag, and channeled by energy towards fighting back against the drug war. I walked from San Diego to Sacramento for hemp awareness, I petitioned for two of Jack Herer’s initiatives, and I formed my own little activist group in Santa Cruz. I felt an alliance with all pot people – we did our drugs/medicines, we grew them and we sold them, but we all, in my eyes, were down with the cause of marijuana legalization and ending the drug war. I felt part of a movement that had been struggling since before I was born to put a stop to the criminalization and incarceration of people whose only crime was to use a substance that alters their consciousness, as had been done throughout the history of humanity. I continue to feel part of that movement and it motivates me every day in my practice as a criminal defense lawyer. On a political level, this movement has mostly seen failures, with a few successes here and there along the way – Prop. 215 being the biggest of them so far. Politicians consistently letting us down, we’ve tried for decades to get a non-medical marijuana legalization measure on the ballot and always failed to even gather enough signatures. Then, along came, Prop. 19, certainly not perfect, but the best chance we’ve ever had or conceivably will have in the near future, and the shenanigans began that have shaken my entire vision and faith in the righteousness of the people that I had thought of as my tribe.

I actually used to be so foolish as to believe that there were two worlds, rainbow vs. Babylon, one full of integrity and beauty and the other one ugly and corrupt. Now, I’ve seen and grok fully that we are all Babylon, the rainbows perhaps moreso than anyone else. The most disturbing and widespread falsehoods about Prop. 19 emerged, not from the prison guards union or the chamber of commerce, as was to be expected, but from a sparkly dreadlocked hipster queen  with a wicked gift of gab and a pen that proved to be mightier than the truth itself. This misinformation was quickly debunked by those who were much more qualified to weigh in on the subject. The distortions were actually pretty transparent, but somehow these anti-19 myths found fertile ground in a big way with that sector of the “family” that just so happen to have an economic interest in keeping their “sacred herb” illegal.

Amazingly, amongst my friends who are opposed to Prop. 19, over 90% of them happen to be those whom I know as medical marijuana growers who profit off of the fact that marijuana is illegal and the price is astronomically high relative to the ease with which the plant could be grown. It is definitely no coincidence that the non-growers might fall temporarily under the spell of the misinformation campaign, but keep an open mind and any falsehoods that they learn about the initiative are easily corrected, while the growers (and there are thankfully many beautiful and noble exceptions – Love You!) are just so inclined to believe and latch onto even the most ludicrous of the anti-19 propaganda (think anything that has to do with Monsanto). Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for growing and selling marijuana. I’ve been a dealer, a grower, a trimmer, and might even hold the world record for the most ganja gooballs sold in one day. But, I always supported the cause of legalization and knew that when the time came, I would put aside my profits and move on for the greater good of the world.

Tellingly, these growers all couch their objections to Prop. 19 in economic terms (gives all the power to corporate mega-grows, takes away the rights of mom and pop growers, Walmart, Starbucks, economy of Humboldt county etc. etc.), reducing what they call the “sacred herb” to a mere commodity and bickering over who gets the right to profit off of it. Aside from the fact that most of these arguments are based on misinterpretations of what the initiative actually does, I don’t give a fuck who gets to sell it. This isn’t and never was supposed to be about profits. Although a lot of good things have come out of the profits we have made, the fact that there were ever any profits to be had is just a perverse benefit that we’ve managed to gain out of the sickness of the drug war. The profits were never supposed to be the the point – they were a fortunate side effect of a very unfortunate situation.

I don’t give a fuck about Richard Lee either. He seems to me to be a great guy with a long history of hemp activism who has been unfairly cast as a villain, but even if he was the biggest asshole in the world, I would still support his initiative. Because this struggle isn’t about Richard Lee and it isn’t about a bunch of hippies (using the term very loosely) who have become addicted to and feel entitled to continue making (relatively) easy money. This initiative is about the people and their freedom to smoke and/or grow whatever the fuck they want without running into a hassle with the law or losing their jobs. If you think Prop. 19 won’t help much or that marijuana prohibition is not a big problem under the current status of decriminalization, I can rattle off to you a list of reasons why my experience as a lawyer proves you wrong. As I’ve been arguing to many people, the overbearing weight of marijuana prohibition does not fall most heavily on a bunch of mostly white, privileged, middle class hipsters with medical marijuana cards and the ability to hire a lawyer. Prohibition comes down most heavily on the most vulnerable and marginalized populations – the poor, the undocumented, people of color, homeless people, street people, people on probation or parole, people with warrants, etc. It is these people that I find myself representing in the courtrooms every day, not the groovy family that I originally thought I was going to be fighting for. Very few of these people have medical marijuana cards. They don’t have money, access, information, and they either don’t want to or they don’t trust that they can get away with pulling off a medical marijuana scam.

There is no doubt that if marijuana is legalized, under any measure, the price will drop drastically and a lot of growers will have to either switch to growing mushrooms or find a legal source of income. Every good cause has its share of economic casualties. We can all probably agree that we should not cut down any old growth redwoods, but what happens when we have a job in that industry or we have a tree on our own property that we want to cut? Do we latch on to some phony claims to justify our opposition to the environmental protection or do we put our own personal economic issues aside and vote for the greater good? That should be a rhetorical question, but in fact it’s not. We usually villainize those loggers or corporations that fight environmental protections to protect their own financial interests, but now we have become just like them, haven’t we?

Legalized marijuana has a long list of traditional foes – the cops, the politicians, the prison guards, the alcohol industry, the moralists. In order to beat them, we need every single pro-pot person fired up, activated, and unified or, at the very least, not getting in the way. In order to pass this or any other marijuana initiative we needed to get every pot person to register to vote, to call their friends and family to urge them to support the cause, to write letters to the editor, to talk to people about it and put a human face on this struggle. Instead, and incredibly ironically, it is the mainstream liberals who are supporting this, while the hippies have joined up with the conservatives in spreading falsehoods and smears about it. I’m confident that just about every one of you who reads this, if you really understood the legal terms of the initiative and the enormity and importance of this issue (this is not just about California) and put aside your own economic interests, would be a full supporter of Prop. 19, warts and all.

I still think there’s time to pass this thing, or at least restore my faith in the inherent goodness of this subculture that I am part of. I encourage every one of you to look into your heart and be honest about why you really are against this. Then call all of your friends and family and tell them you’ve had a change of heart and you’ve seen the light and realize that we all have to vote YES on this. Maybe once in a generation do the economic and political realities come together in such a way that something like Prop. 19 stands a chance of passing. Now is the time. We won’t get another realistic chance for a very long time. Bring the herb out of the closet and into the sunlight where it belongs! Take the illegality and the money out of the marijuana business! Do it for a better world! If not, I love you, but I also think you’re being kind of an asshole.

Weed Activist

WEED IS TOO DAMN HIGH! Yes on 19 for lower weed prices…

October 30, 2010 in Funny Stuff, Legalization

Weed Activist

NO LOVE for the anti-19 haters. Sorry.

October 30, 2010 in Legalization, Miscellaneous, Video

For all of you who have lied and deceived people on their freedoms and have lied to convince people to vote against 19, I dedicate this song to you. You will gets NO LOVE after this is all said and done. “It’s a little to late to say that you’re sorry now. You kicked me when I was down. But what you say is don’t hurt me no more. You showed me nothing but hat. You ran me into the ground- but WHAT COMES AROUND GOES AROUND.” You haters can lose my number after the election. We will not be “moving on” and “coming together.” Forget that shit. You haters have taken your BULLSHIT too far. You made that bed, now lay in it….

Weed Activist

INSPIRING!: Every little bit can help….Do YOUR part!

October 30, 2010 in Funny Stuff, Legalization

CW: This is a great post I just found on Facebook about an activist working to pass Prop. 19 every chance they can get. GREAT JOB, N.D. Kerwin…..You got mad Cannabis warrior respect….much love. Everyone should be this dedicated.

Went down to the Mac Store today so they could tinker with my laptop and while they were busy doing that I pretended to check out all their display models…little did they know that I was actually setting the Yes On 19 website as the default page on all their browsers. Mua ha haaa :)

Weed Activist

NOT COOLEY! No on Cooley. Bad for MMJ….Real Bad…

October 30, 2010 in Funny Stuff, Legalization, Video

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