This is a reprint of a piece I “published” via Facebook last year. I find it is still relevant.
In recent months, I have been more vocal about a number of things, predominantly the division in our community, how it affects our ability to work towards the further reforms needed to cannabis (and all drug) laws, and taking action to eliminate bad legislators.
In the last few weeks, I have been asked increasingly for specific information on how I see this happening or what I feel needs to be done. This post is an initial response to those questions. Your thoughts and feedback are welcome, just please be productive and speak from a forward looking position.
First, let me address the concept of overcoming division. This is pretty simple in my opinion:
- Take each person as they come to you. Do not discount a person because they work with someone you don’t. These people maintain the bridges that ideas need to travel between folk who otherwise might not communicate. These bridges are required to make a unified force.
- Note what other groups are doing and either support them by helping their efforts-or if their efforts do not align with yours, just don’t help them. Please, though, use all of our “in fighting” energy on the work in front of you. Communicate to educate, not to cast blame.
- Smile. This is about the plant. This is about our rights as human beings to access something else which naturally occurs on our planet. It’s like a war on tomatoes (which are FAR more dangerous than cannabis. Beyond all of our differences, there is one similarity: cannabis.
I believe that if we remember these things we can each accomplish more and as we accomplish more individually, we will accomplish more for the plant. For these reasons, when I am asked “what do you suggest?” I suggest we each approach cannabis from our own angle, and allow others to as well. Earlier I read a great article that said (to paraphrase) that there are no medical users; there are no spiritual users; there are no recreational users. There are people who enjoy, need, desire to use cannabis. This is a source not of division, but of unity. I ask that you embrace this, because is we cannot gather around our plant, the next part of my suggestion will be nigh on impossible.
Since my last trip to Olympia, the day that 5052 got voted on, I have been convinced the only way to change anything in our state, or for that matter in the political landscape; the way to fix what is broken…is by involvement. Voting is important, serving on juries is important. However, being an active citizen means more; it means more than trusting your district’s party affiliates to make good selections on the primary; it means recognizing that “acting locally” applies to politics as well; that it is as important to replace Judges as it is to replace a President-maybe more so. So, how do we do this?
This is a step by step process:
- First, get to know people in your community-not just cannabis activists. Get to know business owners, school teachers, and activists with “professional” careers or carriage. Find people who have the people skills, intelligence and beliefs that you desire in a leader. Find people who are ALREADY existing as good Representatives of your ideals. These are the people we need to encourage to run for office. Our founding documents talk about Representatives, not Politicians.
- Write their names and qualifications down in a format that makes it easy to share with others.
- Begin meeting with your neighbors, friends, family, etc within your district. (just make sure you know where your district borders are-if you don’t know you we can look it up through your county election office). Share your options, talk about them, be open minded if they have other recommendations. The goal is to eventually narrow the list to one to three people before moving to step four. A note on this: do NOT include party affiliation in the discussion: these discussions should be about the ideas and representative qualities. Party affiliation is about something else.
- When your community has selected one to three people-approach the individuals, explain WHY you are asking them to be a representative. Be willing to support their efforts by helping maintain their “real world” during their service.
- Get them on the ballot, rally for them, go door to door.
Similar tactics can be used with Judges…only keep your search narrowed to the legal profession. Judges are VERY important and usually run unopposed. Oppose them. Elect the Doug Hiatts and Aaron Pelleys of the world to Judge’s Seats. You will begin to see a different outcome in courts.
Same thing with Sheriffs, County Commissioners, City Council Members, etc, just tailor the search based on what the position is.
This is how we take control of the legislature. We start at the ground floor. We find our own candidates and we do what it takes to get them elected-to replace the Rivers’ and Dammameirs’ of the world with Representatives.
It sounds overwhelming, and it is a LOT of work, I know. A couple of you have recently asked what I need help with. In Washington, it is this: Organize your district’s search for replacement legislator, I will take that and organize/track what you do, so we can coordinate a State wide plan. There are broader issues and even larger swipes we can take.
Private prisons use of free labor for profit is currently protected under the 13th Amendment to the US Constitution, which declares that:
“Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as punishment for a crime for which one has been duly convicted, shall exist in the US or any territory subject to its jurisdiction.” I believe that the there is no coincidence that the “Jim Crowe era” ended as prohibition of cannabis, cocaine, prostitution, and a variety of other “personal freedoms” ended.
So one other thing you can do: Contact your elected officials in the US Congress and the US Senate and demand that they make an Amendment to the US Constitution that eliminates the exception. Maybe something that reads “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude shall exist in the US or any territory subject to its jurisdiction.” This does a great deal towards ending the problem at its source.
Again, these are just my ideas, these are causes I hold dear. They are bigger than medical cannabis, they are things which need to happen for reasons that have little to do with cannabis at all. They need to happen because our political machine is broken and we need to fix it, from the ground up. We need to fix it because we are not “human capital”, because we don’t need to arrest almost a million people a year for a plant. We need to work together, because the problem is even bigger than our locally lost rights.