Be Ready for Anything

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If there is one thing I am learning about the end of prohibition is that ANYTHING can and will happen.

So how do we prepare for chaos and confusion? What can we do to make sure we are focused and on point in the midst of all this awkward positioning and showmanship? How do we continue to keep our eyes on cannabis freedom through all of the attempts to lay claim to sectors of the cannabis industry? Or better yet, why should we?

Let’s look at it from a big picture perspective. Cannabis has been criminally illegal for decades. We have spent the better part of the last 40 years aggressively locking up people for weed, taking their kids, searching and stealing their property, and making lesser citizens out of those who choose weed. Through this evil time in history, cannabis outlaws have carried the plant through its darkest days. Over the past decade we have seen a renaissance of “the cannabis industry,” as more and more acceptance has been gained. We now are in a strange vortex between legal and illegal weed, where the hucksters and the charlatans play.

The market is still unregulated and unchecked enough for the snake oil salesman to do their thing. They are out in force making their wild claims and talking suckers out of their money.  There are the big business charlatans who are trying to make you believe their penny stocks are a real bargain. There are the crappy shyster grower/producers who are trying to convince some big money sucker to invest in their nightmare based on their successful closet garden. You have the wannabe business mogul dispensary operators trying to manipulate markets with their petty funds and fancy lawyers. Throw in a few self-proclaimed experts who have never grown or sold a crumb of weed in their life, and what you have is the Huckster Cannabis Circus.

As an activist, this is dicey terrain. There are all sorts of people standing around pretending to be your ally who are really only here for the payout. That’s right….I said it. Look around you. At least one in five of the people you see around you could give a shit about weed beyond how much money it can make them. They are good at talking the activist game and delivering bullshit talking points; but at the end they care less about cannabis freedom than they do about just enough freedom to get them paid and no one else. They will befriend you with only the goal of destroying you and distracting you. They want your money and they will do what it takes to get that when the time comes.

I am not one to fall for the great call for “unity” that we see from folks in the industry. To me, UNITY means “shut up and do not say anything about the people who are fucking us over from the inside.” This is our most dangerous area of play, and unfortunately the one that is most often overlooked. We do not really do internal housekeeping in the cannabis movement. People wander right in completely unchecked, and if they have enough money they get a fancy Board of Directors position on a major organization and begin to weasel their way into positions that they are neither fit for, nor deserving of. It is a sad state of affairs.

If any0ne dare to be critical, then the wagons are circled and the cry for “UNITY” comes out. Those who do not like being bent over from within are being cast off as troublemakers in hopes that the huckster promises are true. The reality is that everyone is a suspect, and even the best soldier can be tempted by promises of riches and security. It is hard to say at what point people are willing to sell-out their morals and values for beads and trinkets…but some certainly are.

Everything you think you know and understand is changing and moving. In this period of transitional flux there will be madness. Morals will be bought and paid for. Ethics are sold on the open market. People are positioning themselves for the next big thing, and more times than not have forgotten about what we are doing here.

STILL JUST ABOUT A PLANT AND SOME FREEDOM.

The really sad part is that what we see now is pretty far from reality. The “big money” we see running around the industry buying up activists and weedlebrities are really just a drop in the bucket of what is coming. These folks are chumps compared to the money that is lurking on the horizon. Do not get enamored by these dog and pony shows…most will be a distant memory five years down the road.

But until the playing field is truly level, BE READY FOR ANYTHING. Assume there are no rules and that everyone is playing for keeps. It is sad, but necessary. As the industry emerges back into our society from the darkness, there will be a serious game of high-stakes poker happening. You can decide if you want to double down or not….but if it all goes terribly wrong and the clowns end up running off with your hard-earned money, do not say you weren’t warned.

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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When being "nice" is no longer an option

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I try to never sugar coat things for people. Why? Because I find it only makes it that much more difficult on them when the truth comes to the surface. We are all adults here. You do not need me to coddle you and tell you everything will be okay. If you want to have that conversation call your mother.

Let’s start with folks outside of the weed movement. Our communities are filled with people who are “okay with weed being illegal.” Due to years of conditioning that weedheads are scofflaws and criminals, we often let people’s rhetoric go unchecked. Sometimes out of “respect” or sometimes because we are just too lazy to have a confrontation and reveal we are the stoner in the room.

Don’t do that any more. Our silence is their victory.

Challenge people’s position if they want to make cannabis users lesser people, or if they try to make weed out to be something evil. Do not give them a pass. Step right up and say “I like weed and I am a good person. Your position on cannabis is inaccurate and frankly, it is offensive.” Put them on notice. Quite being passive and letting this prohibitionist dialogue make the rounds without pushing back.

The time for being “nice” is long gone. We have spent the last few decades being nice and all we have gotten for it is a bloated and evil prison system that sucks up poor and minority folks at alarming rates, and a system that ruins their lives over weed and other drugs. When you wonder if you should say something, think about the poor kid getting pocket checked for his weed and hauled off to jail right at that moment because that happens nearly every hour of every day in this nation. That should make you angry. We are locking up our friends and neighbors for weed, and it is no longer acceptable.

It is our duty to make those who support these policies feel like complete shit. We need to make those who believe in the drug war myths, and who still spew the ignorant hyperbole of yesterday, feel like outcasts. Those views should no longer be welcome in our society, and it is up to us to demand that it stop now.

Being nice has gotten us nowhere fast. Begin telling people that it is no longer okay to treat us like criminals, or to search our property, or take our kids, or fire us from our jobs, or to treat us like lesser citizens because we like a safe, enjoyable, and helpful plant that has harmed no one.

Within our own circles we also have a lot of work to do. Our ranks are often cluttered with folks who are either just really stupid, or who have ill intentions to use our cause as a stepping stone to their fame and/or fortune.

There is a concerted effort to keep confrontation to a minimum in this industry, as people feel that any issue that may arise shines a bad light on our movement. But when we fail to confront issues, we allow for chaos to rule the day.

Don’t do that any more. Our silence is also our approval.

When people exploit our issue and use it to take advantage of others, or to sell their goods, we all lose. Not only is the message muddled, but our credibility is also tarnished. People say, “See. This whole industry is full of people like that. This is not about freedom or rights. It is just about drugs and money.” The good nature folks who have dedicated their life to this cause and plant are lumped in with the cannabis idiot circus because we have decided that being “nice” is easier than making waves.

So I have made it a point to have that difficult conversation within the movement, as well. It is not always easy, but often necessary. I have dedicated a lot of hours of my life to making weed legal for adults to use as they please, and I take personal offense to those who want to make that more difficult for me by exploiting the message and cause for their own personal gain.

I am the one who has to show up at City Council meetings and explain that this bullshit is not representative of our movement and industry. I have to justify your behavior and action to the masses, and try to explain why we are all not full of shit because of what you do. It is me who has to write letters to journalists to give the other side of the story when you have outright lied and inflated your position. It is us here on the ground who gets to clean up the mess left behind by your lofty ambitions and shitty planning.

So forgive me if my “nice” is turned off. I can not stomach standing by while you shit all over the chess board again.

Those who question my commitment to this movement because of my failure to be “nice” are likely not part of this movement at all.

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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Do more. Work harder. Make a difference. Be a good person.

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Can you feel it? We are getting close. It is happening. The cries of our opposition are telling.

It is now time for the kill shot. It is time to step up and do more. We all have that in us. Whatever you are good at, do it more- do it better- work harder.

The war is over if we want it to be. Drug warriors are noticeably worried about the end of cannabis prohibition. Hell…the leaders of our movement are noticeably worried.

Why? Because the world has changed. Yesterday will be gone soon; and we will be faced with the challenges of tomorrow. But it must happen. We have got to allow our society to evolve, and we need to be be the driving force for real and meaningful reforms.

I challenge you to take the next few months and work harder for cannabis freedom than you ever have in your life. Stay up late and get up early. Burn the midnight oil for this cause and I assure you we will see real results over the coming year. We must turn up the volume and begin to hold people’s feet to the fire. What we see happening is real. We are winning, but have not yet won.

It will take all of us doing the work to end this thing once and for all.

We are surrounded by wolves in sheep’s clothing, so we must remain vigilant. Everyone who claims to love weed is not necessarily our friend; and some are certainly enemies of freedom. There are many who are here to ride our cause all the way to the bank, and could give a shit about how we get there as long as they get theirs.

This movement is in serious need of some self-purification. It would be great to see those considered leaders of this movement just put down the donation bucket for a minute and take the time to do some house cleaning.

Manage the movement you lead and stop managing the organization you run…..or get the fuck out of the way for those of us who love weed and demand freedom. We are coming. We will not stop. We cannot continue to sit by and hope change will come to us.

In order to make a diference we have to have share common goals. Our goals as a movement must be pure and true. We cannot continue to be constrained by the failed visions of yesterday.

It is time for real action, and that will take some real leadership.

The movement will always be fractured and splintered in its current form because there are just too many hurt feelings from years of ineffectiveness and sometimes treachery. It is hard to make a difference when at the core, the different tribes of our movement have such great disdain for one another.

I am not one to push the myth of unity. Not with this group. I have been standing here too long to have any real hope for that.

The movement is full of agendas and motives. The old guard and new guard do not even speak the same language. The ground is moving beneath our feet and we have to decide if we are going to allow for the noise and confusion to retard our progress.

But let’s stop blindly wandering towards cannabis freedom. Let’s find a more focused message and more clear strategies that will result in the real death of prohibition.

Quit hiding behind the fears of what could be or maintaining the status quo. Take our direct actions and pointed messages farther than we ever have before. Challenge the status quo. Do not think for a minute that our opposition is not working hard to keep cannabis freedom as limited as possible.

We can decide if we want to make a real difference or not…..if ending the madness is important enough for us to have the tough conversations and do the real work. Or if we are going to allow pageantry and parlor tricks to continue to rule the day.

This community does not need more distractions…we need actions. We need people willing to use their talents, their communications and their energy to be an active voice for change. We need to hit the ground with an army of informed people to meet our opposition wherever they may be.

It is imperative we have soldiers in every community to step up and get out to meetings and to organize in their communities. We need people willing to challenge people’s thinking by saying loudly and proudly “I LIKE WEED AND I AM A GOOD PERSON.”

In order to push change, we have to make it embarrassing to be on the wrong side of history. We don’t just want an end to these archaic policies, we want a fucking apology.

It is no longer okay to stand on the sidelines and wait for the rest of us to do the work for you. You have got to do your part if we want to make this happen. If we want to really end weed prohibition, and free our brothers and sisters from prison, we have got to get moving like never before.

The walls are crumbling so grab a sledge hammer and jump right in. I have never been more optimistic than I am right now.

There will always be those in our ranks who lack heart. We cannot let these forces overpower our message of cannabis freedom. We are too close to be done in by those we believed were our friends. The end of cannabis prohibition is near, and I refuse to let those using our issue for fame, fortune and power to continue on without a fight. Either pick up a sledgehammer or do not be surprised if the sledgehammer start swinging at you, and your house-of-cards empire.

Do more. Work Harder. Make a difference. Be a good person………Or get run over by those of us who will.

I like weed and I am a good person.

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Ending cannabis prohibition can happen; and it can happen sooner than any of us think.

While we have seen great progress over the past months, there is still a lot of work to do to push this thing over the edge to its imminent death. The work begins with you and this simple message:

I LIKE WEED AND I AM A GOOD PERSON

If every person who enjoyed cannabis has the courage to stand up and be accounted for, we can end this thing. If we combat lies and misinformation with the real truth, that people like me and you like weed and we are good people who do not deserve to be treated like criminals or lesser citizens, we can end the madness.

Have that conversation. You will be surprised at the response.

Unfortunately, we live in a society that has spent the last four plus decades demonizing people who smoke weed, and more so, locking them up. A lot of people still live in that world. Many people have bought into the lies and automatically treat cannabis users like misfits and outlaws.

But when we stop them in their tracks and look them right in the eye and say “I LIKE WEED AND I AM A GOOD PERSON” they fold. They cannot argue with that. It is hard for a person to look another person in the eye and judge them for their weed use. People make broad generalizations, but when they have to equate their argument with a real person standing in front of them, they become cowards.

I do not care who it is. Talk to everyone. Let them know. We are here and we are not going anywhere. We do not deserve to have our car searched, or our kids taken, or lose our job, or be treated like lesser people for our choice to use weed. Tell your friends, family, the person in line at the grocery store, or even the moms on your kid’s soccer team….”I SMOKE WEED AND I AM A GOOD PERSON.”

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You will be amazed at the response.

Where we have failed is that we have allowed our fear of being treated differently, or arrested, to silence us. We have allowed the prohibitionists to run wild for so long with their tales of crime and addiction that we have lost the argument. When we do not stand up and call bullshit on these lies they fester and infect the dialogue of our population.

You hear it all the time….People are still wandering around talking about “the gateway theory” or painting stoners as “lazy and incompetent.” When the truth is WE ARE EVERYONE. We are your friends, neighbors, co-workers, and the person who makes your coffee in the morning. Most of us are extremely productive and GOOD PEOPLE.

You have nothing to be ashamed of ANY TIME EVER. If a person wants to think less of you because of your weed use then they are simply an inferior and misinformed human. It is sad, but it happens.

Most of these hypocrites are boozers who have no problem tying on an alcohol buzz and becoming a totally different person. They have been fooled into believing that since their drug of choice is legal that it is somehow better. What a bunch of idiots.

Alcohol kills people….LOTS of them. It causes people to neglect their relationships and make terrible decisions. It always amazes me when some half-drunk person begins talking about the evils of weed. That is when I look them in the eye and say “I like weed and I am a good person.” It causes them to reflect and think.

I am a good person. I have a good job, I work hard, I am a good father, and I handle my responsibilities. It is hard to argue that weed makes me any less of a good person.

In fact, it is easy for me to see how the calm and relaxing feeling that cannabis provides me actually makes me a better person. It is easy for me to look a person in the eye with confidence and let them know that I demand respect as a weedhead.

The days of being scared and ashamed are over. It is time for us to stand up and shine. We are right and they are wrong. We like weed and we are good people. We will no longer be kicked around and treated like crap. Society is behind us. we are winning.

So do me a favor….Take the message far and wide. Have the courage to have the conversation. Be that voice of reason and use your personal identity to support the cause. People know you, and they like you. If they all knew good people like you smoked weed they would be less inclined to hold onto their antiquated views from yesterday.

It is simple…..Say these words to whoever will listen and watch the world change before your eyes.

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Come check out the #MCKF in Boston, Lowell and Dartmouth Mass!

Massachusetts Cannabis Knowledge Forum announces 3 Events to Inform and Educate about Cannabis and Developing Mass. Marijuana Industry

Check out our radio advertising! We had to go all activist on Clear Channel to get them to run it!

BOSTON, Mass., Aug. 21, 2013 — Three informational events across the state with the cannabis industry’s best and brightest will be hosted by the Massachusetts Cannabis Knowledge Forum (MCKF) in association with the Northeastern Institute of Cannabis on Sept. 28-29 in Boston, Lowell and Dartmouth.

Ed Rosenthal

BOSTON, Mass., Aug. 21, 2013 (SEND2PRESS NEWSWIRE) — Three informational events across the state with the cannabis industry’s best and brightest will be hosted by the Massachusetts Cannabis Knowledge Forum (MCKF) in association with the Northeastern Institute of Cannabis on Sept. 28-29, 2013 in Boston, Lowell and Dartmouth.

Goal of these events:
* To provide education and training to potential dispensary applicants, employees, and patients;
* To hold an interactive forum for people to learn more about the cannabis industry and how the application and regulatory processes will be implemented;
* To develop a strong activist community;
* To celebrate the overwhelming support of 63 percent of Mass residents who voted YES for medical cannabis.

WHAT: A series of three events being held in Boston, Lowell and Dartmouth that will bring the industry to Massachusetts for an informative event. The speakers have nearly 100 years in experience to share. The event will cover the regulatory model and competitive application process, including presentations on best practices, quality assurance, production/cultivation methods, legal/social/political environment, and coalition building. Segments will be interactive, allowing people to communicate directly with the speakers.

Each event will be unique because it will be guided by the questions and. Attendees will receive a copy of “Medical Marijuana 101,” the “Marijuana Grower’s Handbook,” “Aunt Sandy’s Medical Marijuana Cookbook,” and course binder with materials on the application/regulations/best practices.

WHO: The MCKF is proud to present industry leading authors, consultants, business operators, and researchers to provide three days of informational access to the business.

Ed Rosenthal has been writing about cannabis cultivation for over four decades and is the world’s leading expert in the field. Ed has sold over a million books, and his book the “Marijuana Grower’s Handbook” has revolutionized the field.

Mickey Martin, author of “Medical Marijuana 101,” and an expert in the competitive application process, will give attendees a breakdown on best practices, regulations, and the entire application process.

Founder of Steep Hill Labs, Addison Demoura, will present on quality assurance and discuss the latest technology being used to help people better understand cannabis medicines.

Dr. Keith Saunders, Ph.D. is a sociologist and host of the Boston Pot Report who will educate people on the evolution of cannabis in Mass. over the years, and discuss the positives and negatives of the proposed industry. The event will conclude with speakers being joined by local activists to discuss community building and cooperative response to issues.

WHEN and WHERE: Three dates. Three locations across the state.
* Saturday, September 28, 2013 in Boston, Mass. at the Seaport World Trade Center Auditorium;
* Sunday, September 29 in Lowell, Mass. at the UMASS Lowell Inn and Conference Center;
* Monday, September 30 in Dartmouth, Mass. at Rachel’s Lakeside Event Center.

WHY: To inform and educate the community about cannabis and the developing marijuana industry.

For more information, contact Mickey Martin 508-289-1779 or email cannabisknowledgeforum@gmail.com – or visit: http://www.CannabisKnowledgeForum.com/ .

INTERVIEW A CANNABIS OUTLAW. MASSACHUSETSS CANNABIS KNOWLEDGE FORUM.

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Have you ever wondered what it is like to wake up to Federal officers swarming your home because you provided cannabis to sick people? Do you want to know what it is like to realize that your medical cannabis company has been raided and is on every major news network in America? Are you interested in understanding how cannabis intolerance affects families and their children?

Our panel of experts not only has nearly 100 years of experience directly working with cannabis, and they have the scars to prove it. They are true-to-life cannabis outlaws.

The “Guru of Ganja,” Ed Rosenthal, was one of the first people to be raided and charged in Federal court for providing medical cannabis. His landmark case propelled the cannabis movement into the mainstream and his story was heavily covered nationally. Ed became the poster boy for the battle between the Feds and states with medical cannabis laws.

Mickey Martin ran a company called Tainted Inc. that made medical cannabis foods for patients in California. His company was raided and he was charged with several felonies. At his sentencing, the Judge noted that he was not motivated by profit and believed he was providing a service to sick people, and sentenced him to two years of community confinement.

Addison Demoura operated a dispensary in Oakdale, Calif. and was raided by intolerant local authorities in Stanislaus County. During the raid officers traumatized his wife and children, and charged him with several felonies for operating his dispensary. After finding officers left out important information when requesting the search warrants the case was dropped and Addison Demoura successfully sued the local authorities for damages.

DO YOU WANT TO INTERVIEW ONE OF OUR CANNABIS OUTLAWS?

Our speakers are making themselves available to all media from now until the event to do interviews. Their colorful and interesting stories make for a great special interest piece and their interviews always provide good information for readers, viewers, and listeners. To set up and interview with one or all of our speakers feel free to contact us by phone or email. Thanks.

* PHOTO: http://cannabisknowledgeforum.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Ed-Rosenthal-in-greenhouse_high_res.jpg

* Photo Caption: Ed Rosenthal in greenhouse.

NEWS SOURCE: Massachusetts Cannabis Knowledge Forum

For more information regarding this press release, please visit:
http://www.CannabisKnowledgeForum.com/