Let us face the facts, the stigma of burnout, loser, addict, and criminal are merely a few of the stereotypes that liable cannabis consumers and impede legalization. These misconceptions will persist until the majority of cannabis consumers stop hiding in the shadows like rats in a sewer and step into the light of day with our heads held high united with common purpose. Until that time prohibitionists, drug warriors, and politicians have free reign to slander cannabis with reefer madness propaganda to perpetuate the war that they carry out against cannabis consumers and have for the last forty years with the War on Drugs.
In reality, most people who partake of cannabis recreationally are normal everyday people who like consumers of alcohol use it responsibly as adults. Just as with alcohol consumers, we run the gambit from fast food employees to construction workers, teachers and professors, office professionals, doctors, lawyers, scientists, entertainers, business owners, police, politicians, priests, billionaires and broke-ass’. In essence, we are people who go to work, do our jobs, and go home to our lives. We live amongst everyone else and are a part of this society, yet we are the scapegoat for politicians and drug warriors alike hiding our faces behind crime statistics to maintain this failed War on Drugs through scare tactics. They in essence have turned us into a boogieman, a false threat used to frighten children and the morally righteous to maintain budgets and pressure foreign nations.
In America, one million registered medical marijuana patients nationwide and approximately fourteen million more adults a year consuming cannabis annually for recreational and medical purposes. This makes us a powerful consumer base that if united would quickly legalize cannabis but we stand divided, and that is how they have and will continue to conquer us and subjugate us to their will. Pending action our state and federal governments will continue on this path, wasting another trillion in tax dollars fighting the War on Drugs while at the same time stifling economic growth and missing business and tax revenues from local, state, interstate, and international businesses. Persist on ruining peoples futures by arresting over eight-hundred thousand people a year as well as incurring the cost of the million or more persons incarcerated for non-violent drug offences. Seek to turn children into informants against users of cannabis with the Drug Abuse Resistance Education program regardless if this may include the child’s parents. Stand in the way of science, medicine, and patient rights by refusing to recognize cannabis’ medical efficacy thereby permitting people to suffer and die needlessly. Allow no knock drug warrants leading to the needless destruction of property, risks to the public’s safety with the use of high-powered automatic weapons in residential areas, and the senseless and tragic loss of human life. Corrode our Constitutional rights by stretching to the breaking point the boundaries and limits put on police to then grant them greater power to enforce drug laws and also passing and modifying existing laws that further encroach on and force us to give up our enumerated and un enumerated constitutionally guaranteed rights.
We have to reclaim our image in the public eye by changing the stereotypes. This starts with changing four twenty from the perceived day that stoners set aside to get high, killing more brain cells, while setting a bad example for the children, encouraging them to use pot and inevitably heroin to the day that consumers take social and political action claiming our place in society. Admittedly, it is an excellent time for us to get together in our groups and clicks to spend time together talking, laughing, and sharing merriment at the same time though nothing will change. The judicial system will continue to arrest, convict, and jail people over the cultivation, distribution, and consumption of cannabis destroying families, futures, and ending lives. The violence in Mexico and other regions of the world will worsen as criminal organizations fight each other and governments over the phenomenal profits that they stand to make in trafficking and supplying the illicit substances needed to meet our demands. This and much worse is in store for us unless we summon the courage as individuals to each take our first bold step out of the darkness and into the light. We have to conquer our fears, even feed on our fear less they feed on us so that we can lead the way to the promise land of legalization. It is not an easy task to take a stand against marijuana prohibition and challenge authority to change the laws, to change the course of this great nation but as we prepare ourselves with knowledge, gain strength in numbers, and fortify ourselves in unity bound by a common purpose, change becomes inevitable.
That brings us to meat and potatoes of this segment the movements working to change the image of four twenty and thereby transform the fabricated image of the cannabis consumer from that of a drug addicted criminal ne’er-do-well to the true image of normal everyday people from all walks living their lives as contributing members of society.
I chose two grass roots movements and one professionally organized event that I felt symbolize the transition in attitude towards cannabis consumption necessary to re-frame the debate about marijuana/cannabis legalization in the public eye. Before I go any further, I would like to take the opportunity to state that I am the founder of Stand Up and Speak Out, which I will be discussing in this segment. I say this to maintain transparency and so that you do not feel as though you where tricked into listening to a cleverly disguised commercial.
Having said that I now draw your attention to Deep Green a production of Earthdance Global in association with United Earth Networks, while in actuality, this event was the first earth day celebration combining cannabis, health, and ecology held on April 23 it is, I think, the concept of this event that is a key component to legalization. Deep Green came about in response to the excesses and party atmosphere surrounding four twenty that only serves to focuses the public on the outrageous behaviors of a few which alienates responsible adult medical consumers from the public. Held in Richmond California at the Craneway Pavilion and billed as the “launching pad for the new 21st century story of cannabis.” With over seventy-five exhibitors, thirty speakers from experts and activists, day and evening entertainment, educational exhibits, gourmet food, workshops that where held by leading authorities and change makers and much, much more. Deep Green highlighted and explored sustainable organic gardening and farming for private and economic uses. Natural cannabis and herbal remedies as well as the science of medical marijuana and business opportunities in cannabis and hemp production, dispensary and cannabis product marketing, cultivation, medical distribution, and hemp farming. Again, even though this event did not take place on four twenty I do feel that every day is an opportunity to effect a change away from prohibition and as I said before it is the concept of Deep Green that is important to changing our image. Holding events such as these will show local communities the value of cannabis as more than just a means to alter ones state of mind for recreational purposes. Although there is nothing wrong with altering your state of mind per say but it is the public’s perception of us that needs altered and Deep Green is perfect for such a task. It offered everyone, consumers and non-consumers, a relaxing and hospitable environment to learn about established uses of cannabis as well as what lies beyond in the coming years as business’ develop and our culture becomes excepted; all this while effecting a positive change in perception of cannabis and its consumers.
Next, it is time l discuss Overgrow the Government the first of the two grass roots movements that consist of volunteers donating their time and effort to provide citizens well-organized and constructive public forums to protest against marijuana prohibition. The founders growing tired of the misinformation, deceit, and hypocrisy that follow the tyranny of cannabis prohibition joined to form Overgrow the Government as an umbrella organization for all Americans of every background, occupation, lifestyle, socio-economic level, race, creed, and color. Seeing the need to unify the cannabis movement these activists devoted themselves to giving the people the power to empower themselves by providing a setting to tell their stories and let their voices be heard at our nation’s capital. Holding combined four twenty rallies and marches annually in Washington DC, with other events planned as frequently as possible, for citizens to send our federal politicians a strong message, end cannabis prohibition now! Starting at the Washington Monument and proceeding to protest through Lafayette Park with the march continuing to Lafayette Square by George Washington’s statue protesters drew the attention of park visitors often interacting with the rest of the public. Reaching their destination guest speakers, comprised of activists and experts in cannabis law reform, and Overgrow attendees delivered speeches and talked about the medical, economic, recreational, environmental, spiritual, and religious benefits of cannabis as well as share their personal stories of love, loss, life, tragedy, and hope. Although they did not reach the attendance goal of a million or more persons, the rally was nevertheless a resounding success in bringing cannabis legalization into the light of day at our nation’s federal political hub. Steadfastly devoted to the movement the organizers now arrange a second event to take place this September, this time the march originates at the Washington Monument’s Sylvan Theater proceeding through the streets returning to the theater where guest and attendees will speak in addition to musical guests preforming live. Overgrow continues to raise public awareness and maintain a presence within the public eye which is critical to maintaining the pressure on politicians, which is essential to cannabis legalization and ending its failed prohibition.
Now to the second of the two grass roots movements reviewed in Re-Frame of Mind Stand Up and Speak Out an international organization of like-minded volunteers bound together by a common desire to change the public image of cannabis consumers facilitating the discourse quintessential to ending marijuana prohibition carried out through the failed policy known as the War on Drugs. Starting out as a Facebook event challenging consumers to step out of the shadows and into the light putting a human face to the issue by taking action and rallying at their state capitals on four twenty it soon attracted others to the movement with similar ideals. This soon led to the formation of the international organization SUSO to facilitate the arrangement of safe, peaceful, law abiding and well-organized events for citizens worldwide. Simultaneously coordinated to first, change public perceptions of cannabis and more importantly of its consumers and second, it will start the necessary debate to facilitate the transition from illicit to licit markets. With the event scheduled in mid-February and SUSO being formed by mid to late March, the time period allowed meant there was little time to plan, organize, and then orchestrate large events. Nevertheless, those that did take place in several of the states and the one overseas are the first of many steps that the dedicated professional and armature volunteers will take in this endeavor. Committed to maintaining four twenty rallies until governments worldwide remove criminal penalties for cannabis and currently illicit drugs ceasing their failed national and international policies and programs area coordinators are busy planning next year’s four twenty events. As life permits SUSO’s state and national chapter coordinators are busy working one various projects and events aimed at sustaining public awareness about the necessity of cannabis legalization and maintaining pressure on political leaders, which, again is key to ending the prohibition of cannabis fought through the War on Drugs.
These are just a few of the movements changing the image of cannabis, and the eclectic mix of consumers, worldwide to end this trifle and futile attempt to legislate people’s appetites, which did not work with alcohol and has clearly failed to work this time. It matters not whether you are male or female, rich or poor, young or old, gay or straight, religious or atheist, abled or disabled, and nor does your race, creed, color, or nationality matter we are all brothers and sisters in arms unwillingly conscripted into this War on Drugs.
When we unite under the banner of compassion, understanding, and truth standing proud as people unified with common purpose forsaking the weaponry, hostility, and lies of the prohibitionist, drug warriors and politicians equipping ourselves with knowledge, love and truth we will end cannabis prohibition.
You can listen to this article from Grass-Roots Radio Active Marijuana’s 4-20-2011 Special here.
- California Medical Association adopts official policy to legalize marijuana (yubanet.com)
- California Medical Association Calling For Medical Cannabis (hailmaryjane.com)
- Why More Americans Support Legalization of Marijuana (cherrygurl28.wordpress.com)
- Stand Up and Speak Out: High Time To End Marijuana Prohibition (trixterphillips.wordpress.com)
- Cannabis Breakdown: Cannabis 101 (trixterphillips.wordpress.com)
- California Medical Association Says Legalize and Regulate Marijuana (justsaynow.firedoglake.com)
- The For Twenty Minute: Legalization Catch-22 (trixterphillips.wordpress.com)
- Dutch cannabis café culture dealt fresh blow (telegraph.co.uk)