I don’t know exactly when I became a marijuana activist. Jay and I went to rallies in the late 90’s early 2000’s in Oregon, but I was advocating for marijuana reform before that. I guess it depends on what it means to be an activist. I have always felt that if you spread awareness, stand up for justice, change minds in a noble fashion, and do your part to try to end prohibition, you are an activist. As with anything, there are varying degrees of participation, but that’s how I’ve always felt.
One date that I know for sure, is that I have been an online activist since January 2010, as has my best friend Jay. There’s no need to name the outlet that we were with previously because that’s common knowledge. Spreading awareness and advocacy has been something that we both have had a passion for, and we have been extremely fortunate to meet some amazing people, make some world class friends, and in my case, get a spot on the Green Flower Media team which excites me beyond words. We have been truly blessed.
I spent today hanging out with the team behind this new website, WeedNews.co. This site was built by activists, will be run by activists, and will promote activism. That’s not to say that we won’t post things that celebrate the plant, because we absolutely will. That’s part of why we fight, to be able to celebrate a plant that has been misunderstood, misrepresented, and villainized for too long by opponents. But for the most part this website was built to spread the word of activism, and provide a platform from which activists can initiate and participate in constructive conversation.
Being an activist is not easy. Believe me. I have seem some stuff in my years as an activist, a lot of which is only now becoming publicly known, which has been downright horrific. Being an activist often means making lots of sacrifices. Sometimes it even means living in fear. But it’s something that can be extremely rewarding, and it doesn’t have anything to do with business opportunities.
My father has three marijuana felonies on his record. He was SWAT raided, like many others. Many of the adults in my family have been bitten by marijuana prohibition. Whenever I fight to help free the plant, I’m doing it because I believe that no one should ever have guns waived in their face, and to be drug out of their homes and eventually thrown in a cage because of a plant that has been proven to be far safer than alcohol. I believe that patients should be able to use a natural medicine that has been proven to possess medical properties, without having to live in fear for doing so. And yes, I also believe that people should be able to consume cannabis for recreational purposes, because why should I care what another person puts in their body, especially something that has never killed anyone, ever?
There have been many times that I have thought about giving up, about quitting activism and moving on with my life. There are many hobbies I could pick up that I could use to fill the time. I have always wanted to learn how to play the harmonica. But I never do, because deep down I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. There’s nothing that that makes me smile as much as seeing a reform victory develop and be achieved, and hearing personal stories of how people’s lives are being positively affected by reform efforts.
Today I also hung out with the current Director of NORML, my main man Randy Quast. Anyone who is familiar with current court filings knows that Randy has been through a lot in the last year, a lot of which I was unfortunately wrapped up in. I’ll let people Google that, and look forward to the legal proceedings that I’m told will be starting up very soon. Despite all that Randy has been through, his passion for reform continues. It’s absolutely kick ass.
Randy once came to Portland, Oregon in 2010 for a national NORML conference. What a lot of people don’t know is that was also Jay’s first event that he ever attended as an online activist. I was supposed to go too, but I had to work that day. Tomorrow both guys are flying to DC to go work on national reform efforts, with Jay offering up some of his online wizardry skills and Randy leading the nation’s oldest active marijuana reform organization in the country. As an activist, who likes all things internet and marijuana, I am extremely excited to see what follows.
If you have been reading this far into the article, kudos to you, because it’s obviously a bit rambly. My point of this article is this – no matter how small your effort seems (going to your first event), or how horrifically lame things seem being an activist, you must fight on. You never know what the next day holds, and if your efforts are noble, and you measure success based off of the positive impact you have instead of how much money you can accumulate from the marijuana world, and you fight to free the plant for the right reasons, truth will win out. Truth always wins out.
If you are a hardworking activist, there is a place for you in the marijuana movement. If you have a passion for social justice, then do your thing and the rest will fall in place. Stay focused on what you are doing, and don’t worry about what others try to do or say or what hurdles life throws at your. If you are doing it right, the opinions of others shouldn’t matter. You don’t have to prove anything to anyone except yourself. Being an activist isn’t easy, but it’s important, and it always will be until everyone is free, including the plant itself. Onward my friends!