Posts Tagged ‘jodie emery’
Today is Wednesday, April 25. I have 805 days to go to my release. Ten days from now, on Saturday, May 5 – on the day of the Global Marijuana March, and on the occasion of my great friends Chris Goodwin and Erin Gorman’s wedding in Toronto after the march – I’ll have put in 795 days in prisons serving out this 1,825 day sentence.
With my 235 days good time credit, I’ll have 1,030 days behind me, and 795 days to go. On that day, I’ll be at the exact halfway point of the experience, with as much time remaining as I have put in.
So the 66 days in Canada I spent waiting to be extradited, the 5 1/2 months I spent at Sea-Tac Federal Detention Center in Washington state, the 4 weeks at Oklahoma Transfer Hub, 3 weeks at Nevada Southern Detention Center, 4 1/2 months at the immigrant concentration camp D Ray James, and 12 1/2 months at Yazoo Medium, in all, 795 days; I just have to do it one more time! And then I’m home.
When I write it like that, it seems like a long time I’ve been gone, and a long time to go. But then I think of the more than 12 months so far here at Yazoo and it’s gone by very quickly. My daily work out on the bass guitar and being in my band Yazoo has aided the passage of time immensely.
You can see a photo of me and my bandmates in a 2-page newspaper spread by columnist Jon Ferry in this upcoming Sunday’s “The Province” newspaper in British Columbia. (A one-page article appeared on Friday April 27 in the same paper, seen here.) Jon visited me here last weekend in order to write this exclusive story. The two-page feature will discuss my political opinions, the continuing fight against prohibition, and life here at Yazoo, with several photos. I did take some photos with Jon Ferry that are kind of fun but they will not be back in my hands for a week, so they do not appear in the Sunday edition.
[Update: see images and links to the Sunday edition of The Province newspaper's cover story and 2-page feature at the bottom of this page!]
Jon Ferry told me he thinks I look so healthy, youthful and relaxed because I am “drug free”! I explained that on the outside, I had the stress of imminent extradition weighing on me, legal bills, money problems, closing the print version of Cannabis Culture magazine, sleep problems from all that accumulated tension. So, here I am fit, I eat modestly, and try to eat only the good foods I can get, drink only water, read and write extensively, no watching TV, play music and work with my band every day.
Right now on the bass guitar I am getting down Back in Black by AC/DC, Sharp Dressed Man by ZZ Top, and Jumpin Jack Flash by the Rolling Stones. The air here is terrific and smells nice, every day is sunny and warm, when it rains it tends to do so at night, the water out of the taps is very good, I sleep like clockwork from 11:30pm to 7:30am, and I walk 3 miles around the track daily. Our next concert, my 6th here at Yazoo, is on May 26, on the Memorial Day weekend.
I have been on the TV here this week as Discovery Channel aired the National Geographic episode “Marijuana Nation” again, of which I am in a fair bit of that episode. The documentary “A NORML Life” was also seen by of the C.O.’s (correctional officers). I have had 8 letters published in newspapers in Canada signed “Marc Emery, Yazoo City Medium Federal Prison, Mississippi” since I have been here at Yazoo, and the most recent two letters, published in the last two weeks in the Globe & Mail and National Post newspapers (the two cross-Canada newspaper publications), have been read aloud on the National Public Radio (NPR) affiliate Mississippi Public Broadcasting (MPB). MPB must think its interesting a Canadian in Mississippi gets letters about the drug war published from his Mississippi jail cell.
The 4/20 celebrations in Vancouver and Toronto saw record numbers of people in attendance, and good weather to make it all pleasant. My friend in Adelaide, Australia, Rhiannon Lynch, put on a 4/20 in her hometown too. It’s so cool that an event that’s now a worldwide phenomenon started with my store staff in April 1995 (read about the history in this Huffington Post article I wrote, “The Origins of 4/20 as a Day of Celebration and Protest”), and eighteen 4/20′s later I can confidently say is witnessed by millions of people around the world who meet that day for political and herbal inspiration and fellowship. It doesn’t get any better than that!
In my original hometown of London, Ontario, the police announced in advance they would disrupt any 4/20 celebrations, the only Canadian police force that did so, and 250 people responded to the police disruption of the 4/20 at Victoria Park by marching to a major intersection and chanting ‘Fuck The Police’ for an hour. Absolutely right, London. The London, Ontario police dept. is still in good need of an enema, twenty years after I left there.
My fabulous wife, Jodie, had what I would call a career week last week. She appeared alongside my prosecutor, former District Attorney for Western Washington state, John McKay, as well as former BC Attorney General Geoff Plant, at a joint press conference in Vancouver hosted by the amazing new pro-legalization organization Stop The Violence BC.
McKay articulately denounced the drug war and marijuana prohibition, and Jodie was extensively interviewed across Canada for days; headlines appeared in all media across the country, such as “Prosecutor of Prince of Pot Marc Emery wants to legalize marijuana”. You can see news coverage here, and video of the press conferencehere, as well as a Canadian Press video here.
My wife’s major week of accomplishment continued. On Thursday, April 19, the day after the McKay press conference, Jodie had her first Op-Ed (opinion editorial) piece published in the nationwide National Post newspaper, titled “Victims of the Drug War”. There was a critic of Jodie’s Op-Ed the next day, columnist and editor Matt Gurney, writing in the same National Post “A Grass Bed of his Own Making”, and then I had a letter rebutting him on the day after that, Saturday, April 21, titled “Immoral Pot Prohibition Laws”.
Jodie was also profiled in an article in the Vancouver Sun newspaper on Saturday, written by “Bud Inc.” author and columnist Ian Mulgrew, called “Jodie Emery Rises to the Occasion” (click image on the right, below, to read it). I was so pleased with this feature on her, published in between the two Province articles about me. Team Emery was on it like white on rice! (Or like ink on paper?)
The great news continues. My former prosecutor John McKay, not content with just being a lecturer on the evils of the drug war, is also co-sponsor of an excellent legalization initiative on the Washington State ballot this November. Apology accepted, Mr. McKay! What’s really disturbing though, is the number of the ‘grassroots’ activists in Washington state who are absurdly opposing the I-502 legalization bill because of a clause that allows police to issue DUI’s if a very high level of THC is in the bloodstream while driving. Otherwise, adults can possess, transport, and buy at licensed outlets a huge range of cannabis buds – all legally, without fear of arrest or prosecution. That’s incredible!
Currently 10,000 people in Washington State get arrested for pot possession each year. That would end under this legislation. How ironic that I currently have far more respect for my former prosecutor and his proposed legislation than I have for those activists who would foolishly and dangerously oppose this great step forward over trivialities, much the same way as done by many so-called members of the movement who killed Prop. 19 in California in 2010. Much of the Washington state opposition to I-502 is rooted in adversarial jealousy, because after three attempts, some activists just can’t get an initiative of their own on the ballot, so resent McKay, the ACLU and their backers who did manage to get I-502 on the ballot. Sometimes the famous quip Pogo Possum said in the eponymous cartoon is correct: “We have met the enemy, and it us.”
I implore all Washington State activists and concerned citizens to support I-502. Read the very important editorial in the NY Times by Seattle activist Dominic Holden called “Smokeless in Seattle” and NORML’s Russ Belville’s blog on why supporting I-502 with your vote this November is essential. I think Russ Belville is the best commentator out there regarding our movement, and all his writings are very, very good.
To show you the kind of momentum the campaign to end prohibition has, an all-political-party panel called“Speaking Truth from Within Power: Passion, Politics, and Drug Policy in Canada” takes place in Vancouver on the evening of May 4th, the day before the Global Marijuana March. From Canada’s Parliament, Conservative Senator and chairman of the 2002 Special Committee on Cannabis, Pierre Claude Nolin, will speak along with Liberal Senator and former Vancouver Mayor Larry Campbell, and NDP Member of Parliament and deputy leader Libby Davies about their attempts to get modernized drug law legislation passed or promoted. All three favor various legalization models. They will be joined by provincial BC NDP legislator Nicholas Simons. If you live in the Greater Vancouver area, please consider attending.
Our movement is gaining momentum where it’s needed most – beyond the activist grassroots. While I count down the days in prison for my “crime” of selling seeds to finance major activism efforts and campaigns with millions of dollars from 1994-2005, it’s comforting to know that my work continues not only in the grassroots cannabis community, but also in the political and mainstream sphere where real change has to happen. When I get home in just over two years, there might not be anyone left to convince about legalization! Keep the pressure on, fellow activists and friends.
The Sunday edition of the Province newspaper had Marc on the cover, and two pages inside. Read the articles here, and click the images to enlarge:
The Province cover, Sunday April 29, 2012
Province feature, page 1
Province feature, page 2
It’s Monday, April 2nd, 828 days to go to my release date of July 9, 2014. Although I get ‘released’ from prison on that date, because I am Canadian I have a ‘detainer’ on me, so what happens is US Immigration picks me up from the prison and takes me to an immigration detention center, puts me before a judge where I confirm I want to be deported back to Canada, and then I’ll wait in an immigration jail until they put me on a plane to Vancouver with some US Marshall escorting me.
That apparently takes a few weeks, so I’m hoping to be home with Jodie in time for our 8th wedding anniversary on July 23, 2014.
This Saturday I have my 5th concert outside in the recreation area with the excellent amplified equipment they have here for concerts. This is the Easter Weekend concert, and our band YAZOO will be playing in this order:
1) Don’s Jam (a warm-up improv piece)
2) Come Together (Beatles)
3) White Room (Cream)
4) Hey Joe (Hendrix)
5) Sweet Home Alabama (Lynyrd Skynyrd)
6) Wind Cries Mary (Hendrix)
7) Black Magic Woman/Gypsy Queen (Santana)
Crazy Train (Ozzy Osborne)
9) Sunshine of Your Love (Cream)
10) Sitting on the Dock of the Bay (Otis Redding)
11) Stormy Monday (T-Bone Walker)
12) Red House (Hendrix)
13) Purple Haze (Hendrix)
14) Blue on Black (Kenny Wayne Shepherd)
15) Pride & Joy (Stevie Ray Vaughan)
16) Hotel California (Eagles)
17) Voodoo Child (Hendrix)
I’ve been practicing every day for a few hours and tonight we have our final studio rehearsal where we run through all 17 of our songs and see where we might have a few things to work out this week in the days leading up to the concert. I feel we know the material pretty well now, my big hope is for good weather. If it rains, we can’t have all this electrical equipment outside and the concert would be postponed.
Yesterday we took photos of the band members Don, Terry, Sapp, Chap, and myself, which you will see on my Facebook page in about 3 weeks or so after Jodie gets them in the mail. We
aren’t permitted to have our instruments in the photo, so we’ll be having an artist here make a band poster using our photographs as reference and then drawing us in the studio playing our music. From there I’ll use that to make posters for our upcoming concerts here. I’m sure you will see this YAZOO band poster on Facebook and www.FreeMarc.cawhen it’s completed.
April 20th is coming up in a few weeks, and I’m not shy about saying that this now-colossal worldwide Cannabis Celebration event was started by my HEMP BC staff in April of 1995, and on that April 20 in Victory Square (at Cambie & Hastings street), it was a beautiful sunny day with music, speeches, toking and good times. The original idea to have April 20 change from just a time of the day (4:20pm) to a whole day (4/20, April 20) was inspired by two Grateful Deadheads who worked for me, Danna Rozek and Cindy Lassu. In 1997 we moved the rally to the Vancouver Art Gallery, where about 1,000 people came and toked from about 1pm to 6pm.
In those years from 1997 to 2008, the master of ceremonies and co-ordinator was activist and ‘dealer dignity’ advocate David Malmo-Levine. It grew from attendance of 1,000 to 10,000 in that decade, and by 2005 the event had evolved to become a farmer’s market of cannabis consumables along with a day-long smoke-out, peaking at 4:20pm with a massive collective cannabis plume floating above the Art Gallery square bounded on all sides by Georgia, Howe, Robson and Hornby streets. There is nothing else like it in the world, not even Amsterdam or any other cannabis mecca has a day-long smoke-out in the major downtown public square combined with a fantastic assortment of cannabis ingestibles, smokeables and consumables for sale.
This year even the school board has closed the high schools for Friday, April 20th, accepting the inevitable 4/20 absences and making it official. This means even more young people than usual will be toking all day, and hopefully not drinking alcohol, as problems each year arise from alcohol excess. Police are polite and stay on the periphery to guide traffic, and there are never any major problems. I encourage you to spend money and patronize the vending booths and pavilions by the main sponsors “Marc Emery’s Cannabis Culture Headquarters” (or CCHQ), Vancouver Seed Bank, The Dispensary, and EndProhibition.
Marking his 18th April 20 involvement in Vancouver, having been involved in every Vancouver 4/20 ever, former Cannabis Culture editor (1995-2005), Dispensary entrepreneur, author (Hairy Pothead & The Marijuana Stone), former BC NDP leadership candidate and my best friend Dana Larsen is organizing this year’s huge event with Jacob Hunter of WhyProhibition.ca co-ordinating the day’s logistics and Adam Bowen (host of the BCMP Vapour Lounge Jam Night) arranging the incredible musical line-up and staging of the presentations that go on from noon to the early evening. You can see videos and photos of Vancouver’s 4/20 from previous years at the new website www.420Vancouver.com to whet your appetite for the greatest outdoor pot party on earth this year!
As a point of clarification, Seattle definitely has a huge 3-day rally in August, that possibly sees 250,000 people attend at Myrtle Edwards Park, and there is no peer on Earth to that event, but it’s not an open-air farmer’s market with cannabis products sold openly and without police interference and consumed openly for 10 hours on end. But why not attend both and see for yourself? They both represent the height of achievement within the movement. Seattle is an all-volunteer event that has incredible political credibility with Congressmen, the Mayor of Seattle, State representatives and other big names speaking. The sheer scale is awe-inspiring. Vancouver’s 4/20 has attracted Members of Parliament Libby Davies to speak at last year’s event, but it is largely a massive party and celebration of the cannabis culture.
On April 20, while the party goes on, the Vancouver Province newspaper will be sending columnist Jon Ferry down to Yazoo Medium to interview me that weekend. The weather here in Mississippi is warm and sunny every day, quite a contrast to my hometown of Vancouver, where most days are described to me as cool, overcast or rainy. I’m certainly grateful for the very sunny, warm days, the constant breezes, the excellent air that I breathe when I’m outside here. It’s a large component in why I feel so healthy here.
I’ve been reading some wonderful graphic novels, comic books, my many magazine subscriptions, the NY Times newspaper (I do the crossword each day too), some excellent books, and I remain a major source of reading items loaned to many inmates here. Our MP3 players have yet to be put on sale, and although these delays (the MP3 player has been ‘coming soon’ since I arrived here a year ago) are suspenseful, it has not hindered my musical progress. The current scuttlebutt is that they go on sale in the first week of May.
This last weekend I had a visit from my great friend and Rhode Island activist Catharine Leach. This is the second time Cat has come to visit me, and both times she has had numerous challenges! The first time she visited last October, the electrical system on her plane here failed mid-air and she thought she was going to die until they made a successful return to the airport. This time, she encountered numerous annoyances like banks that wouldn’t change a $50 bill into quarters and small bills, the guards here held her for inspection of her rental car, and they refused her admission because her shoes had no backs on them (a rule for visiting), so she had to go into town and buy an $18 pair of shoes with backs on them (that put dents in her feet, as she showed me) to get in to visit me. Then her plane leaving Jackson required maintenance and she was held overnight in Atlanta because she then missed her connecting flight. Plus she came down with a cold and missed her husband and children. It’s possible that’s the last time Catharine is going to visit me, but I really enjoyed seeing a friend and laughing a great deal over the weekend. I always cherish seeing Jodie visit me every two to four weeks, but seeing a friend in the two years I’ve been inside US prisons is very rare.
April 12th is my 8th anniversary of Jodie and I becoming involved with each other. In our entire time together, Jodie has had to live with the tension of having me go to jail or being in jail. When I get out in July 2014, I’ll be so excited to be with her without the imminent threat of jail time awaiting me. The week we became very close I was in court for passing one joint in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, with saw me ultimately get sentenced to three months in jail later that summer. After that stint at Saskatoon Correction from August to October 2004, I was arrested the following year for extradition to the USA, and here I am.
So I’m excited that finally Jodie and I, in July 2014 – by then more than 10 years after we became an item – will be able to have some peace and serenity in our relationship without the threat of prison hovering about our heads. I LOVE MY BRAVE AND AMAZING MRS. JODIE EMERY! It will be so wonderful to finally be home. 828 days to go. (See the daily countdown clock at www.FreeMarc.ca)
Marc Emery’s prison blog is updated by Cannabis Culture staff in Vancouver, B.C. Marc is currently serving a 5-year sentence in Federal Prison in the United States, Yazoo, Mississippi. Please support Marc financially or by writing him a letter. Find out more at FreeMarc.ca
My 54th birthday on Monday, February 13th was spent being sick, my first real malaise since last June or July (I’ve been in great health otherwise). I was dizzy and unable to stand without being queasy. I believe it was from the vitamin fortified oatmeal I had before bed; vitamin supplements don’t seem to sit well with me.
In 2000, I was just starting a daily regimen of vitamin, mineral, glucosamine and other supplements, 20 gel-caps of the stuff, and I got a terrible and sudden dizziness one morning 30 minutes after taking it all. It was like the whole world fell off its axis and I went to the floor, soaked my clothes immediately in a perspiration I had never before experienced. I was immediately nauseous and dizzy. Over the next 36 hours I remained very dizzy and nauseous when standing; it’s called ataxia. Within 48 hours I had recovered.
Three weeks later, about 30 minutes after taking the supplements, I had an identical attack of dizziness, imbalance, nausea. I recovered over 36 hours. There were no other symptoms. I put the connecting dots together and never took supplements again and it never recurred… until I went to North Fraser Pre-Trial in 2010 awaiting extradition to the US. The food was inadequate so I ordered a single multi-vitamin out of the vending machine and the exact same thing happened again as had happened 10 years earlier, but not nearly as threatening or extreme. It still took 36 hours to recover.
Then after eating three packages of fortified oatmeal the night of February 12th this year, the next day, after a disturbed sleep, I feel the same dizziness, ataxia, and nausea, but wisely stayed on my bunk horizontal and slept the whole day, getting up only to rehearse in the studio on my birthday, which went well, remarkably. I went right to bed upon my return. Then nine days later a milder but identical attack occurred, still taking 36 hours to throw off the lightheadedness and sluggishness. There are no other symptoms, so it wasn’t a cold, flu or other identifiable. I can’t identify what I would have eaten that would have caused that last attack. In all five cases from 2000 to present, I am very tired until it subsides, and standing up I become light-headed, nauseous, and dizzy, improving over 36 hours until I am normal. I suspect drinking water would speed getting it out of my system.
So while it was lousy to be sick on my birthday, I did yesterday receive in the mail yesterday from Britney in Vancouver 40 Facebook pages from my birthday with hundreds of people wishing me well. It was great to see some familiar names there and new names. I love getting Facebook pages from my two accounts, so thank you Britney!
My health, other than those two bouts of ataxia, has been exemplary since July. The weather here is always great, it’s warm and sunny almost every day, the air is very clean. I walk the track 90 minutes each day, read books (currently reading ‘Just My Type, a History of Fonts’, and ‘A History of the World in 100 Objects’), my 30 magazine subscriptions that come, the NY Times (and the crossword each day), I write a letter every day but fall behind and I’m embarrassed to say some people who deserve replies don’t sometime get one, plus I do three hours of email daily. My favorite magazines are MacLean’s, which is Canada’s ‘national magazine’, as it totally connects me to home, Mental Floss, a great magazine about anything that is so interesting I read every page, WIRED, DISCOVER, Bloomberg Business Week, and Backwoods Home Magazine. I enjoy reading Time and Newsweek. I get five guitar magazines, Rolling Stone, Architectural Digest, Harpers, and a bunch of others and read them all thoroughly. I’m hooked on a ten-part graphic novel series called ‘Y: The Last Man’, when all the men on earth except one perish from a plague.
As of today, Wednesday, February 29th, I have 861 days to go to my release on July 9, 2014, and 964 days of my sentence behind me. If I serve every day here, I still will not be released directly or immediately, on July 9th, 2014, US immigration will pick me up and take me to an immigration detention center, get my passport in order, and after about two weeks they will put me on a direct flight to Vancouver. So I’m hoping to be home with Jodie in time for our 8th wedding anniversary on July 23, 2014.
My fourth concert here at Yazoo medium was Saturday, February 18th, on a cool evening between Jodie’s visits on the Saturday and Sunday. Our band, Yazoo, was a 6-piece that night, up until now we’ve been going through personnel changes.
First Victor decided to leave to form his own band, that left us as a four piece, which I really liked: SAPP on drums, TC on vocals, me on bass, Terry on lead. Then we added Don, an excellent guitarist, and Chap, also an excellent guitarist, bassist and vocalist, who were from the other rock band ‘Out of Bounds’, whose drummer got transferred to El Reno federal prison.
Well, there’s a lot of talent in that 6-piece, so giving everyone enough to gratify them is a challenge, but it was working out okay. Then SAPP, our drummer, got in a brawl one day; his Florida homies got in a fight with some New York guys and when two guys get into a fight it can expand until there’s a dozen or more within minutes, and so SAPP, not normally a person prone to violence, got put in solitary. We thought he’d be ‘in the SHU’ (Special Housing Unit) for 3-6 months minimum, and likely get a disciplinary transfer to another prison. So there goes our drummer, we thought.
At the same time, a new fellow came to the prison who is a very good drummer; though he lacks the subtle nuance that SAPP brought, he became our drummer for Yazoo. His name is James, or “JG” as he’s called, and he was our our drummer since January to the concert, with no more than 6 practices together. Most of the black guys seem to have nicknames, like TC (our lead singer), or our old drummer ‘SAPP’ (whose name is Jermaine). So for the President’s Day concert we were a 6-piece and it was a little less than perfect.
We played, in order of performance:
I Can See Clearly Now (Johnny Nash)
Red House (Jimi Hendrix)
A Change is Gonna Come (Sam Cooke)
Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay (Otis Redding)
Stormy Monday (Bobby Blue Bland)
Black Magic Woman (Santana)
Wind Cries Mary (Hendrix)
Hey Joe (Jimi Hendrix)
Purple Haze (Hendrix)
Voodoo Child (Hendrix)
I thought I would have the most challenge with Black Magic Woman as my left pointer finger is extremely busy in that entire song and it kind of cramps up, but it turned out fine, even on a cold damp night. Our performance is loud and amplified through an excellent sound board and our audience was about 50-100 inmates, as it was dark, moist and cold that weekend, but you perform when you can. I flubbed a few lines on I Can See Clearly Now (which was the theme song for my Pot TV “Prince of Pot” show for years), but was fine for the rest of the songs.
Since that concert, TC, who will be released soon, left the band, and SAPP returned! Yay! JG was a good drummer but his beats were too fast and aggressive, so SAPP being back is a huge boost to the band. Chap will be doing all the vocals now, so we are a 5-piece, which, with SAPP back, will be a great rock ‘n roll band again.
In my 9 months as a musician (I can’t believe I’m even able to call myself a ‘musician’ credibly), I have been part of a Jamaican reggae band playing Bob Marley songs, played four country songs, five R&B songs, nine Hendrix songs and a dozen classic rock songs.
My band’s practice time in the studio is Monday evening from 5:30pm to 8pm. We worked on the Beatles ‘Come Together’ and ‘Crazy Train’ by Ozzy Osbourne. It’s a blast doing ‘Come Together’, it sounds terrific, there is a great bass line to it, and the song has a strange portentous quality to it. The words and vocals in the original by John Lennon say ‘shoot me’ over 20 times throughout, and the song seems to be about various jokers and strange people who ‘come together’ ‘over me’ like creative friends meeting over a funeral for the singer (John Lennon).
The song apparently was written in 1969 for the aborted run for governor campaign by Timothy Leary for the 1970 election in California. ‘Come together and join the party’ was the original theme; the song took an ominous turn after Leary fled the USA, first to Mexico, then Algeria, to avoid a lengthy jail sentence for marijuana. Leary had already had the US Supreme Court declare US federal marijuana prohibition unconstitutional in 1968, but he was charged again and given serious prison time. So ‘Come Together’ has a fascinating history and the bass parts are great! The Beatles were my first great love in music, as our Aunty Gladys sent me the (45 rpm) singles ‘Love Me Do/Please Please Me’ and ‘She Loves You/PS I Love You’ for Christmas 1963, when I was 5 years old.
In the summer of 1969, when I was 11 years old, five and a half years after Aunt Gladys sent me those two Beatles singles (which in 1964 we played on my parents “hi-fi”), I got one of those portable kids turn-table ‘record players’ in a portable box with a carrying handle. My first purchases were two 45 rpm records at 49 cents each from K-Mart: ‘Sugar, Sugar’ by the Archies, and ‘Daydream Believer’ by the Monkees. I still love both those songs 43 years later, and can sing them now as I could when I first elatedly bought them and played them 25 times a day for the first week in that summer of ’69.
My older brother Stephen, eighteen years old, was so disturbed by my repetitious playing of ‘bubblegum songs’, he went and bought me five 45 rpm singles of what he called ‘real music’. He gifted me with copies of ‘Light My Fire’ by the Doors, ‘Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay’ by Otis Redding, ‘Suite Judy Blue Eyes’ by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, ‘Laughing/Undun’ by the Guess Who and ‘Hey Jude/Revolution’ by the Beatles. I have forever loved those songs too, and feel so privileged that my band Yazoo played, at our recent concert, Otis Redding’s final song before his untimely death in 1967 by airplane crash.
Davy Jones, lead singer of the Monkees, died today, at age 66 from a heart attack. I remember my first girlfriend Lorrie had pin-ups of Bobby Sherman, David Soul and Davy Jones on her wall that summer of 1969. I was supposedly not cool, according to my brother, to love the Monkees, but I did – and still do. Think of me singing this song, mimicking a boyish English accent. (Thanks, Davy Jones.)
Oh I could hide ‘neath the wings of the bluebird as she sings
The six o’clock alarm would never ring
But it rings and I rise, wipe the sleep out of my eyes
My shaving razor’s cold and it stings
Cheer up, sleepy Jean, oh what can it mean
To a daydream believer and a homecoming queen?
You once thought of me as a white knight on his steed
Now you know how happy I can be
Oh, and our good time starts and ends
With a dollar one to spend
But how much baby do we really need?
Cheer up, sleepy Jean, oh what can it mean
To a daydream believer and a homecoming queen?
Cheer up, sleepy Jean, oh what can it mean
To a daydream believer and a homecoming queen?
Cheer up, sleepy Jean, oh what can it mean
To a daydream believer and a homecoming queen?
Cheer up, sleepy Jean, oh what can it mean
To a daydream believer and a homecoming queen?
Along with Come Together and Crazy Train, I am learning the bass lines to ‘Stranglehold’ by Ted Nugent and I already know the bass lines to ‘Money’ by Pink Floyd, so we will be incorporating those four songs in our Easter concert (April 7th) set, replacing ‘I Can See Clearly Now’, ‘Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay’, ‘A Change is Gonna Come’ and ‘Stormy Monday’. Out go the blues, in comes the rock!
In the next month, so we are told, we can buy an MP3 player for $70 that holds up to 1,500 songs, and the terminals to download songs are being installed in our units in the next few weeks. Songs will cost $1.20 and $1.55 each. Alas, my monthly budget is now $850, and it will go up to $920 a month once I buy 40 songs a month.
The biggest expense for me here is email, at $3 an hour, and I do about three hours a day, so that’s about $300 a month there, plus $320 on food, clothing and toiletries, $125 on phone calls to Jodie, $50 on postage, photocopies, stationary, and soon I’ll add on songs to buy plus the initial purchase of an MP3 player. Plus I need some new running shoes. Usually I would get a guy who cleans shoes to clean them, but last time I did that, he swapped my running shoes and gave me back a pair that was not mine, and that were not in as good condition (and as I looked days later after realizing they felt different, noticed they were not the same size either), but by the time I noticed that they felt different (at first I thought they just shrank or changed shape from the washing), the guy was let out of prison and wearing my better condition running shoes. He ‘swapped ‘em out’ as they saying goes. So that’s another $55.
I want to thank Mr. Rochte of Grosse Point, Michigan for putting $50 in my account twice, as has Kevin H. in Winnipeg, who put $40 in my account twice over the last month, and a Mr. Sernocky who also put in $50 twice in the last month! Yay! It really helps me, and I feel like less of a burden on Jodie. In the last 16 months alone, Jodie has spent $38,000 to visit me, and I have required $13,000 to live on in that time, a total of $51,000. Jodie and I have received donations totalling nearly $31,000 in that time, plus I sold my ZZ Top signed guitar for $2,500 to Tony Glickney (thank you Billy Gibbons, Dusty Hill and Frank Beard, who donated the guitar, Francouver who arranged it, and Tony for buying it), so without the help of friends all over, my life would be way more difficult, challenging, and lonely! Jodie also depends on the store to help cover travel costs, so her customers and supporters are definitely appreciated and necessary. A super-special thank you to Dana Larsen for sending me over 100 books over the last year and arranging for my friends Catharine Leach, Jeremiah & Carina of CC, my ex’s (and still friends) Cheryl and Marcy to visit me, and being always beyond generous and helpful. Dana is my best friend and without him my ability to cope would be greatly lessened.
The Province newspaper is coming to visit/interview me on April 21st and 22nd, right after 4/20, for an article on how I’m doing here at Yazoo. I would love it if the reporter could see my band playing in the studio on Monday night so I have a witness from home who can testify our band sounds like the real thing, especially on our Hendrix songs, or ‘Crazy Train’, ‘Come Together’, or ‘Black Magic Woman’. It would be good propaganda for the prison too, as I have already said in interviews that regarding its core job of keeping inmates safe, and having guards who don’t harbor animosity towards inmates, this place is well run. I arrived here on 4/20 last year. CBC National TV news is also seeking permission to film an interview with me here to put on their national news telecast. I would love to have our band play Black Magic Woman for CBC TV news! But it’s not likely to happen, as the prison doesn’t seem eager to have reporters come visit. So we’ll see how that goes.
My next visits from Jodie are March 10/11 and 24/25, then April 15/16 and 29/30, then May 19/20, then June 9/10. I just received back today ten photos of Jodie and I taken in the visitation room from our last visit on the Presidents Day weekend (February 18/19), so you’ll see those in a week or so!
This Saturday I’m hoping Ron Paul wins his first primary/caucus with the Washington State caucus. I’m hoping he wins first in Washington, Alaska (March 6th caucus), and comes in second and gets delegates out of Idaho, Virginia, North Dakota, Vermont on Super Tuesday (March 6th). Go Ron Paul! My good friend and busy SuperMom activist (and CC blogger) Catharine Leach of Rhode Island is campaigning until April 24th, the day of the Rhode Island Primary, to be a Ron Paul delegate to the Republican Presidential Convention in Tampa from August 27-30. Catharine has qualified for the delegate nomination process, and now must campaign to have Republican primary voters back her to be a delegate. Rhode Island gets 16 delegates to the Republican convention, 8 from the two districts in RI. If Ron Paul gets 15% or more, he gets at least one delegate from each district; if he comes in first, he gets 4 delegates from each district, second is two delegates, third or fourth (but over 15%) is one delegate each.
Catharine and I (as well as Jodie, and many others!) believe that if Ron Paul is not the Republican nominee, America is in serious trouble. Our great faith in Ron Paul’s strong views against prohibition were beautifully summarized with a speech he gave on Thursday, February 16 in Vancouver, Washington, where he said (quoted verbatim from Seattle CBS local evening news of February 17th, and Associated Press):
“‘If we are allowed to deal with our eternity with all that we believe in spiritually, and if we’re allowed to read any book that we want under freedom of speech, why is it we can’t put into our body whatever we want?’ Paul told more than 1,000 people at a rally in Vancouver, a suburb of Portland, Oregon. Voters in Washington are likely to decide this year whether to legalize the recreational use of marijuana.”
(Also see videos and articles of Ron Paul defending and fighting for the cannabis culture here)
I hope the legion of cannabis activists in Washington State will go vote for Ron Paul at the Washington state caucus this Saturday, March 3rd. The Oregon Primary is May 15th, and Ron Paul has a good chance of winning first or second in Oregon also. Good luck to you, Catharine, and please, my US supporters and readers, please get out to vote for the wonderful, decent, anti-prohibitionist Ron Paul in your states primary or caucus!
My wife Jodie Emery and I both receive thousands of letters and inquiries with impassioned pleas that read: “I want to do something to make a difference. I want to legalize marijuana. What can I do? Can you advise or help me start? Where do I begin?” This is a question, without rival, that we hear most often.
It comes mostly from Americans and Canadians, but I have received the same question from India, Australia, Europe, the Philippines, Japan, and all over the world. It is a universal desire shared by many people in the cannabis culture the planet over.
If all these millions of people, largely high school and college students, could be harnessed into productive purpose, it would be a huge political force indeed! But most people who consume cannabis and believe in its worth still do nothing to advance our cause in any meaningful way.
The sobering truth is that true political action that gains results is boring, largely frustrating, uninteresting, tiresome, hard work and requires great patience for a reward that may not ever materialize. It involves writing legible and intelligent short letters (spell check always on, and thoroughly edited). It requires gathering verifiable, validated signatures, with care that the signatory includes their full address and live in the jurisdiction required. It involves going to an elected official’s office with a specific request, to get that 10 minute appointment may involve 3 or 4 letters, emails and phone calls. That requires perseverance. A rally will require you to have a specific political purpose, and will require intense advance promotion, and it will require the gathering of contact information from everyone who attends.
Useful political activism rarely ever feels like fun. It feels like work. Exhausting work. Most young people don’t really know that much about hard, focused work. Most young people don’t even vote – most of the cannabis culture doesn’t vote! Most of the cannabis culture likes to party, but hard work for a political objective, they do not often do.
There are a dedicated few people out there that do know this experience of hard work for a political purpose. The great leaders in our movement know all about hard work. Vivian McPeak of Seattle, who for 20 years has put on Seattle’s Hempfest, the massive annual gathering of 200,000+ people in Myrtle Edwards Park as a non-paid volunteer, knows about hard work. He was a leading activist to get the 2003 Seattle ballot initiative I-75 making marijuana possession the lowest possible police priority in Seattle.
Every year on Christmas Day, Vivian McPeak and a few other dedicated true activists spend the holiday with signs in front of a courthouse, federal building or jail protesting the incarceration of his fellow citizens under the US drug laws. He writes letters, meets with Congress people and state representatives, assists other festivals and rallies, guides and commits to numerous other political actions. He and others attended and helped organize rallies outside the Seattle courthouse where I was sentenced to 5 years in a US federal prison for my activist activities I did in Canada. And yet very few people might recognize him on the street. Many times his activity may appear to gain no political result. There may be no reward other than knowing he is doing the right thing.
HARD WORK & COMMITMENT IS REQUIRED
As an activist, it is hard to measure our impact on the movement and the political system by our contribution. Sometimes, often even, it seems like you might be toiling in obscurity, having no visible or discernable impact. You may never know though the great impact you can have, will have, and do have, by your example of dedication, hard work and focused energy on a political goal. Only weeks, months or years later will you meet someone, or receive an email from an activist doing some good work, or inspired to get involved, who says, “I saw you speak at the library rally two years ago and I went home and read more, and found you were right, and decided to get involved. So now I’m at this booth gathering signatures for the 2012 ballot initiative.”
Or you’ll hear, “I saw you gathering signatures on a cold April day at a table outside the mall, you were getting medical marijuana on the ballot, and I wondered what would motivate someone to freeze in the cold, and you patiently explained why it was so important. That always stuck in my head, how dedicated you were. When I met a person later who said you were all a bunch of stoners who just wanted to get high, I remembered you and spoke up, ‘That’s not true,’ and I found out I was a believer, and I don’t even smoke pot, but I became an advocate that day.” Or, “I read your letter in the daily paper. You know, it couldn’t have been more than a hundred words you wrote, but what powerfully true words. I couldn’t get the logic of what you said out of my head. That was the day I was convinced. That’s why I’m here today, at this lecture (rally, signature gathering), with three friends I brought.”
That is the ripple effect of our endeavors.
When you contemplate how to make a difference, there are some things that will not work and will not happen. You will not find anyone famous or a celebrity to contribute their time to your project, be it a fundraiser, rally, or whatever. Celebrities expect to be paid no matter what it’s for. And celebrities never do anything controversial that could endanger their reputation with their movie studios, record labels, their ability to travel internationally, or the IRS and other government agencies that keep an eye on us all. That’s why celebrities lend their name to issues that few can find fault with, like starving children, world hunger/poverty, cancer, etc.
Few celebrities can be found to lend their name to campaigns against censorship, legalizing drugs, ending the prison-punishment complex, amnesty for illegal immigrants, etc. because there is blowback to putting your name and reputation on the line for anything controversial. Even celebrities like Chad Kroeger of Nickelback, who espoused the joys of marijuana at every Nickelback concert I ever went to, never advocates legalization in any public statement, nor does he lend his name to any political activity to that end. In fact, he chums around with Prime Minister Harper who would love to see all marijuana users in prison and stigmatized! Celebrities by and large use not only cannabis, but also a wide variety of illegal drugs, and virtually never get politically active. The more powerful a person is in society, the less likely they will do anything with their power to contribute to the political discourse that seeks to legalize marijuana and end the prohibition.
Marijuana growers and marijuana dealers, people with money who profit by prohibition, will only help you if it helps them. As we saw with Proposition 19 in California in 2010, where the counties with a large number of prohibition profiteers voted NO in larger numbers than those counties where marijuana was not so embedded in the culture, they are largely self-interested people concerned far more with their own ability to exploit our culture while it’s illegal than to use those funds to liberate us from the prohibition tyranny.
That is why a saint of a man like Richard Lee, who took over a million dollars of his prohibition profits (from dispensary sales to thousands of happy patients, and education seminars for activists, growers, and medical users), virtually financed the entire Proposition 19 campaign himself, because a large number of the growers in California are prohibition parasites and do not want to see cannabis legalized for all. A visionary and beautiful man like Richard Lee was a rare, rare person. He made a tremendous difference, yet was betrayed by the exploiters of our culture and their weak-minded acolytes who sabotaged our greatest hope for legalization in 2010.
The initiatives being circulated for 2012 in California will not be successful because there is no saint like Richard Lee giving a million plus dollars to gather those signatures. Those initiative attempts will fail miserably because money that could help the movement to end punishment for pot has instead corrupted part of the medical marijuana movement in California. The many vested interests want to keep it illegal, so it can be profitable for them: police, prosecutors, politicians, gangsters, and many marijuana growers.
So you are left with ordinary citizens like you to make a difference. So what can you do? Plenty!
WHY YOU’RE GETTING INVOLVED
What’s at stake with continued prohibition? Here are themes that required activism to address and remedy:
1) The drug war brings civil war, violence, murder, genocide, defoliation, and narco-military and government corruption to nation states all over the planet, of which Mexico, Columbia, and Afghanistan are but current examples.
2) In the United States there are somewhat over one million Americans in county, state and federal prisons for drug offenses out of a prison population of 2,500,000. There are 50,000-100,000 foreign nationals in US jails for drug offenses. There are 50,000-100,000 people in prisons for being a felon in possession of a weapon, or a weapon in the proximity of a drug trade, offences that are related to the drug war. Drug offenses then account for about half of all prisoners in the US. This affects approximately 10,000,000 other Americans whose family members, heads of household, breadwinners, sons, daughters, mothers, fathers are in prison from drug offenses. Many of these families then become life-long dependants of the welfare-prison-punishment system.
3) Over 10,000 teenagers enter the drug trade every month. It starts out simply enough. Teenagers needing marijuana choose a close friend who “knows someone”. That friend then quickly finds out that if he buys a quality ounce for $320, and has three friends who will front him $110 each for a quarter ounce, then he can have his own quarter ounce covered by his friends’ contribution. This is how virtually every dealer in the illegal substance trades begins. But that novice dealer quickly learns about economy of scale, and word gets out to others and soon he is buying “QPs” (quarter-pounds) and having a wider network of “friends” who want the good stuff. Quickly he begins to make money, and his client base expands. Soon he has a lot of money, better clothes, girls who are impressed, a car, status, and other “bling”. His lifestyle looks very enviable to other teenagers whose legal alternatives are part-time work at McDonalds or clerking at Target at $8 an hour. And so the materialist corruption of youth inevitably spreads rapidly as numerous teenagers in a social circle seek the material rewards of the being a dealer in the drug trade. The dealer then meets suppliers of other substances, and the corruption expands. The potential for abuse of more hazardous substances then becomes more likely. When one dealer is jailed or removed through gang violence, others, not just teenagers, take escalating measures to capture that aspect of the drug market now made available by the elimination of the previous supplier. Prohibition is terribly destructive to our young people, poor people, minorities, those whose English skills are poor, those who lack a good education, those who did not have two parents regularly at home, and those with children who cannot get a decent paying job. As I said in my ‘drug abuse awareness classes’ here at Yazoo prison, “Would any of us, guards or inmates, be here if these drugs were sold legally in stores under regular market controls and conditions? Why would anyone be dealing drugs? We wouldn’t. Prohibition made it attractive, and inevitable, considering the circumstances of poverty, unemployment and life at home.”
4) The militarization and the establishment of the permanent police state and the use of violence by police forces in the United States, Canada, Mexico and the world over has occurred because of the war on drugs. The erosion and often elimination of constitutional safeguards to the privacy, safety and liberty of the citizen has occurred because of the drug war. Police powers of arrest, detention, surveillance, violence, force, forfeiture, have become dangerous to ordinary citizens as a result of prohibition.
5) Parents who use marijuana, even safely, even for medical reasons lose their children to ‘child protective services’ every day in Canada and the United States. Have you ever heard someone say, “I was taken from my parents by child protective services because my parents smoked marijuana, and I was separated from my Mom, Dad, and siblings and placed in foster care, and that made my life better”? You never hear it. Families are torn apart by the war on drugs.
6) Prohibition keeps the price of marijuana absurdly high. In a legal environment, marijuana would be $10-$20 an ounce, leaving the average marijuana consumer thousands of additional dollars each year to spend on education, their children, consumer goods, savings, rent, a home, their health. Ending prohibition would channel billions back into the productive economy and increase the standard of living of hundreds of millions of cannabis consumers on the planet.
7) While marijuana remains illegal and expensive, alcohol and prescription drugs get used more often by default because of their price and availability advantages. There is no more destructive substance on earth than alcohol. If marijuana were legal, it could be advertised and promoted, and the market comparisons of the effect of the two would be compelling advertising. Alcohol kills over a million people on the planet each year, marijuana kills absolutely zero. Alcohol causes staggering violence, barbarism, spousal abuse, aggression, traffic fatalities, gun abuse, fighting, riots, and destruction of property. Marijuana achieves a far more desirable state of intoxication without any of the negative aspects of alcohol intoxication. Alcohol destroys organs and brain cells in the body and advances cancer, while marijuana repairs brain cells and attacks cancers and tumors in the body. But until marijuana is legal, commercialized, and marketed without the current demonization by government, these comparisons are hard to get into the minds of citizens and consumers. Marijuana, once marketed, will steal billions of dollars in sales from former alcohol and prescription drug users. Alcohol consumption and abuse will decline precipitously once marijuana is legalized.
The expense to taxpayer of marijuana prohibition in the United States since 1970 is estimated to exceed one trillion dollars. In 2011 it was about $40 billion. And that’s just the United States. And just marijuana prohibition.
9) Ending prohibition brings the role of government more in line with its proper purpose: to provide infrastructure and to protect our fundamental liberties. The purpose of government should never be to restrict or interfere in our peaceful lifestyle choices, or the market that seeks to serve our peaceful lifestyle choices.
All these aspects of the catastrophic effects of prohibition are inter-related too. Eliminating the cannabis prohibition and drug prohibition is the single greatest good that we could achieve in our lifetime. It would uplift all the people of the world, dramatically reduce violence and militarism, restore our fundamental civil rights and liberties, and improve the world’s health. The improvements in our way of life are so great as to hardly be imaginable.
But I want you to closely examine your life and brainstorm about how much better life would be for 7 billion people on earth if we can eliminate prohibition.
GETTING TO WORK
An effective activist is an organized individual. You need to have a goal, and to that end you need a TO-DO LIST every day. This outlines what you need to achieve that morning, that day, and that week. You need to have a poster of chart or calendar clearly visible to you to remind yourself what you must get done to further your activist goals.
The other side of this coin is that you must eliminate or push aside time-wasting distractions, or at least indulge in these time-wasting vices only after you have accomplished the goals set out in your TO-DO list. Time wasting activities include getting high without working on activism, spending hours on Facebook, instant messaging, chatting with friends, gratuitous snacking, pornography, and any activity that takes your attention away from the work at hand. Work is work. It won’t be fun like getting high or masturbating or tweeting pointless trivia about what sandwich you had for lunch. Work gets results, and that’s what an activist does or attempts to do.
Most of you will have to conduct your activism around fundamental survival and primary obligations such as your schooling, your job, your children, buying and consuming food, keeping your home clean and tidy, etc. so a ruthlessly maintained TO-DO list is essential if you are to get anything of use to our cause done.
Most of the work you do as an activist has to do with POLITICS and the political system. Even though there are over 30 million regular marijuana consumers in Canada and the USA, most of these 30 million do no activism of any kind. They cannot, in the majority, even be bothered to vote. They are ignorant of the political system and how to effectively participate in it. They willfully stay ignorant even though they are persecuted and risk a criminal record, fines, jail, losing their job, their children, property, and drivers license. The prohibition laws established by three levels of government (Local, state/provincial & federal) pose a 24-hour threat to each person in the cannabis culture, as well as forcing us to buy on the black market and pay prohibition prices for marijuana costing thousands of dollars a year.
Politics is a tough thing to participate in, especially if one regards himself or herself as an idealist and sees how disappointingly corrupt politics is. But the alternative (that is, not participating in politics) is far more dangerous to each one of us. Of course it’s not a perfect system – it’s not even a good one – but it’s the system that dictates many aspects of our lives, and we’ve got to get involved in it if we have any hope of changing it for the better.
Your objective is to change the laws, which exist with a political system. An important and secondary goal is to educate, motivate, inspire and recruit others into political activity to change or abolish the prohibition laws or aspects of prohibition.
There are basic first steps you must take. (Note: much of the following is written for Americans, but the same tactics and examples apply for Canada too.) The first step is to join the existing groups that have been established who have a track record of success or are useful in the information they distribute. I recommend you forward $25 by credit card or PayPal or money order to each:
These three organizations I highly recommend for their information value alone. $25 a year is the least you should give each one because the education and information they provide is valuable way beyond the $25. They will give you ideas of activity you can do locally. You will also have the opportunity of receiving alerts that instruct you to call your Congressman, legislator (that is your state representative) about specific bills before Congress, some good ones, like Ron Paul-Barney Frank’s legalization bill in Congress, or bad ones, as most of them tend to be.
Marijuana Policy Project has been very effective in the past getting statewide ballot initiatives organized. They have a pull down menu on their website by state so you can see what important bills/activities that may affect your state are in progress. Norml.org is the best information source in the movement, and StopTheDrugWar.net is one of the best also. I urge you to support them by sending $25 to them right now.
If you say, “I don’t have any money”, then I can only say, “the only way to get money is to go out and work and earn the money. ” You cannot be an effective activist if you are broke. Period. All activism requires effort, focus, a goal, and some of your own money that is necessary to be expended. I’m not asking you to spend a lot of money at all, but every one of us in the cannabis culture has a moral obligation to sacrifice some pleasure, luxury, time or whatever to provide some money to fight this grotesque injustice. GET TO WORK! Shovel snow, mow a lawn, work as a grocery clerk, get a job, earn an income. This is a war, for goodness sakes. Put off that gratuitous tattoo, go without that primo weed for a week or two, give up your weekend drinking budget – make sacrifices to make it happen. Activism should become a priority above all other non-essential survival and family obligations.
Most activities that people in the cannabis culture enjoy doing achieve no political purpose. For example, an April 20th rally has virtually no political value; it will not change any laws or politicians’ minds. Very few contacts are gained that are politically valid at an April 20th rally. It is a celebration of the culture, and a protest of sorts. But you should be trying to make a real difference in laws and policy.
Do not form your own group as your first step. You are not yet qualified to organize or lead others or risk squandering the energy, time and resources of others. This is about what YOU can do.
The movement absolutely does not need any more Facebook pages, websites, or social network sites with a non-specific purpose. A Facebook page called “Legalize marijuana” or any such similar sentiment often wastes the time and energy of anyone who bothers getting involved with it. Worse, it gives you a false sense of satisfaction you are doing something for the movement, and you are not. You may be doing something “fun” or “self-satisfying”, but that is not useful political activism. A “like” is not activism.
Much of social media is anti-activism because it distracts people away from doing something really useful for the movement. Social media is a catalyst to activism, but it’s not activism. Tahir Square in Cairo, Egypt was filled by people who were using social media to get bodies to the square – but the people showing up in the square was the activism. People willing to get their head kicked in, roughed up, jailed, shot and killed, taking a risk with their lives – that was the activism. Social media, Twitter, and text messaging got them to the square, but didn’t make a dictator fall. PEOPLE POWER did that. People willing to give something up. People willing to die.
What are YOU willing to give up to achieve liberty for yourself and our cause?
CONTACTING YOUR REPRESENTATIVE
The first thing all activists must do is begin a dialogue with your elected representatives. This means writing a cogent, BRIEF letter, by mail (not email) to your Congressperson in Washington. Your connection to MPP, NORML, and StopTheDrugWar, all with offices in Washington, DC, will keep you informed of bills and activities that deserve your notice and your input.
Letters by postal mail are far more influential than email. Firstly, mostly older people who actually get out to vote write letters by mail, and politicians consider older people as more valuable. Secondly, letters exist physically. Physical things are harder to deny. An email may or may not be seen and read, may or may not be answered or considered.
A physical letter has a psychological advantage. The Congressperson and his secretaries and mail readers know that anyone who would, in this day and age, type up a thoughtful letter, put a stamp on it, walk to a post office box, and patiently wait for a response after making a physical effort, is probably going to put a similar effort into voting. A person who does all that may get politically active if disappointed, or may volunteer for the Congressperson’s re-election campaign if satisfied. A Congressperson gets hundreds, perhaps thousands of emails, but they take little effort to send, and letters are much more rare and far more precious politically.
You will get a physical reply by postal mail, unlike an email. This is a record of your dialogue with your elected representative. Know in advance you are likely to be unsatisfied by your exchange. Your Congressperson will likely admit to a bias that you find ridiculous and irrational. But this gives you an opportunity to understand where the Congressperson is coming from. You look at his presentation of his point of view, you analyze it, and then you identify an area where you can send a BRIEF medical or scientific rebuttal to his main point – preferably a rebuttal that comes from a source that Congressperson would respect (that is, someone from his religious order, or political party, or colleague from the university he attended).
Name-calling and insults are absolutely forbidden in any exercise of effective activism. You shouldn’t even use negative terminology in your letters to elected officials. You should thank them for their response of your previous letter. You should express interest in their next town hall meeting in the state or district. You should emphasize your family has lived in that district for many generations, if that is true. You should find the Congressperson’s last election material, and seize on values he has expressed that you can point to and explain how ending prohibition, would, in fact, lead to the kind of America and the values the Congressperson claims to aspire to.
You must select your topics of discussion within a narrow range. You can’t be trying to cover several topics in one letter or dialogue. Stick to one main point, and try to find areas of agreement, where your suggestions dovetail into the Congressperson’s stated value system.
Writing politicians requires patience because it’s likely you will be unsatisfied and frustrated. But you want them to assess your point of view, and you also want to become a known quantity – that is, someone who has a rational intelligent point of view.
If you have a legislator or Congressperson who advocates a rational point of view, then a letter endorsing that point of view is a good idea. Ask what you, as a citizen, can do to draw support to the proposal by that representative.
WRITING TO NEWSPAPERS
Once you have engaged dialogues with your elected officials, your next avenue of activism is writing letters to local print media, especially the daily and weekly newspapers in your community. These should be no more than 200 words and should be a response to some news item you have seen in the paper about prohibition, police behavior, harsh sentencing, the impact on the community, etc. Depending on the volume of mail/email a paper receives, you may have a 1 in 4 chance of getting published, so perseverance is key.
For a great article about Letter Writing As Activism from sold-out “Activism Special” Cannabis Culture Magazine #65, see here.
RADIO TALK SHOWS
Most communities have radio talk shows. These, too, are useful avenues to advocate an end to prohibition whenever subjects like crime, prisons, reducing budgets, drugs, inner cities, etc. are discussed. Again, there will be times you are put on hold and the host does not get to you by the end of the show, and many times the phone lines are full up and you can’t even get in the queue to speak on the air, but eventually you will get on the radio. Have your ideas written down in point form, be VERY brief, and get what you want to say done in 30 seconds. Usually radio talk shows allow you one statement, the host or guest gets a rejoinder, and then it’s on to the next caller, or a commercial. Don’t waste any time saying “I love your show,” or “I’d like to say hello to your guest,” – you are wasting your precious airtime with meaningless pleasantries. Go immediately to your points(s).
This is also a great way for people to get active and educate others when they’re forced to keep a relatively low profile because of their job, kids, or any other risk factor. That’s because you only need to give your name to be on air, and you can simply use your middle name if you’ve got reason to be cautious where you live. As long as your message is powerful, informative and understandable, you’re having a positive impact.
PROTESTS AND RALLIES
At some point you may want to organize a protest or a rally. This could be at the office of an elected official, in front of City Hall, or the Statehouse if you live near it. Here are three excellent articles about “How To Hold a Rally” and “Rally Tools” from Cannabis Culture Magazine “Activism Special” #65, plus a Hempfest article from the same issue:
It’s surprisingly difficult to get more than a few dozen people to appear at a protest or rally. You can promote on Facebook (because it’s a specific event with a specific purpose) and put posters up, but turnout is considered good if you get only 25-50 people to come. The protest should be at a time when passersby will see your signs and hear your chants. The chants should never be rude, they should be brief and to the point – “No More Drug War”, “Cannabis Saves Lives”, “Prohibition Doesn’t Work”, or anything that can be easily understood by the people who will hear it.
Signs should be legible, most importantly. I prefer computer and machine made signs, using solid, thick, bold fonts. Hand painted signs are too amateur appearing for my tastes, and are often hard to read when passing by, but can look good if very big, solid lettering is used.
If the media chooses to cover the rally or protest, the signs will convey your message to thousands who see you on TV or in the newspaper, so those signs should be very succinct and very readable. See photos of a December 2011 anti-prohibition protest held in Vancouver here and a similar protest in 2009 here.
April 20th rallies are popular now, but do not contain much of a political message and are largely attended by many teenagers. Young counter-culture teenagers being shown surreptitiously smoking marijuana makes a dubious political statement.
For rallies that have a political purpose, participants should dress respectably in office-suitable apparel, with clear legible signs, and be well groomed. Appearance is important – the message needs to be appealing to the most people possible. You need to convert the people who read newspapers and watch the TV news, mostly people over 45, conservative, older people.
The hippies and the counter culture agree with you already, but they don’t vote generally. People who read newspapers (real paper ones, not online) and people who watch the local TV news or listen to talk radio generally vote. If you want to change minds, not only do your ideas need to be carefully chosen, but your clothes, your appearance, your demeanor, your language and your signs need to appeal to the conservative, older people who see you while driving by in their cars, or on the TV news, or in a newspaper.
STUDENT & CAMPUS ACTIVISM
If you are attending high school, college or university, motivating your fellow students to political awareness and political action should be part of your activism. However, it should only be a part of it. You want to influence the greater world beyond your school.
You can however, start an “Anti-Prohibition League” or Anti-Prohibition Club on campus, such as a Students For Sensible Drug Policy groups (www.ssdp.org and www.cssdp.org). A “Legalize Cannabis” club is too narrow and will appeal to greatly to a stoner mentality, and doesn’t challenge the problem in a philosophically consistent way. Legalizing marijuana is a goal, true, but it isn’t the heart of the problem. The problem is prohibition, and no prohibition is ever effective, just or rational. I believe for example that all prohibitions on personal choice are wrong and indefensible. Prohibitions on guns, sex, drugs, plants, property, abortion, gambling, sexual orientation, dancing, music, media and communication, manufacturing anything, are all wrong. Personal choice is limited to the non-violence principle, personal bodily and mental autonomy, and property rights.
But for the sake of your school club or association, prohibition refers to the government policy of banning or criminalizing certain consumed substances.
A club would do several activities. It would invite speakers to come lecture and educate your group and the larger student body about the issues surrounding prohibition. It would have a booth during clubs week. It would advocate for any anti-prohibition politicians (like Ron Paul) running for office in the school year, and club members would be encouraged to volunteer for these political campaigns. It would seek to have student leadership resist rules or regulations that require the expulsion of students who use or advocate marijuana. It would seek to address the laws that restrict or prohibit student aid to people with drug convictions.
It is important that this club not degenerate into a pot-smoking club. All the indulging, if desired, should occur after serious work has been expended to get necessary political activism done that day.
All schools have newspapers. You should be writing anti-prohibition articles and attempting to get them published in the school paper. Many colleges and universities house a community radio station. Try to get an Anti-Prohibition Radio show. This could be a one or two hour show where you read articles and news items from Norml.org or StopTheDrugWar.org and play anti-prohibition songs, of which there are many. (“Bush Doctor”, “Legalize It”, newer marijuana music – there are dozens and dozens of songs if you check around.)
GET INVOLVED WITH POLITICAL CAMPAIGNS
For the first five months of 2012, the most vital political activity for those who want to end the drug war has to be, without any exception, supporting Congressman Ron Paul in his bid for the Republican nomination for President. If you do not know about the greatest man ever to advocate for an end to the drug war in the history of US politics, please read my previous blogs here and here for video and details about Ron Paul and his views on abolishing the office of drug czar, abolishing the DEA, ending all federal drug laws, and pardoning all non-violent drug offenders in US prisons, including me.
Joining the Ron Paul campaign in your state will give you experience working on phone banks, holding up signs, handing out literature, working on an honorable, principled campaign with the ideal of our cause firmly part of the campaign. Plus, you will meet many other highly motivated activists. Ron Paul never hides his belief the drug war is wrong; the Constitution, he says, makes no allowance for a federal drug war or federal drug laws or federal drug agencies or people in federal prisons for drug use. He believes all state medical marijuana laws should never experience obstruction or contradiction from the federal government.
The Republican race for the Presidential nomination will get down to Mitt Romney vs. Ron Paul by Super Tuesday in March (March 6th). The Republicans cannot win without the Ron Paul voters, and the Republicans cannot beat continued-and-expanded-war Obama without Ron Paul as their nominee. If Ron Paul is not the nominee for the Republicans, I will urge you to support the Libertarian Party candidate, the former two-term governor of New Mexico, Gary Johnson, a fine principled man who repudiates the drug war and would certainly legalize marijuana if elected President.
If you decide to do one thing to end this terrible prohibition, joining the Ron Paul Revolution RIGHT NOW is the most urgent need.
Other options include gathering signatures. Several states in 2012 have signature gathering drives to put medical marijuana or a legalization of marijuana on the ballot. They will need your help immediately. Read about the states that have drives currently underway at NORML.org or here:http://capwiz.com/norml2/issues/ and contact their organizers so you can get out on the streets, on your campus, or in your neighborhood to gather signatures.
Are there any anti-prohibition candidates in your community or your state? It may require you to do some research but you will find some candidates who have some aspect of pro-choice on cannabis in them. Medical marijuana, or legalization, or some aspect of their positions you can find favor with in regards the drug war. They may be small-party candidates who have no realistic chance of victory, but they deserve our support if no major party candidates emerge upholding some of our anti-prohibition values.
Find out about the Libertarian, Constitutionalist or Green Party candidates in the your district or community if the Democrat and Republicans have nothing to offer. These smaller parties value your contributions in money and manpower even more than the major parties. These smaller parties will give you insight into how to run (or not run) a modest budget campaign with limited goals. Since the small party candidates aren’t expecting to be elected, their job is to educate the public on their issues, critique the Democrat and Republican candidates, and recruit volunteers and members for future growth and campaigns. Your job is to learn all you can about the political process.
RUNNING FOR OFFICE
There will come a time when you are fired up, fed up, and have no one to vote for that represents your views on prohibition. It might be all your city councilors or county supervisors have let the local police trample over the rights and privacy of the people. It might be police brutality as a result of prohibition. It might be a sheriff who is a crazed drug warrior. It might be a judge who gives pot people long sentences. It might be a position in the statehouse legislature where both the Republican and Democrat demagogue on who is toughest on crime, while neither is smart on crime. It might be your Congressman is a hopeless drug warrior and his opponent is little better.
You might just decide to run for an elected office yourself. If you do, set realistic goals. Your odds of getting elected with major party support, or being part of well-moneyed slate with substantial backing, are candidly very long odds indeed. Your first time out, you simply won’t get many votes and you won’t get elected. You’ll be running as an Independent, a Green, a Libertarian, or other small party. You won’t have many volunteers and most money you spend will be your own. You’ll need someone to do your paperwork. There are forms to fill out, nominating signatures to gather, and bank accounts to manage. You need to keep track of all your donations and all your campaign expenditures.
Most of your friends will be useless in helping you, but you should try to get $10 and $25 donations from them. Ask people to volunteer and, if they get on board, assign them specific tasks essential to your campaign. Develop a Facebook page and website touting your candidacy. Make them both easily navigable and easy to understand. Look at other candidate templates on the net to find a style or approach you like (Jodie’s 2009 BC Green Party provincial election campaign website design is simple but informative: http://www.jodieformla.ca/).
Generous advance planning is recommended. Good planning saves money, time, effort and error. If you are the candidate, ultimately you are in charge but you need to find one very passionate, committed, reasonable, easy-to-get along-with person who can be your campaign manager. A good campaign manager is your most valuable asset. They need to have time, the organizing skills and a belief in you as the candidate. They need to be good with people, have a calm managerial style, and be good with and knowledgeable about the media.
You need some signs. Get quotes on a 100 corroplast (corrugated plastic signs) measured about 18″ x 24″ (larger signs, like 24″ x 36″ or 24″ x 48″, are better to hold up on busy roads, printed both sides in one color plus black on white). Election supplies can be found at websites online; simply Google “Election sign manufacture”.
The best way to efficiently, at no or low cost (your time and the signs cost), get your name out there is to stand on busy roadsides at rush hours or busy traffic periods with your name, the office you are seeking, and your website on a very legible sign. It would pay off if you can get yourself or volunteers to go to main intersections anywhere from 7am to nightfall with your (hopefully easy-to-read, attractive) waterproof signs being held proudly in the air. You’ll get thousands of eyes on your signs each hour. Some will check out your website and read your issues. If they like your views, your website will have contact information for them to reach you, and ways for them to leave comments. Respond to those potential supporters immediately, and ask for a small donation or their time as a volunteer.
Even though you probably won’t get elected, you will learn a great deal about the political process, voters, campaigning, what the people you meet in your community think about your ideas. The experience will help improve your work on future campaigns, whether for yourself or as a campaign manager or worker in other campaigns. I have run for office on twelve occasions from 1980 to 2008, and Jodie has run as a candidate three times (2005, 2008, 2009), and we did not get elected, but enjoyed the experience very much. It really was hard, grueling work to try to do it right. You have to put yourself out there and take criticism, get feedback, and get ignored by big media, the other candidates, and most voters.
When you are an independent or small party candidate, a refrain you will here often is “I like your ideas, but you can’t win, so I’m voting for Mr. Lesser-of-Two-Evils”. It will be frustrating to hear that, but elections are a package deal and voters rarely vote on principle. They tend to vote for the candidate who they see as most likely to defeat the candidate they really hate. Tell those voters to take your shared position on the issue to the candidate that they plan to vote for instead, and make it an issue with them.
Eventually you will get experience, develop a good reputation, and move up from an unknown candidate electioneering in obscurity, to running as a small party (say Green, Libertarian) candidate, to running as a Democrat in a heavily Republican neighborhood – or conversely, an opportunity to run as a Republican in, say, San Francisco or a heavily Democratic neighborhood. Maintaining your principles as you get closer to an actual opportunity to get elected will be the big challenge, but let’s hope you get that challenge!
Participating in an election is a very rewarding experience. To do it right is very draining, very exhausting, and very satisfying. It’s nice to get out there and listen to voters, tell people your ideas, and do the campaigning. But it takes a huge amount of time and energy. Decide if it’s really worth it for you before biting off more than you can chew!
DO WHAT YOU LOVE
Finally, everyone has a creative gift or ability of some useful kind. What is your talent?
If you can sing or are musical, do a music video for your favorite candidate, or if you have a band, contribute a performance night’s funds towards a drug policy reform group. If you are good at developing websites, let activist groups or politicians know you are available free or very cheap to build them a website. If you have organizing skills, offer your expertise to the rally organizers. If you are a graphic artist or graphic designer, offer your skills to design election signs, rally posters, graphic images for a website, website design.
Think of a skill you have and offer it to those in your community who are doing good work. If you are good at earning money but have little time to volunteer, give money to those who are doing the activist work you admire. If you have a car and are a safe driver, offer your driving skills to the rally organizers or election campaigns to drive voters, or to pick up rally supplies.
Everyone who believes in the cause of liberty and an end to prohibition has something valuable to offer. All you need to do is commit.
Now get to work!
Marc Emery #40252-086
FCI Yazoo City – Medium E-1
P.O. Box 5888
Yazoo City, MS
Marc would like to see this article as a ‘living document’, continually growing with more valuable information. If you have any suggested activism or comments you feel should be added to this piece, please send your suggestions to Jodie@cannabisculture.com or Jeremiah@cannabisculture.com
I chose that title for today’s Christmas blog because I do believe it is a wonderful life, and it’s much too short. The Frank Capra Christmas classic “It’s a Wonderful Life” was a reminder to: 1) never underestimate the good you have done and the good you can do in the world, 2) be grateful for the love you have, and 3) be grateful for whatever you do have, it could be much worse!
Every day I get letters written by strangers whom I have never met reminding me I am loved, and I am blessed. I have an incredible wife who loves me, and wonderful friends, some well known, many others I have never met. I’ve had an incredible life, and as I approach the half-way mark of my sentence in 14 days, I am full optimism and joy inside.
I am also blessed to know others who care for me, and in their letters with their heartfelt sympathy for me, they reveal without complaint, just how challenging life can be.
I’ve included selections of letters I’ve received in recent weeks. These are only just snippets of longer messages; much of their letter that expresses sympathy for my situation is not included, because that’s not what my message for this Christmas is about. I am grateful for the 3,500+ letters I have received in my nearly two years in jail now, and especially appreciative of the intimate and sincere real life stories that people all over America, Canada and the world share with me. I am honored to be considered such a friend as to be privy to such experiences.
From Catherine & Hector in Ontario, Canada:
“I frequently visit and shop on the CC site and have read up on yours and your wife’s fight. I have been moved to tears reading your blogs and admire and am inspired by the love that is so evident between you & Jodie. In a world filled with so much injustice, I cling to the most positive thing I have — the unconditional & unwavering love and loyalty of my spouse. I am the sole caregiver to my husband Hector who is dying of ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease). Please know in your darkest moments that there are strangers (like us) who keep you in our prayers and are sending you moments of comfort and good chi. You are an inspiration to many and your fight is not in vain. We are counting down the days to your release.
Cat & Hector
P.S. Hector is wearing your t-shirt right now.”
From Samantha in Texas, with a darling photo of children Marley (4) and Emery (1 1/2):
“I think you are inspirational and I love reading your blog seeing how positive you remain in your circumstances. I sent you a picture of my two boys Marley who is four and Emery who is 20 months. Emery is named after you. When I was pregnant with Emery my husband and i battled over his name. He wanted to name him Young and I went everywhere from Geddy to Raine to Elwood. anything but Young. About a week or so before i went into labor he brought up your name “Emery”. Finally we agreed! Well, almost.. He wanted Young Emery Hott. I wanted Emery Raine Hott. A few days after that decision was made I was woke up in the morning by a phone call telling me my husband was in an accident on his way home from working overnight and had been taken to a hospital downtown. Not having another car I finally got hold of my Mom at work to drive me to the hospital with Marley who was 2 1/2 at the time. We sat in the waiting room forever. They would send in a Chaplain to talk to me then a doctor spoke to me. I couldn’t understand a word the doctor said. They took me to see my husband and it wasn’t what I expected. Breathing tubes. A nurse had closed his eyes so they wouldn’t get dry. I refused to leave his side. I sat up all night jumping at every noise thinking he was going to come out of where he was. He was in a coma. Two days later I’m still in the room and a nurse rolls a wheelchair into the room. She said it was for me, in case I needed it. I wobbled out to the waiting room. I was exhausted. I went into labor then. I was forced into the wheelchair and downstairs to delivery. The baby arrived and I chose Emery Young Hott. My husband remained in a coma for 100 days before he passed. This isn’t a story that is meant to make anyone sad. I am more resilient than I thought. My car was totalled. My family moved me out of my duplex and into their house because I wouldn’t be able to pay rent now that I couldn’t go back to work, what with having a baby and being at the hospital so often. Not all was lost though, I still had my two boys… I hope both my boys grow up with a strong will to follow their hearts and always fight for what’s right. I hope your sentence goes quickly. I know Jodie will miss you terribly. I sure love watching her interviews. She handles every interview with so much grace. I hope your holidays are as good as they can possibly be, and thank you again for all your hard work for this cause.”
From Shannon, in San Jose, California:
“…It must be hard to be away from family in there. This past February my cousin found me on the internet after 25 years. My Dad went into a coma when I was one year old. Shortly after that, my mother was accused of being the cause. So I lost contact with Dad’s side of the family. I must say, since I have met my cousins and one of my aunts from my father’s side of the family recently I know where I get a lot of my personality from. I finally got to see my Dad recently in the hospital. It was a very awkward moment to see my Dad alive and hooked up to machines to keep him alive. I realized looking at him that I looked a lot like him. I don’t know if he could hear me, but I told him he was a grandfather of a beautiful grand-daughter. I must say it was hard growing up with just my mother. Mom was always busy with work just to make ends meet. We lived with my grandma until she passed away when I was 16. She was more of a mother to me than my own Mom. I feel I made a good choice in life with the man I chose to be with and have a family with, considering I didn’t have a father in all that time. I always get mixed emotions on how I feel about seeing others with both parents around…”
From Cathy in Rio Linda, California:
“All of you who have fought for patients’ rights are my heroes. I have a disease called Von Hipple-Lindau. This disease creates tumors throughout my body. I have lost both of my kidneys, my thyroid glands, half my pancreas, my right eye and my uterus. I did get a kidney transplant so I have one now. Now hows that, for Pete’s sake. After all that, authorities in California are telling me I can’t use marijuana. Go figure! Well, I am sure you know I am not listening to those authorities… In your band, please sing a song for me. I too think that Mrs. Emery is pretty incredible. I hope to meet her one day soon.
Take care & Peace to you,
From Tom in Covington, Washington:
“The most recent chapter of my service was in the military, the US Army, in Alaska. I was in a high speed airborne recon outfit, and a 14-month tour of Iraq. I was honorably discharged in 2009 with a nagging low back pain and Post-traumatic stress Disorder. Today, like so many veterans, I have mixed thoughts on my service. I think I joined up partly to escape rocky family situations. My Dad was having trouble dealing with, at age 42, Huntington’s Disease; its a horrible genetic disease that took the joy from his father’s latter years, and was now profoundly affecting Dad. The last few years I’ve become a cannabis activist like you! But its strange how life is. In a few hours after putting these words on paper to you, I am taking a medical test to find out if I have Huntington’s Disease. I’m scared, but I feel I must know. Any well-trained paratrooper keeps a steady hand on his reserve parachute. My reserve parachute is my cannabis oil medicine research. Whatever the test result, I believe it is paramount to our family that we search for any possible cures to Huntington’s Disease. My Dad didn’t express views on cannabis, and sadly he deteriorated until he took his own life 6 months ago in May. So this medical marijuana issue fuels a fiery passion for justice to a degree most people can’t fathom. I’m grateful for the sacrifice you make on a daily basis and pray for similar courage in the next chapter of my life. Since I get medical care from the VA, I will take this opportunity to reform the VA’s drug policy. I’m so sick and tired of the crappy opiates I’m hooked on for my pain. I’m hoping strong quantities of cannabis will end up helping me clear the big hurdle of ditching these pills they so readily give me. I was at Seattle Hempfest when I ran into Jodie. We walked and talked for a few minutes before she took the main stage to big applause and a great speech. I told her I watched her show, she thanked me for the “Free Marc” pin on my hat. I can’t wait to see you (fingers crossed), Marc, next year, a free man.”
From Craig in Portland, Maine:
“My name is Craig. I love POT.TV and the Jodie Emery Show. I respect your wife so much. From my own experience, I know she is doing time right along with you. I did three years in a Florida prison in the 90′s, so I feel your loss of family. I hope to be an activist one day, any advice you have would be great. I am a medical marijuana patient. I am 37. I have several conditions; neuro-endocrine pancreatic cancer, type-two diabetes due to the cancer, and a condition called Multiple Endocrine Neoplasma Type One which makes it so I pass 20-30 kidney stones every month.”
And from Cindy in North Vancouver, British Columbia:
“It has been a difficult month here. Mum passed on in her sleep early on October 18. She was mentally vital but her heart was damaged from two heart attacks which she had while travelling in England 12 years ago. I’d been looking after Mum and Dad for the last year, doing the daily care for them, prepping meals, keeping the place straight, and living in the guest cottage they had in the backyard… On the morning of October 18, about 4:30 in the morning, my Dad got up and noticed Mum’s breathing was noisy. By 5:30 she was gone from this world. He came to my door and banged on it, I thought he had to go to the hospital but he was inconsolable and told me what had happened. The rest is a blur… We sat for a long time and he kept going in and looking at her and crying, it was so sad. “She was the love of my life!” he said amidst the sobs. Mom wanted to have her body donated to science so after calling the coroner, police, I looked that up on the internet and arranged to have her body taken to the UBC medical school for use in their anatomy classes. She was a hard-core atheist, and I must say, few people get to continue to live their convictions, but she will. The medical school will keep her body preserved so she can be used for 3 years training new medical students, and she will get positively affect thousands of lives as a result. We should all be so selfless. So life at this household has been in complete upheaval. Our precious matriarch is gone and the loss is tremendous. She was a brilliant and incredible woman. I had hoped that at some point you would get to meet her. She has read everything written by Dawkins, Ron Paul, and she was a champion for human rights before it was fashionable or even labeled. We have lost a good one here and my heart is heavy. The day she passed we had planned to go to Long & McQuade Music Store to buy some music books for you. For the funeral Mom wanted the orchestra which she conducted for 18 years to play at her service, but the only place big enough is the local Anglican church. Mom was an atheist, and Dad and all the kids are atheists, so we are amused to see how the Reverend will handle it. My concerns are about the music and food for the guests, so we’ll overlook the religion inherent in the venue…”
I hope these letters I’ve shared with you can give you pause to appreciate your life, your health (such as it may be), your friends, your privileges, your children, and the many little wonders of our existence.
May you be filled with love and compassion over these holidays, and in the years 2012 ahead, make every effort to spread love and kindness at home, at work, in your politics and in your pleasure.
As I write this not on Christmas eve, far away from home, I would just like to tell my incomparable wife, “Jodie I am so grateful to have you as my everything. I’m honored to be your husband, and am so thankful for my great fortune in meeting you. Your love is inspiring, it certainly is…”
There are hundreds of thousands of non-violent drug war prisoners in federal prisons across the United States. Ron Paul has promised, if elected President, to pardon all who currently languish in jail and all of us with a criminal record for non-violent drug offenses. Millions of Americans have a federal criminal record for non-violent drug offenses.
2012 is the year in our history we can put an end to prohibition, free all the drug war prisoners, have all of us with convictions for cannabis and other substances pardoned, returned to our families and freed from our criminal record, at long last.
May God and the People Bless and Protect Ron Paul. Join his campaign in your state and make history happen in the next 12 months.
Merry Christmas, and a Ron Paul New Year!
Yazoo Medium Security Federal Prison
Write to Marc:
Marc Emery #40252-086 Unit E-1
Yazoo Medium FCC
PO Box 5888
Yazoo City, MS
Address and guidelines at www.FreeMarc.ca
Choosing the next President of the United States begins in Iowa in mere weeks. For the cannabis culture, 25 million people in the United States, there is only one option: Ron Paul.
For 15 years Ron Paul has been introducing bills every year in Congress to legalize marijuana, legalize industrial hemp, allow medical marijuana defenses in federal court, and end the budget and office of the Drug Czar. Read more about Ron Paul’s stance on cannabis and the drug war here, here, here, and here.
In speeches and televised debates Ron Paul is not afraid to say he believes the US federal government should end the drug war and repeal all federal laws prohibiting the production and consumption of all drugs, certainly including marijuana.
Listen to Ron Paul speak for himself on the issue:
You’ll never meet a candidate for President of greater integrity and honesty. You’ll never meet a candidate for the most powerful office on earth who is more qualified and intelligent than Ron Paul. Look at the other options; would you prefer any of them instead?
His beliefs are that the US should withdraw all its troops from foreign shores, and that the US cannot police the world. He wants passionately to end the drug war and the surveillance state. He wants to get those who have committed non-violent drug offenses out of jails and into a productive existence in a better and freer America. He believes citizens are sovereign and that the government has become a dangerous police state.
Ron Paul believes in the people of America, the ordinary citizen, and his policies reflect a treasured commitment to liberty, individual freedom, the sovereignty of the individual – unlike the current President, who has embraced the cynical, corrupted cronyism of the elites.
And Ron Paul is an incredibly decent man. I have known about Ron Paul since I read about him in Reason magazine in 1980, and he has never betrayed my support of him or his belief in individual freedom, sound finances, the liberty of the people.
Jodie and I have been active supporters of Ron Paul for President since 2006. We were hosts of a show on Ron Paul radio, printed tens of thousands of Ron Paul For President 2008 hand-outs, brochures, posters, and stickers, made voter registration pavilions, put him on the cover of Cannabis Culture Magazine and made a RON PAUL FOR PRESIDENT centerfold, and much more.
Photos of the Ron Paul pavilion we had set up in downtown Vancouver in 2007: view here on Facebook!
There is no man I believe in more on this whole planet more than Ron Paul.
It is with this urgency and passion I ask you to join with Ron Paul and his campaign for President. I want you to register to vote Republican so you can support him in the Republican Presidential nomination. All the other Republican candidates are lunatics or dangerously wrong for America. The Democrat candidate Barack Obama is a terrible punisher of our culture and must be defeated – but he must be defeated by Ron Paul, not the other NeoCon war hawks and prohibitionists who are running for the Republican nomination.
25 million of us in the US cannabis culture can make a difference. Ron Paul has campaign organizations in all 50 states; please sign up, volunteer, and give money to help this man save America. Ron Paul will win in Iowa. Then he will win in many of the primaries throughout the United States, but it will require huge amounts of money and an army of millions. You should Register Republican to vote for Ron Paul in the primary in your state.
I believe when Ron Paul wins the Republican nomination, he will choose former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson as his running mate. Governor Johnson is a wise and intelligent believer in liberty and an end to the drug war. He will make a worthy successor to Ron Paul should the great man die while in office.
Do not sit on the sidelines in this primary season. Do not let cynicism and indifference ruin our chances to change America profoundly for the better. In California last year, our culture was betrayed by traitors and prohibition-profiteers within our culture. If Proposition 19 had passed, millions of Californians would be growing and producing marijuana under state law, and the DEA and President Barack Obama would have been helpless to stop it – they couldn’t win a war against the biggest, most populated state in the nation. Now the situation in California is in crisis because of that treason and indifference within our culture during the Proposition 19 vote last November, and President Obama is now showing his vicious contempt for our people, as he does for all Americans.
The contrast between the integrity and principles and policies of liberty proposed by Ron Paul versus the surveillance, control, warfare prison punishment state espoused by Barack Obama and the other Republican candidates is stark. Please go to Ron Paul’s campaign website, sign up to help, and join with me and millions of other Ron Paul soldiers in ending the drug war and the cannabis prohibition. This primary season, there is only one man who can do it – who will do it – but he needs us to fulfill this mission.
When the fate of America and our cannabis culture were at stake in the critical time from December 2011 to November 2012, what will you tell your heirs and future generations you did when the need was greatest?
Ron Paul for President. 100% Yes. Join your state’s Ron Paul for president campaign now, and let’s get to work on the decisive battle ahead.
Marc Emery #40252-086
FCI YAZOO CITY MEDIUM E-1
FEDERAL CORRECTIONAL INSTITUTION
P.O. BOX 5888
YAZOO CITY, MS 39194