Is rescheduling the answer we are looking for?

According to Americans for Safe Access Chief Counsel, Joe Elford, “medical marijuana patients will finally get their day in court.” The group will present to the US Court of Appeal scientific evidence proving beyond a reasonable doubt that cannabis does indeed have medical value.

As with any court case and legal decision there is bound to be a winner and a loser. If the government wins (again) then the court will decide that cannabis has no medical value. That seems like a far stretch to make, but we have not made it through decades of disastrous prohibition without lies and misinformation, so I would not be a complete surprise. But the other option, the court deciding to reschedule cannabis as a medicine, could be a more interesting dilema for the weed community.

Here is an article from the Wall Street Journal on the court case:

Appeals Court to Consider Benefits of Medical Marijuana

By Sam Favate

Source: http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2012/10/08/appeals-court-to-consider-theraputic-value-of-medical-marijuana/

For the first time in 20 years, a federal court will review scientific evidence on the therapeutic value of marijuana, as a legal challenge by a group of doctors, medical professionals and patients makes its way to the U.S. court of appeals in Washington, D.C., next week.

Americans for Safe Access is hoping the challenge will change the government’s classification of marijuana from a dangerous drug with no medical benefits, the Guardian reported. Other groups, such as the American Medical Association, the American College of Physicians, the American Nurses Association, the Federation of American Scientists and the American Academy of Family Physicians support either medical access to marijuana or its reclassification to one that has a medical benefit.

“Medical marijuana patients are finally getting their day in court,” Joe Elford, chief counsel for ASA, told the Guardian. “This is a rare opportunity for patients to confront politically motivated decision-making with scientific evidence of marijuana’s medical efficacy.”

Last year, the Drug Enforcement Agency rejected the ASA’s petition to reschedule marijuana, saying there wasn’t substantial evidence the drug should be removed from schedule 1. The DEA cited a five-year-old assessment from the Department of Health and Human Services that said there was no consensus in the medical community on the medical applications of marijuana.

In its reply brief, the ASA says the criteria used by the DEA and HHS to determine scheduling are flawed.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit will hear arguments in the case on Oct. 16.

So the question I ask now is the same question I have been asking for many moons, “If we win, then what is next?”

Does anyone believe that if cannabis is rescheduled to the equivalent of Vicodin (Schedule 3), or Marinol aka Dronabinol (Schedule 3), or even schedule 4 or 5, that patients will be able to grow a garden of cannabis to use as a medicine? Does anyone believe that the current means of access that we have in limited states would continue with little to no changes in the system? Do we believe that after cannabis is turned over to the “bringing a new drug to market” folks that a.) raw cannabis will be an option; b.) that smoked cannabis will be an option; and/or c.) that anyone but a heavily licensed corporation with the money to jump through the hoops of government regulation will be able to produce and provide cannabis for medical use?

Those are all very fair questions. Of course it is necessary to reschedule cannabis as a medicine, and maybe, if cannabis is rescheduled, taken out of the hands of the people, and the current quasi-legal systems in limited states are shut down in favor of pharmaceutical weed, the cannabis community can begin to focus more on ending the mass incarceration of our neighbors for weed, and focus our fight on ending prohibition for adult use once and for all. Maybe if our hand is forced to quit pretending everyone is sick to grow weed because the only way to get medical weed might be from an approved government overseen resource, people will get back to the basis of this battle for cannabis freedom….freedom.

Medicalization is not real freedom. It is actually the second most strict form of prohibition. Think about it.

So while I see many in the community rejoicing this opportunity to bring cannabis to the scheduled drug table, I just do not see what all of the excitement is about. To me, I think watching the industry that has developed for patients and providers evolve into a shell of itself overrun by big business is very sad. I think rescheduling without adult use legalization leaves us MUCH more vulnerable than we are right now. While it will allow for patients in areas with no access to possibly have access to some form of non-smoked cannabis medicine, likely extracted in some form,  it may also be a sea change for the hundreds of thousands of patients who now do have safe and convenient access to a variety of whole plant and smokeable medicines.

So what is the answer? The answer is adult use legalization. It always has been. We have focused a lot of time, energy and resources pushing for rescheduling to justify the medicalization of cannabis, and somewhere in that battle we have forgot that rescheduling does not really do much to solve the actual problem of taking people to jail for weed. In fact, it could increase substantially the people going to jail for weed, as the companies that invest an average of $1.3 billion to bring a new drug to market will likely demand stricter control on the ground to protect their market share. If any person or group is truly for patients having more access to less expensive cannabis, then legalization is a no brainer. If people who continually preach about the safety and efficacy of cannabis really believe that we need a whole new pharmaceutical system in pace to assure cannabis is safe, then I am not sure we are talking about the same plant.

But maybe I am wrong. Maybe cannabis will be rescheduled and the government will concede that people should be allowed to grow their own, purchase it from a locally run dispensary or collective, and that everyone should blast a fat dab. Who knows? What I do know is that I am no nearly as excited as some who are out taking the usual premature victory lap.

New direction for NORML?

Wait…Are you guys serious?

UPDATE: The REAL details put forth by NORML on the situation. many thanks to Norm Kent for clearing up Steve Bloom’s premature and inaccurate reporting. 

Dear friends,
Having seen the posts this morning concerning Allen St. Pierre, the Executive Director of NORML, I am writing in my capacity as the Vice Chair of NORML.
Please post this for the sake of accuracy. Sometimes a lie can get half way around the world before the truth catches up with it.
The purpose of this communication is to verify and affirm responses posted to each of you by Paul Armentano, our Deputy Director, and Keith Saunders, one of our Board members.
Very simply, as of this date, Allen St. Pierre has not been terminated as the Executive Director of NORML. At this time, there is no guarantee that this will ever happen and the publication is premature and inaccurate.
Since this matter has gone public, I believe the public is owed an explanation as to what is transpiring.
First, in-between its board meetings, the Executive Committee of NORML has the full authority to act for the Board.
Second, at the conclusion of this year’s successful NORML conference in LA, members of the Executive Committee met with Mr. St. Pierre and advised him that at our next Board meeting in Key West on November 28, 2012 the following motion will be presented to the Board:
“Shall the Board of Directors approve  appointing a search  committee for a new executive director?”
Third, the Chair, Paul Kuhn, asked Mr. St. Pierre if he was in accord with this motion, and Mr. St. Pierre summarily and demonstratively rejected the proposal, saying he had no intention of resigning from NORML, and that he had never published comments to Mr. Kuhn or others offering to do so.
Fourth, in fact, Mr. St. Pierre, who himself is a member of the Board of Directors, suggested that Paul Kuhn should resign from his position as Chair, and he would ask the Board for such a vote.
Therefore, as it stands now, to be as fair and honest as possible to everyone, there will be at least two countervailing motions on the table for the Board of Directors at its next meeting, one asking for a search committee  to seek out a new ED, and one asking to remove the Chair, and maybe even members of the Executive Committee.
It is not my goal to wash our dirty linens in public, but it is also not my desire to see false information disseminated with the damaging residual consequences that brings forth. So I publish these comments to bring people up to date on actually what has happened and what may happen.
So there we have it.
Thank you.
Norm Kent,
Vice Chair,
NORML
In an earlier report by Steve Bloom Celebstoner.com reported last night that NORML Executive Director Allen St. Pierre was fired yesterday by the NORML Board of Directors. Here is an excerpt from the story:

After making the final speech of the 41st-annual NORML Conference in Los Angeles at the Omni Hotel on Saturday, during which he said, “I’ve hit a nadir with NORML,” executive director Allen St. Pierre was fired by the Board of Directors, CelebStoner has learned.

Though no announcement has been made, St. Pierre’s absence from the post-conference party at The Hemp Museum was conspicuous.

St. Pierre has been battling with a contentious board for several years. The recent takeover of the board by Paul Kuhn left St. Pierre more vulnerable.

I am not sure if anyone saw this as a big surprise. When you are the leader of an organization that is consistently criticized for lack of leadership and vision there is a pretty big problem. Allen St. Pierre has led NORML to the brink of collapse and has had very little real accomplishments to show for his 7 years of work as the Executive Director. Of course the entire reason for NORML’s ineffectiveness is not completely Allen St. Pierre’s fault, but his leadership also has brought little to nothing to the table for them.

The big question now is who will replace Allen, and even more, will they be capable of making NORML more dynamic, innovative, and effective? Is there a person out there who can lead the charge towards cannabis freedom without drama, hurt feelings, and dissension in the ranks?

As NORML looks to replace Allen my hope would be that they do not just grab the first guy standing around the water cooler to fill that role. Cannabis activists, and NORML supporters deserve a real change. Not just in person, but also in philosophy, direction, and the way they understand the social and political environment that we are leading this battle in.

The word on the street is that NORML is flat broke. Celebstoner states that they have “long run deficits,” as MPP and DPA have received most of the reform funding over the past years. So obviously just bringing on some high-priced empty suit to fill the role is not the answer. It seems that NORML will have to figure out how to run a more lean and powerful team if they want to compete. They will have to begin to put their resources into more strategic planning and implementation of reform campaigns, rather than over-payed leadership that is little more than a showpiece for the organization.

But maybe we have come to a fork in the road. Maybe the folks at NORML, and MPP, and DPA, and LEAP, and SSDP, and all of the other organizations fighting for the same reform dollars need to look deeply at their organizations and ask themselves if we can continue to afford to split up the resources to pull in so many directions when we are fighting for the same thing? I think the community is tired of having so many different groups sending fundraising emails, throwing fundraising events, asking for donations and using those resources for vastly different, and mostly lackluster, efforts to end the drug war and to promote cannabis freedom.

NORML could consider merging with another reform group to combine forces and create a more powerful organization; or better yet, could we merge all of the organizations into a cannabis super power, like the NRA or something? Maybe, but doubtful.

My guess is that the NORML Board will appoint one of its own and continue down the path of ineffectiveness. There is very little fire in the belly of the folks at NORML these days, so it would not surprise me to see them opt for the status quo. I would hope not, but 40 years of history tell us differently. Maybe they can hire Keith Stroup back! Oh wait…he never went anywhere did he?

My opinion, as a lowly weed activist, is that I would like to see a real change in direction and the way NORML does business. I would like to see less focus on patting themselves on the back, and more interest in attacking our enemies’ position with agressive tactics and messaging. Sitting back throwing a conference in a different weed city every year and “answering the phones” is not progress. It has become more of a pageant than a march for cannabis freedom.

I am not sure who would be the greatest person to fill the role of NORML Executive Director. Only time will tell. I just hope it is someone that I can find inspirational, and whose conviction and dedication may actually lead us to ending cannabis prohibition. I do not think that is too much to ask.

UPDATE from NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano:

This report is not true. Allen St. Pierre remains NORML’s Executive Director. There have been no changes made regarding the NORML leadership. Only a vote by the Board could institute such changes and no such vote has taken place. It is unfortunate that Steve’s speculation is causing major confusion among those who follow this issue and NORML.

Paul Armentano
NORML Deputy Director

 

Apparently Steve Bloom from Celebstoner.com got his cart out in front of his horse on this one….again. But there has also been no denying that St. Pierre will be fired at the next Board Meeting. In two statements from NORML Board members there has been NO word that NORML does indeed intend to go forward with St. Pierre as ED.

Voting FOR weed…

The 2012 election season is upon us full force, and it is a very exciting time for weed. Legalized adult use weed is on the ballot in THREE states (CO, OR, WA), and medical cannabis initiatives made the ballot in TWO states (MA, AR), for a total of 5 major weed elections happening in 10% of our nation’s states. That is awesome!

But as with any election, there is bound to be controversy, disagreement, and ill-will within the cannabis movement, as well as from external forces. There will always be a group that opposes a certain law for one reason or another, and sometimes there is even good reason for dissension. But you, as a weedhead voter, need to make the best decision for you, your family, and the world we live in. You must make the actual vote for or against weed at the ballot box. When all of the hype and spin are done, at the end of the day, it is just you and your ballot who will ultimately decide the election.

It is a Presidential Election year, so we all have a big decision to make concerning who will be the leader of the nation moving forward. Unfortunately, we are stuck with some poor choices for President where weed is concerned. Both Republican and Democratic candidates have made public statements against legalizing weed. In the current state of politics in America this is not a big surprise, as it is suicide for a candidate to promote drug use and the legalization of said drug use. Obama’s Justice Department has disappointed many in the cannabis community with his crackdown on cannabis providers, and understandably so.

Yet, Mitt Romney has also made very strong statements opposing cannabis legalization, even when trying to claim that he is for state’s rights. Dude is just a liar and actually does NOT believe in state’s rights on this issue, or many other issues, such as abortion and gay marriage, where he fully supports federal interference. When you got a guy who will say anything to get elected, it is not surprising to see Romney try to muddy the waters by sending out contradicting messages. Here is Romney’s “official” statement on weed:

“Governor Romney has a long record of opposing the use of marijuana for any reason,” a spokesperson said. “He opposes legalizing drugs, including marijuana for medicinal purposes. He will fully enforce the nation’s drug laws, and he will oppose any attempts at legalization.”

Now Obama’s statements are not much better, but he has said, “I think this is an entirely legitimate topic for debate, [but] I am not in favor of legalization.” Not much more comforting, but if we ever do have this entirely legitimate debate, we will win because truth, justice, and the failure of this nation’s drug policies are on our side. Does anyone really think a sitting President (the first black president at that) would come out and openly be for legalization in his first term? I hear a lot of activists condemn Obama for not taking a more open stance in favor of cannabis, but really…Did anyone really believe he would be a cheerleader for our cause the day after he was elected?

For those who continue to heavily criticize his administration for the crackdown, many also forget that it was the Ogden memo that allowed for a VAST expansion of medical cannabis programs. The entire Colorado regulatory system NEVER would have taken place without the Ogden memo. Washington never would have expanded, especially Seattle. Rhode Island, New Jersey, Arizona, Maine, and even Connecticut’s programs benefited greatly by the Ogden memo’s seemingly hands off approach.

And of course our movement takes ZERO responsibility for acting irresponsibly after the Ogden memo, and forcing the hands of the Justice Department to do something. In California, I can tell you that many in the cannabis game failed to act responsibly, and for a minute there in 2010 you could have sworn weed was completely legal here in Cali. Every newspaper and rag across the state had unprofessional and poor taste advertisements for this dispensary or that weed product, complete with half-naked chicks. Our movement, in classic fashion, decided to take the inch we were given and made sure it was pushed well beyond the mile marker. That is not an excuse for the administration’s actions; but it is necessary for us to do some soul searching and maybe look at areas where our industry failed to self-police and where things may have gotten out of control.

So when left with the choice of these two major party candidates, who is the best choice? I believe it is Obama by a longshot. Mitt Romney would be a disaster, not just for weed, but for the entire society and world. Obama has plenty of issues, but I still think a brother from Hawaii who used to run with the Choom gang is a much better possibility for finding a path to weed freedom than the bought and paid for Romney.

There are also third-party candidates, such as the Libertarian Party’s Gary Johnson and the Green party’s Jill Stein. Both have made clear statements for legalizing cannabis and both would be great choices for progressives like myself; but the reality is they just WILL NOT WIN. In California, where I live, Obama will likely win by a landslide, so I can choose to make a more calculated vote for a third-party and not risk that my vote could elect Romney. In a closer swing state that is a tougher choice to make. Do you take a vote from Obama in protest, even if it could mean Romney is elected? That is a tough choice weedhead voters will have to make.

Voters in Colorado, Oregon and Washington have BIG choices to make on election day. These voters will have the opportunity to vote for legalizing cannabis for adult use. These are all big elections for cannabis, as they have consequences either way.

If these initiatives pass, we make a clear statement that the time has come to change course on weed in this country. If they fail, it can embolden the opposition who can then say, “See. The people have spoken and they do not want weed legalized.”

Nothing would be more devastating to me than seeing the headlines the day after the election saying “Weed Rejected By Voters.” I went through this disappointment in 2010 with Prop. 19 here in California. It is hard to wake up and realize that over half of your state thinks we should keep taking people to jail for weed.

The Prop. 19 effort was hampered by infighting and external forces also helped defeat it. California conveniently passed decriminalization of up to an ounce as an infraction, and the Feds came out and made big statements about how they would “vigorously enforce the CSA if 19 passed.” The ultimate result was a narrow defeat at the ballot box.

I think two years later many voters in California wish they had their vote back. I know many in the cannabis movement who opposed it for one reason or another who now believe they made a mistake based on bad information. California is a tough nut to crack. Our state is 6x more populated than Colorado and Washington, and nearly 10x as large as Oregon; and while the state votes heavily democratic, there are still a lot of conservative principles in play here. Just look at Prop. 8.

I have heard activists herald Colorado as “more advanced” or “way ahead” of California because it looks like they will pass legalization. First, I would hesitate for people to get too far ahead of themselves on that. The election will be close, and as we saw in CA, there is no shortage of dirty tricks that can happen between now and the election. Secondly, the folks running the campaigns in Colorado, Oregon and Washington have all benefited greatly from California’s Prop. 19 experience.

All three of these campaigns have used those experiences to advance their cause and avoid some issues. So before people go getting down on California for not making the ballot again and getting a legalization measure passed, understand that none of the efforts in other states would be on the ballot without Richard Lee laying the groundwork in 2010 here in California. That effort changed the national dialogue and paved the way for the efforts we see now.

The people who fund these campaigns made a calculated decision that it was much less expensive to run campaigns in smaller, yet still progressive states, than to try and tackle the beast that is California. If one, or all, of the legalization efforts pass this fall I would expect Cali to be next on the list, more likely sooner than later.

But more so, I expect to see the national understanding of weed shift and I expect that next year we will see a much more robust call for legalization, even than we are seeing now. It is only a matter of time before it is no longer viable for lawmakers and law enforcement to continue this charade. They are already exploring the exit strategies. If two or three states have legalized cannabis for adult use it will only be a matter of time before more follow suit, and eventually the Feds have to decide if they can do all of the cannabis enforcement in these states. This is exactly how alcohol prohibition ended.

So for me, these efforts are a no-brainier. I VOTE YES FOR WEED.

For the most part, Colorado and Oregon’s laws (Amendment 65 and Measure 80) have little contention from within the community There are some who oppose them based strictly on fear of what will happen if they pass. Many people who have invested into operating medical cannabis businesses have created a myth that if these efforts pass there will be armageddon and the Feds will unleash the hounds on the entire industry. It is an absurd notion really, and not based in reality.

In Washington State, activists have a bit of a tougher choice on their hands. the law there has been dubbed “the worst pro-cannabis law ever written.” It only allows for up to an ounce of possession of weed, turns over sales of weed to state run stores, does not allow for personal cultivation, and includes a terrible DUI provision that could set a precedent for how our entire nation treats cannabis and driving. Many activists there are outraged at this initiative, and rightfully so. It is like the authors went so far overboard to appease some perceived threat because they felt that Prop. 19 was won or lost on the DUI issue (absurd). So they wrote a terrible law, and now voters are left to decide what to do.

 

Even in Washington, on a terrible law, I would VOTE YES FOR WEED. Why? Because in the bigger picture of things, I firmly believe that the rejection of legalization at the ballot box is far more damaging to the psyche and understanding of where our community is on weed than the passing of a bad DUI law. I see the breaking down of a MAJOR barrier, being prohibition, as more significant than the creation of the world’s stupidest DUI barrier. I also believe that the DUI provision will be found unconstitutional if challenged. Only time will tell, and I could be terribly wrong about that. But I would vote yes on I-502…even with great reservation.

I am a weed activist. making weed legal is very important to me. If there is a vote of mine that can advance the cause of cannabis freedom believe I am going to vote for it. I am not a one issue voter by any means. I understand it is a big world. But I am also not foolish enough to vote no on a legalization effort because it is not exactly what I would like to see in a law. I know that it is hard to make votes on things that you may not support whole-heartedly and 100%, especially when it is an issue near and dear to your heart. It is natural to desire perfection and wish that the law allowed for more freedom than it may. But we cannot always throw the baby out with the bathwater and hope that a more perfect opportunity will arise.

You can look here to Cali for the answer. All of the big talking blowhards that said “Vote No on 19. We will pass a better one in 2012” were lying. None of them had the resources to make it happen and here we are voting on zip, zilch, and nada; while at the same time our medical industry is under attack because it is perceived there is too much recreational use in the system.

So do not let the perfect be the enemy of the good. I say vote FOR weed. The good news is that you are a grown-ass adult and can make your own decision when you walk in that booth. Just make sure when you make that decision you ask yourself, “Is this decision good for weed and the people who like weed?” Good luck out there….

Save Cannabis Education and Planning Conference

SaveCannabis.Org

Education and Planning Conference

San Jose, California

October 19, 2012 

Friday October 19, 2012 @ 1PM

UFCW Local 5 Hall – San Jose, CA

An open invitation to all California Medical Marijuana and Cannabis Prohibition Repeal advocates:

Please attend this crucial and informative planning conference in San Jose, CA at 1PM on Friday October 19, 2012. There is no charge for this conference scheduled to be presented in three parts. The first portion will provide updated status of the pending Riverside Supreme Court case effecting potential bans of Medical Cannabis dispensaries statewide. The second part offers critical information regarding current tax cases, interpretation and legislation. The final portion will be a key planning session designed to coordinate ideas and actions from all sources with the specific objective of documentation and assignment of responsibilities. The ultimate goal is to coordinate this information in preparation for a major SaveCannabis.org Spring Conference. At that event we will use the communicated results to facilitate completion of a workable California Cannabis Initiative for 2014 that protects and includes all medical and social use.

Advocates throughout California agree that there is a continuing need to enhance the coordination of all the various ideas and efforts being created statewide. We must consolidate and document those concepts into workable and passable legislation and then maintain a communication network to continually provide current status of the actions being performed. The best way to achieve this is by bringing all the ideas together, coordinating them in a presentable format and providing direction and leadership for taking those actions to completion. The SaveCannabis.org Education and Planning Conference has been created for just this purpose.

The SaveCannabis.org Education and Planning Conference is a major step to achieving the mutual goals of all California cannabis users. Your participation is greatly encouraged! You will be able to contribute ideas and opinions that will be used to formulate strategies and actions designed to provide the most positive impact. Through direct participation, you will become a part of a network that believes in not only discussing and formulating ideas, but who are interested in taking responsibility and the necessary actions to achieve results.

By initially focusing on the two key topics related to Medical Collective Bans and Taxation, new and valuable information will be shared for all concerned. We will address these at the conference with prepared speeches by informed leaders and then through moderated discussion sessions that will be documented to formulate responses and potential action items.

With many issues to be prioritized and a variety of different opinions as to which is most important, the final portion of this conference is designed to establish a set of priorities through mutual agreement of the attendees. The goal will be to then maintain responsibility for these priorities and objectives by regular updates through the communication network already established by SaveCannabis.org. Current information will then be available to anyone interested in observing or contributing to the progress of real actions taking place.

The final portion of the Conference will be to identify those individuals who are willing to accept responsibility for specific documented action items, can commit to providing regular updates to the communication network and will take the ultimate responsibility for following up on that task to completion. This event is expected to provide the opportunity that all advocates have been asking for – to give everyone a real opportunity to participate directly in the process and to take positive, results-oriented action!

PLANNED SCHEDULE

1:00               Welcome, Opening Statement & Agenda                               John Lee

1:15               Riverside Supreme Court Case                                   Lanny Swerdlow

Effecting ALL attempts to Ban Medical Cannabis Clubs

1:45               Moderated Follow-up Discussion

2:15               Legal Taxation Update                                     Special Guest Attorney

Professional input and status of current legal tax environment

2:45               Taxation Presentation                                                         Dave Hodges

City of San Jose Tax and BOE communication and response

3:15               Moderated Follow-up Discussion

3:45               Break

4:15               Spring Conference Planning                                                     John Lee

4:30               Moderated Summary Discussion                                                        All

5:00               Conclusion & Adjournment

A variety of independent evening activities will be suggested but everyone will be free to make their own plans after the conference to socialize with old and new friends!

WHY YOU WANT TO ATTEND THIS CONFERENCE:

All accomplished leaders realize that any proven path to success is built on ACTION. The SaveCannabis.org Education and Planning Conference is designed to provide guidance and support for the development of a common set of goals and objectives documented from conference attendees and supporters. We will work to identify “Action Items” with designated “Project Leaders” who will be responsible for coordinating, directing, documenting and reporting all activities. They will then report to an established communication network committed to providing regularly updated status to all. Several key steps have been identified to achieve positive results:

  • Solicit input of ideas from advocates from all points of view and demographics
  • Establish a core set of common goals and objectives
  • Identify key and achievable “Action Items”
  • Assign responsibility for Managing each “Action Item”
  • Establish and maintain a regularly updated communication network and forum

JOIN US TO TAKE ACTION AND ACHIEVE RESULTS!

ATTENTION ATTENDEES – RSVP:
Due to potential space limitations, please confirm your attendance by October 12th via email to Action@SaveCannabis.org. Enter Oct 19” in the subject line of your email. In order to guarantee your seat at the event, it is necessary for you to then provide each name of the attendees as they will want it to appear on the attendee list. Last minute walk-up attendance will be allowed based on availability.

There is no charge for this event and the UFCW Local 5 location has appropriate disability access. No outside photography or video taping is allowed but there will be a professional video and audio recording made of the conference to be made available to all attendees. As there will be a large amount of information presented over a short period of time, only light refreshments will be served. Each attendee will be responsible for their own meals and lodging.

Please forward any questions to Action@SaveCannabis.org

Stay Classy

As a weed activist, it is easy to let the world get the better of you. You are fighting an uphill battle that makes little sense to any rational thinking person. Here is a safe, enjoyable, and helpful plant that makes people laugh and enjoy their world more, and we take people to jail for it. While at the same time we allow people to buy gallons of dangerous booze at any local convenience mart. It is enough to drive you nuts.

Often in dealing with people concerning this issue you will find intolerant, uneducated, and sometimes just terrible people who have drank the kool-aid on cannabis prohibition. They are sure weed is evil and that it can kill you. They likely have an ex-husband or brother/sister who had drug problems that affected their lives and they have a hard time holding people they care about responsible for their actions, so it is just easier for them to blame weed. Of course…weed did it. Why didn’t I think of that?

The point is that you are dealing with a lof of irrational thinking that is masked as legitimate debate and argument. It just is not any more. The argument against cannabis is far more flimsy and unrealistic than the one for, which is why people are coming around in record numbers to the idea of legalizing weed for adults.

But no matter how off the rails a person is on the crazy train of cannabis prohibition, it is important to STAY CLASSY. Do not stoop into their level of evil or ignorance. You are better than that. You have truth and justice on your side. Some people you may never reach, but do not let them knock you off your game.

If all of us weed activists continue to tear down the walls of prohibition daily by having rational and meaningful conversations with those in our community about ending prohibition we CAN move this mountain. But we must stay classy and keep our heads clear in order to achieve this success. We cannot continue to humor those who lie and distort to make the case for prohibition.

Knowledge is the key to making the case for ending cannabis prohibition in any conversation. Know your stuff and change the hearts and minds of your neighbors with the facts, and make them forget their fear. Be the bigger activist and because you are on the right side of history the road will rise to meet you on your journey…

Being better today than we were yesterday…

The epic battle for cannabis freedom was waged many years ago. Over the decades of cannabis prohibition, those charged with defending the honor of the cannabis plant have failed to win the war, and to return cannabis to its rightful place as a safe, enjoyable, and helpful resource. We have failed to stop the militarization of our police forces and the mass incarceration of our fellow man. We have allowed the propaganda of those who profit off of the drug war to overcome the sensibility of a nation and the world. To this point, we have ultimately failed.

That can be a tough pill to swallow. For those of us that have been standing around the cannabis reform water-cooler for many many years, it is difficult to understand that we have FAILED to make a real difference, and that we continue to see record number of arrests and people losing their standing in the community for weed. It is a terrible injustice that we have failed to put an end to before hundreds of thousands of lives have been destroyed.

Let that sit with you a minute. Let that resonate in that big brain of yours. Even the latest tracking polls that show 50% or more of Americans now support cannabis freedom still means we have failed to reach half of the people with a message that is really a no-brainer.

Cannabis prohibition is not working. There is more cannabis available than ever. We lock up 5x more people than the rest of the world, many for weed. We have wasted a trillion dollars. We have ruined the lives of innumerable good people. We have created a very dangerous black market for weed. We have enslaved mostly poor people in prison work camps with draconian mandatory minimum sentencing laws for weed. Cannabis prohibition is EVIL.

That is a pretty easy argument to make that should convince MOST (like 80-90%) sensible-minded people that it is time to take a new direction. But we have failed to deliver that message apparently, as we can barely scrape the 50% mark.

So what has gone wrong? Why can our message get no traction? Where have WE gone wrong in making our case to the masses? Why can’t we figure out how to end this madness by making a clear and concise case for reform? How do we continue to let evil policies undercut the fabric of our society and bankrupt our communities?

If we can begin to understand where we have failed in the past, chances are we can right the ship and make REAL and MEANINGFUL progress in the future. We have the opportunity to make things right. We CAN do this. But it will take a good dose of truth and self-examination for us to understand where we have failed, so that we can not fail in the future. We could use a moment of self-purification in the cannabis movement. We need to take a moment to step back and acknowledge that we have messed some things up, and to develop sound strategies for not making those same mistakes going forward.

We CAN be better today than we were yesterday. It is possible; but if we continue to do the same shit for another few decades we should not wonder why it is not working. It will not work because we did not take the time to make it work. It will be us who are to blame for allowing ego and bravado to overcome justice and morality. It will be us who did not give enough, or dedicate ourselves enough, to make the difference.

We are better than this. The cannabis plant deserves better than the current situation will allow. If we are truly committed to making cannabis legal for adults to use as they please, then we have a lot of hard work to do. The task is far from impossible, but it will take great sacrifice and compromise within the community.

Yesterday is gone and there is no bringing that back. But today is here and we owe it to ourselves to take a closer look at what we MUST do to finally end this thing once and for all. I am open for that discussion, hopefully sooner than later. There is no “I” in freedom…..