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John Sinclair - Free the Weed 100 - July 2019

By John Sinclair

Hi everybody, and welcome to my 100th consecutive column for MMReport, until quite recently known as MMMReport. My contribution started with the Hash Bash issue for 2011, which my publisher says was the third—rather than the first—issue of the magazine, correcting my mistake in my last column.

In any case, I’ve kicked out about 1200 words every 30 days for the past 99 months, talking about whatever strikes my fancy and focusing on the concern voiced in the title: FREE THE WEED. 

Since I started writing here we’ve seen hundreds of grass-roots dispensaries open and close, we’ve brought about the legalization of marijuana for personal use of whatever sort, and we’ve witnessed the construction of a vast state bureaucracy and shakedown system to contain and stymie the marijuana community.

To enlarge on something I said last month, when we started the marijuana legalization movement in Michigan more than 50 years ago, our dream was that we would be able to get high wherever and whenever we might want to with whomever might care to join us. 

In those days you could get a “lid” of grass—roughly, an ounce—for $10, and we thought that was a pretty reasonable price. Now, of course, a $10 gram represents 28 times as much as we paid then. Everything else costs about 28 times as much now as well, so that doesn’t really say much about marijuana prices as it happens.

Our original weed dreams are still quite a way from realization, and the state authorities remain an unwavering obstacle to freedom despite the stated wishes of the voting public with respect to marijuana legalization. Although they’re now prohibited from arresting and imprisoning us for simple possession of the weed, the same people who were putting us in prison are now charging marijuana purveyors thousands and thousands of dollars to operate under the color of the new laws and earmarking the proceeds for expansion of the police state anti-marijuana apparatus. 

How many police officers will it take to keep track of every marijuana seed introduced into the state of Michigan? That’s how many they will hire, using funds from the proceeds of the exorbitant licensing schemes they’ve put into effect since 2016. How much worse will it get when the marijuana marketplace expands from medically certified patients to every adult in the state who wants to get high?

And in the second place there’s the inevitable takeover of the marijuana marketplace by the big corporations, from those chartered specifically to exploit the commercial marijuana market to those who are already huge from other areas of business that are now reaching out into the marijuana industry for more massive profits.
So it’s not like we’re going to be able to lean back in our big chairs and relax with a big joint in celebration of our progress. Vigilance is still required, and we must remain ready to keep fighting in any area that starts to turn bad. For example, the whole question of the continuing federal criminalization of weed is almost too huge to contemplate, yet nothing happens for real until this situation is fully addressed and overcome.

The American establishment has embedded its twisted concept of marijuana and its uses so deeply in the very tissue of our mainstream culture that it’s impossible to say how long it will take to dig it out and dispose of it once and for all. It’s going to be a long time before the square American who believes in the bullshit teachings of the War on Drugs will be able to regard the marijuana smoker as anything but a bad citizen who is abusing drugs for a sinful purpose.

These sick beliefs are ingrained in our country’s social outlook to an extent equaled only by the organized religion sector, which has the same sort of unshakeable faith in things for which there is no objective evidence or proof but which are considered the very stuff of life and death. How to combat this situation is really quite far beyond me—all I know how to do is tell the truth and hope for the best.

I read something very much like this recently from my friend and vigorous legalization activist Rick Thompson, who was commenting on the need for federal legislation to end the national war of marijuana. Rick says, “Prohibition is a cloak difficult to shed.”

“As the United States modernizes cannabis laws there are some who resist the change. Some have claimed cannabis is a danger for so long that, to change their beliefs now would require a change in their own personality. Those people use gilded hands to drape the prohibitionist’s cloak on the shoulders of each new person who ascends to power, in the hope of maintaining the illusion of evil cannabis for just a bit longer.
“Like a favorite piece of clothing, the American ban on cannabis has protected those who sought an easy excuse to justify fear and hate. ‘Marijuana is bad!’ those wearing the prohibition cloak say, to scientists who prove otherwise.’It is bad!’ they yell, to mothers whose ill children have found relief through the use of cannabis medicines. ‘It is bad! they insist, even when government tells them there are no illnesses, deaths or dangers associated with the use of cannabis.
“That cloak is a comfortable protector for some. Wearing the cloak absolves one of the dual responsibilities of education and personal evolution; there is nothing to know beyond the three-word response and there is no reason to change opinion, either. The cloak has become a shield against the elements of truth and justice, which are both raining down and cleansing our long-suffering society of an illness we should have cured long ago.”
Amen, Rick. That’s what I’m talking about, rooting out this ugly virus that’s been endemic in our culture for going on a hundred years. There’s no calculating how much harm has been done by the American ban on cannabis, but it hasn’t ended yet and we’ve still got a long way to go to FREE THE WEED. The good thing is that there ain’t no stopping us now, and it’s becoming simply a matter of time and more effort on our part before we can wipe the slate clean.
In closing, I think I should report that the lawsuit against the State of Michigan for continuing to classify marijuana as a “controlled substance” under the law, titled John Sinclair et al. v. Michigan Board of Pharmacy, and Nichole Cover, on which I reported here in a recent column, has been dismissed by the Michigan Court of Claims Judge Colleen O’Brien on procedural grounds. Our attorney Matt Abel of Cannabis Counsel and Michigan NORML says: “It’s being appealed, but it continues that we really need a legislative solution because the courts have not the courage to do the right thing.” Sound familiar?
June 20, 2019

© 2019 John Sinclair. All Rights Reserved.

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