Progress is always difficult and often messy…

MESSY

There is a lot happening in the world of cannabis right now. the walls of prohibition are crumbling faster than most had ever imagined and the cannabis reform “movement” is experiencing a lot of growth and change. With that comes some difficulty and at times things can certainly get a little messy. No one ever said ending prohibition was going to be quick and painless.

As the movement evolves from the underground into a working industry there are bound to be some growing pains. Many people who have worked on this cause for decades are being overrun by folks who just showed up to reap the rewards. There is no shortage of people pushing the “next big thing” and embellishing who they are and what they have done to dig deeper into cannabis circles. The sharks smell blood in the water.

People’s lives are being fucked with and their businesses are being attacked to create competitive advantages for wannabe business moguls. We have moved beyond a place where the people in this movement are here because they love cannabis….many do not. A lot of the folks we see coming on board as of late are people who like money and could give a shit about your weed, or how we got here beyond how they can profit from our hard work.

In this environment there is no real camaraderie. There is no trust and loyalty. It is all business; and in business the rules are a lot different. Personal and ethical responsibility to the cannabis plant go out the window. Business is about one thing…money. How much of it can we make to satisfy our investors? That is the only question. Nothing else matters.

So are we surprised to see clashes and situations where tempers boil over? Is it really surprising to think that when the buzzards begin circling overhead that we might want to take a shot or two at them before they swoop down and pick the carcass of our movement dry? Or in the name of “unity” should we all just bend over and take it like good soldiers for the cause?

I can assure you I will never bend over willingly.

One of the greatest, and one of the worst, things about this movement is that the people who make it up for the most part are non-confrontational hard-working folks. Weed brings out the best in people, and some find the soothing nature of the plant a pathway to passiveness and a desire for peace and love. Many people in this movement cringe at the first sign of conflict or trouble, and just beg for it all to go way. Many would rather let the predators have their way instead of doing the hard work of confronting and exposing them.

There is no question that this is a messy process. In order to confront those who prey on our immature industry one must speak up and take on the fight. A lot of these power-hungry charlatans are well-funded and have bought off some influential people in the industry to do their bidding. It is certainly an uphill battle….but a worthy one nonetheless.

Cannabis legalization and acceptance is happening rapidly. It is hard to really grasp and comprehend what we are seeing here. Progress is coming faster and harder than anyone wants to believe, and the folks looking to cash in know it. We have a choice as a community. We can stand back and let these folks rule the day in order to preserve some false sense of security through “not rocking the boat.” Or we can decide to take the task head on and demand more from the people who want to stand next to us and be a part of our “movement/industry.”

The second choice is difficult and often messy; but in the end, if we can stand our ground enough we may give birth to one of the most historic developments in business history; and create an industry that has a fucking conscience, and which respects the history of where we came from. A lot of people have lost their lives, their freedom, and their standing in the community fighting the evils of prohibition. It would be extremely disheartening to see all of those people’s hard work and sacrifice be traded in for just another cut-throat industry where profits overcome quality and dedication. 

We can decide if we want to sit down and shut up, or if we want to stand and fight. I choose the latter. If watching these battles is just too much for you to bear, then I apologize. In the end, maybe you will thank me though, if all goes according to plan. Selah.

It is not me. It is YOU.

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If prohibition isn’t completely over yet, don’t blame me. It is not me. It is YOU.

I like to think I can end prohibition by myself if I work hard enough, but I cannot. I have tried. I have spent more hours working on it than I like to admit, and we still see the slow wheels of progress moving. It is happening. Progress continues, but it is not enough. We must do more. All of us have got to get moving if we really want this to end now.

This is not meant to disparage others, and make it seem like I am doing the work and others are not. Far from it. There are actually a lot of people giving their hard work and energy to the cause, and I am deeply grateful for them.

But there is also a contingency of folks who are just standing around waiting for everyone else to do the work for them, and who want to call themselves an “activist” with little or no real action to show for it. YOU know who YOU are. YOU are the loser who doesn’t have the time or money to give to the cause when it is needed, but shows up for all of the victory parades and parties like clockwork. YOU are the asshole who likes to look down his nose at another person’s effort and say how much better they would have done this or that. YOU are the lazy bastard who never writes a letter, calls anyone, or does anything to advance the conversation; but then wants to take all of the credit for those who did actually take the time out of their life to make a difference. And there are plenty of YOU . Swing a dead cat around and you are bound to hit one.

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There will always be the 80/20 rule. Twenty percent of the people in this movement do eighty percent of the work and give eighty percent of the resources. A lot of folks are just along for the magic carpet ride. They have no real intention of getting off of their asses or breaking bread for this cause. They just want to feel like they are a part of the “movement” without doing anything to actually make it move. They are energy suckers for the most part who will eat all of the free food, smoke all of the free weed, and go home to being the same selfish losers they were. It is human nature, but not one that I want to be associated with.

You think we do not see you either. You think you can dip in and out without being detected, and have your weed cake and eat it too. But I see you. I see you working the system for personal gain. I see you hitching your wagon to our star and telling everyone it is your star too. Enjoy the ride for now because you are in for a rude awakening. It is going to be funny when I expose you as a fraud in front of everyone…but just keep hanging on tight. It could get a little bumpy around the turns.

What I really love are the folks who are not just lazy, but financially motivated. Those who play activist on the weekends as a business opportunity for their networking possibilities are the worst. Nothing is sadder than a person motivated by nothing more than money pretending that they really give a shit about weed. It is so plastic and fake at times that I actually want to kick people in their shins for shits and giggles. These wannabe moguls try to camouflage themselves among the group; but they are so obviously just money hungry whores who are looking for acceptance so that they can eat your young when you are not looking. Do not be fooled by the wolves in wook gear. They are the enemy within.

We have a lot of work to do, and there is no question that we are surrounded by folks who have zero intention of doing any of it. These assholes will be there to collect the spoils though. Believe that.

I am not saying I am perfect. Not at all. I have a lot that I could do better. I can be more effective and I will. Speaking of, I need to write letters to POWs. That is one area I am lacking for sure. I am going to get that done this week. I know where my shortcomings are, and I work to overcome them. But it is work…and it is hard work. At times, my wife and kids think I am crazy and obsessed because I focus on this issue so much. Maybe they are right. Maybe I am. But I am compelled to see this through to the end. I am in too deep at this point to ever turn back.

Just know I am watching you. I see you in the midst of the action doing nothing and taking all of the glory. I see you preparing for your victory dance for everyone else’s hard work. I will be there to greet you, and if you are lucky, you might get a pie in the face before this is all said and done. So you have that going for you, which is nice.

Or…..you might want to just do the work and begin to make a difference. It is not as hard as you think. Instead of creeping in for some credit for everyone else’s hard work, how about you do some of your own work for once? We are waiting. We have been waiting a long time. You talk a big game, now do the work.

I will continue to do the work regardless. But the next time you think of messaging me and stating “Why don’t you do this (enter hairbrained activist scheme)?”, why don’t you just do it your damn self and do it well? I assure you I have a plate full of shit to do over here. Feel free to reach in your own pocket and put your money where your mouth is every once in a while too, ya cheap bastard. It is your turn already. Quit thinking we all are going to cover you.

This is all of our responsibility, and I for one am tired of doing the work, only for some other asshiole who has done little to nothing taking the credit for it. I will begin to point you out and make a spectacle of you. I am over it. It is not me. It is YOU.

Do the work, or get out of the way of those who do. Thanks……Management.

Weed is here. You should just get over it.

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It is a little sad and a little funny to watch people come to grips with the fact that WEED IS LEGAL some places, and will BE LEGAL EVERYWHERE soon.

It is a testament to drug war propaganda that we are even having this conversation. The reason cannabis is catching on so rapidly is because anyone who takes a close look at it, or God forbid has ever tried it, know that all the crap these prohibitionists have been feeding the public for decades are bold-faced lies. All of the myths and misinformation about weed are being disproved in real time. People are openly using weed and no one is dying, or ruining their lives. In fact, many people seem pretty happy and relaxed. Some even seem downright healthy (gasp).

Like I said, I am amazed we still have so much to overcome; but the drug warriors did one hell of a number on our society with their “tough on drug crime” bullshit. At some point the propaganda changed the American dialogue to one of fear and loathing. We allowed for a few connected people to push lies about marijuana into our society, and convince the world that a safe, enjoyable, and helpful plant was evil. We allowed them to pass laws that have been used to cripple poor and minority communities. These laws have filled our bloated and corrupt prison industrial complex beyond capacity at a rate of 5x the rest of the world….and we have all just stood by and watched.

I am not sure where our “free” and “just” culture got so twisted that we believed it was our duty to invade people’s lives violently for things they choose to put in their own bodies. You want to talk “big government?” How about some government official kicking your door down, searching through all of your property, arresting you, taking your belongings, kidnapping your kids, and making you lose your job over some weed, which is by far safer than other legal substances on the market? If that is not some big government socialist bullshit I am not sure what is.

Then there is the matter of drug testing. How incredibly humiliating is this process as a civilized society? We hire a person to do a job for us and the first thing we do is ask them to submit their body fluids for a chemistry tests so that we can see what they are up to on their own free time? WTF? I do not think that is a great way to start any relationship. “Nice to meet you. Pee in this cup for me.” Huh? You want me to whip out my penis and fill a cup with my urine? For real? It seems so bizarre to me. when did this become good policy?

But somehow this is where we are as a society. It is out of control.

If our local police get a tip that a person is growing some weed plants they get a warrant from some drug warrior judge and drive a tank filled with armed gunmen to people’s neighborhood to subdue people for gardening. Doesn’t this seem a little heavy handed? Couldn’t we try knocking first at least? Or more so, don’t we have a lot of better things to do? Are all of the rapists and murderers off the streets? No? Then why are we kicking in the doors of gardeners again? Why are we wasting our resources on this shit?

It is unclear how long this transition period will be. It could go quickly, or it could be drawn out for decades. A lot depends on how much bullshit we are willing to endure, I suppose. How many people will we allow to tell these lies of gateway theories and non-existent dangers? How much will those who have gotten rich ruining other’s lives for their personal choices double down on their failed actions? Will those interests who stand to lose the most unleash their political powers to retard this evolution, or is the momentum too much for them to stop? Can we effectively get our message out and overcome the lies and misinformation of it all? Can we make people understand that weed is awesome, and certainly not a crime?

There are a lot of questions to be answered. What is certain is that WEED IS HERE.

To watch folks try to argue the failed points of yesterday is just embarrassing. The few idiots that continue to take the hard-line prohibition position are sad and pathetic. It is like even they do not believe their own bullshit any more. If I hear Kevin Sabet and Patrick Kennedy roll out their “big marijuana is the boogie man” schpeel again I might just puke. These folks lack conviction because they know what they are doing is just wrong. They cannot even look people in the eye any longer. They just read their ill-conceived  talking points and try to appease their overlords of prohibition. History will not be kind to these types.

They need to just get over it, and get to the difficult job of figuring out how the entire thing is going to work. Wasting time trying to continue this madness is unacceptable You lost. Go home, losers.

Weed is here and you should really just get over it. It is not too late. It is easy….Just quit being an asshole and understand that cannabis is safe and effective for a lot of people. If it is not your thing, then super….more for us. But quit searching my car because I smell funny, okay? I like weed and I am a good person.

So what? We smoke weed….

2014: Year of the KILLSHOT. How we finally end this thing.

History is a funny thing. It is hard to predict and happens in short rapid bursts.

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But make no mistake….history is being made. As the news of Colorado’s first sales of weed to non-medical patient adults over 21 floods the airwaves, the walls of prohibition crumble. America is absorbing this slow-moving revolution. As people watch responsible adults purchase their weed at well-lit and clean facilities, their vision of the criminally shady element that cannabis has been portrayed as melts away. The sky has not fallen; and when the sky continues to not fall after being told by prohibitionists for decades that it would, Americans will wake up to the fact that they have been lied to.

People hate being lied to. That is why this thing ends this year.

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The toothpaste is WAY out of the tube. There is no putting it back. It is over. We can work out the details of what it all looks like in real time, but the writing is on the wall. It is only a matter of time now before this is all a distant memory, and cannabis is returned to its rightful place in our society as a safe, enjoyable, and helpful plant. But there is still a lot of work to make that happen in a way that is reasonable and fair. There is a lot to overcome in a short period of time, but I think we are up for the task.

Now is the time to go for the killshot. We should be applying every ounce of pressure we have to the neck of these drug warrior assholes. There is no looking back. It is time to storm the castle for the final time. This will end; and it will end very soon if we are effective in our strategic planning.

Do not listen to the voices that say “Be patient. Just wait.” There are reformers within our movement that would have you believe that we must wait and not create real tension. These folks would have you believe that “if we play our cards right we could see the end of prohibition in the next five years.”

Fuck those people. They are in on it.

They are PART OF THE PROBLEM. Nothing worse than a pathetically transparent effort of self-preservation through retarding growth by eroding people’s confidence. I am not trying to be mean, but I hope every person who makes their money “reforming cannabis laws” is out of a job this year. I hope we get the laws reformed, and those folks (like the DEA) can move on to greener pastures. That is what we are all fighting for, right? An END to prohibition?

In the now famous Letter from Birmingham Jail, penned by Martin Luther King Jr. at the height of the civil rights struggle, this is what he said about “waiting.”

We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. Frankly, I have yet to engage in a direct action campaign that was “well timed” in the view of those who have not suffered unduly from the disease of segregation. For years now I have heard the word “Wait!” It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This “Wait” has almost always meant “Never.” We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that “justice too long delayed is justice denied.”

For years now I too have heard the word “wait.” From lawmakers….from law enforcers…from probation officers….from people opposed to cannabis….and all too often from those who stood beside me.

I can wait no longer. I will not.

I am touched by the response we see happening in the press, as adult use legalization rolls out in Colorado (and soon to be Washington and Uruguay). The world has certainly changed from the days I stood on the street in Santa Cruz, CA gathering signatures for Prop. 215.  The long and tiring journey will eventually come to an end, and if I have anything to do with it that end will come quickly.

So what is the big plan? How do we do it? Well, I am glad you asked…..A strategy of direct action and a demand for accountability at all levels is a good place to begin.

I refer back to Dr. King’s Letter from Birmingham Jail when discussing the type of non-violent campaign we must orchestrate to end this thing. He wrote:

In any nonviolent campaign there are four basic steps: collection of the facts to determine whether injustices exist; negotiation; self purification; and direct action.

After the determination that the injustices were very real and attempted negotiation, Dr. King began the difficult process of “self-purification” leading to direct action. He stated:

We had no alternative except to prepare for direct action, whereby we would present our very bodies as a means of laying our case before the conscience of the local and the national community. Mindful of the difficulties involved, we decided to undertake a process of self purification. We began a series of workshops on nonviolence, and we repeatedly asked ourselves: “Are you able to accept blows without retaliating?” “Are you able to endure the ordeal of jail?”

The struggle of the civil rights movement in the 1960’s was an amazing effort that taught our communities and the world many valuable lessons. We can learn from the successes (and even some failures) of prior social movements where we can use our influence as citizens to create real change.

One of the most effective tools used were economic boycotts of goods and services that supported the unjust policies of segregation; and those same types of pressures could be used to end prohibition now. We need to identify the groups, organizations, businesses, and individuals who are propping up the drug war, and encourage our networks to not support them, or spend their money with them. If we can drive enough folks to quit doing business with companies that fund prohibition and support mass incarceration policies, we can force them to change their positions this taking pressures off lawmakers to make more reasonable policies for drugs in our society. Shit rolls uphill sometimes.

If we can create a platform of awareness, and a powerful enough social movement that begins to make a real dent, it becomes more difficult for them to continue these charades. We must also attack funding sources for law enforcement that are used to fund this bullshit war. Lawmakers want to talk about “fiscal responsibility?” How about the trillion dollars we have wasted arresting and imprisoning mostly poor people for petty drug crimes?

As citizens, we must organize campaigns at every level of politics to demand a change in how our law enforcement resources are spent. I do not mind having a robust law enforcement presence, but let them work on REAL crimes and REAL public safety issues. Quit pressuring good cops to arrest their neighbors on stupid weed charges to pad the arrest statistics to justify even more spending. Let good cops do a good job; and if they arrest a few million less people for stupid shit every year, but maybe catch an extra drunk driver, or investigate fraud, or track down actual violent criminals, that is great. We do not need less cops. We need the cops to be allowed to actually investigate and do their fucking jobs instead of feeling the need to rummage through some guys car because he smelled some weed.

Economic-based boycotts are something that we can do relatively easy through social media and word of mouth. They do not have to be massive to work either. Small local boycotts can be extremely effective too. Why would we give our money to people who support putting us in jail for our choice to use weed? I still do not eat Kellog’s cereal because they fired Michael Phelp’s after the infamous bong picture. There are a lot of companies that support prohibition because it is good business for them. Look at a company like Victoria’s Secret that uses mass incarceration as a source of cheap labor for their goods. Yup…we can boycott companies that use prison labor, which in turn pressures prison lobbies and privately owned prisons, who in turn have influence with lawmakers, who can end these policies once and for all.

But economic influences are only part of the story. It will also take hard work, sacrifice, and likely some real pain to end this deal. We will also need to accomplish major messaging points through civil disobedience and organized protest. Folks must be willing to put some time and energy into taking the killshot. We must go to the meetings. We must speak up loudly. We must organize WEED-INS. We MUST demand to be heard.  We cannot allow our opposition’s position to go unanswered anywhere….not in the media, at local meetings,  or in a conversation at the grocery store. WE MUST BE VIGILANT…….we like weed and we are good people.

Check out the movement happening in Philly right now as they Smokedown prohibition. These kids are doing it. Taking criminal charges and suffering real consequences for their right to burn and to call for an end to prohibiton. Amazing stuff:

 

It is also an election year and we can influence politics on many levels. We should make every effort to influence local. state, and national politics with our weed message. Be at the town hall meetings to ask the tough questions. Write a letter to the editor about how you do not think this candidate should not be elected because they still believe in mass incarceration and locking up our neighbors for weed. Gallup’s recent poll showed that 58% of our communities (at least) are in our corner. I imagine that number will increase rapidly once the world sees that a legal cannabis market is possible, and that the results will actually be a net positive.

Politicians on both sides of the aisle are already discussing the issue:

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Politicians listen to money, public safety, and opportunities for the communities they serve. Learning to tailor our message to influence politics is key. The cost of prohibition is an absolute failure. It is not hard to see how locking up 5x the people as the rest of the world is expensive and wasteful. As people see that public safety levels are either unaffected, or (gasp) more favorable after legalization takes hold in areas, the myths will be debunked and the real safety cost of prohibition black markets  will be exposed. Sorry…any time you take billions of dollars in illegal drug sales off of the streets and put them into regulated tax paying business structures your community will be safer. The more we can prove positive attributes and opportunities to communities with little risk to public safety, the easier it will be to get politicians to allow for, and even promote, cannabis in their communities.

Direct action campaigns at politicians events who are running for office is an easy way to create awareness and drive the conversation. It only takes one courageous person with a marker and a piece of cardboard to make a powerful impact at a campaign event, or local happening. Be that person….and bring a friend. And the next time bring another friend….Then get those friends together to write some letters. Get those friends to invite even more friends; and then take your group of friends to meet other groups of similar cause for larger action….and the walls will crumble action by action, and voice by voice.

This is going to happen. We must ride the wave and drive the conversation. It is the end of prohibition if we want it to be. Will you pull the trigger with me?

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What are we doing as a society?

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It is hard to explain to some people why I do what I do. They do not get dedicating time, energy, and resources to ending cannabis prohibition. Some do not see how advocating for weed is a worthy use of my time. To people who do not get the true motivations of prohibition, I am sure my quest can seem petty when compared to bigger issues we face.

But cannabis prohibition is at the core of what is wrong with our society. It touches the lives of everyone, whether they know it or not. It has turned people against one another; and created a war that makes enemies out of our friends and neighbors. We have committed unthinkable crimes against our citizenry in this moral crusade to rid the world of “drugs.” Not all drugs though….Just the ones we hate. You can still kill yourself with booze, pills, and tobacco. Just not these other substances.

Are we really still doing this? Are we really still driving SWAT teams of armed gunmen to homes to kick the doors in and violently subdue our neighbors because they grow weed plants? Are we really still letting government officials abduct people’s kids from their parents because of cannabis? Are we still searching people’s cars and properties without warrants because some cop thinks he smells weed? Are we really letting good people lose their jobs and standing in the community because they choose, or need, cannabis? THIS IS NUTS.

I cannot sleep on most nights because I am troubled by this ongoing battle for justice and morality. I cannot wrap my head around why our society allows this to continue one more day.

We have locked up 25% of the world’s prison population while only having 5% of the actual population because we have made criminals out of damn near everyone. Law enforcement targets poor and minority communities with a vengeance and these trumped up crimes and draconian sentences destroys families, while we just sit back and watch. It is astonishing.

We are better than this. This is not behavior we can let happen any longer. We MUST rise up and demand an immediate end to cannabis prohibition; and a release of all prisoners being held for petty drug crimes. It is no longer okay to say “wait” or “not now.” There is no tomorrow promised for many people who sit behind bars or who are without their children today because of the evils of prohibition.

We will not be silenced. We will be heard. This will end.

The writing is on the wall. Cannabis prohibition IS ending. For those states and communities that did not get the memo, and who want to keep imprisoning good people for weed, we are coming for you. We demand an end to these failed policies and overzealous enforcement. We demand our fucking weed and we demand it now. Knock off the bullshit.

When did this “land of the free” become so apathetic to the loss of freedom and privacy? When did we decide it was okay for some government bureaucrat to decide what people can and cannot put in their own bodies? Who gave these assholes the right to search my pockets because I smell funny? When did it become okay for us to militarize our local police force so they can drive a tank up to our neighbors house in the dark of night and ram the doors down with assault rifles to stop them from gardening? How many people have to lose their jobs, kids, and property before we realize we are being screwed and oppressed?

This shit is unacceptable to any human, regardless of politics and religion. Cannabis prohibition cuts across all demographics and destroys our society little by little every day. There are more black men in prison right now than there were black men in slavery. Let that sink in for a minute.

At some point it is time to stop talking about it and to begin the hard work of ending this. The walls are crumbling, but there is still a hell of a lot of work to do. It is all of our jobs to do it. No one is going to do it for us. We must demand change and an end to the drug war.

What are we doing as a society? We are failing…..that is what.

This is not a small or petty matter. It is a defining moment in human history, and a shift in how we live our lives. Beyond just freedom and basic human rights is the fact that many folks are benefitting from cannabis as a medicine. Are we really making our neighbors into criminals for their desire to feel better? I cannot live with that. I will not live with that. I demand this end now.

Until it ends, I will wake up every day and fight. I hope you will join me. This is our society and we will no longer allow for this madness. END CANNABIS PROHIBITION AND MASS INCARCERATION OF OUR NEIGHBORS NOW…..

The Airing of the Grievances

A Fesitvus for the rest of us….one of my favorite traditions. Please review and take in my airing of the grievances for 2013. Feel free to add your own in the comment section….

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THE AIRING OF THE GRIEVANCES:

1. Weed is still not totally legal. (Though two states, a country, several cities and a federal stand down was a hell of a year)

2. People are still going to jail for weed at alarming rates in many areas. This must stop. However we get there, I just want to get there.

3. People are still losing their kids for weed. This is pure madness by any civilized standard. We must put an end to cannabis abductions.

4. Parents are still having to worry about treating their sick children with safe and effective cannabis medicines. What kind of evil people would put parents of sick children through this?

5. Folks are still losing their job for weed. If it were not for weed most companies would not even piss test people. We should end prohibition and at the same time end having to give body fluid to people for employment.

6. People are still looking down their noses at cannabis users. We must continue to shift the paradigm through admitting we are good people that like weed. For too long it has just been the fringe willing to step up. You garage weed smokers need to be accounted for. We all know you get high, dummy.

7. Why the fuck are people still hungry?

8. Too many losers running around claiming to be experts in this fucking industry who do not know shit except how to steal other people’s work and talk suckers out of their money.

9. Meth torches…..

10. Weed is still not totally legal…..

Family Values: How the war on weed has become a militarized war on families.

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The war on cannabis is a complete and utter failure. There is no getting around that. We have lost. Weed is not going anywhere. There is not any less of it then when we began the war on drugs over 40 years ago. There are not less people using it, and if there are that is a tragedy in itself because those people are likely using booze instead. We have spent over a trillion dollars imprisoning our neighbors and militarizing local police forces to fight this “war.” What the fuck are we doing?

Yet regardless of the obvious failures, every day we allow for armed gunmen to storm the homes of people, often good family people, to save us from the evils of weed. Somehow the logic is that if we discover a person growing safe, enjoyable, and helpful plants that the best way to protect our community is to drive a tank full of soldiers armed to the teeth to the residence and use militarized war tactics to enter the home, subdue the family, tear apart their home in search of whatever it is we say we want to look for, drag the parents off to jail, and lock their kids up with strangers in foster care centers.

I will never figure out how we believe we are solving a problem by making a dozen more. We create poverty and a black market for cannabis. We use our limited resources to pay for enforcement. We use SWAT teams to cut down gardens. We destroy families, creating further poverty. We force children to be raised without their parents. We lock people in cages for draconian mandatory minimum sentences for weed, and then wonder why our prisons are all overcrowded. And for what? What problem is ever solved by these actions?

Who is winning here? Because it certainly is not our communities, our society, or the people directly affected. We are creating a society of mistrust and anger. We cannot keep stealing people’s children in the name of your failed war on cannabis. This must stop now.

I recall when I was raided by the federal government in 2007. We were lucky enough to not be home at the time armed gunmen swarmed my home and businesses. But I remember returning to my ransacked home to find my kid’s rooms tossed and every drawer opened with my kids belongings strewed all over the room. The look on my wife’s face and the sound of her voice is one I will never forget, as she said “why would they do this to my babies rooms?” We imagined what it would have been like to be home and have these armed thugs awaken our children from their sleep at gunpoint because I made weed brownies for sick people. It made me sick to my stomach.

It is that sickness that sits with me EVERY DAY.

Yeah…I was lucky. But so many others are not. So many good families are torn apart by these unjust and immoral laws. For a long time it was a reality that I could not face. I understood the grave risk that my work in the cannabis industry put my family in. I still understand that and face it every day as an activist and part of the growing cannabis industry. I know that I am still at great risk of being torn from my family and locked in a cage for years for my involvement. It weighs heavy on me at every moment of every day.

My wife is an amazing human, which is probably the only thing that allows me to carry on. After the raid while I was awaiting my fate through the judicial process my wife and I had some very real and pointed conversations about the risk my involvement with cannabis brought to our family. My wife could not imagine having to raise our two young sons with me in prison for a decade. There was certainly a robust discussion of me walking away forever and not looking back. I even prepared a resume and began looking for work in different industries. It had certainly changed our reality.

My decision to press on and follow what I believed in was, and continues to be, one of the hardest decisions I have ever made. If you ever hear me tell my story in public, like clockwork, when I get to the part about my house being raided and my kids rooms being tossed my voice will crack and I will be overcome with emotion. I have to take a breath every time because that wave of anger and sadness overcomes me. I am paralyzed by it. The fear of losing my kids and my freedom for my fight for cannabis freedom is too much for me to comprehend at times. Which is why in all my writings, I touch on the subject very little…It is my biggest fear and my ultimate weakness.

I carry on not because I am selfish and do not care about my kids. I carry on because I love my kids (and all kids) enough to fight and make sure this does not keep happening to our community. We have been extremely lucky in our journey for justice; but most are not. Most people facing these charges for cannabis do not have the support and community that we had fighting for us. Most are very alone and facing a very scary situation with little or no direction or support. These laws target the most vulnerable poor and minority communities and destroy the family foundation in areas so desperately in need. It is something we can no longer ignore. It is very real and we are all lesser people for allowing these practices to continue in our name.

So my continued fight for cannabis freedom has little to do with me, or even my family. It has to do with a moral obligation to right the wrongs of yesterday and make sure we end these injustices once and for all.

I largely overlooked the people losing their kids issue for a long time. Because my kids were not directly affected by my raid, it was easier for me to avoid the subject. That was until I met Daisy Bram.

As a writer, a lot of things come across my desk. The audio in the Youtube video below was sent to me. I opened it and began to listen to this mother scream for her babies, as agents removed her kids because she had a medical cannabis garden in her home. Take a minute to listen to it, and like me, I am sure it will change your life forever.

I heard in Daisy’s screams the voice of my own wife…..of my friend’s wives….of my mother. I heard a mother desperate to keep her children, while heartless officers separated newborn babies from her loving arms. I could no longer ignore the reality that this was nothing more than complete terrorism of the American family unit.

I wrote a story on the issue and posted the audio for all to hear on my blog. I began feverishly posting it in cannabis circles in hopes of raising awareness. I also got to know Daisy and began working to help her where I could in organizing support for her case. I am saddened to say that Daisy is still fighting this battle and her kids are still removed from her. It breaks my heart.

But it also inspires me because Daisy Bram is one of the strongest women I have had the pleasure of meeting. I cannot say I could remain as composed and as active as she has throughout this mess. She has endured some of the most unjust treatment from the “child protective” agencies and continues to fight for her freedom and the return of her children. She has not wavered in her stance and has become a powerful voice for change. I encourage everyone to get to know Daisy, and learn from her experiences through all of this, and to continue to support her in her ongoing struggle. You can find more about her case at here Facebook page HERE.

Daisy was certainly not the first person to have her family torn apart over weed; but her sharing of her experience and the undeniable tragedy experienced through listening to her cries for help in real time during the raid gave me an insight that I could no longer ignore. Her story has also given courage to other families to speak out about their situations.

My recent path has led me to begin the development of a new group called Parents 4 Pot. It was not my intention, as like I mentioned, I often try to not think about the kid deal because it scares the living shit out of me. But fate is seldom wrong…so I try not to stand in its way. The stars have aligned and I am honored to be helping create an organization dedicated to being a voice for families who are facing issues regarding cannabis.

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In doing so, we are hoping to create a support network for families affected by the tragedy of cannabis prohibition. In just a short couple of weeks, as the word has spread about the organization, we have been made aware of several stories of families being torn apart by cannabis laws. Below are just a few of these stories that have come our way that we are hoping to raise awareness for, provide support for, and to keep from happening ever again to good people who like weed:

JOSHUA E. MASON: TENNESSEE

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This is an incredible story worthy of some attention and support. Josh is a father of a three-year-old daughter whose home was raided for a small garden, and some cuttings. He was subjected to a no-knock raid where heavily armed military style tactics were used to subdue him in front of his child. He lost custody of his daughter for a period of time and has been railroaded through the legal system trying to maintain his freedom. Josh has been forced to pay a large fine in a very short period of time, or face 15 years in prison for his garden. He literally has until next Monday to come up with a $4k donation to the drug fund, or his case will be sent to the Grand Jury and he could lose his legal counsel. Did I mention they could revoke his bail and remand him to custody? It is nuts. This is how our legal system works…you pay to play. Unfortunately our prisons are filled with people who have no money to pay. For more information on Josh’s story and how you can help visit his GoFundMe page HERE and kick down some money to keep this family together. Wanna make someone’s Christmas? Here is your opportunity.

JASON WILSON AND DANIELLE GIESEN: ALABAMA

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This young couple was busted growing in Alabama and spent the summer in jail awaiting bond, during which she found out she was pregnant. They are being forced to pay heavy attorneys fees and for expert witnesses in hopes of avoiding prison sentences of up to 15 years each. This is a first offense for both of these kids and they are being told they will both do many years in prison even if they do take a plea bargain. They have worked hard to be upstanding members of their community since their arrest and deserve to be given a second chance. In many places like Alabame cannabis crimes are enforced more vigorously than rape or even murder. It never ceases to amaze me that a District Attorney, another human being, could see a poor struggling family who broke an unjust and immoral law as criminals worthy of spending decades in prison. I cannot comprehend it. Where did our society go so wrong? If you would like to help this young family ensure they have good legal counsel and the evidence they need to be judged accordingly for their actions, please donate to their cause HERE. Nothing is more sad than seeing young parents just starting their life being railroaded by a system gone terribly wrong. Help folks like this find justice.

TODD STIMPSON: NORTH CAROLINA

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Todd Simpson is the father of two daughters, one of which is very ill with a large tumor wrapped around her organs. He maintained a small medical cannabis garden and was raided by North Carolina law enforcement at gunpoint, where his daughters were also forced at gunpoint to put their hands on their heads and were detained during the search of the property. Todd has an interesting case because he actually purchased tax stamps from the State and paid the taxes on his cannabis crop. He is now facing charges for his cultivation, while also dealing with his daughter’s health issues. Below is a news piece on his case that is heartbreaking. To find more about Todd and his case check out their awesome website at:  http://www.brmcrc.org/.

MELANIE TREINEN

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Melanie shared her story with me also. While she is not facing years in prison, her case is also very relevant to the larger picture. She is a cannabis patient who used cannabis to relieve severe medical symptoms related to pregnancy (hyperemisis) where she would be constantly ill and malnutritioned during pregnancy. After complication due to pharmaceutical options during her first pregnancy she discussed the option of cannabis tincture with her physician who agreed it was a better option for her rare condition. The risks of malnutrition outweighed the risk of cannabis. Since it was recommended by her physician she shared her experience with social workers at the hospital. She was then blindsided by the system and faced with an investigation into her cannabis use. During this time the agency removed her children for 8 months. She was pushed around by the system and encouraged to succumb to their drug treatment programs. She found her voice and demanded to be evaluated, to which there was no evidence of addiction or drug problems found. The judge actually ended up apologizing for the actions of the agency in her case and her kids were returned to her. But for eight long month she was without their love, and they with hers. She was worried for their safety and forced to have her life examined by people claiming to have some moral higher ground. The CPS system is severely broken, and it has become profitable for many of these agencies to remove children from parents for cannabis. The system is designed to attack poor families who cannot defend themselves and it is stories of mother’s like Melanie that let us know we have a lot of work to do to end these practices. For more information on Melanie’s situation check out her petition on change.org HERE.

SO WHAT CAN WE DO? I am glad you asked….

And these are just four cases that have touched me over the past week, or so. there are literally thousands just like them that have yet to be heard, or which may never be heard unless we give them a voice. It is up to us to help change these laws and end the evil practice of destroying families over cannabis.

No one is going to do it for us. The system is rigged and we must demand it be destroyed. These are our friends, our neighbors, and our families. These are not criminals who deserve to be in prison. These are good people.

We are better than this as a society. We must come together and be a voice for real change. It is no longer okay to sit back and hope it does not happen to us. It can happen to you and if you do not speak up and demand change it WILL happen to you. We have the power to create change and we must.

I am proud to be organizing Parents 4 Pot as a group where parents can feel safe to come together to create meaningful change. Through raising awareness, becoming active, and supporting those in our community in need of assistance we can make a difference. Please join us in our mission and help us put an end to the destruction of the American family due to the failed prohibition of a safe, enjoyable and helpful plant.

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Thankful for good people who like weed…

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I am thankful for a lot of things. For my family….for my successes…for my failures (learning moments)….for where life is great, and also where it sucks.

Being grateful for the world as it is is a difficult task. As humans, we have a tendency to want to shape and mold things to meet our liking. We are often frustrated when we realize there are some things we cannot fix. But learning to accept and deal with an often less than ideal situation is where people learn about themselves and their world.

Being thankful for the good stuff is easy. Being thankful for the challenges though is necessary.

You are the sum of your experiences. Most likely the places you have most grown up to be the good person that you are is when you were faced with an obstacle, you met it head on, and you overcame it and/or dealt with it appropriately. Be thankful for that. That is a moment that shaped who you are today, and people dig that person. If life was always easy it would be super boring and most people would never understand who they really are, or have the potential to be.

It is the people who we share our lives with that make this planet great. Positive relationships with other good people with similar interests and objectives are imperative to the human journey. I am a weed activist, so a lot of the people I run into are good people who also like weed. I have made some amazing friends and extended families in my work in the weed industry. Because weed is such a mystical and enlightening plant, there is no shortage of colorful and great kids who love weed.

I am thankful for the many people who I stand side-by-side with in the trenches with daily fighting for this just and worthy cause. While there are no shortage of wingnuts and losers embedded in the larger “movement,” there are also a million very good people working on this cause. There are people of every color, religion, and orientation that want nothing more than to return cannabis to its rightful place in society.

Some have called us outlaws and rebels; but we are seeing a major shift in our society; and people who support weed are becoming the norm- not the exception. People who like weed are becoming emboldened, as more folks are willing to stand up and say “I like weed and I am a good person.” As the chorus grows louder with those words the walls of prohibition will continue to crumble. Soon enough the fight will be over and the next wave of work will begin.

But I cherish these moments and the people I am honored to work with in the fight for cannabis freedom. These are special days and weed brings together some of the most amazing people. I need to remind myself to take it all in because these days will not be here forever. Prohibition is ending; and as I look around and recognize the dedication and honor that many have brought to the battle field I am humbled to call them my friends, my fellow soldiers, and heroes.

As we march into our final battles look around you. Be thankful that such great people have stepped up to get this done. When the history books are written on cannabis reform, it will not be the snake-oil salesmen that will take up the pages. It will be the courageous folks who stood up and demanded an end to one of the most immoral policies ever put in place.

Thank you.

If you cannot laugh at yourself try being funnier…

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I am short, a little fat, and can be a fairly grumpy asshole on most days….and that can be very funny.

I laugh at myself all of the time. I have to. I have way too many flaws and issues in my life to not find the humor in it. I can remember times when I wanted to be taken more seriously, and worked to hide my flaws to fit this mold or that trend. Believe it or not, I used to be very hard on myself and worried greatly about my public image. I used to give a shit what others thought about me to the point I was not even sure who I really was any more at times.

I cannot pinpoint the moment in my growth where that changed, but I know it came from the realization that despite my flaws and issues I am a really good person. I also looked around and decided that the other gigantic assholes I was sharing this planet with were no better than me, despite how shiny and polished they look to the naked eye. In fact, through direct experience with other humans, I understood everyone was pretty much a retarded bag of thought and emotion that did not know more about being a successful human than I did.

I have worked with some very successful people over the years, and was always enlightened by the experience. But in dealing with people who are successful, I learned that even successful people have many severe flaws. The difference is that most have acknowledged these flaws, accepted them, and have learned to be successful despite their flaws. They understand their limitations, and sometimes irrational behaviors; and they can laugh at them. By acknowledging their own shortcomings, they can then find other humans who excel where they lack and who can help them achieve their objectives.

They have taken the power from their own imperfections by embracing them and learning to overcome them. Those who cannot truly laugh at themselves can never achieve real success because they cannot understand their own failures. When we know that we are just another stupid human we can prepare for that and work around it. If we consistently deny who we are, and the way we live our life, in fear of being judged by others we lose who we are and our sense of purpose.

No matter who you are, you are a funny loser at times. Get over yourself.

The humor in life is the only thing that keeps me grounded. I like to poke fun at the world because it is an amusing place to live. I do not mind having fun poked back at me either because I am a dorky, weird, and often ill-tempered. I am the first to make fun of myself because I know firsthand how stupid I really am. No one can play the dozens with me better than me. I am that big of an asshole.

I run across a lot of people who lack a sense of humor, and who have ZERO sense of humor when it comes to themselves. These are very sad and needy creatures who fake some weird elitist self-confidence to make themselves feel important. They want so bad to command respect that they have no idea how stupid they look to the rest of us. You fuckers do know we can see you, right? Or better yet…we can see right through you.

Nothing is more sad than the person who takes their life so seriously that they really have no life at all. People hate fake people. No one who has lived on this planet for more than a decade is falling for your bullshit. We all know you are a dorky weirdo inside like the rest of us. So knock off the charades and enjoy the journey. Put down your guard every once in a while and let you be you.

Learn to laugh at yourself again. You are a funny mofo.

Some do not find my humor funny, and I can appreciate that. Most people who think that also do not know how to laugh at themselves yet. They have not figured out that there is no prize for being the coolest. They are still prisoners to their own self-conscious.

But those who have embraced who they are and who have joined in the chorus of laughter have freed themselves from the burden of ridicule. No one can make you feel bad about you if you understand that who you are is just fine, and yeah, it is a little funny.

So the next time you are feeling down, or put down by others, just embrace that dorky weird semi-crazy person that lives inside of you and laugh it off. Get a good belly laugh about what a freak you are and then move on with life knowing that the rest of us are just as big of idiots as you.

Laugh until you cannot laugh any more, and if you cannot laugh at yourself work on being funnier.

Ruining everybody's lives and eating all our steak

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The weed movement is alive with the sound of bullshit.

It seems like every day a new huckster shows up with tall tales about throwing a football over the mountain. The environment is ripe for hyperbole and the Uncle Ricos are out in full force. You got people taking victory laps for races they never even ran, and using their self-proclaimed lies to fleece anyone who will buy into their schemes.

Then there are the enablers. These folks stand around the sidelines begging people to not rock the boat and to just let the untruthful rhetoric go unchallenged in the name of the greater good. These co-dependent bullshitters do not mind being mislead and lied to, as long as there is some perceived gain for themselves, or the community. So what if a person in disingenuous? As long as we are making progress, why should we challenge the moral fabric of those aligned with our cause?

Simple….one word…….INTEGRITY.

Those willing to trade our integrity for the promise of prosperity will likely never realize either one. When we fail to rise up and demand integrity from those representing our cause, we demean the hard work and energy of everyone. Because too many people that our movement looks to for leadership cannot seem to grow a sack of nuts and challenge some of these wingnuts, what we have is unchecked chaos resulting in garbled messaging and missed outreach.

Pretending something does not exist will not make it go away.

At times I wonder if there are even any folks left in the ranks who remember what we are fighting for.

What I see is the different tribes of cannabis circling their wagons looking for the next big thing that can propel them to the front of the pack. Nobody wants to make any waves in fear of not being asked to the dance, or losing their position in the race for fame and fortune.

Are there any people left who just want pure unadulterated cannabis freedom? Is everyone so worried about where they will come out on the other side of prohibition that they could give a shit how we get there? Are folks willing to let any dipshit with an orange van and a few footballs  waltz right in an make a bunch of bogus claims without having the courage to stand up and call “BULLSHIT?”

I cannot do it. I cannot sit back and watch these wannabe business moguls run roughshod over the industry without at least trying to stop them. You can cry and whine about how we should never say anything bad about another supposed cannabis activist because it fuels our opposition. That is the most pathetic thing I have ever heard.

You know what fuels our opposition? Being lead by cowards who did not have the nerve to have the difficult conversation within their own ranks, resulting in opportunity cost and lost goodwill.

We are only as good as the worst among us. If we cannot begin to weed out the charlatans and  con-men on our own, we should not be surprised when their deviant and selfish actions become synonymous with our entire message.

We already see the pump and dump kings working to co-opt the goodwill of national reform groups and charity organizations. We see self-admitted cannabis nobodies getting big airtime because they have a pocket full of money. There is little regard for cannabis and/or freedom in the modern era of  promotion. Cannabis politics also makes for very strange bedfellows.

But I challenge you to look around and take stock of what is going on. Understand that there is a lot more happening at this very moment than weed activism. Moves are being made. Souls are being purchased. False promises are being made. People are getting fleeced. You want the moon? You got it….

The Big Magnet in the Sky is in the details.

When the ugly face of reality is all that is left, let’s just remember we had this conversation. Most of what you see now is a mirage. There is a lot of scripted conversation and double talk happening that is being sold as progress. Most of the folks out there whoring themselves out will not be here when it is all said and done.

They will be chewed up and spit out by bigger fish with even less integrity. What we see now is child’s play compared to real business and industry. Most of these players do not have the stomach for it and will be gone at the first decent sell-out payday. Mark my words.

But some of you fuckers need to quit ruining everybody’s lives and eating all of the steak before it gets ugly. That is fair warning. Steak for thought.

Integrity matters.

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