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John Sinclair - Free the Weed #105 - February 2020

Highest greetings from the former Motor City, where I’m completing my recovery from a broken right shoulder bone that shattered three months ago when my walker collapsed and I hit the sidewalk square on my shoulder. I couldn’t use my right arm for about two months and thus couldn’t write my last three columns, so it’s good to return to form again.

The longer I stay here in Detroit, the more I’m convinced that this is the worst governed municipality in America, where the goofy City Council has just postponed for another two months the institution of recreational marijuana sales in the city.

Three years ago citizens of Detroit, long on record in favor of marijuana use and availability for all persons of age, enjoyed a total of 282 marijuana dispensaries established by citizens within the city limits, all operating under the medical marijuana statutes but quite frankly, in some cases, reputedly making the sacrament available to smokers whether they were licensed or not. 

These dispensaries were shut down by the City some two years ago and have been refused the opportunity to reopen even under the new recreational legalization scheme which is still a long way from actually being instituted in practice. 

I cite this mess here almost every month, and pointed commentary on this incomprehensible situation is regularly produced by columnist Larry Gabriel in the Detroit Metro Times, whose latest contribution is perfectly right on as usual:

“Last week we lost another battle in the war on drugs here in Detroit. City Council extended the city’s option to not allow recreational marijuana sales until at least March 31. About the same time, Detroit Police Chief James Craig announced a crackdown on illegal marijuana sales. Functionally, it looks like this: we’re not going to allow legal stores where it can be sold, and police are going to crack down on illegal sales because they’re violent. That’s always been the squeeze on marijuana. Criminalize it, and fight the new criminals that have been created.”

My astute colleague Rick Thompson expands on Gabriel’s report in an editorial for the Compassion Chronicles titled “Reefer Madness Rages in Michigan” where he cites Craig for continuing to refer to cannabis as “dope” and for claiming that “60% of the recent shootings and homicides in the city involved black market marijuana sales,” or what he calls “dial-a-dope” schemes. Rather than move swiftly to put into place new and intelligent marijuana laws, the City continues to postpone the ultimate day of reckoning for marijuana smokers in Detroit as long as they can possibly get away with it.

Thompson also turns the spotlight on the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which created a series of six videos that debuted last December and “depicted a modern cannabis user faced with himself from ten years in the future. The future self berated the current self for using cannabis and warned that weight problems, educational opportunities lost and no job/money/friends would be the consequence of continued cannabis use.” 

The HHS commercial is like an update of the classic anti-marijuana film called Reefer Madness and is wholly unbelievable as an infomercial, let alone as an official production of the State of Michigan. Its appearance is an entirely predictable example of what the state intends to do with the tax money raised by Michigan’s marijuana sales system.

“The tropes cited in the videos about poor health, laziness and lack of friends are leftovers from the 1980’s War on Drugs mentality,’ Thompson charges, adding that HHS cited a long-debunked study indicating IQ points are lost by youthful cannabis users. What a bunch of antiquated horseshit!

Thompson also charges former Michigan Lt. Governor Brian Calley, now working as a representative of the Small Business Association (SBA), with the same strain of idiocy for claiming that every transaction taking place between a registered, licensed cannabis industry company and a financial institution was “money laundering.” 

Thompson maintains that Calley seems to discourage the entirety of the industry and further extends the stigma of illegality to all ancillary industries who support Michigan’s emergent medical and adult-use cannabis programs. “Calley’s message came across as, regardless of state licensing, Michigan’s cannabis businesses are all criminals and they deserve to get whatever the feds do to them.”

Rick concludes that “It seems that the purging of anti-cannabis personalities from Michigan’s governmental apparatus is an incomplete action.” True dat!

But it’s not only city and state authorities who are resisting and refusing properly to implement and administer the new marijuana laws. Hidebound federal jurists like U.S. District Judge Paul Maloney of the Western District of Michigan, for instance, recently sentenced Lansing cannabis entrepreneur Danny Trevino, 47, to nearly 16 years in federal prison.
In a story for MILive, John Agar reports that “Trevino had operated Hydroworld dispensaries in Grand Rapids, Flint, Jackson, Lansing and elsewhere since 2010” and was convicted by a federal jury of 10 felony charges, including conspiracy to manufacture, distribute and possess marijuana and maintaining a drug-involved premises. Further, Agar says, Trevino “was not allowed to use the state’s medical-marijuana law as a defense to the federal charges.”

Agar says that “Trevino’s businesses were raided 16 times between 2010 and 2016. He fought forfeitures of funds seized by police that were ultimately returned by state courts. He provided the state with store records and tax records that showed his businesses brought in nearly $3 million.”
”I fully recognize that the landscape has changed in many states in this country,” Judge Maloney said. “The fact is, marijuana is a Schedule 1 controlled substance.” Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel McGraw called Trevino “defiant, unrepentant and undeterred from committing the current federal crimes,” Agar disclosed.

Judge Maloney ordered Trevino to serve four years on supervised release once his prison term ends. He also fined Trevino $11,000.

In today’s world where our insane clown posse of a government has dismantled tons of progressive legislation enacted by its predecessors and driven our country back into its darker ages under the cockamamie slogan “Make America Great Again,” the War On Drugs is painfully congruent with the Rumpian way of life and—despite the government’s fierce resistance to the winds of change—it’s a beautiful thing to watch this depraved war start to gradually fade into the past.

But we’re a long way from safety, no matter how eloquently nor how often we may vote for legalization and wish for proper distribution channels that will preserve the networks we have established through long hard years of underground activity, consistently risking arrest, imprisonment, seizure of personal assets and intense social stigma resulting in loss of jobs, lodgings and personal feedoms.

The War On Drugs was a beautiful thing for the forces of American law and order committed to preserving the Christian dogma and its central place in our carefully constructed legal system. Since there was never any scientific, logical or legal basis for the marijuana laws and the insane enforcement culture they generated, the only explanation for this prolonged exercise in social disorder was that the authorities considered drug use a sin and massed up their resistance in the form of prison sentences and daily harassment and persecution of non-believers in the pseudo-Christian dogma.

I mean, Jesus Christ, where does it say that marijuana is bad? Anywhere? All real potheads know that Jesus was a pothead himself, or if not, had no problem with other people smoking the herb. They been smoking weed and hashish in the Middle East since time immemorial, and never in all of history has even one death been ascribed to marijuana smoking. The only crime associated with marijuana use is the warped value system that puts smokers in prison and takes their stuff away under penalty of imprisonment.

Keep on fighting these perverts until total victory in the War On Drugs is ours. Free The Weed!

January 27-29, 2020

© 2020 John Sinclair. All Rights Reserved

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