Sometimes it is hard to be a weed activist. Who knew that trying to get people to understand that weed is safe, enjoyable, and helpful, and that we should not take hundreds of thousands of people to jail for it, would be such an exhausting job.
But between fighting with law enforcement, reasoning with Joe Public, and trying to navigate the chaos that is cannabis reform these days, a person can become downright burnt out and fed up. Sometimes it can seem like the walls are closing in and nothing makes any sense at all. Any reasonable person would conclude that taking people to jail is stupid when presented with the facts; but we live in a world of lies and deception. That, in itself, is enough to drive anyone mad. Add to that that our movement lacks identity and inspiration on a lot of levels, and you can see how it is easy for a person to not be feeling it after a while.
So what do we do? How do we get up day-after-day knowing the deck is likely stacked against us, and continue to battle ignorance and hatred for our right to smoke weed?
Easy. Forget all the dumb stuff and focus on the fact that if we do not finish this thing, nobody will. We will continue to see our friends, neighbors, and families get locked up, lose their standing in the community, and have their rights constantly violated if we do not get off our butts and DO THE WORK.
Easier said than done right? I feel you.
Each of us are different people. What I do is try to breathe when I begin to feel overwhelmed. I sit quietly and envision victory and the day when this is all a terrible memory of when we used to lock people up for safe plants. I try to think of the many friends I have who are sitting in jail this day for weed and think about how petty my exhaustion must be compared to theirs. I reflect on where we have come from, where we are now, and where we want to go. I try to remove the noise from the equation and boil the fight down to simplified terms. I take pride in knowing that I am right and that our opposition is wrong. I think about ways that we can celebrate our victories and learn from our mistakes. Then I like to think about how crazy all of this is, and then I usually belly laugh uncontrollably for a few minutes.
It is a constant exercise in mental awareness to do what we do, even in the face of danger and apathy. The rank and file weed activist does not get awards, or even recognition, for their willingness to stand up and be accounted for this issue. The real weed activists do the little things, and offer themselves selflessly to the cause, because they know the cause is just and that their hard work can make a difference; and it does.
Do not ever think that your contribution is wasted or that you are not good enough. The only thing you need to understand is that this is not about any one of us, or any group of us…it is about a wonderful plant. It is about freedom. It is about justice. It is about basic human rights.
Your small piece of a larger puzzle is moving mountains. We are seeing real progress towards cannabis awareness and freedom like never before. What is bizarre is that we are seeing this effort from allies outside of the cannabis movement more and more. Public figures, celebrities, world leaders, and even the most right-wing righties are supporting cannabis freedom and ending the draconian policies of the drug war.
This is because of you…because of all of us. Because we have continued to move the conversation and make people understand that cannabis prohibition is a disaster. That is YOUR WORK.
As we continue to change the hearts and minds of people who have been lied to about weed for decades, we see a real shift in the way our society views cannabis. There is an adult conversation happening more openly, and that is a direct result of your work to create real and meaningful social change.
So while you are sure to get burnt out, fed up, exhausted, and will not always be feeling it, just know that we need you. Take a minute to regroup. Find your center. Look deep into your own heart and know that we have no choice but to finish this thing.
There is no longer time for half-measures. We all must stand up and make cannabis freedom a reality. We are our only hope.
As long as we stay more progressive than our ally Pat Robertson from the 700 Club, we should be just fine.
“I really believe we should treat marijuana the way we treat beverage alcohol,” Robertson told the newspaper. “If people can go into a liquor store and buy a bottle of alcohol and drink it at home legally, then why do we say that the use of this other substance is somehow criminal?”
Pat Robertson, 700 Club