Are you doing your part to make the world a better place?

 

One of the most impressive stories coming out of the cannabis reform movements this year was a story that happened this month in Oakland, California. I am talking about the Gun Buyback Program that was developed and funded by Purple Heart Patient Center. The dispensary worked with local law enforcement and non-profit groups to sponsor a program to buyback guns, no questions asked, for $200 a piece. The program was very successful and ended up taking in over twice the guns that were expected, and the dispensary did not bat an eye when asked to double their contribution from $50k to $100k to meet the demand.

Now I know that this is one of many great stories of dispensaries and other groups putting forth goodwill efforts to improve the communities where they operate. This has been one of the many blessings of an industry working to find its identity through community involvement. But the reason this effort sticks out to me is because I have seen directly the positive impact this program has had in a City where gun violence is the norm and not the exception.

I actually found out about the program prior to knowing it was being sponsored by Purple Heart. A neighborhood watch group in North Oakland gave me a promotional flyer for the program, which at the time I was excited about just on its own merit. When I found out it was funded by a medical cannabis organization that I was a member of and whose work I truly respect, I was ecstatic. Why? Because in a city ravaged with gun violence, and where there are still skeptics of medical cannabis even in this most liberal stronghold, this story made it easy for people to connect the dots, and see how medical cannabis organizations can be good stewards of their local community, and help fund efforts that literally save lives.

Did Purple heart save a life this holiday season with their gun buyback program? Maybe. I may even go as far as probably.

The holiday season can often be a real struggle for some folks. I have had a friend take his life on Christmas before because his depression was magnified and he found himself a little drunk, a lot depressed, and with easy access to a .357 Magnum.  It was a recipe for disaster that took one of the better musicians I have personally known off of this planet in an instance. Would this have happened if the gun was not there? Possibly…but more likely it would not have.

So as I read about those 600 guns being taken off of the streets and out of the hands of folks who may have used them to hurt themselves, or someone else, I was deeply touched. Life is precious, and if this program even maybe could save one life, if not hundreds, it was a huge success.

Above and beyond the call of duty…that is what this program represents. It shows that when a group can use its resources to make real differences in the communities in which they live and operate, that we can move mountains. It shows that when we do our part, that we can make real and impacting contributions to the world. Can you imagine if every dispensary in California, or even America sponsored a program to buyback 600 dangerous guns? Talk about impact.

Here is the story ran by the SF Chronicle on the gun buyback program….read it carefully and ask yourself, “Am I doing my part to make the world a better place.”:

Gun buyback program funded by pot club

Phillip Matier and Andrew Ross, Chronicle Columnists
Updated 4:38 pm, Saturday, December 22, 2012
Source: http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/matier-ross/article/Gun-buyback-program-funded-by-pot-club-4141157.php
  • Oakland police collect guns in a buy-back program last weekend that was bankrolled by a medical marijuana dispensary. Photo: Associated Press / SF
    Oakland police collect guns in a buy-back program last weekend that was bankrolled by a medical marijuana dispensary. Photo: Associated Press / SF

It turns out that last weekend’s big Oakland-San Francisco gun buyback – which took more than 600 firearms off the streets – was bankrolled in large part by a $100,000 donation from a medical pot club.

“It’s part of the philosophy we practice called capitalism with a conscience,” said Keith Stephenson, the low-key executive director of Oakland’s Purple Heart Patient Center.

The unique blending of pot and policing began one afternoon outside Oakland police headquarters a few weeks back when Stephenson bumped into Capt. Ersie Joyner.

“He said he wanted to make a contribution to the community for the holidays,” Joyner said.

The usual suggestions, such as food and toy drives, didn’t interest him much. “I wanted to do more than buy a few turkeys for the holidays,” Stephenson said.

Noting that the holidays also usually mean an increase in armed robberies, Stephenson suggested a gun buyback.

Joyner worked the idea up the police ladder, but it quickly became clear that the cops could not be directly involved with anything having to do with pot – medicinal or not.

So the idea was hatched to run the buyback through Oakland’s Youth UpRising and San Francisco’s Omega Boys Club – with the cops coming on board only to help keep an eye on things and to dispose of the guns.

Stephenson, 44, a former airline mechanic who turned to marijuana to help deal with his arthritis, put up $50,000 cash. The plan was to pay $200 per gun, no questions asked.

No sooner did the twin events get under way Dec. 15 – one day after the Connecticut elementary school massacre – than it became clear the cash was going fast.

“The cars were stretched longer than the fan line to a Raiders game,” Joyner said.

A call was to made to Stephenson, and within 45 minutes another $50,000 arrived.

Stephenson isn’t overly worried that his actions will attract the attention of the feds, who appear bent on driving pot clubs out of business.

“I just felt the public needed to know that medical marijuana can have benefits besides just paying taxes,” Stephenson said. “Hopefully, this might spread to a national buyback day.”

Dear Feds…There is no shame in surrendering

So talk about “awkward.”

It is ultimately clear that the end of cannabis prohibition is near. There was a very clear mandate set forth in two key elections in Colorado and Washington State, where cannabis legalization measures won by ten points, even besting President Obama’s vote totals in Colorado. Every recent national polling done on the subject shows a majority of American support legalizing cannabis for adult use. Every day there is a new story or new prominent figure coming out in opposition to taking people to jail for weed. One documentary after another is being released showing the evils of the drug war.

It is actually quite embarrassing to be a drug warrior these days, as your lies and deceptive policies aimed at oppressing poor and minority citizens is being exposed for all to see.

So what is a good DEA agent to do? How do these US Attorney reconcile the fact that their job currently requires them to stifle the will of the people and enforce laws created by, of all people, Richard Nixon….the nation’s least ethical President ever? How do they continue to blissfully ignore the reality that almost everyone thinks the job they are doing is bullshit? How can they continue to respect the job they do when the entire world thinks it is a terrible fraud? Why does our government continue to put these likely otherwise decent folks in the difficult position of enforcing terrible laws that are based in lies, and which are simply evil? They deserve better.

Remember this?:

How embarrassing is it for the head of the US Drug enforcement Administration to have to go in front of a Congressional committee on National television and make the claim that marijuana is just as dangerous as heroin to justify the wasted enforcement resources and ballooned budget of an agency, that by all account,  is an absolute failure? Let’s be real. Drugs are cheaper, more readily available, more dangerous, and in the hands of more violent criminals than ever before in our history. Here is the DEA’s Mission:

…to enforce the controlled substances laws and regulations of the United States and bring to the criminal and civil justice system of the United States, or any other competent jurisdiction, those organizations and principal members of organizations, involved in the growing, manufacture, or distribution of controlled substances appearing in or destined for illicit traffic in the United States; and to recommend and support non-enforcement programs aimed at reducing the availability of illicit controlled substances on the domestic and international markets.

-DEA Mission Statement

So let me get this right….their mission is to enforce the Controlled Substances Act. I think by any measure it is evident that, while they are “enforcing the CSA” and locking up mostly poor people at alarming rates, they have done little to stop the “growing, manufacture, or distribution of controlled substances appearing in or destined for illicit traffic in the United States.” FAIL. They also have done very little to “recommend and support non-enforcement programs aimed at reducing the availability of illicit controlled substances on the domestic and international markets.” In fact, some may say that their activity has directly created a MUCH larger market due to their sporadic and selective enforcement making for a very lucrative black market which more people want a piece of. Their idea of “non-enforcement programs” are drug testing and some questionable counseling for “drug offenders” that are already in the system. In other words, their main idea of treatment programs is to make parolees pee in a cup and talk to some not so qualified counselor trying to work their way through school. It is kind of a bad joke.

But let’s not pick on just the DEA. The US bureau of Prisons has an incredibly bloated budget to house all of these prisoners created by these failed policies. The US DOJ spends crazy money on prosecuting people for drugs, when you look at judges, lawyers, court fees, etc. It is all pretty nuts really, when you think that very little, if any, progress has been made at curbing drug use in this country. Look at this chart:

While we have spared no expense on enforcement, drug addiction rates have stayed relatively constant. We have essentially lost the Drug War by a pretty staggering margin. The drugs have obviously won.

So what is the solution? ABSOLUTE SURRENDER is the solution if you want to save any face and restore respect and dignity back to law enforcement circles. I tell my kids this all the time…”There is no shame in admitting you were wrong.”

There is no more defending these tyrannical drug laws and continuing to throw good money after bad. The facts are in. The drug war has failed. We have ruined innumerable people’s lives and wasted crazy resources to accomplish nothing. That may be a tough pill to swallow, but it gets even harder to swallow with every passing day of this bullshit.

It is time to give up the fight, reorganize the troops, and find a more reasonable and winnable strategy to curb drug abuse. Free our prisoners from your jails and begin to find smarter enforcement and treatment strategies that focus on issues that can make a difference. Look how successful the educational campaign against tobacco has been? Check out these reduction numbers over the last decade:

After lawsuits against the tobacco industry forced it to fund anti-smoking campaigns and put stricter regulations on the marketing of these products, there has been a 30% reduction in people who use tobacco. Now that sounds like a success story. And guess what? They used no guns and put no people in prison to do it. That sounds good to me.

But in order to move in this direction we must surrender the current strategies and find a new direction. The Feds have got to see the writing on the wall, and stop putting their employees in the awkward position of enforcing laws that they, themselves, think are flawed. It is embarrassing for these folks to have to be questioned for their actions and to have no real response to why they keep taking people to jail for weed. You cannot send some poor woman out to be questioned by Congress armed only with the statement that she “believes all illegal drugs are bad.”

When Jared Polis asked Michele Leonhart, “Is crack worse for a person than marijuana?”; and as she stumbled over her “all drugs are bad…mkay” statement, only to be hit with “Yes, no, or I don’t know? If you don’t know, you can look this up. You should know this as the chief administrator for the Drug Enforcement Agency. I’m asking a very straightforward question: Is heroin worse for someone’s health than marijuana?”, I actually felt a little sorry for her. Her only stupid response was “”All illegal drugs are bad.”

If that is your main talking point then the time for surrender was a long, long time ago. That is just pathetic.

I have no idea what the Feds, or the USDOJ will do in coming months regarding weed. I do not see how they can continue this madness and simply ignore the changing landscape of our society on this issue….but then again, I have seen the Feds do some dumb shit in my time, so I would not put it past them to continue their “All illegal drugs are bad” mantra. Our government is so far out of touch with the will of its constituents these days that is sadly seems routine.

I am calling on the Feds to just give it up. Be the bigger person, admit you were wrong, and begin working to make the world a better place through more realistic and effective strategies. That is not too much to ask. You have fucked off the last 40 years chasing weedheads around and paying to lock them up. Can we begin to change course and make the next 40 years a success story about how we saw the errors of our way and changed paths to be rewarded with less violence, less criminals, and a cannabis economy that is thriving? I do not think that is too much to ask. Nor is it too difficult to accomplish. What it will take is a surrendering of these stupid laws and their stupid enforcement. The American people will be waiting…

Storming the Castle

Now that we have gotten past the Christmas madness, the world sets its’ sights on the New Year. The year of 2013 will be upon us in a matter of days. Generally, this is a time for reflection and renewal. We set objectives and goals for the coming year, and work hard to keep resolutions that make us better people, and our world a better place.

So what are the resolutions for the cannabis reform movement in 2013? What are our objectives, and how can we make the world a better place for cannabis and cannabis enthusiasts?

This should be the year we end this thing once and for all. Cannabis prohibition should fade into the distance in 2013, and weedheads should be freed from the clutches of tyranny. But this will not happen by itself. Right now we have the prohibitionists reeling. They are scrambling to figure out how 55% of people in two different states voted to end taking people to jail for weed. Their positions on zero tolerance are being fiercely debated in the open, and the drug warriors do not have a lot of answers to why we should continue these disastrous policies that have cost our nation over a trillion dollars with very little to show for it.

So in 2013 it is up to us to end this thing. We must STORM THE CASTLE and demand that JUSTICE and MORALITY prevail. It will take all of us dedicated to ending cannabis prohibition to light our torches and sharpen our pitchforks. We must give everything we have to ending cannabis prohibition this year. Never before have we entered a year with so much momentum towards legalization. We must propel this momentum into real and meaningful change in federal policy.

At the very least, we must demand a solid shift in enforcement policy from the USDOJ. There must be a willingness to stand down on enforcement of cannabis laws in states where cannabis has been legalized, for medical or adult use. it is just not politically viable for anyone to continue to work directly against the will of the people, and it has become pretty clear what the will of the people is….legalize weed.

We must keep our foot on the neck of prohibition and not let up for a second. Every phone call, conversation, or communication is an opportunity to add a nail to the coffin of the war on weed. We can use our voice to demand ending prohibition, and add to the chorus of voices already calling for the end. Write a letter, make a call, send out an email, sign a petition, attend a rally, respond to comments in blogs and news articles…..keep hammering home the message of cannabis freedom anywhere and everywhere. Information is king, and the facts are on our side. Cannabis is safe, enjoyable, and helpful.

When preparing to storm any castle, it is necessary to prepare for battle, and a long and tiring fight. We must gather our weapons of knowledge and education to destroy this enemy. We must bring any tool we can muster that may break down the walls of the castle. It is our duty to give everything we have to storming the castle. Anything less than our best effort will result in failure and the downfall of our fellow weedhead. Leave no man behind and take no prisoners. The final battle for cannabis freedom is upon us. Do you got your castle storming shoes on? I know I do….

Game on…..

All I want for Christmas is more legal weed.

The majestic holidaze are upon us and the elves are hard at work in Santa’s workshop. It is the season of giving and joy….and magic.

When we were little we believed in the magic and understood that, if we were good, there would be a grand present under the tree for us Christmas morning. We would wake up and run out to the tree to see if the toy or gift we had hoped for was there. Santa was a mystical being that could accomplish impossible tasks and knew everything about everyone. It was an amazing feeling and great memories for most.

I still get that feeling. Not that Santa is real; but that if I do the right thing, work really hard, and fight for what I believe in, that good things will happen. I still believe in the magic of the universe, and understand that anything truly is possible. Even on my darkest days, I can be optimistic that things will always work out. They always have. I have had a lot of great wishes come true.

This is why I am wishing for MORE LEGAL WEED for Christmas this year….and for once in my life, I feel pretty hopeful that this could really happen. Maybe not tomorrow for Christmas; but when we are this close to seeing cannabis legalized, every milestone is like opening up a Christmas present.

Every time I check Huffington Post, I get that same anticipation as hoping I got that grand present….because I know one day it will have a headline reading WEED IS LEGAL! Every day in the media and in the dialogue of our nation, there is a new and powerful call for an end to the madness of taking people to jail for weed. The house of cards is falling right in front of our eyes, and it is brilliant to watch. Another wish will come true.

I think if we all looked deep down inside, past the jaded perceptions and false realities, and found that part of us that used to believe enough to make miracles happen, we could do this. If we can envision legal weed under the tree and how joyful we will be when cannabis prohibition finally ends, then we might just be able to make it so. We must find the magic.

It is not too much to ask for….It is not a pony, or anything. It is legal weed. we are not even asking for anything. The weed is here already.

All we are asking is for you to stop making people criminals, taking their kids, and violating their human rights for it. let the people you have in cages for weed go. We are just asking for them to stop doing something that has proved to be incredibly costly in the form of blood and treasure. We are just asking for them to allow cannabis to grow freely and openly. That in not asking a lot at all….it is pretty minimal really.

So as you enjoy this Christmas Eve with your friends and family, and you make your final wishes for the holidaze and the New Year, wish deeply in your heart for MORE LEGAL WEED. Besides…you know Santa gets baked to the bone. Check out his suit…..

Can We Change?

As I can see cannabis legalization on the horizon, my mind wanders on the possibilities, and how our “culture” will deal with the massive changes to social, political, and legal environments. How will cannabis integrate into an already very complex society? Will those changes impact our quality of life, for better or for worse? But the real question I wonder is, “CAN WE CHANGE?”

Not only can we change as a society, but also as a social movement? As we see this change happening in front of our eyes, my most stark realization is that the folks having the most difficulties with this concept of completely legal weed is US….the weedheads. What I see is a group of people who have been oppressed for so long that they do not know how to be happy any more. Weedheads are so skeptical of a society that has deemed them criminals and degenerates for so long that they are not really sure they want to be integrated back into the mainstream. Cannabis has become more than an enjoyable or medical resource for some. To some it has become their identity.

What they fear is that as pot becomes just another normal everyday part of our environment, that they will lose that identity- that thing that has made their existence special. They are scared to death that their persona will fade into just another normal everyday thing that our society embraces and exploits. This “sacred plant” will be turned over to business, and industry, and pop culture….and what they have come to know as reality will cease to exist.

For me, losing that existence cannot come sooner. Ending the “excitement” of the war on weed will definitely make my life a more boring and mundane place. No longer will I get to stand on a corner screaming at armed gunmen raiding another one of my friend’s businesses, or worry about the Federal agents going through my garbage because I am a known weedhead. I will miss the exciting rush I get when a cop pulls up behind me and I know there is weed in the car (there is always weed in my car). I will miss that morning phone call that the SWAT teams have surrounded our facilities and are taking all of our co-workers to jail. I am not sure what the sound of helicopters as I walk through a sunny Mendo pot field will mean anymore.

There is no doubt, in a world where weed is 100% legal, that things will be different…..and we will have to change.

Our movement sucks at change. We have for decades grasped onto anything that is even remotely working and have refused to let go of that ever, for any reason at all. Now that we see real evolution in how our society views marijuana, much of our messaging and actions seem dated. I often look at what we are doing as a movement and wonder if we know we are fucking dinosaurs. I mean, we must, right? We must see the writing on the wall and understand that our own rhetoric and outreach underscores the magnitude of the changes we are experiencing. While the rest of planet earth is saying “Yeah. Weed is not so bad,” we are still talking about limited medical access, decriminalization, and limited immunities. The rest of the world is talking freedom.

I think the most difficult part of this transition will be internally. I do not think most of society at large is going to give a rat’s ass about weed after it becomes legal again. It will be another product on their shelf that they either will, or will not, embrace and use. I do not drink booze anymore. I could give a shit that there is a booze aisle in every store. Weed will be no different to most people. After the transition is made, those folks will not look back and most will forget that we ever used to take people to jail for weed at all….and that is awesome.

But for those of us who have carried the secret seed through its most difficult days, we will be losing something. We will be losing our purpose; and for many, possibly our livelihoods.

Clandestine growers who have made a decent living will no longer be able to sell mediocre weed for top dollar, and they will have to learn to compete in a specialty agriculture market. Some will make it; others will not. Attorneys, consultants, and service providers who have specialized in cannabis law and business will likely lose business…especially the attorneys. Dispensaries will become weed stores in a much more competitive environment, and could be replaced by shelf space at the local 7-Eleven eventually. Doctors who have done well writing authorizations to smoke weed will have to go back to their day job….being a doctor. Cops will have to work harder to solve real crimes. Some of the DEA may have to patrol the border, or work customs or some shit. People who have become this “weed personality” will likely fade into the distance and because they are no longer an outlaw, they will cease to be interesting any longer. Hydro stores will be competing with $50 grow set-ups from Wal-Mart.

There WILL be changes. But sign me up. I am good with every one of those changes if it means not another person has to sit in a cold, dark, and stinky jail cell for another long night.

The ride was fun and exciting sure; but we are talking reality. We are talking ending one of the most terrible tragedies of our time and returning cannabis to its rightful and free place in the world. We are talking about the possibility of seeing real research and exploration into cannabis therapies for the ill. We are talking about not having weirdos look down their nose at you because you like weed. We are talking about more people going to the dab bar than the booze bar. We are talking ending prohibition.

Can ya’ dig? Are you ready? Can you change?

It is not a matter of IF, but it is a clear matter of WHEN. My hypothesis is sooner than later, but maybe that is just the hopeful piece of Jack Herer that lives in me. Or maybe it is the fact that everything I hear about weed these days points to an end to the madness of taking people to jail for weed. We are approaching that reality rapidly, and it would serve us well to begin to really explore what that might look like, and how that makes us feel. We should reassess our strategies and ensure that we are keeping up with the rapid growing acceptance to our own cause. We must make sure we are ready for real and meaningful change.

Can we change? Sure….and eventually we will have no choice. The question is how long will we stand in our own way of the ultimate goal of freedom.

Our best bet is to begin making that transition now….It is our time to look down our nose at the prohibitionists and confront the evils of taking poor people to jail for weed. Until we can quit acting like weed is such a big deal, we should not be surprised that our society continues to treat it as somewhat of a big deal; but even those days are numbered. It is our duty to being making this evolution for our society, and not get caught up in the romance and nostalgia of what used to be. Prohibition is over in my heart and in my mind. It is my duty to accept this as truth and infect my fellow man with a vision and a meaning for a world where weed is as legal as a shot of whiskey. I WILL CHANGE…in fact, I already have. To me, weed has always been legal. I will not miss the “good old days of prohibition” ever…I promise.

Think Bigger

As I continue to mull over the concept of legal weed in Colorado and Washington, it is incredible to think of a world where people do not go to jail for weed. I got into Colorado yesterday and technically smoked my first joint of legal adult use weed. It was delicious. I ripped the joint, and it did feel a little different. I drove around in a car with almost an ounce of weed on me, and did not even worry once when the cops pulled up behind us. It was a new day.

But then you start examining the possibilities and what this new legal weed concept may mean to the world around. Just the thought that a cop cannot pull you over and search you with no cause just because he says he “smells weed” is a game changer. This has been the underlying nightmare of the drug war for far too long. Our citizens rights have been stripped from them in the name of weed. Cops have used their “probable cause” of smelling weed to invade the privacy of citizens for decades; and usually with little to no opposition. The US Supreme Court has even ruled these clowns can bring out drug sniffing dogs to help invade your privacy even if they smell something walking around your vehicle. It is nuts.

That power over us goes away when weed is legal. The days of a cop’s right to rummage through your private belongings, car, or residence for smelling weed are numbered. Now that may not sound like much, but it is a huge victory for privacy rights. Often, these illegal searches result in the discovering of other issues, and cops use their “probable cause” foot in the door to examine and judge people’s lives. Taking this right away will result in far fewer meaningless arrests. That is a net positive, no matter how we look at it. Less people going to jail sounds like a great start to me.

But that is just the tip of the iceberg, when thinking about how real and meaningful cannabis reform will change the world. When you think about hemp alone, you can imagine a world with building materials, fuel, food, and fiber being produced more ecologically and efficiently. Jack Herer’s famous quote, “Hemp can save the planet” could be coming true. In a world where drought and industry have depleted many of our resources, a renewable fast-growing plant that can produce incredible resources sounds pretty promising. When we look at the effects of global warming and we see an answer in planting a plant that is hearty and easy to grow that can begin to solve some of the issues we face, the real question is, “what have we been waiting for?”

But think bigger. Think about the collective conscious of a nation. Think about a world where more people choose to smoke weed than drink beer. That can be a pretty big deal, as this thing plays out. If you can even get a percentage of people who abuse alcohol in dangerous ways to change their habits to a less volatile cannabis habit, that can change the world. Alcohol breeds violence and suffering. While many enjoy booze, it is no secret that they have caused great damage in our society. People who use cannabis are safer and less violent. That is just a fact. If more people use weed in an adult use legalized world because they do not have to worry about being a criminal or the stigma, then we will all be better off. That is easy to see. Give me more stoned people than drunk people any day.

When you begin looking at potential business models, you can see how the world would change. How about a cannabis NASCAR team? It could happen. If you have the Budweiser car, could you imagine “Team Tainted” celebrating on pit row? I can. Can you imagine traveling the hills of Mendocino and Humboldt driving from one “Canntation” to another, like a winery tour? People love weed, just like they love wine. Can you imagine and entertainment industry geared around weed, with restaurants and dab bars themed to serve cannabis nation? I can. Weed Disneyland, anyone? Count me in.

The reality is that I am not sure even my deeply imaginative self can imagine what real legalization of weed in a free market will mean for our society. It is beyond anything we have ever experienced in this lifetime. The repeal of alcohol prohibition came after only 13 years, and there was far less of a law enforcement infrastructure built up around it. Here we are decades later and millions of people lost to “the system” because of weed. We will begin to restore justice and humanity to people’s lives in ways none of us can really imagine at this time, on the first cusp of this brave new world. When you try to take it in and imagine a world where nobody goes to jail for weed, do me a favor and THINK BIGGER.

 

Guns Suck

In the wake of the sickening mass murder that happened last week in Connecticut, I just want to make one point abundantly clear. GUNS SUCK.

I am willing to have this debate with any gun “enthusiast.” First of, what they fuck are you so enthusiastic about? Having to feel like you need to own a high powered killing machine because you fear for your safety so much? THAT SUCKS!

I understand many people feel as if they “need” a gun to “protect” themselves. Fine. Super. Then I should never know you have it until I come creeping through your window, right? There is no need for this “proud gun owner” bullshit. If it is is tool you feel you must have because you fear a person invading your home, and you think you would be better off having a shoot out in the crib should said home invasion ever happen, then it should be kept put away like your other tools until there is an actual job to do with it. I do not give a shit what kind of drill you got either.

But the reality is far too often this gun that is supposed to be there for emergencies and self-defense is used for anything but. More often than not the gun in your home will be used to kill you, or one of your loved ones. That is a reality. This super hero saving the family scenario rarely plays out. What does play out is someone in the home being really depressed, and in a moment of weakness and easy access to a firearm, they commit the terrible tragedy of suicide. Anyone who has ever lost a loved one to that tragedy can understand. Nothing is more devastating for a person to find out it was their weapon used to kill their own family member. But that is a stark reality.

Or the gun will be used in an act of violence by someone in your home, just as happened in Connecticut this last week. Guns registered to an “enthusiast” were used by her won son to kill her, and 25 others….mostly children. If that does not disturb the shit out of you, then you are not being real with yourself. Do you think this bright-eyed kindergarten teacher from Newtown, CT imagined her beloved 20-year-old son performing this act of mass murder with her weapons? Not a chance. Gun owners always have the same response after realizing it was their weapon used in an act of violence or suicide….”I never imagined…” Yeah. Well start fucking imagining.

It sickens me to think anyone is excited or proud to own killing machines. Where the fuck have we gone so wrong that people think it is a badge of honor to have an assault rifle? Since when has owning enough firepower to mow down a small village been “cool?” I do not get it. I just do not see it. GUNS SUCK.

There is always some bullshit straw man argument to be made by gun lovers about “Cars kill people. Should we outlaw cars?” Look. I have to go down to DMV in person every few years and take a written, vision, and driving examination. My car has to be inspected regularly. I have to buy insurance in case my car kills someone accidentally, or damages their property. So yeah…let’s do regulate guns like cars. I am down with that.

I am not saying people should not own guns. I am saying that IT SUCKS THEY FEEL THEY HAVE TO. I am saying that if a person wants to buy a Bushmaster AR-15 with a hundred round drum and thousands of rounds of ammunition, maybe they should have to tell someone why. If they have a valid reason, then what is the beef with having to look a person in the eye and telling them that reason? If people want to have weapons in their home, that is their choice; but when those weapons are missing from their homes, or leave that home to be used in an act of terrorism or intimidation, then that becomes my problem too.

It is sad that anyone would be okay with what happened last week, and what keeps happening with growing frequency. Have we become so desensitized to guns and mass murder that we think this is okay now? Do we love our guns so damn much that we are risking the safety of everyone in our communities so we can stockpile some insane weaponry for this perceived Armageddon? Do we really think we are solving problems with more guns?

I love to talk to “2nd Amendment Activists.” Most have never even read the 2nd Amendment, but want to boast about their right to “bear arms to defeat tyranny.” So here is the actual text of the 2nd Amendment for you to mull over:

A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

You got that? the first words are WELL REGULATED. Even the slave-owning forefathers understood that any crazy asshole should not have as much weaponry and firepower as they wanted. There is a reason you cannot own a nuclear submarine. I am not sure where all these freedom fighters are, as we see actual tyranny like the drug war rage on in our streets daily. Not a hero to be found, as our government terrorizes its citizens Where is this well-regulated militia? All I see is a bunch of self-serving wannabe macho losers who think their guns make them tough….or safe for that matter.

Here is a video that should make you wonder if maybe we should just tighten up gun control laws just a little bit….

Some dumbass with and AR-15 with 100 Round Drum. He is someone’s neighbor too! 

 

Dear President Obama: Grow a Sack of Nuts

Dear President Obama,

I am not trying to be an asshole when I say this, but “GROW A SACK OF NUTS” already.

I thought, when I heard your administration was not going to fight for Susan Rice and her honor, that would have been the least courageous thing I heard from you guys yesterday. But I was wrong.

While it is very sad that you could not find the courage to allow Ms. Rice the opportunity to “serve at the highest possible level” and go to battle with the idiots who oppose her nomination, it is indicative of how you have operated as President to date. You continue to cave to the demands of the far right Republicans, in hopes of earning some favor with those assholes. How has that worked out? I mean besides them calling you a Kenyan socialist and accusing you of running the economy into the ground? Have they come around yet?

I pulled for your re-election. I believed that in a second term that you may grow that sack of nuts and hopefully find your voice, and I still believe that. I know you have not been inaugurated yet, but so far, I am not feeling encouraged. Why? Sure…you have had some tough talk with John Boehner that sounds great in sound bites; but I would bet the final fiscal cliff deal includes you caving on Medicare still. Then there is Susan Rice, which is an epic fail in courage.

BUT…now you go on an interview with Barbara Walters and when confronted with the reality that two states passed weed legalization measures, and your response is some double speak about, “It would not make sense for us to see a top priority as going after recreational users in states that have determined that it’s legal.”

Look here, Barry. We are not talking about some guy walking down the street with his joint. It is ALREADY not a top priority for your precious Drug Enforcement Agency. No one ever even remotely mentioned it was. You are talking in circles…again. Break down your comment for a minute…

“It would not make sense…” – doublespeak for “I have no idea what the DEA will do”

“for us to see a top priority…”– doublespeak for “I never said it wasn’t a priority, at all. Just not a top one.”

“as going after recreational users…”- doublespeak for “I still might arrest sellers, growers, and producers.”

“in states that have determined that it’s legal.”– doublespeak for “I got my ass kicked by weed in the election.”

But all hope is not lost. We just need to look back to May to see that Obama does have the courage to change his mind publicly on social change issues like he did on gay marriage. Here is a quote from an interview he did with ABC in May discussing his shift in opinion, and in policy:

“I have to tell you that over the course of several years as I have talked to friends and family and neighbors when I think about members of my own staff who are in incredibly committed monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together, when I think about those soldiers or airmen or Marines or sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf and yet feel constrained, even now that Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is gone, because they are not able to commit themselves in a marriage, at a certain point I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married,” he said.

“It’s interesting, some of this is also generational,” the president said. “You know when I go to college campuses, sometimes I talk to college Republicans who think that I have terrible policies on the economy, on foreign policy, but are very clear that when it comes to same sex equality or, you know, believe in equality. They are much more comfortable with it. You know, Malia and Sasha, they have friends whose parents are same-sex couples. There have been times where Michelle and I have been sitting around the dinner table and we’re talking about their friends and their parents and Malia and Sasha, it wouldn’t dawn on them that somehow their friends’ parents would be treated differently. It doesn’t make sense to them and frankly, that’s the kind of thing that prompts a change in perspective.”

That is right. Obama was against gay marriage when he took office in 2009, and did an about face on the issue when he had the political coverage to do so. Maybe some od Sasha and Malia’s friends parents also smoke weed and do not deserve to be treated like criminals either. You ever think of that? So it is not unheard of that Obama can transform his public positions when he needs to. That is encouraging.

What is not encouraging is the other stupid remarks he said about weed to Barbara Walters in his first statements about weed legalization. He went on to say:

“”This is a tough problem, because Congress has not yet changed the law,” Obama said. “I head up the executive branch; we’re supposed to be carrying out laws. And so what we’re going to need to have is a conversation about, How do you reconcile a federal law that still says marijuana is a federal offense and state laws that say that it’s legal?”

But this is where he lacks serious courage, and is kind of full of shit. He kicks the can over to Congress, as if he is powerless over the law, as it stands. Yes, Obama…you head up the Executive Branch. You head up the US Department of Justice. You are the Commander in Chief. If you tell your army of drug warriors to stand down on weed, they will listen. Just like they listened when you told them to stand down on immigration for dreamers, and to not enforce the Defense of Marriage Act.

Even further are the powers relegated to the Executive Branch regarding the Controlled Substances Act. Your Attorney General and Secretary of Health and Human Services can remove cannabis from the list of scheduled drugs…if you wanted to. So spare me the “it’s Congress’ fault” rhetoric for a minute, and grow a sack of nuts. The only one continuing to take mostly poor people to jail for growing and sellin g weed is YOU.

You are better than this. You do not have to play the “I hate weed” game. You go on to respond to accusations of your admitted weed use in your youth, as if you are ashamed, when in every account of the situation it would seem you had a great time as leader of the Choom Gang. You stated this:

“There are a bunch of things I did that I regret when I was a kid,” Obama told Walters. “My attitude is, substance abuse generally is not good for our kids, not good for our society.”

You know what is REALLY bad for our society? Taking poor people to jail for weed.

You said, “substance abuse generally is not good for our kids, not good for our society.” That is not even what we are talking about, player. We are talking about responsible adults using a substance far safer than the many legal substances that we allow adults to use responsibly every day. I think we all agree that substance abuse is bad. You will not get an argument there. Nobody is saying that kids should have weed in their school lunch. You are ducking the issue.

The issue is that adults should be able to use weed without being treated as a criminal, or losing their standing in our society. I got kids too. I am not encouraging them to smoke weed. But I am more worried about the fact that if they do decide when they are old enough to try weed that your goon squads will not use their paramilitary force to haul him off to prison. Do you get that?

Furthermore, I know for a fact that weed will be far easier for my kids to get in its current non-regulated market where distribution is left to folks who do not have any problem selling to underage kids. At least if pot is sold in a regulated and controlled environment the kid will have to find some asshole of age to buy his weed for him, just like they do booze now. It is way harder for kids to get booze than weed right now, so your “protect the kids” theory does not hold water.

But if you want to keep giving people the impression that you are not soft on drugs, so that you can spend that political capitol on other issues, then so be it. I think it is cowardly.

This is an issue that tears at the fabric of our society. We are the world’s leading jailer by far because of these disastrous policies, and you do not have the courage to stand up and say, “Enough?” Why? What is stopping you? Weed beat you in Colorado by 50,000 votes. Not really a back burner issue any more, eh? The fact that you choose to ignore the reality and face this issue head on makes me sad. We are at a point in history where it is time to change course. We can no longer afford, financially or socially, to take people to jail for a safe, enjoyable, and helpful plant. It is just not working.

The one encouraging quip that you interjected into your conversation on weed with Barbara WaWa was this…you used the phrase, “”at this point,” you do not support legalization. To me, that sounds like you may be finding your sack of nuts and may get back to us soon with a different position at  a different point. At least that is what I am hoping.

I did not expect you to run right out with your Grateful Dead tie-dye shirt and a fatty; but I did expect for you to make more educated and understanding responses. I think you will eventually do the right thing on this issue…the question is how much blood and treasure do we have to lose between now and then? How many more otherwise good kids who got caught up in the “illegal” weed game have to lose their freedom before you say enough?

The time is now. You can end this thing. So walk back into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and begin to grow that sack of nuts that you will need to stand up to decades of prohibition and the monsters that choose to keep these evil policies in place. The next time you get the “What are you gonna do about weed in CO and WA?” question, hopefully you will have a more courageous and responsible answer.

The “I do not think kids should smoke weed” response is neither relevant, nor adequate. If you really care about the kids, grow a sack of nuts and quit taking them to jail. Anything less than ending this thing is once and for all is unacceptable. We are better than this as a society, and as our leader, you have got to find your voice for cannabis freedom…and soon.

Yours Truly…The Weed Activist

Love…The Weed Activist

Incredible Momentum

Can you feel it? It is happening. The drug war is collapsing before our eyes.

I seem to wake up with a renewed sense of purpose these days. it seems as if the “Quit Taking People To Jail For Weed” phenomena has gone mainstream. The media is abuzz with calls for an end to the madness. Not a day goes by where the chorus of opposition to these disastrous policies does not grow louder and more prominent. Check out this statement from former President Bill Clinton:

We could have fighting and killing over cigarettes if we made it a felony to sell a cigarette or smoke one, so we legalize them. If all you do is try to find a police or a military solution to the problem, a lot of people die and it doesn’t solve the problem.

-Bill Clinton- Breaking the Taboo

Or this from former president jimmy Carter:

“Putting everybody in prison because they have marijuana is a very major step backward, and it ought to be reversed not only in America but around the world,” he said.

The wind is at our back and we are winning the battle for the hearts and minds of the nation. It almost makes me tear up a little when I think about it. it is an amazing time in history to be a weed activist, and I plan on cherishing the process. It is a done deal. weed will be legal. All we are working out now is how, when, and where….

That may sound a little presumptuous…..like the words of a bleeding-heart liberal weedhead who is too emotionally invested in the cannabis movement to know better; but actually those are the words of right-wing conservative radio talk-show host and Republican icon, Rush Limbaugh. In his show on November 28th, Limbaugh said, “”It’s coming. Marijuana will be legal.”

The fact is that there is no good reason for keeping it illegal. Now that Colorado and Washington have broken the seal it is all downhill from here. The reason the White House and USDOJ have not formulated a response is because they do not have one that adequately supports their position.  There is no legitimate and serious reasoning for continuing to lock people up for weed. Their fear-mongering bullshit of the 1990’s has been exposed, and people have grown tired of the hyperbolic lies that have been put forth to purport this war on our own citizens… usually the poor ones.

When faced with the reality that we imprison 5x the rate of people as the rest of the world, and have a far higher rate of imprisonment than any other nation on earth, people have woken up and are beginning to ask, “What the fuck?”

But there is no easy answer for a government that has spent the last several decades ruining people’s lives over a safe, enjoyable, and helpful plant. In the beginning of a new documentary called “Breaking the Taboo” narrator Morgan Freeman makes the powerful statement that “wars are easier to start than they are to finish.”

End it will, and hopefully soon. The time is now for us to make the most of this momentum and push this issue to the forefront of history. We will end this thing once and for all and stop the evils of cannabis prohibition.

It will not end itself though….it will take a magnificent push by each and every person who supports this cause. Now is the time to be more active than you have ever been. make the phone calls. Send the emails. Comment on that blog post. Talk to your friends and neighbors. Make the most of the dialogue happening and beat the drum for ending this thing loudly and clearly.

We have got this. We are almost there. Victory will be ours, and soon if we just do the work and demand that we QUIT TAKING PEOPLE TO JAIL FOR WEED.