Being better today than we were yesterday…

The epic battle for cannabis freedom was waged many years ago. Over the decades of cannabis prohibition, those charged with defending the honor of the cannabis plant have failed to win the war, and to return cannabis to its rightful place as a safe, enjoyable, and helpful resource. We have failed to stop the militarization of our police forces and the mass incarceration of our fellow man. We have allowed the propaganda of those who profit off of the drug war to overcome the sensibility of a nation and the world. To this point, we have ultimately failed.

That can be a tough pill to swallow. For those of us that have been standing around the cannabis reform water-cooler for many many years, it is difficult to understand that we have FAILED to make a real difference, and that we continue to see record number of arrests and people losing their standing in the community for weed. It is a terrible injustice that we have failed to put an end to before hundreds of thousands of lives have been destroyed.

Let that sit with you a minute. Let that resonate in that big brain of yours. Even the latest tracking polls that show 50% or more of Americans now support cannabis freedom still means we have failed to reach half of the people with a message that is really a no-brainer.

Cannabis prohibition is not working. There is more cannabis available than ever. We lock up 5x more people than the rest of the world, many for weed. We have wasted a trillion dollars. We have ruined the lives of innumerable good people. We have created a very dangerous black market for weed. We have enslaved mostly poor people in prison work camps with draconian mandatory minimum sentencing laws for weed. Cannabis prohibition is EVIL.

That is a pretty easy argument to make that should convince MOST (like 80-90%) sensible-minded people that it is time to take a new direction. But we have failed to deliver that message apparently, as we can barely scrape the 50% mark.

So what has gone wrong? Why can our message get no traction? Where have WE gone wrong in making our case to the masses? Why can’t we figure out how to end this madness by making a clear and concise case for reform? How do we continue to let evil policies undercut the fabric of our society and bankrupt our communities?

If we can begin to understand where we have failed in the past, chances are we can right the ship and make REAL and MEANINGFUL progress in the future. We have the opportunity to make things right. We CAN do this. But it will take a good dose of truth and self-examination for us to understand where we have failed, so that we can not fail in the future. We could use a moment of self-purification in the cannabis movement. We need to take a moment to step back and acknowledge that we have messed some things up, and to develop sound strategies for not making those same mistakes going forward.

We CAN be better today than we were yesterday. It is possible; but if we continue to do the same shit for another few decades we should not wonder why it is not working. It will not work because we did not take the time to make it work. It will be us who are to blame for allowing ego and bravado to overcome justice and morality. It will be us who did not give enough, or dedicate ourselves enough, to make the difference.

We are better than this. The cannabis plant deserves better than the current situation will allow. If we are truly committed to making cannabis legal for adults to use as they please, then we have a lot of hard work to do. The task is far from impossible, but it will take great sacrifice and compromise within the community.

Yesterday is gone and there is no bringing that back. But today is here and we owe it to ourselves to take a closer look at what we MUST do to finally end this thing once and for all. I am open for that discussion, hopefully sooner than later. There is no “I” in freedom…..

Listening to Our Own Rhetoric

 

We live in a world where you can order news and information that meets your own ideological beliefs. Liberal Progressives, like me, can find outlets that are heavily slanted to our ways of thinking. Conservative thinkers can find outlets that serve their needs. Even in the weed movement, we are very guilty of only talking about news, current events, and positions that serve our own purpose.

The problem with insulating ourselves in this manner is that we fail to see the entire picture, and often, we are ill-prepared for the ongoing debate because we are not able to understand both sides of the argument. In order to win the war, it will be necessary for us to begin to know our enemy as well as we know ourselves. Sun Tsu’s art of War summed it up like this:

It is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles; if you do not know your enemies but do know yourself, you will win one and lose one; if you do not know your enemies nor yourself, you will be imperiled in every single battle.

The cannabis industry is stuck in the “win one- lose one” scenario, where we do not know our enemies very well, but we sure as hell know ourselves. Our situation is overwhelmed by tunnel vision mentality that fails to recognize the strength and strategies of our opposition. We underestimate their message, and allow our own pie-in-the-sky beliefs rule our day. We continue to preach to our own choir with messages of victory and accomplishment, when the reality is anything but. We have fallen victim to being convinced and swayed by our own rhetoric.

That is a dangerous position. We have drank our own kool-aid, and in-turn, we continue to miss opportunities to make real progress.

If we fail to really understand the position of our enemy then how do we ever expect to defeat it? Our opposition has been extremely effective in misleading the world that cannabis is dangerous, and that weedheads are criminals. Yet, we are so enamored by our righteous postion that we do not truly get where we are, and/or how the hell we got here. The movement loves to sing its own praises for the smallest victories, yet it rarely acknowledges its own clear and devastating defeats. It is like we choose to pretend that our own failures have nothing to do with the problem; and then we wonder why we lose the ground we have gained.

We are constantly defending our position against bizarro attacks because we fail to even see them coming. Our inability to recognize the clear and present threats, and to disarm volatile situations before they manifest into major issues, have left us at a severe disadvantage. Because we fail to confront many of the issues within our own movement until they are beyond problematic, we find ourselves playing from behind most of the time. Our movement is terrible at looking at itself through the eyes of the society we live in. The blind followers of the cannabis rhetoric wear nothing but rose colored glasses. The world is a figment of their imagined reality.

This is no position to take on a battle of this proportion from. In order to end cannabis prohibition once and for all, we will need to begin to understand the opposition more clearly, and to develop more sound strategies to combat their entrenched positions. We will need to learn to better consolidate our resources, or message, and our human experiences into a more focused force that works to accomplish the sole goal of defeating our enemy.

Weedheads are generally passive in our approach. We have allowed for our enemies to take advantage of our kindness, and to exploit our rational ways of thinking for their own gain.

It is time that we moved out of the church and away from our own choir. We must take our message of freedom and justice to the masses, and begin to combat these enemies face to face. We must grasp the position of our enemy, and begin to confront them in a more pro-active manner. The time for trying to be nice and kind has passed. If this battle for cannabis freedom is to be won, we must begin to move our troops behind enemy lines. We have got to quit listening to our own rhetoric and stop being lulled to sleep by our own hyperbolic crap.

We CAN win this thing, and relatively soon. But we must stop bullshitting ourselves. We have got to quit buying into our own bullshit, and begin to effectively attack our enemies position. If we can do that, victory will be easy. If we continue to march around the playground declaring ourselves king of the kickball court when everyone else is playing tether ball, do not be surprised if we are still fighting this fight for several more decades.

Finding a Voice

One of the biggest issues facing cannabis users is the inability to rally around a message that is clear, concise, and to the point. Often, the argument by pro-cannabis forces is splintered by many different justifications for why we should make weed legal.

“Marijuana will bring in tax money. Marijuana enforcement is racist. Patient who use cannabis medicine are in harm’s way. We do not even want to get high any more- All we want is CBDs. We have to allow for weed if we allow for booze. The black market makes it easier for kids to get. Marijuana fuels the cartels in Mexico. It is just a plant. Weed should be like tomatoes. We waste too much money on enforcement of weed laws. Big Pharma is out to get us. Monsanto wants to take over the weed industry. Taxing and regulating is good. Taxing and regulating is bad. George Washington grew hemp. Fuel food, fiber. Jesus was a stoner. God made weed…..and the list goes on.”

It feels like we are schizophrenic in our approach. Like we have spent way too much time (decades) contriving all of these reasons for why weed should be legal; and most of the points are extremely valid and have a place in the overall debate. But the problem is we live in a world of soundbites and tweets. The world has become a place where you need to learn to speak in 144 characters, or less, to get people to listen.

So the worry is that all of the noise created by so many people pulling in different directions can be overwhelming, and confusing. It can make people not hear what we are actually saying.

I think what we are trying to say is that “Cannabis prohibition is wrong; it is evil; and it has to stop.”

I do not believe we need to justify that postion with a million reasons why either. It is pretty basic. We take people to jail, ruin their lives, take their children away, and create a society of oppressed people all because they like a safe and enjoyable plant. It is just wrong, evil, and has to stop…period.

If we can begin to deliver that message in concert to the masses, we will begin to see the progress we have all been working for for so long. When we can harness the power of social change by continuing to hammer home that people who promote and support cannabis prohibition are wrong, evil, and that they must be stopped, people will begin to wake up to that message. Most people do not enjoy being on the side of evil.

The cannabis community has a strong message. The fact that we have been under heavy attack in this godforsaken war for decades, and weed is still more popular than ever and more readily available than ever shows that we are resilient and that we are right and just in our cause. Let’s quit defending ourselves all of the time. Let’s go on offense.

We are not criminals; You people are just evil and mean-spirited. 

If we all began to deliver that message in sync and broadcast it in all of our communications with the world, we would see the needle continue to move in our favor; and in no time, social pressures would force the hand of our government to end this insane policy.

I can tell you that our approach of let’s throw everything to the wall and see what sticks is not working, and is more times than not confusing what we are trying to say. Whatever the message might be, I think the cannabis message needs to find a more collective voice to begin to really move forward at a more rapid pace.

Cannabis prohibition is wrong, evil, and must stop. 

Why I am a weed activist…

It is not like I woke up one day and decided I wanted to spend the rest of my life fighting for cannabis freedom (I hope not). My involvement with cannabis goes back decades. It was love at first puff. I remember the overwhelming sensation and the way it put my busy mind at ease. It was like I was finally home.

I was a ripe age of twelve standing by the creek behind my house with my best friend. We scored some weed from an older kid, and rolled our first poorly crafted joint, with two papers for good measure. I remember instantly the change of hemisphere for me. I was a Ritalin baby, and cannabis helped me to slow down and appreciate life a little more. But I knew at that instance that weed was a good thing, and that I would seek it out for the rest of my life.

I also was a terrible drinker. I spent many years trying to find a way to make the devil’s kool-aid work for me, but alas, it was not meant to be. After innumerable issues and arrests for drinking too much, or doing some dumb stuff while I was drinking too much, I decided that booze just was not for me.

Weed has never created those types of issues for me. Weed has always been a positive in my life, and has helped me to become a better person. It has allowed me to explore parts of my imagination and existence that I would likely have not even noticed. Weed can help me find my center, or it can help me to find a separation between myself and the hectic world.

The reality is that I did not choose to be a weed activist….weed chose me to be an activist for justice and morality.

You see, I love weed. I love it as an enjoyable resource. i love it as a medicine. I love it as a spiritual and meditative force. But more than all of that, I hate injustice and immorality. The fact that we continue to take people to jail in an act of mass incarceration is deplorable; It sickens me. We have used one of the greatest plants that the good lord ever created as a reason to arrest, imprison, and enslave mostly poor and minority people who are victims of our nation’s disastrous war on drugs.

Maybe you have never been in a jail. I have. It is depressing. The fact is that there are A LOT of people there for weed and other drugs. We have created a lucrative black market and have created an unprecedented level of income inequality, and then we wonder why poor people turn to selling drugs to get by.

They then become easy prey for the industrial prison complex to suck into their system with draconian mandatory minimum sentences, often for decades…for crimes that have no real victims. We have created an environment that harvests crimes and takes advantage of our society’s most vulnerable people. We should all be ashamed that we allow this to go one right under our noses and do nothing about it.

I am a weed activist because I have been a victim of overzealous enforcement of weed laws. I have had my car searched, been arrested, and have had my home raided because of my love for weed. It is ugly. It is unacceptable It has to stop.

We are better than this. We can no longer allow militarized police forces to imprison our family, friends, neighbors and fellow man for weed. It is not working, and it is insane policy.

So until we can right this terrible injustice in our communities and find a path to a more moral and right solution, I am a weed activist and I will do whatever it takes to make it so not another person has to experience pain, suffering, loss of standing, or shame for their right to use a safe, enjoyable and helpful plant. It is our duty to our fellow man to work hard to ensure cannabis prohibition, and the failed war on drugs, ends sooner than later.