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US MI: Column: A Multi-faceted Coalition

 

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URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v13/n497/a07.html

Newshawk: Michigan NORML http://www.minorml.org

Votes: 0

Pubdate: Wed, 09 Oct 2013

Source: Metro Times (Detroit, MI)

Copyright: 2013 C.E.G.W./Times-Shamrock

Contact: letters@metrotimes.com

Website: http://www.metrotimes.com

Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/1381

Author: Larry Gabriel

Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/find?275 (Cannabis - Michigan)

Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/decrim.htm (Decrim/Legalization)

 

A MULTI-FACETED COALITION

 

Disperate Agendas but the Same End-Goal

 

I recently spoke with Brandy Zink, chair of the Michigan Chapter of Americans for Safe Access, about the movement to legalize marijuana, when she said, "When marijuana is legal, we're still going to need medical marijuana."

 

That got me to thinking.  There are a lot of fronts when it comes to cannabis activism - each of them viable in their own way, yet inseparably intertwined with each other.  The most visible fronts are the medical marijuana movement, the push to legalize recreational use of marijuana, the industrial hemp initiative, and efforts to end the drug war and legalize them all.

 

Each of these movements has a certain amount of support from folks across the spectrum, but they all maintain a different focus.  This leads to belief by some that medical marijuana or hemp enthusiasts just want to get high and are using a legitimate cause to advance their hidden agenda.  It's true that some folks are doing that, but I believe there are also many people who are sincerely working out of compassion for people suffering with illness, or simply motivated by the economic benefits of hemp.

 

Overall, the pro-marijuana movement is a coalition of supporters of different causes who sympathize with each other, but seek different outcomes.

 

"That's an interesting breakdown," says Morgan Fox, communications manager at the Washington, D.C.-based non-profit Marijuana Policy Project.  "All those different factors are so involved with each other it's sometimes hard to pull them apart.  If marijuana becomes legal, then hemp is de-facto legal.  Working toward some of the same goals would increase access for patients.  There are a lot of tie-ins there.  A lot of it is just based on tactics.  The end result will have impacts for all of them.  The Marijuana Policy Project's main goal is to remove the threat of arrest for all adults.  We're going to continue working on that."

 

Each of those fronts has its victories to celebrate and its defeats to lament.  California recently legalized industrial hemp, which is used in hundreds of products from textiles to fuels to nutritional supplements.  It's the 12th state to do so.  However, anyone who actually wants to farm hemp must first have a federal permit, and the feds aren't handing out permits for that.

 

The hemp prohibition is a strange turn of events.  From the early years of our nation, hemp, which does not get people high, was a staple crop.  In 1619, the Virginia assembly passed a law requiring every household to grow hemp due to its many uses.  George Washington grew it, as well as several other founding fathers.

 

Today, 30 different countries grow hemp, and we import $500 million worth of it each year, according to a 2012 Congressional Research Service report.  The same report estimates there are 2,500 different hemp products on the global market.  No wonder some farmers want to grow it.

 

"To me, one of the most interesting aspects about cannabis is that a large portion of conservative farmers and folks in the Bible Belt are for bringing the hemp plant into the farming community for industrial purposes, even if they are against it for recreational, medicinal and spiritual use," says Paul Pearson, director of communications for Michigan Industrial Hemp Education and Marketing Project ( MIHEMP ).

 

Everett Swift, executive director of MIHEMP, says, "We have some members who are for medical and recreational use, and some members who are against any form of marijuana legalization other than industrial.  We don't take any stance for or against medical or recreational use as an organization."

 

What's interesting here is that proponents of the same plant can come to that from such varied points of view.  These perspectives add to the aura of marijuana as being some kind of super plant that can lend itself to so many different uses.  Evidence of hemp cord goes back 10,000 years.  Seeds were used for food and oil around 6,000 B.C.  Its medicinal use was recorded 5,000 years ago, and spiritual use was recorded 4,000 years ago.  Mentions of its recreational use appear about 500 B.C.  Marijuana prohibition began in 1937.  That's been 76 years.  In the tides of history, however, that represents an anomaly.

 

What would seem to be the most radical efforts are those who believe the entire War on Drugs is wrong and all drugs should be decriminalized.  They prefer to treat addiction as a health issue rather than a criminal problem.  Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, a group of former and current police officials, says that most of the social and personal damage attributed to drugs is actually caused by the policy.  It's the prohibition that makes moving drugs across national borders or fighting for sales turf in a neighborhood profitable.

 

Another problem is that law enforcement does not pursue the drug war equally against all users.  It has been substantiated that drug use is about equal by all races.  African-Americans and Latinos, however, are arrested for drugs at much higher rates than whites.  This has created many issues in minority communities, from broken families to lack of ability to get education assistance or jobs due to having a felony record.  That's in addition to using the law in a discriminatory way against minorities.  This led to the NAACP calling for an end to the War on Drugs in 2011.

 

"These flawed drug policies that have been mostly enforced in African-American communities must be stopped and replaced with evidence-based practices that address the root causes of drug use and abuse in America," said NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous in a press release at the time.

 

The results of the War on Drugs don't seem to have led to any lessening of drug use, and, as alcohol prohibition helped create organized crime in the United States, drug prohibition has helped international drug cartels take advantage of the tremendous profits in smuggling drugs.

 

John Sinclair, a victim of marijuana prohibition, has been a key figure in fighting the drug war in Michigan since the 1960s.  I spoke with him last week while he was in Detroit to celebrate his 72nd birthday. 

MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom

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US MI: Column: A Multi-faceted Coalition

 

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URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v13/n497/a07.html

Newshawk: Michigan NORML http://www.minorml.org

Votes: 0

Pubdate: Wed, 09 Oct 2013

Source: Metro Times (Detroit, MI)

Copyright: 2013 C.E.G.W./Times-Shamrock

Contact: letters@metrotimes.com

Website: http://www.metrotimes.com

Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/1381

Author: Larry Gabriel

Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/find?275 (Cannabis - Michigan)

Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/decrim.htm (Decrim/Legalization)

 

A MULTI-FACETED COALITION

 

Disperate Agendas but the Same End-Goal

 

I recently spoke with Brandy Zink, chair of the Michigan Chapter of Americans for Safe Access, about the movement to legalize marijuana, when she said, "When marijuana is legal, we're still going to need medical marijuana."

 

That got me to thinking.  There are a lot of fronts when it comes to cannabis activism - each of them viable in their own way, yet inseparably intertwined with each other.  The most visible fronts are the medical marijuana movement, the push to legalize recreational use of marijuana, the industrial hemp initiative, and efforts to end the drug war and legalize them all.

 

Each of these movements has a certain amount of support from folks across the spectrum, but they all maintain a different focus.  This leads to belief by some that medical marijuana or hemp enthusiasts just want to get high and are using a legitimate cause to advance their hidden agenda.  It's true that some folks are doing that, but I believe there are also many people who are sincerely working out of compassion for people suffering with illness, or simply motivated by the economic benefits of hemp.

 

Overall, the pro-marijuana movement is a coalition of supporters of different causes who sympathize with each other, but seek different outcomes.

 

"That's an interesting breakdown," says Morgan Fox, communications manager at the Washington, D.C.-based non-profit Marijuana Policy Project.  "All those different factors are so involved with each other it's sometimes hard to pull them apart.  If marijuana becomes legal, then hemp is de-facto legal.  Working toward some of the same goals would increase access for patients.  There are a lot of tie-ins there.  A lot of it is just based on tactics.  The end result will have impacts for all of them.  The Marijuana Policy Project's main goal is to remove the threat of arrest for all adults.  We're going to continue working on that."

 

Each of those fronts has its victories to celebrate and its defeats to lament.  California recently legalized industrial hemp, which is used in hundreds of products from textiles to fuels to nutritional supplements.  It's the 12th state to do so.  However, anyone who actually wants to farm hemp must first have a federal permit, and the feds aren't handing out permits for that.

 

The hemp prohibition is a strange turn of events.  From the early years of our nation, hemp, which does not get people high, was a staple crop.  In 1619, the Virginia assembly passed a law requiring every household to grow hemp due to its many uses.  George Washington grew it, as well as several other founding fathers.

 

Today, 30 different countries grow hemp, and we import $500 million worth of it each year, according to a 2012 Congressional Research Service report.  The same report estimates there are 2,500 different hemp products on the global market.  No wonder some farmers want to grow it.

 

"To me, one of the most interesting aspects about cannabis is that a large portion of conservative farmers and folks in the Bible Belt are for bringing the hemp plant into the farming community for industrial purposes, even if they are against it for recreational, medicinal and spiritual use," says Paul Pearson, director of communications for Michigan Industrial Hemp Education and Marketing Project ( MIHEMP ).

 

Everett Swift, executive director of MIHEMP, says, "We have some members who are for medical and recreational use, and some members who are against any form of marijuana legalization other than industrial.  We don't take any stance for or against medical or recreational use as an organization."

 

What's interesting here is that proponents of the same plant can come to that from such varied points of view.  These perspectives add to the aura of marijuana as being some kind of super plant that can lend itself to so many different uses.  Evidence of hemp cord goes back 10,000 years.  Seeds were used for food and oil around 6,000 B.C.  Its medicinal use was recorded 5,000 years ago, and spiritual use was recorded 4,000 years ago.  Mentions of its recreational use appear about 500 B.C.  Marijuana prohibition began in 1937.  That's been 76 years.  In the tides of history, however, that represents an anomaly.

 

What would seem to be the most radical efforts are those who believe the entire War on Drugs is wrong and all drugs should be decriminalized.  They prefer to treat addiction as a health issue rather than a criminal problem.  Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, a group of former and current police officials, says that most of the social and personal damage attributed to drugs is actually caused by the policy.  It's the prohibition that makes moving drugs across national borders or fighting for sales turf in a neighborhood profitable.

 

Another problem is that law enforcement does not pursue the drug war equally against all users.  It has been substantiated that drug use is about equal by all races.  African-Americans and Latinos, however, are arrested for drugs at much higher rates than whites.  This has created many issues in minority communities, from broken families to lack of ability to get education assistance or jobs due to having a felony record.  That's in addition to using the law in a discriminatory way against minorities.  This led to the NAACP calling for an end to the War on Drugs in 2011.

 

"These flawed drug policies that have been mostly enforced in African-American communities must be stopped and replaced with evidence-based practices that address the root causes of drug use and abuse in America," said NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous in a press release at the time.

 

The results of the War on Drugs don't seem to have led to any lessening of drug use, and, as alcohol prohibition helped create organized crime in the United States, drug prohibition has helped international drug cartels take advantage of the tremendous profits in smuggling drugs.

 

John Sinclair, a victim of marijuana prohibition, has been a key figure in fighting the drug war in Michigan since the 1960s.  I spoke with him last week while he was in Detroit to celebrate his 72nd birthday. 

MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom

thanks for the post 

i also believe everyone does want the same thing but have  different ways in  getting  there

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Sure, anyone that thinks marijuana should be legal the same way that tomatoes are.  I don't think we should settle for strict regulation which the ASA is wiling to do as long as they get legal dispensaries.  Once regulation is in place we will never get rid of it. 

 

You still can't legally make whiskey at home.  Is that what we want for recreational marijuana, a system like Washington state has where everyone has to buy from a dispensary and nobody can grow recreationally?

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Celli, I am not trying to cause an argument here... I am only curious what exactly you mean when you say:

 

"...marijuana should be legal the same way that tomatoes are."

 

Like... I can I just get a vending license, set up a little stand and sell my maters & cannabis together? 

Gov't wants their cut always and forever.

I am not an Econ major (or minor ;) ) so, maybe I just don't grasp how this would be feasible...

most likely I still have a bit of 'refer madness' restrictions on my thought process on this subject also. 

 

I am all for the farmers market model, just so that is clear.

Decriminalization over legalization (if I do indeed understand the two terms correctly).

 

Thanks in advance.

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I want to be able to grow my MJ right next to my tomatoes in the vegetable with no legal ramifications.  That's what I mean.  I don't want restrictions on how much I can grow or sell.  I don't want taxes.   The rest of the stuff I grow in my garden isn't taxed.   I want free MJ in all respects.   The ASA is willing to accept restrictions as long as dispensaries are legalized.  

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I want to be able to grow my MJ right next to my tomatoes in the vegetable with no legal ramifications.  That's what I mean.  I don't want restrictions on how much I can grow or sell.  I don't want taxes.   The rest of the stuff I grow in my garden isn't taxed.   I want free MJ in all respects.   The ASA is willing to accept restrictions as long as dispensaries are legalized.  

 

You sound like a dangerous radical to me.

 

 

 

 

founding-fathers-domestic-terrorist.png

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WE ARE THE GOVERNMENT!  We can make changes happen.  We got the MMMA passed.  It can be done. 

 

I'm not willing to sell out to myself, and to the other citizens of the state and country who compromise our government, by only getting half of what I want.

 

"Well you know how it is.  The King and the East India Tea Company want their tax money.  So what can you do?"

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WE ARE THE GOVERNMENT!  We can make changes happen.  We got the MMMA passed.  It can be done. 

 

I'm not willing to sell out to myself, and to the other citizens of the state and country who compromise our government, by only getting half of what I want.

 

"Well you know how it is.  The King and the East India Tea Company want their tax money.  So what can you do?"

 

 

"Well you know how it is.  The King and the East India Tea Company want their tax money.  So what can you do?"

 

Exactly.  If you have a plan, please elaborate.

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The first part of my plan is to not give in to regulations like everyone is willing to do.  We continue to petition the government has we have.  We just don't keep putting self-imposed limits onto what we are asking for.  Remember the MMMA was written by our side.  All the problems we are having with the law's restrictions came from people that were representing us.  Those same people, including the ASA,  are still calling for self-imposed regulation. 

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Celli;

 

Another thing is... what you want is probably not what someone else wants or that group wants or...

 

you get my drift.  Maybe what you want is only half of what I want ?

 

"...and so on and so on and scooby dooby dooby..."

quote from Everyday People

by Sly and the Family Stone

 

 

edit: spelling

Edited by imiubu
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The first part of my plan is to not give in to regulations like everyone is willing to do.  We continue to petition the government has we have.  We just don't keep putting self-imposed limits onto what we are asking for.  Remember the MMMA was written by our side.  All the problems we are having with the law's restrictions came from people that were representing us.  Those same people, including the ASA,  are still calling for self-imposed regulation. 

 

I couldn't agree more but again... how?  We have learned unfortunately that people don't want to get up off their duffs for the most part to fight for their rights unless they are directly effected and then most are rather apathetic imho...  often that includes myself also, sad but true.

Cripes barely 9% of the registered voters in Mi even got out to vote in the primaries in Aug. this year. How do you propose getting people motivated about just one issue enough to contact their legislators... to get involved ?  I believe the population of Mi is about 9 mil and I can't give a ref link to gov census atm as they are shut down.  Anyway... the number of people who do not get involved on a general basis is much

higher than those that do, imo. Even the number of CG & PT only amount to what... maybe 1.2% of our total Mi population.

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I understand what you're saying about wants.

 

Please explain to me how half of complete freedom would be what you want....and why?  Or how complete freedom is only half of what you want...and why?

 

It was an example Celli, only an example and not to be taken literally.

 

In my opinion there is no true freedom other than that in which we find within ourselves.

 

 

in the words of uncle Frank:

 

"... free is when you don't have to pay for nothing or do nothing..."

 

 

and now I need to get a little sunshine... chore time :)

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Sure, anyone that thinks marijuana should be legal the same way that tomatoes are.  I don't think we should settle for strict regulation which the ASA is wiling to do as long as they get legal dispensaries.  Once regulation is in place we will never get rid of it. 

 

You still can't legally make whiskey at home.  Is that what we want for recreational marijuana, a system like Washington state has where everyone has to buy from a dispensary and nobody can grow recreationally?

 

Cell, I totally agree about freedom to grow...heck I'd like to be able to run around in the nude while driving a fire engine as I partake of my homegrown untaxed cannabis, but I doubt I'll ever be allowed to do that, I'm sure some of my neighbors would probably object. But I'll keep on pushing for the right to do it, reasonable or not.

 

But for right now I'll settle for the right to grow some plants at home and enjoy my cannabis without the law kicking my door in and throwing azz into a privatized jail cell.

 

Sometimes you have to compromise, even when we hate it.

 

In the mean time I'll keep pushing for the right to home-grow my herb for personal use... UNTAXED, the rest can happen as it may.

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This is something we don't have to compromise on though.  If we can get partial legalization, why not hold out for full legalization?  How do you know we can;t get it?  Why are you so convinced we HAVE to compromise?  

 

The majority of people in the US now agree with us, according to polls.  Why should we give in now when we are finally winning?

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