Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Hanging with the Amish
The only way to legalize marijuana
How to legalize marijuana
Greetings fellow cannabis consumers!
I am writing this to all of you who, like myself, have a desire to be able to enjoy marijuana without the fear of prosecution or persecution. I have been doing a little research and I think that the answer is right in front of us, and has been all the time, we were just too wrapped up in hiding and covering our tracks to notice. I write this to spread the word, and to hopefully get this movement, moving again.
First, I have a question for all of you. What do corporations do when they need a law passed to protect their interests? They lobby congress, which means that they throw a lot of money in the right direction, say to a campaign fund, or maybe into a senator's hometown pet project, which in turn gets them a shoe in our legislative branch's door. At this point, it is important for the corporation to strengthen their allegiance and this is done with - you guessed it - more money. You may ask, "How can a bunch of potheads compete with something as big as a pharmaceutical company?" or "There's no way we can win, so why fight the system?". The answer to both questions is simple - we adopt their model. According to government surveys - in 2003 there were 17.5 million adult marijuana smokers in the United States, 21.1 million overall. Estimates by the United Nations in 2003 report global cannabis users at roughly 163 million. Why is it important to note global cannabis users? Because America has been dictating drug policy worldwide for decades through incentives, threats, coercion, and straight blackmail, and our fight is their fight also. If we can manage to change America's collective mind, the entire world will benefit from policies that actually make sense, and laws that are fair and just for everyone.
According to their web site the Marijuana Policy Project is "The largest policy reform organization", with approximately 24,000 dues paying members and 180,000 e-mail subscribers. A little math shows that the MPP has as active members about .1% of all the marijuana consumers in the United States and about 1% of consumers as e-mail subscribers. This is our "largest policy reform organization"? I ask you why that is? Membership numbers solely, however, should not be used to judge the strength and relevance of this organization.
You may ask "What about NORML?" Well, according to NORML's website, they are the "largest marijuana law reform organization" with around 12,000 active dues paying members, and 130 local chapters. Using the same formula as above we find that NORML has .07% of adult cannabis consumers as members. Yet, even with numbers like these NORML has been working dilligently for the benefit of all of us, and has been a leader in the cannabis legalization movement for 30+ yrs.
The Drug Policy Alliance - DPA formed in 2000 when The Lindesmith Center, an activist drug policy think-tank established by Ethan Nadelmann in 1994, merged with the Drug Policy Foundation, a membership and grantmaking organization established in 1987. Today, they have eight offices, 46 staff, 26,000 dues-paying members, over 100,000 online subscribers, and a growing track record of success at the local, state, and federal levels. So, even the largest organization for marijuana law change that I could find on the web comprises only .14% of the millions of cannabis consumers nationwide.
Many reform groups do not even list their membership size or their mailing list numbers on their website which makes it extremely difficult to get a clear, complete estimate of how many cannabis users are actually involved with the legalization movement. While there are numerous smaller, less organized organizations out there with the same general purpose, and far too many to go into detail about here. I will assume that NORML, MPP, and the DPA are the largest (please..if your cannabis legalization organization is bigger than NORML, the DPA or MPP add it to the list) and best organized legalization groups, yet they only have a combined membership of .31% of all adult cannabis smokers. I find no fault with any of these organizations, as a matter of fact I would like to take a moment here to thank them. They have shown steadfast resolve in the face of incredible government opposition, they have been instrumental in helping pass medical marijuana laws in many states, and they have accomplished this with a shoestring budget and very low membership percentages. This is simply amazing. Thank you NORML, DPA, and MPP and all of the rest. I am willing to go out on a limb here and estimate that the percentage of marijuana smokers that are members of any legalization organization is less than 2%, so, the truth is - we have no one but ourselves to blame for our situation.
History has shown, that organized resistance is an effective method of bringing about change. The key word being "organized." I actually find that marijuana smokers, including myself, are quite organized believe it or not. Millions of them hold jobs, pay taxes, have homes,and raise children. Many of them are even famous, rich, successful or even all of the above. So, the question remains, "Why aren't NORML, MPP, or the DPA able to accomplish their goals?" The answer is simple my friends, They Are! Even recently, they have shown that organization and money are all that you need to get medical marijuana on the ballot, after that it becomes up to the people like it was meant to be. Poll after poll has shown that the majority of Americans favor the rights of doctors and patients to choose the best course of treatment, even if that course includes marijuana. Medical marijuana would be a shoe in in most states in the U.S., the real issue is getting it to a vote in the first place. Getting any legal matter, whether it be medical marijuana or a new school building, to the point where it is voted on by the citizens requires organization, money, and a full understanding of the legalities involved. I, for one, am not a lawyer, and would not want to try to handle any of that. NORML, MPP, and the DPA all have lawyers who have been focusing on not much else for years, and who have the training to take care of most of that for us. I am afraid that this may involve petitions, and possibly some door to door informational work, but change is not easy it never has been. I feel that the majority of marijuana consumers in the U.S. are afraid, they have every right to be, the drug laws in the United States are some of the harshest in the industrialized world. This makes most of them fearful of even signing their name on a petition, let alone going door to door talking about legalizing marijuana for adults, regretfully, I count myself among this group at this time. I fear what every marijuana user fears - jail, loss of property, fines, and the hardship it would bring to my family, but I also feel torn because this is a very important issue to me. Medical marijuana is currently allowing two people very close to me to live relatively normal lives, as normal as they could be. One of them has cancer which has metasticized and the chemo leaves him wasted and nauseous, medical marijuana allows him to eat. The other is using medical marijuana to treat an eating disorder with great success.
This is not just about medical marijuana though. This is more about responsible adults, being able to decide for themselves what they would like to put into their bodies. It is quite surprising to me that a government of,by,and for the people, thinks that it has to protect it's own people from themselves. Wouldn't that mean that we, as a group, decided that the government knows what is good and bad for us? Or, is it more likely that our government has gotten too big for it's britches and is now flexing muscles that rightly belong to the people? When exactly was it that our government became an elitest organization catering to only the richest Americans? It's high time we, as Americans, put the power back where it belongs - in the hands of the people. To do this we need to understand something about our country, it is still a democracy where a majority rules and as long as the majority has focus and commitment it cannot be denied. In my opinion, the most American thing that you or I or anyone could do would be to help pass any law that is popular with the people, especially if it is unpopular with the government. A successful campaign like that would not only show our government just who they work for, it would also firmly establish that America is still about Americans, not big business, not politicians, not rich elitest types, just Americans. Lower, middle, upper class, white, black, hispanic, asian, Christian, Bhuddist, Jewish, etc., etc., etc. marijuana crosses all lines. It's not just the hippies and jazz musicians anymore so I feel that it is time that we all prove to the world that as a common ground marijuana is not such a bad thing. Now, how do we accomplish this?
Pick one! Really, just pick one of the many legalization groups out there! Honestly it does not make much difference which one we go with, personally I'd pick NORML only because they have the most experience in this particular arena, we just need to pick one and commit to making it work. A large part of the problem we face is the fact that we are divided into so many small groups with little or no political power, while one very large group would have the numbers needed to bring about our goals. Don't get me wrong, I am not saying that these smaller groups are unimportant, their membership is simply too small to make a difference on the national stage. Think about it - 20 million cannabis smokers nationwide united under one banner, now that is a group with enough political power to make a difference.
I asked Allen St.Pierre executive director of NORML "How much more effective do you think your efforts would be if all of the estimated 18-20 million adult marijuana smokers were to join your cause?"
His reply - "LOL! In my view, groups like NORML can be ultimately successful by recruiting/leading a mere 1% of cannabis consumers...if there were 18-20 million citizens organized for cannabis law reform in the US seventy years of cannabis prohibition would end tonight."
-Allen St. Pierre
Member, Board of Directors
I think that that particular statement speaks volumes. Basically Mr. St.Pierre is telling us that it is our choice, that marijuana prohibition would end tonight if we could all just work together. I, for one, will make my commitment right now. I will join NORML next month as a birthday present to myself, I will also start saving up for a lifetime membership. If I am asked to sign a petition, I will, and with my real name. I will go door to door to protect my freedom if asked to do so. This is what I am going to do. What can you do?
(look for my real name on a petition near you!)
p.s. Pass this on, give it to your friends, repost it, print it out, but please leave the message intact. Thank you. If you would like to edit this or add to it please do so after this point, Thanks.
"Over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign" John Stuart Mill.
Old Hippies never die, they just smell that way.
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Marijuana is my anti drug !
Last edited by Pactivist; 04-23-2008 at 06:39 AM..