War breaks out within the marijuana legalization movement (part 1)
A war is breaking out between the Cannabusiness Community, that hopes to profit from draconian regulation of Marijuana, and the pillars of the drug reform movement that insist that the self cultivation of Marijuana become an untaxed, unregulated sacred right. The first shots were fired by a speech by Jack Herer and the firing of Dennis Peron from Oaksterdam University. Could this be our "Concord" moment?
Over the past few weeks two things have occurred that should be of paramount interest to both the majority of American Citizens favoring the Re-Legalization of Marijuana and even those that don't yet support Marijuana Re-Legalization.
First on Saturday September 12th, 2009, Jack Herer made a short but historic speech at Oregon's HempStalk Festival. And despite suffering a stroke and heart attack, back in 2000, it is abundantly clear that he put every ounce of energy and anger into this speech. It is clear that this anger is directed at the Cannabusiness community as you will understand by the end of this article. Here were the most important words from that fiery speech:
"I don't want to f**king give the United States government one f**king dollar of taxes. I think that they should go to f**king jail for getting you and me and 20 million people getting arrested for pot. It is the safest thing you can do in the universe. And that is what we are going to do in California. Okay? Come over to my booth, over there, and I will see you next time."
In this video Jack Herer vehemently denounced the attempts by the Cannabusiness community to push for the government taxation and regulation of our Marijuana during his speech at the HempStalk Festival in Oregon (09/12/2009). Unfortunately he suffered a heart attack shortly after delivering what could become his most important speech.
Next on Tuesday September 15th, 2009, Dennis Peron was fired from Oaksterdam University. According to journalist Craig Canada, his firing was the result of Peron's opposition to his employer's state wide initiative to "tax and regulate" Marijuana.
Dennis Peron announced on Tuesday (09/15/2009) that he returned from Burning Man to discover he had been fired from Oaksterdam University because of his opposition to taxing and regulating medical marijuana. Oaksterdam University has announced it intends to spend a million dollars to promote an initiative that would tax, regulate and control marijuana by city and county, as well as at the state level.
What both Herer and Peron are reacting to is the great "bait and switch" on Marijuana policy by the Cannabusiness community and our very own government. In a nutshell what is going on is a reaction to the fact that a majority of American Citizens -- 52% according to a 2009 Zogby poll -- now support the complete Legalization of Marijuana for all citizens: not just the sick and dying.
What should also be made clear is that both Jack Herer and Dennis Peron are two of the most important and respected members of the Marijuana Re-Legalization movement. And despite this they have been demonized by groups that purport to support Marijuana Re-Legalization for many years: NORML, DPA and MPP.
Jack Herer is the author of the "Emperor Wears No Clothes" which was first published in 1985. This book clearly documented the censored history of Hemp (e.g., Marijuana or Cannabis) and essentially became the "bible" for the Marijuana reform movement.
Dennis Peron has also made incredible contributions to the movement towards Marijuana Re-Legalization as documented by journalist Craig Canada:
Peron has been hailed as the father of the medical marijuana movement and was the guiding force and co-author of California's Proposition 215. He became a marijuana dealer after returning from Viet Nam to San Francisco in 1969 and through the 70s he ran the Big Top marijuana supermarket from his home. In 1978 he organized Proposition W which directed the district attorney to stop arresting people for possessing, transferring, or growing marijuana. Though it was passed by 56% of the electorate, it was never implemented by the Feinstein Administration. In 1991 he organized Proposition P which made enforcement of laws against medical marijuana the city's lowest priority. It passed by 79%. In 1993 he opened the Church Street Compassion Center in San Francisco's Castro District. In 1995 he opened the larger San Francisco Cannabis Buyers Club at 1444 Market Street where the medical marijuana movement was born. In 1996 he co-authored The Compassionate Use Act of 1996 and organized the signature drive that put Proposition 215 on the ballot.
Dennis Peron sacked by Oaksterdamn U for opposing marijuana tax
Together they both were instrumental in the authoring and passage of the first Medical Marijuana Initiative in the United States which is now known as "Proposition 215," which was passed in California in 1996. It was the first palpable evidence that the American People had changed their minds about Marijuana and were now poised to do what really needed to be done: and that would be to completely Re-Legalize Marijuana for ALL adult American Citizens.
This sea change in attitude, by the American People, is unsettling to both, the Cannabusiness Community and the Government, because they both profit enormously by treating Marijuana (e.g., Cannabis) through a policy of prohibition or through a quasi-prohibition model known as the Medical Marijuana model. They both know that if adult Americans ever get the right to "grow their own," without taxation or regulation their profits will evaporate over night.
Who is the Cannabusiness Community?
First let us consider the Cannabusiness community. This community evolved after the first Medical Marijuana Initiative, Proposition 215, gave Californian citizens the right to consume Cannabis in November 2006. In the 13 years since Proposition 215 was passed 12 additional states have passed similar initiatives and many more states are poised to do the same thing in the next couple of years. It should be noted that many of the original supporters of this initiative - including it's authors Peron and Herer -- saw "Medical Marijuana" as but a stepping stone towards complete Cannabis Re-Legalization. And many activists use the term Re-Legalization to remind other Americans that for most of American history, Cannabis was, in fact, completely legal to both cultivate and consume. That ended in 1938 with the passage of the Marijuana Tax Act.
So in the 13 years since "Medical Marijuana" became legal a very predictable trend began to emerge. "Medical Marijuana" dispensaries began to open in all of the 13 states and enterprising corporations began to get in the business of offering "Medical Marijuana Cards" to distinguish the "real" Medical Cannabis users from the "recreational" Cannabis users. Of course the whole thing is a sham since in California you can basically pay your annual $150 fee and be given a "Medical Marijuana Card" for a stubbed toe. But that is not the point.
The point is that these Cannabusinesses were now making literally millions of dollars each year and the last thing they wanted to see is for these profits to evaporate in the wake of complete Cannabis Re-Legalization. They knew that, if American adults could cultivate their own Marijuana as they can presently produce their own "home brewed" beer and wine, their empire would quickly dissolve like castles in the sand at your local beach. So to protect their new empire they began using their money to steer the activist community away from the true Re-Legalization that both Peron and Herer foresaw. Because if Peron, Herer and other succeeded at allowing Americans to "grow their own" without taxation or regulation, their financial empires would crumble to the ground. And frankly, that is exactly what needs to happen right now.
And while a comprehensive analysis is beyond the scope of this present article I can provide a few examples that make clear this is exactly what the Cannabusiness community is up to.
* In early 2009 Rob Kampia, the head of the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), began to embark on the 14th Medical Marijuana Initiative in Arizona. But their was something markedly different about this initiative. The last 13 initiatives granted the patient, or a caregiver, to grow at least 12 plants to provide "medicine" to the patient. But the Arizona initiative is actually structured to eventually prohibit all self-cultivation. It does this by insisting that, unless you are more than 25 miles from a dispensary, you will NOT be able to cultivate anything: you will be forced to buy it from the dispensary. Even an unabashed "stoner" would realize that eventually no one will be able to grow and your only option will be to buy your Cannabis from the "dispensary" at prices that range from $300 to $500 an ounce.
* In August 2009 Allen St. Pierre was discussing the great success of "Medical Marijuana Cards" on the radio show "Time for Hemp." Allen is the head of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML). He was just ecstatic over the fact that Oregon now has 25,000 Medial Marijuana consumers who now pay a $150 dollar annual fee to the Cannabusiness community for the privilege of having legal access to Marijuana. It is insightful to recognize that the Cannabusinessman, currently making 3.75 million in gross profits, each year from the issuance of these cards, is none other than Paul Stanford who heads both the "Hemp and Cannabis Foundation" (THCF) and the "Campaign for the Restoration and Regulation of Hemp" (CRRH). Basically the THCF is responsible for the distribution of "Medial Marijuana Cards" and the CRRH is responsible for making sure we adult Americans never get the right to grow our own Marijuana so that Stanford and his Cannabusiness buddies can continue to profit at our expense. Ironically THCF was a major sponsor of the HempStalk festival (09/12/2009) where Jack Herer spoke and succumbed to a heart attack immediately after walking off of the stage. At the beginning of the video of Jack's speech you will notice that it is the THCF banner that virtually dwarfs the stage.
* This week The 2009 National NORML Conference – “YES WE CANNABIS!” - is being held Thursday, September 24 through Saturday, September 26 at the Grand Hyatt in San Francisco, CA. One of the panels at the conference asks "Has support for legalization reached a critical mass/tipping point?" One of the 3 participants on the panel is Rich Lee, Proprietor of ‘Oaksterdam University’ and Campaigner for ‘The Regulate, Control, and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010.′ You should be aware that I have already made reference to Rich Lee. He is the guy that recently fired Dennis Peron because Dennis is opposed to the "taxation and regulation" of Marijuana.
So then who comprises the Cannabusiness Community? It is comprised of "reform organizations" including the "Marijuana Policy Project," NORML and the "Drug Policy Alliance." It is also comprised of dispensary owners, "Medical Marijuana" growers and distributors of "Medical Marijuana Cards" such as Paul Stanford. And what do they all have in common? They do not want you to ever have the right to grow your own Marijuana: even as an adult.
Now all of these Cannabusiness people would argue that this is not the case. But even this short list of examples, above, make clear that they are all lying through their teeth.
And why don't they want you to ever have the right to grow your own Marijuana? Because if adults did have the sacred, inalienable right to "grow their own" Americans could grow all the Marijuana they needed for free in their gardens or they could grow it for about $20 dollars an ounce under LED lamps within their own homes. And that would put an end to "Medical Marijuana Cards" and drastically reduce the price that you currently pay for you Cannabis both on the streets and through these stupid dispensaries. For those that don't consume Marijuana let me give you an idea of what consumers are now paying for both "illegal" street Marijuana and Marijuana bought through the "dispensaries;" it is between $300 to $500 an ounce!
Now you can buy low quality "dirt weed" for as little as $120 an ounce, but you will only get a headache from smoking it and it is far worse for your health because you will have to smoke more of it. There is no reason that any American Citizen should have to settle for "dirt weed" when they could be growing their own for free.
It is instructive to consider that Marijuana, even according to the Cannabusiness Community, is far safer than drinking beer. And do you really think you should need to spend $200 a year for a "Medial Beer Card" to give you the privilege of drinking beer? So why should anyone have to pay $150 dollars each year for the "privilege" of consuming Cannabis? Is it really necessary to provide any additional information to make the claim that these Cannabusiness people are greedy, psychotic nuts that are really just out to screw us out of our hard earned money and liberties?
Their deceptive behavior reminds me of a favorite quote from Upton Sinclair:
"It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it."
Well, I can only hope that this essay helps these Cannabusiness "bait and switchers" understand the utter hypocrisy of their attempts to screw the American People. It is never too late to repent and change your stupid attempts to "tax and regulate" our right to "grow our own" Cannabis.
Why Untaxed, Unregulated Self-Cultivation Need to be Made Legal Now
And there are a number of other good reasons, for Marijuana consumers and abstainers alike, to demand that our right to grow (e.g., our Marijuana Rights). And this goes far beyond the "money" issue of the greedy Cannabusiness community.
By taking the "black market" profits out of Cannabis consumption and cultivation a number of great things would occur almost immediately:
* The Mexican Drug Cartels would go out of business in a matter of weeks.
* The sick and the poor would instantly have access to free, or at least cheap, medicine.
* The police would no longer have an excuse to invade you home in hopes of discovering a few Marijuana plants.
It should be understood that none of these things can occur as long as we allow the Cannabusiness community to push their quasi-prohibitionist "Medical Marijuana" model upon us. Under this model they are the only winners and the vast majority of non-violent Cannabis consumers become mere victims: just to insure that they make a profit.
The issues here are complex and not well covered in the mainstream media. To help you better understand these complexities I have authored the MERP Model which provides a justification for untaxed, unregulated self cultivation as well as a road map for implementing our right to "grow our own." In addition I have created a website where you can read and watch numerous videos where I explain the need to implement the MERP Model immediately.
What You Can Do to Help Re-Legalize Marijuana for all Adult Americans
Regardless of whether you consume Marijuana I encourage all that agree with this article to get on my mailing list so that I can keep you up to date on the progress of the MERP strategy to make "self cultivation" a right of all American Citizens. You can sign up for the mailing list for free by clicking here.
In the second part of this series I will explain how the government is also conspiring to create a "Government Marijuana Dispensary" system that will force you to buy your Marijuana from the same government that has been busting cultivators and consumers for 72 years because they insisted that Marijuana was too dangerous. Ironically they now want to become your new "Marijuana Drug Dealer" and force you to pay $300 to $500 an ounce for something you could be growing for free.
My feelings about that are very similar to Jack Herer. "The Hell with that. Let me "grow my own."
In addition to this there are other things that you can do to expedite the immediate implementation of the MERP Model and end Marijuana Prohibition once and for all:
* Denounce all 2010 Marijuana Initiatives other than Jack Herer's CCHH Initiative. This is the only initiative that conforms to the MERP Model. Here is a telling excerpt from the CCHH Initiative:
"No person, individual, or corporate entity shall be arrested or prosecuted, be denied any right or privilege, nor be subject to any criminal or civil penalties for the possession, cultivation, transportation, distribution, or consumption of cannabis hemp marijuana."
All of the other initiatives are "Trojan horse" initiatives that only benefit the Cannabusiness Community. Here is a link for more information on CCHH:
California Cannabis Hemp & Health Initiative
* Withdraw all financial support to NORML, DPA, MPP and the rest of the Cannabusiness community. This does not include local chapters of NORML that are also often in agreement with the MERP Model and at odds with National NORML.
* If you attend any convention for any "drug reform" organization challenge them to explain what they are up to and insist that they grant full support and funding towards implementation of initiatives and legislation that conform to the requirements of the MERP Model.
* Call the President and your elected Representatives on a weekly basis demanding that the MERP Model is implemented immediately. You can find more information for doing this by clicking here.
As I write this Dennis Peron is without a job at Oaksterdam and Jack Herer is now lingering in a coma for his 13th day. I cannot think of a better way to commemorate these great Americans than to make sure that their dream of untaxed, unregulated Marijuana becomes a right for every adult throughout the United States. It is high time to "just say NO" to the Cannabusiness Community and our Corporately Controlled Government.
The time for action is now!
Yours in Peace and Freedom,
Bruce W. Cain
Editor of New Age Citizen
Author of the MERP Model for Marijuana Re-Legalization.
many good links in the original story linked above. Don't have time to check/import/format them all here
War breaks out within the marijuana legalization movement (part 1)