I am sorry you are sick, but I am in jail…

It seems that there is a portion of the cannabis movement that is okay with only sick people having access to cannabis. There is a “we must put the patients first BEFORE we work on ending prohibition completely” sentiment I have observed lately during debates over state initiatives.

I call BULLSHIT. Nothing could be further from the truth. We have been “fighting for patients rights” since way before 1995. We have put nearly all of the movement resources into advancing this concept for many years, and to our credit, we have done a good job of convincing most of America that sick people should have access to cannabis medicines.

But we have also done a poor job of putting forth a cannabis environment that is conducive to the real medical industry and its professionals. The “medical only” market we have created continues to come under intense scrutiny because from the outside looking in, it does not look like a medical situation at all. Most major media done on medical cannabis include a point (or many points) on the increasing skepticism of this growing industry. People just do not see fat blunts and “medical” cannabis cups as true to life medical applications of cannabis.

It is this giant lie we continue to tell ourselves so much that we have begun to believe it is true.

On one hand we have advocacy groups swearing up and down the country that this is all 100% legit medical use, while at the same time representatives of this very medical advocacy groups participate heavily in extremely recreational seeming events, and their staff and followers mock the medical uses of marijuana by consistently taking dosages far beyond any medical applications. These groups have no problem setting up their booth right next to a doctor who may be holding office hours at the local cannabis cup or Cypress Hill concert, but then want to look down their nose at these “recreational users” who are “screwing things up for real patients.”

Spare me the rhetoric. The unfortunate side effect of working so hard on medical only laws and policies is that we have not focused much time, energy, or resources on the real issue of cannabis prohibition….MASS INCARCERATION OF MOSTLY POOR PEOPLE.

Some folks have taken their self-righteous medical only stance so far as to say that they are not for adult use legalization because it could affect their rights as a medical patient. You know what makes a person really sick? PRISON. And not only does it make that person sick, it makes their entire family and everyone who ever cared about them sick too. When a young black youth is arrested for selling weed and gets a five-to-ten mandatory minimum sentence, not only does he risk real actual sickness from living in a dirty infested jail with limited healthcare, but he loses his life and standing in the community forever.

So while I understand that your rheumatoid arthritis is a bitch, just know that sitting in prison for weed is a much bigger bitch. We lock up poor people for weed at alarming rates in this country and terrorize people through unlawful search and seizures all in the name of prohibition. But do not worry, Mr. Medical Only Cannabis Activist…as long as you can have your weed, screw all of those folks, right?

Wrong. DEAD WRONG.

If you are so selfish that you would sacrifice another human’s freedom and right to life to only save yourself and your rights to use cannabis, then you are just as selfish, greedy, and evil as the bastards who made these laws, and who continue to endforce them. If you have convinced yourself that you are so damn sick that it is okay to continue to feed our youth into a violent and dangerous prison system so as not to upset the gentle balance of your safe access then you a.) lack courage; and b.) are a major part of the problem.

Here is a reality check for many who use cannabis “medically.” Your use is not really medical at all…at least by the normal terms and standards of what is medical in this country. So before you go doubling down on your bullshit position, do me a favor…consider these questions:

Question one…In a medical only cannabis market, cannabis will eventually be prescribed by a doctor when medical rescheduling takes place. What medicines prescribed by a doctor on the market now are smoked? Did you come up with none? I did too.

Second question….What medicines prescribed by doctors are whole plant medicines? I came up with none. What did you get?

Third question….What medicines are prescribed where you can get as much as you want to use over any period of time? What medicine does a doctor tell you to roll up as fat of a portion as you want and smoke away? Oh yeah…there are no smoked medicines. Well what prescription do they tell you it is okay to use as much as makes you feel good and pass it around to your friends? Did you come up with none again? Me too…

Fourth question…Which prescribed medicine are you allowed to grow at your house? None again? Damn…

One more question….What medicine prescribed by a doctor allows them to write prescriptions with no oversight or scrutiny from the FDA and DEA? None again? Damn…

The point I am making is that most of these medical only crusaders do not understand that their use, as it currently stands, is NOT MEDICAL AT ALL. If we continue to fight for a more medical cannabis environment, while ignoring the horrors of mass incarceration because we believe this is a more palatable and winnable argument for our cause, then we are sure to end up painting ourselves into a corner we never wanted to be in in the first place. You will eventually get the old, “You guys said you wanted medical only marijuana. Well here you go. Enjoy your Satixex or go back to being a criminal.”

Some have tried to say that these are two different and separate issues. Nothing could be more patently wrong. The medical use of marijuana is NOT a separate issue from adult use legalization. True herbal cannabis will never be truly free as a medicine to use as people want until we realize adult use legalization. We will  see an out of control pharmaceutical industry find ways to influence lawmakers to limit the very definition of medical cannabis, and ensure that you can only buy cannabis medicines from them. If patients truly want real and meaningful access to herbal cannabis at much lower costs, then cannabis legalization for all is the ONLY ANSWER.

Some of you need to quit with the medical charades too. Nothing is sadder than a bunch of stoners faking back injuries and standing around talking about how sick they all are to justify them taking 20 fat dabs and eating a 500mg brownie. The jig is up. People do not believe you any more and you are making us all look bad. Even my brother with cancer who had three of his ribs removed does not pul the medical card as much as most of you.

And before all of the true-to-life medical cannabis patients who do suffer greatly jump down my throat for this piece, just know that it is the interference, noise, and chaos of this integrated quasi-legalization movement masquerading as some group of healers and alternative medicine experts that is really standing between you and the medical industry buying into the medical applications of cannabis.

I have spent the past year plus talking to cancer research doctors and oncologists at Stanford Medical Center. While all of them understand the medical benefits that their patients see from using cannabis, none want to be associated with the medical cannabis industry as it stands because they do not see the current situation as being medical at all in any way. So that is not me speaking…that is a team of some of the most qualified cancer researchers in the world.

The cannabis movement continues to bury its head in the sand and tries to believe that if they continue to repeat the same mantra over and over that somehow things will get better. Well, while we have provided limited protections for those in our society who can afford to pay a doctor to write them a note for weed, the fact is that over the past 15 years+, since Prop. 215 passed, MORE PEOPLE HAVE GONE TO PRISON FOR WEED…not less.

So while we may be winning the medical only battle (which I have shown will result in limited variety and availability to less and less qualified people as time goes on), WE ARE LOSING THE WAR ON CANNABIS FREEDOM. While we continue to divert huge portions of our movement’s resources to justifying the medical only approach, hundreds of thousands of poor, and mostly minority, people go to prison for weed every day.

Until we can step back and understand that we are not even asking for what we really want because we have been led to believe that we must “save the medical patients first” then we should not be surprised when what we get is a very limited medical market with people still going to prison for weed…A LOT. If we spent as much money and time exposing the tragedy of mass incarceration and the failed war on drugs as we have on trying to convince the world we are all very sick and that only 10 joints of the chronic-bubonic will save us, weed would be legal already.

This movement needs to re-prioritize its message ans its implementation of resources to be more effective in ending the war on cannabis. It is not a “do this first and we will get to that later” issue any more. LATER IS NOW. It has been damn near two decades since we began the big “we are all very sick” march towards legalization. Maybe it is time to switch gears, accept that people do not believe us any more, and begin to attack the tragic aberration that is the mass incarceration of our own people. WE CAN END THIS MADNESS…but we cannot until we begin to really ask for what we want…and more so..what we really need.

So while I am very sorry you are not feeling well, my friends are sitting in prison rotting away for weed right now. Their situation is MUCH MORE dire than yours. So when a person says “we have to save the patients first” remind them that by saving everyone, we save the patients; and we save the lives of thousands of good people being railroaded by a prison industrial complex gone bad. It is no longer okay to ignore the opportunity cost of not addressing the core issue of mass incarceration.

This is a fight we can win, and it begins with us demanding that they quit taking ALL people to jail for weed….not just the sick…and certainly not the “sick.”

14 thoughts on “I am sorry you are sick, but I am in jail…”

  1. I agree that no one should ever go to jail for pot. I don’t believe there is such a split between medical and recreational users as described here. It is unfortunate that the debate over Washington’s “legalization’ initiative has been framed as the DUID provisions are harmful to medical patients and therefore should be defeated.

    The fact is the DUID provisions of Washington’s 502 is bad for ALL heavy user’s, medical and recreational, and it should be defeated!

    1. MUST END PROHIBITION,bottom line; would Free Us All to partake in this Harmless Plant. Priorities being ‘Not A Forgotton Cannabis Warrior’. THS Prisoner Outreach Program. Corrlinks.com. Adopt & write & or email a POW today! 50+ in for LW/OP: Life W/O Parole for a Victimless Crime! This, & Mandatory-Minimum Sentencing Must Stop!

    2. The broad acceptance of that lie and the people who hide behind it never ceases to amaze me I have been in the company of activists who no longer can or will look you in the eye, because they know you know their dirty little secret , you nailed this one

  2. First of all WHO are you talking to? Some random anonymous unsympathetic sick person? You know why this post pisses me off? Because YOU are pitting medical users against your so-called “non-medical users.” I’ve been using it since I was 14 but I never realized that for me it was ALWAYS mostly medicinal for me. Still, I was skeptical just like you, until I really started using it medicinally (and I prefer not to smoke it too much because I can get higher doses from eating/juicing/tincture and more targeted doses from salves) – and then I was, like, THIS IS A WONDER DRUG. I would NEVER say my need to use medical marijuana is more important than getting your friends out of jail and who WOULD say such a thing? I HAVE, however, encountered prejudice from people like YOU who “pooh pooh” my medical use or needs. So first, KNOCK IT OFF. Second, ALL OF US deal with this problem because of the UNFAIR and DANGEROUS FEDERAL LAWS that mean any of us could go to jail – and I won’t get my medical marijuana in jail, and I doubt I’d get opiates, and that means I’d be SICK, IN HORRIBLE PAIN, *and* IN JAIL. WE ARE ALL ON THE SAME TEAM HERE.

    1. I am talking to the people who it is relevant to. If that is not you, then it is unclear where your being “pissed off” stems from. I am a medical user. I was hospitalized and given Ritalin at the young age of twelve. I also used cannabis in my youth, and grew up to understand it to be medical. I also have seven screws and a steel plate in my left heel that is in constant pain. I am not “skeptical” of its medical value.

      What I am skeptical of, like the rest of our society, is that what we are putting forth as medical is anything but, and in turn, that is stifling real progress towards medical cannabis. But had you read the piece thoroughly, that would have been evident.

      No one is “pooh-poohing” your medical needs. I do not even know you. I do know many who use cannabis now “medically” that would not ever go to a doctor again for cannabis related issues if weed was legal tomorrow, too. But you can continue to turn a blind eye to our own inadequacies when presenting our medical case in public.

      I stand by my statement that our movement continues to rely way too heavily on the “medical” cannabis issues, and rarely mention the atrocity of the mass incarceration of our own people. When is the last time we had a legalize weed and let everyone out of jail protest or rally?

      I agree we are all on the same team, which is why it is frustrating to see MOST of our resources, messaging and political capital put into what is actually a very small percentage of actual cannabis users.

  3. And just to clarify – when medicinal marijuana was legalized in some states – it was still perceived as a potentially dangerous and/or addictive narcotic. Turns out everything points to it being less dangerous and less addictive than most foods you eat. SO LEGALIZE IT ALREADY!

  4. I am 50 yr old, been smoking cannabis since i was 13, daily or when ever I could get it since 15, and the only excuse i ever needed was “because I like it and I want to.” Even though I got my first recommendation in ’97 (on an Rx pad) and am “terminally ill”, my first reason remains my only reason, regardless of any benefits added by age or disease. The issue is Constitutional Freedom and while I applaud CA and other states who’ve taken a stand against federal tyranny, it still saddens me that we are reduced to using our most vulnerable citizens as de facto human shields to prevent a fascist federal and often state & local police state from attacking us over dead flowers. While I stand fast against money-grubbers and their attempt to merely redefine prohibition in their political and economic favor, something must be done to stop the suffering of the innocent in jail. I’ve yet to see an initiative which frees our POWs, maybe that’s legislatively impossible, I don’t know,but it’s time the strong took the fight. And the truly strong, not a bunch of passive-aggressive 60s/70s sellouts! Peace

  5. Of course Medical important & All on same page here. The Human Solution IS working w/wardens & working on Pardons. Writing Our Reps too. Thx ya’ll for All ya’ll do.HR l523 would vet Feds out of 215 State Rights.

  6. All drugs and drug offenses should be decriminalized. Even sales or the infamous “Intent to sell” which with no evidence can have the same punishments as actual sales. The most damaging part of any conviction like this is the social damage to the defendant. They are permanently degraded in society losing access tot healthcare, social services, and aid from the same society that mars them in court. The trauma of being dragged through the Injustice system is damaging enough. This concept of “Harm Reduction” which is a new concept in the In-justice system is not going far enough to reduce the damage done and does not give the defendant enough flexibility to get out from under the yolk of a system that constantly looks for ways to do more damage to them after the conviction and sentence is served.

  7. Absolutely! I totally agree. FYI, I recently posted on the Medical Cannabis Users Association (Australia) and Help End Marijuana Prohibition Facebook pages, the following:
    ‘Problems caused by ‘recreational’ use of cannabis pale into insignificance compared to alcohol, a central nervous system depressant, associated with addiction, disease, 16% of drug-related deaths and much violence; and tobacco [addiction, disease and 81% of drug-related deaths], while cannabis causes no disease and kills no one. Moreover, when ingested or vaporised, the cannabinoids in cannabis repair or replace the body’s own endo-cannabinoids, damaged or depleted through exposure to environmental pollutants and synthetic food preservatives.

    Cannabis is thus a truly re-creational herb, in contrast to legal alcohol and legal tobacco, that are both toxic, and potentially lethal.

    The real reason [‘recreational’] cannabis is prohibited, is because it presents an organic, sustainable, non-toxic alternative to powerful vested interests; particularly the pharmaceutical industry, that Professor Peter Gotzsche recently exposed for widespread endemic fraud and other criminal activities. [‘Deadly Medicines and Organised Crime: How Big Pharma has Corrupted Healthcare.’] Yet the Australian government, via the Therapeutic Goods Administration, welcomes companies with criminal records: Pfizer, Novartis, Sanofi-Aventis, GlaxoSmithKline, AstraZeneca, Roche, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Eli Lilly, Abbott Laboratories, Bayer, Purdue and other criminal enterprises. In 2009, Eli Lilly pleaded guilty to criminal charges of illegal off-label marketing of olanzapine [Zyprexa], the lethal drug implicated in severe adverse side effects and many suicides. Yet the TGA still permits this drug, buckling again to pharmaceutical industry interests, and following like sheep, the equally pusillanimous US Food and Drug Administration.

    Meanwhile, I am branded a criminal for preferring cannabis, as safer and more effective in controlling my glaucoma, rather than continue with Xalacom eye drops, made by another criminal enterprise, Pfizer, a repeat offender, fined US$2.3 billion in 2009 for ‘intent to defraud or mislead’, and charged with other offences since then.

    To quote Thomas Jefferson: ‘When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty’. That is why many of us will continue to defy, and to assert our rights to make informed decisions about our, and our children’s, health and wellbeing. Why should we trust an administration with a clear conflict-of-interest, an administration that prohibits the planet’s most useful, versatile, never-lethal herb, on spurious ‘health/safety’ concerns; while taking bribes – ‘donations’ – from alcohol, pharmaceutical and tobacco corporations, and permitting unlimited consumption of alcohol and tobacco? Our elected representatives and others who continue to support the present situation are, at best, inconsistent. Some would call them hypocrites.

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