“The underground tribes who have carried this plant though the long and dark years of prohibition. The dreadlock warriors, the wise earth mothers and the radical fairies, and the revolutionaries, all the underground tribes who for decades and decades have nurtured this plant, we gave her a home when nobody else would. We protected her, we watched her grow and develop, we fought ferociously for her inspiration, and we suffered to do that- in ways I don’t think most people who are entering the industry can even begin to grasp. We made some of the biggest risks. We had our property seized, our bank accounts seized, we had our kids seized. We’ve been arrested, we’ve been put on trial, and locked up in jail and torn away from the people that we love. Families have been destroyed, people’s health has been ruined- people have even died. Fortunes and lives and families, many many many many have been lost carrying this plant to the place we’re at today. Those sacrifices have been huge and for the most part they didn’t occurred because people believed that this plant was a good thing, that it was a necessary thing. It made us- helped us- be more like the people we wanted to be.”
-Steve DeAngelo (Founder of Harborside Healthcare)
As we quickly approach November 2016, when a very historical election will take place and the unknown answer to the question of “Who will be our next president?” will be revealed. With the federal, state and local laws being longer and more complex than most can understand, we turn to those in leadership roles to guide our way. After reading the above quote from a Dope Magazine edition, I was truly touched and inspired by the history, darkness, commitment, and vulnerability coming through Steve DeAngelo’s words. Although we have come a long way since the first prohibition of cannabis (80 years this summer), there is still so much healing and recognition for the leaders of the movement that has yet to be received. The cannabis movement has paralleled many other major historical events that have occurred and continue to cycle through in patterns. This election is a reflection of a moment in time where a lot of information has surfaced and wants to be seen so we can start to do things differently. I truly believe in the power of this plant and its ability to bring people together in a big way. We can leverage the legalization of Cannabis to make some serious change for the good in our global community. We will touch on a few parallels of current events and follow up The Anti-Propaganda and Legality blogs from previous weeks in the remainder of the article.
History of Prohibition:
In the early 1900’s when the Mexican Revolution occurred and people native to Mexico began to come back into the states (once Mexican territory,) they brought with them their language, cultural practices, and plant medicine among their many ways of colorful expression. Although both cultures were using Cannabis medicinally at the time, the native Mexicans called it “Marihuana” which was a foreign term to the U.S. The people of U.S. knew this plant as Cannabis, and nothing else, and was found in many medicinal elixirs made for pain, sleep aid, appetite stimulation, and mood boosting for depression and anxiety. At the time it was sold over the counter in all pharmacies without a question. People started to question and fear the plant shortly after “non-Americans” carried it across the borders with a different name. The government quickly began to put policies around the use and distribution in hopes that they could control the flux of Mexicans coming to U.S. territory by arresting them for possession and putting them on record as “illegal,” or “non-citizens.” This is a similar path of events taken to control Opiates in the states and the desire to keep a close eye on Chinese immigrants. It doesn’t seem like we’ve made too much progress being that one of the largest fed fears of this nation is directed at those of colored skin and who express their culture in ways that are different than what is “normal” to us. This nation has been using Cannabis to demonize people of color for a long time. During the hearings on the creation of Marijuana Law in the 1930’s claims were made about “Marijuana’s ability to cause men of color to become violent and solicit sex from white women.” This frame of mind has unconsciously and energetically continued to be fed by the great U.S. nation. It is my opinion that continuing to have a ban on the natural world is feeding into discrimination and racism and stagnating movement forward in these realms as well. Because so much of history of prohibition is intertwined with racism and discrimination the shift of the stigma of Cannabis could be a huge step in the right direction of acceptance of people, cultures, and practices that are different than our own.
In More Recent Times
Another theme I’m noticing still has an impact is the “Reefer Madness” idea that use of Cannabis will cause brain damage, increase your risk of being diagnosed with a severe mental illness, or decrease your chances of graduating from high school and/or college. I caught a glimpse of this in a brochure in a local hotel from my home town and understood a little more about fear around Cannabis. The information was based on an interview with 100 high school students in 2015 and statistics based on their responses were shared to warn parents and grandparents of teen use and the detrimental path of a Cannabis user (or a pot smoker in their terms.) After reading the brochure, it came to my awareness that there is still a lot of information out there that is not coming from an educated place. I am completely of the frame of mind that the use of Cannabis (medically and recreationally) should come from an informative place and one that doesn’t imply abuse. On the other hand, I am not in support of information written as “the TRUTH” that does not educate, but speaks directly to F.E.A.R (False Evidence Appearing Real.) There is so much beautiful research being done right now that shows how much this plant can help people when used in a good way. We at Medicine Box have made a commitment to be a solid source of information, and we need your support! It is time to shift that story and stop putting false evidence in the media that leads citizens to believe that those who use Cannabis are anything less than those who choose not to.
“Unlike alcohol, excessive pot smoking has not been unambiguously implicated in violent behavior or poor health. As a Schedule I drug, under federal law, marijuana is considered to have no medical use, although there are thousands of patient testimonials to the contrary.”
What needs to happen on our behalf to advocate for the goodness and benefits of the legalization of Cannabis?
-We need to continue to take a stance for education of the medical benefits of the plant.
-Own your truth around the plant, if you believe in it, share your belief!
-Encourage those who have feared it in that past to be open to learning more.
-Share your positive experiences with the plant with those who are skeptical. (Individual or friend/family experience).
-Have a strong voice, be an advocate by sharing articles you find educational.
-Be a part of your local Cannabis community and keep up with the quickness of regulation and law changes.
-If you need support, connect with us! (We would love to share our resources of information to be of service to people finding an understanding of the medicine.)
Check out the link below for dates on discussions of the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act. (September 25-October 5) (Multiple Location in CA)