Enjoy 4/20… Then Get To Work

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You kids are adorable.

It has been quite the adventure watching 4/20 become mainstream and the weed game become cliche. As folks gather at their weed themed galas and events this weekend to celebrate cannabis, I hope they understand that a lot of what they see is a mirage. The sanctioned and tolerated existence of cannabis freedom for these events does not represent the real world we live in where every day people are losing their freedom, their kids, their jobs, and their standing in the community because of their choice to use cannabis. So live it up for the weekend, but do me a favor… when the party is over commit to also doing the work.

It is easy to enjoy the good times.

There is a lack of reality in the current cannabis landscape. Right now there is a lot of easy and unfettered money running around. All of this false bravado and ego is hard to deal with on most days because I can see the writing on the wall. What kills me though are how many folks have bought into to the “we are winning” mantra that has become the current cannabis industry. Yes. On a macro level we are gaining ground and acceptance. But as an industry and/or movement we are getting our nuts squeezed in a vice; and everyone is too busy patting themselves on the back or chasing the money to give a fuck that they are living in a fantasy land propped up by the “quasi-legal prohibition lite” that is cannabis nowadays.

Anybody with half a brain could understand that where we are at right now is nowhere near where we will end up. 99% of businesses we see in today’s falsified marketplace will cease to exist over the next five years. Yeah… that is right. I said 99%; and that is probably generous. The 4/20 holiday is a great time for people to showcase their “next big thing” and where we see people lining up for their shot at the title. It is a circus of assholes who believe they are God’s gift to weed. I love seeing these cats throw their money at the wall promoting the silliest shit. For me 420 is a time to examine closely the players and the game, and for me to understand clearly the ignorance I am up against. So to all the hucksters and wannabe moguls, I thank you.

I am sorry if i do not get more excited for the big events and the camaraderie of the holiday. While I appreciate all of the people who love cannabis on 4/20, I am often left wondering where the fuck all of these folks are on 4/21 when it is back to the struggle?

Where are all of these weedheads at when it is time to do the work? Nowhere to be found usually. Once the weed oasis is gone, so are they. They are not here to be a vocal advocate for cannabis reform, and a fair and level playing field for the emerging industry. I never see any of these assholes at the City Council meetings or protests. Not one letter is written to public officials and there will be no phone calls made. Most will not put one dime towards efforts to reform cannabis laws, or to help those who continue to suffer at the hands of prohibition.

It is easy to show up for the party, but where are you at the rest of the year?

I made the commitment many years ago to dedicate my life to ending this madness. Why? Because I love weed and I am not a fucking criminal. The entire deal makes no sense to me, so I have vowed to fight this shit with every ounce of my existence. I do not expect for everyone to have the same level of commitment as I do, but I do expect for them to stand up and be accounted for… and not just for the parties.

We are at a pivotal junction in cannabis history; and it will be our voices that will, or will not, shape the future of how cannabis is allowed in our society. Are you gonna stand back and let big money interests fuck you over so they can make a bunch more money while you are still a criminal for growing plants? Are you going to let legislators and policy makers decide who are the haves and who are the have nots? Are you going to continue to only look out for you and yours while the game is rigged?

It is easy to be a weed rockstar. What is hard is sacrificing your time, energy, and resources to make the world a better place for people who like weed. So this weekend while you are celebrating with your three gram dabs and ginormous joints, just remember there are a lot of people in prison right now for less weed than you smoked on 4/20. There are parents whose kids are sitting in foster care right now because they got caught with less weed. There are patients all over who do not have access to life changing cannabis medicines. There are a lot of folks who lost their good paying jobs because they pissed dirty. There are a bunch of people being railroaded by a system gone bad, and we still have a hell of a lot of work to do to right these wrongs.

It is not about your party or how awesome you are. It is about social responsibility, and a call for real and meaningful change.

So when you wake up still baked from the 2,000 mg in edibles you ate on Tuesday, make a commitment to get to work. Find a way to make a difference and to fight the good fight for cannabis freedom. We need you to do your part, as the final battle for cannabis freedom is here now. Enjoy the party, but do not forget about the struggle. There is too much at stake to leave it to chance.

Be a cannabis hero every day of the year; and hopefully what we create here will be a world where cannabis is allowed to be used by responsible adults for whatever they please, a world where people do not go to jail for weed, and an industry that is fair and affordable for us all to be a part of.

Do the work and the rest will come.

The Game Needs Me and I Need the Game

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A couple of months ago I was not sure I would ever write this blog again. It has been a difficult journey for me lately and I was exhausted. My words did not seem to come as easily as they once had, and I was unsure about if what I wrote actually even mattered any more. I was frustrated, tired, and experiencing massive changes on all fronts in my life. I needed to take some time to gather my thoughts and reassess what it was I was doing here in the weed game any more.

While it was a nice break, it was also very difficult. For me, writing is an outlet where I can express my ideas and put down in words the many thoughts that run through my head constantly. This blog is a place where I write for me… not for any of you.  I dig that people enjoy my work and I can appreciate that my words can touch people. It is awesome to feel like you have helped educate so many by taking the time to share your inner-most thoughts and intimate details with the world. But it really is about me.

Weed Activist, and Cannabis Warrior before it, and Free Tainted before that have all been cathartic exercises in getting out a lot of the chaos in my own head, and putting it onto a page so that it can make sense. It helps me to examine and look more closely at the industry and movement I am so much a part of. The words I write give me guidance and help me to understand myself and my surroundings much more clearly.

So while it has been fun taking the time I spend here and focusing it in other directions, the reality is that the game needs me and I need the game.

I look forward to bringing new and interesting content back to the scene; and making people ask questions they never might have thought to ask. The truth is that there is A LOT happening in cannabis right now, and it is going to take A LOT of work to ensure that at the end of the day it is still just about a plant and some freedom.

There is no shortage of new and exciting developments to look at with a critical eye. From CBD only bullshit laws to new invasive regulatory models being supported by people we once trusted that will likely destroy everything we have built, I certainly have plenty to write about. It seems every day there is a new sellout and huckster to expose, or “next big thing” that is really just another fraud. There are also some great and very exciting things happening that deserve some love and attention.

So I am proud to say my retirement from the weed writing game was short and fruitful and that I am back with a vengeance. Not for you or anyone else, but solely for me… I do hope you will enjoy the show. It is about to get live up in this bitch.

Look for some extremely hard in the paint pieces in the coming months that will blow your mind and make you question reality. It is gonna be that kind of party… I have missed sitting down and letting the world know exactly what is on my mind.

I hope the snakes enjoyed my leave of absence because it is coming and there is not shit they can do about it. I invented the game.

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For the love of the game…

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I like to say that cannabis activism is a lot like pissing yourself in a dark pair of pants…..No one really notices but it gives you a nice warm feeling.

I often wonder why I do this every day…Why I wake up constantly in a battle to ensure cannabis legalization happens, and that it happens ethically and morally. It is exhausting, and trying. If it is not some out of line prohibitionist loser drug warrior I am taking to task, it is some shady asshole who wants to take advantage of this emerging industry and shit on the hard work of those who have been here making this thing happen for years.

A lot of issues come across my desk, as I have somehow taken on the role of industry watchdog. Not a day goes by without getting an email or FB message letting me know about people who are gaming the system and/or defrauding folks. It is pretty depressing actually. In order to process and deal with all of this I write. I try to lay out issues we face in plain and understandable conversational pieces that force our community to have a difficult conversation.

I do not do this for money. If you notice, this site has no advertising on it. That is by design. I am not beholden to anyone and am free to say what I want about whoever I want without fear of losing revenue or support. I built this site myself to serve as an informational resource where people could come and take in my perspectives to learn more about the movement for cannabis legalization, and the players that make up the cannabis landscape. We are all adults here, so I like to think that my writings, while sometimes harsh, create the space needed to have a conversation about issues of concern.

Not all is fun and games either. I have been attacked and threatened on several occasions for my writings.

There was the time when all four of my tires were slashed on my car. I have had tracking devices put on my vehicle and have been threatened by people who called me and say shit like “I know where you live. Take down the Bullshitter of the Week or else.”

Once when leaving a dispensary in Sacramento a guy walked up to me and pepper sprayed me in my vehicle point blank, not saying a word. I have had my wife and kids followed and have had threatening letters sent from Mexico that imply their safety was at risk if I did not stay off of the internet.

I get emails on the regular from those pissed off about what I have written, and I am physically threatened on Facebook by assholes at least once a week. I have had people post my wife’s information online in an effort to get me to stop making memes about them, even though she does not smoke weed or is a part of this movement in any way.

So YEAH. It is like that.

So why do I do it? Why do I continue to look these threats in the eye and continue to write the truth, as I see it, regardless of the consequences?

Why? For the love of the game, of course.

I love weed; and even more so, I hate injustice. I am not a person to sit by and just let things be for fear of confrontation. I relish confrontation and think that often volatility is necessary to stir up complacency and stagnant behavior. For me, the game is to get weed legal without being overrun by fraud and corruption in the process.

I know….It is a lot to ask in today’s world where corporations make the rules, and politicians, law enforcement, and those who are in positions of leadership within the cannabis community are as corrupted as they come.

But I will continue to fight for what is right and just. I will never be okay with letting people use our good name to swindle people out of investments and money. I will never be okay with those who blatantly lie and defraud people to get ahead because they think that the quasi-legal status of weed is ripe ground for their scandalous activities.

I will at least be here to rise up and meet them and shine some light on their bullshit. I am not a coward who will sit back and let fools run amok without calling bullshit.

Do not get me wrong. I am scared. My wife is scared.

We live a different kind of life as a result of threats and my willingness to speak truth to power. But I would rather die standing up for what I believe, than to pass away an old man wishing I would have had the courage to stand up and do something. To me this is about more than just weed. It is about what is right and what is wrong. It is about defending our position and ensuring that the playing field is level.

For me the game is bigger than us all. Bigger than any one person or company. It is bigger than this law or that regulation. It is bigger than the hucksters and charlatans who have made their home on the Board of Directors of this organization or that group. It is bigger than me by a longshot.

The game is still just about a plant and some freedom; and I love the game more than life itself.

Game on, bitches. Game on.

Warrior.LOGO

Feel Our Pain

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Sometimes I sit back and try to take it all in. I am knee deep in the Drug war on any given day. I spend a lot of time working to change minds and communicating with those who have been victims of these tyrannical policies. The vast majority of my day is spent working to end cannabis prohibition and to restore the rights and freedoms of those who have been railroaded by a corrupt system gone bad. Most of the time it is depressing and trying. It is hard to find positives when a lot of your interaction in the world is based on injustice.

I become emotionally invested in most everything I do. One of the reasons I keep a tough outer shell up for appearances is because often I am an emotional wreck searching for an answer to the pain I feel.

On most days there is no answer. Just more questions and more stories and emails to read through about people being fucked by this war. I absorb news stories and Facebook postings like a sponge. My curiosity needs to know; and like a kid who still believes in Santa I open my computer every morning hoping to see the end of prohibition and the Drug War announced.

Fortunately, some real and meaningful victories along the way have been enough to keep me going. I do not need much…Just to know that we have a shot. As long as I can convince myself to believe that this is all possible then I can move past the pain and the reality of the massive challenges we face to fight another day…and I am an optimistic person.

But what makes me continue to wage my war against the evils of cannabis prohibition and the Drug War is the sick feeling I wake up with in my stomach every day. I see the big picture. It is my life.

I spend nearly every moment of the day thinking about how to make the world a better place through my direct actions and communications. I know what it feels like to feel powerless and to be persecuted for my choice to be involved with cannabis. I am in constant contact with families who have lost their kids, their jobs, their standing in the community, and their freedom for this cause; and their pain is mine.

It is not an issue of what “THEY” are doing to “THEM.” This is a war that “WE” are waging against “US.” We are better than this. This has spiraled out of control and it is time for it to finally come to an end. We can no longer live in a society where we jail our friends and neighbors for their personal choice freedoms.

But in order for us to end this thing people have to feel that pain.

They feel that pain when we can make them understand the issue and own the responsibility of decades of a failed war on our own citizens. It is up to us to express our outrage with this system and demand it be changed. it is our moral obligation to stand up and shout, “NO MORE.”

This thing ends when enough of us have the courage to say, “Enough.”

So I challenge you as a citizen of planet earth to feel that pain.

I challenge you to allow yourself to absorb the magnitude of this evil ruse on the world, and carry it with you wherever you may go.

I challenge you to make others feel that pain and understand our suffering.

We have already locked up millions of non-violent drug offenders because they were poor and/or a minority. This is a holocaust in slow motion, as was so eloquently stated by David Simon, creator of The Wire. That is blood on your hands. It is up to you if you want to live with that. I cannot.

I will fight until the sick feeling in my stomach is no longer there. To all of the folks who believe in the drug war and who want to continue down this path of absolute failure and destruction, I can only ask you to begin to FEEL OUR PAIN.

When we feel the pain of those these injustices are directly affecting we can find empathy and the passion to put a stop to the madness.

What if prohibition failed to exist?

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Prohibition is ending. It is dying a slow and painful death and then it will change in a quick and rapid burst. This zeitgeist is what we see happening right now.

We are in a strange matrix in time where cannabis fluxuates between legal and illegal, as well as understood and misunderstood. I am not sure any of us can understand completely what a legal cannabis market will look like, but we all know it is going to be different than what we see right now.

As we see the progression happening on many fronts to move towards more sensible cannabis policies, the industry finds itself in a strange position. We do not have the protections and oversight of normal businesses because all of our activities are technically 100% illegal. You also have an industry that is legal enough to draw the attention of people who want a piece of the imminent pie. What you have is the perfect storm of chaos to push bulllshit lies and fraud. There is a lot of that going around these days.

But what if prohibition failed to exist? Take the criminal element out of the equation for producing, selling, and buying weed. Then what are we looking at? If we are looking at an above board business community that had oversight and accountability would we see the same level of bullshit con-games that we see happening now? Would we see folks taking advantage of the system to profit of of lies and deceit? Is there a certain level of unethical and immoral behavior that we put up with because technically we all are criminals in the eyes of law enforcement? Do we not rock the boat when we see unsavory business practices because of the veil of prohibition hanging over us all telling us not to?

So what does that look like when that veil is removed? What standards and ethics should we demand as a community for people who want to operate in the cannabis industry? Is there things that are apparent now that would not fly in most other regulated industries, like booze or even coffee production and distribution? Are we susceptible to more corrupt forces because of our culture of being afraid of prohibition? Of course….but soon that will change.

In a legal and open market would we see the level of false advertising and gratuitous claims we see now? Of course not. Folks could not batch up some muddy oil made from questionable hemp paste and tell people it cured children from disease without having the FDA so far up their ass that their head would spin. Would we see people attempting to muscle their way into the market by pushing people out with fear and threats of being reported to authorities? Nope. Do we think that any jackass with some pink sheets could make a stock corporation focused on weed and sucker the masses into buying their inflated stocks based on their affinity for weed? Doubtful.

But right now we are kind of fucked.

We will not be forever, and I believe that more acceptance of this as a legitimate industry is coming quick. If we cannot begin to envision what that will look like, we will likely be run over by some well-funded and connected people who will take advantage of our conundrum. But if we can envision the world beyond prohibition we may be able to find ways to avoid a lot of the bullshit, and allow for the industry to evolve naturally.

If we continue to play the game by the rules of yesterday we will certainly be at a disadvantage. When we begin to understand that the world has changed and so has the cannabis industry, we can begin to prepare for the realities of tomorrow.

Weed is here. You should just get over it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So what? We smoke weed….

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fuck those people. They are in on it.

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

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

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

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

I can wait no longer. I will not.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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What are we doing as a society?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Airing of the Grievances

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

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THE AIRING OF THE GRIEVANCES:

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

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

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

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

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

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

7. Why the fuck are people still hungry?

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

9. Meth torches…..

10. Weed is still not totally legal…..

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

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

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

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

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

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

It is that sickness that sits with me EVERY DAY.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

JOSHUA E. MASON: TENNESSEE

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

JASON WILSON AND DANIELLE GIESEN: ALABAMA

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

TODD STIMPSON: NORTH CAROLINA

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

MELANIE TREINEN

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

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

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

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

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

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

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