(Hempology 101 Monthly Meeting)
A New Dawn Arises, Cannabis Activism Is Changing the World
Working with a group of people to help legalize cannabis is one of the most rewarding, fun and fulfilling ways to contribute to your community. As cannabis becomes more accepted, it is easier, safer and more exciting than ever to become involved in the cannabis movement, and with the future legal industry emerging being active could actually lead to future employment opportunities or even better! Great friends, good times and a brighter future for all are just around the corner, if you make the effort.
Choosing a group to become involved with is not always easy. For many people it might seem like no local cannabis group exists at all, as prohibition has kept most of us in fear, unable to publicly expose ourselves without risk of arrest and excommunication. Many still live in fear, as certain areas are still dominated by outspoken prohibitionists or have some powerful family members still clinging to reefer madness ideals. However, with the growing opportunities on the internet and the rapidly blossoming cannabis scene, everyone can get involved if they want to.
Of course, there are many valuable things one can do alone to fight the prohibition of cannabis and working in groups is not for everyone. Being active is definitely the important part. There is no doubt, though, that humans thrive in groups and in this war we need to be organized, working together as a team instead of a bunch of independent cannabis mercenaries. We need the independent cannabis mercenaries to continue throwing wrenches into the system, do not get me wrong, but we are getting past the stage where we all need to be dressed in battle fatigues and preparing for court.
As the risk of arrest for being involved in cannabis activism diminishes, more opportunities are presenting themselves for various types of cannabis activities and businesses. Certainly getting to know your closest headshop, or favorite if you are lucky enough to have a few around, is the best way to get to know what is already happening in your neighbourhood. These businesses will be aware of any medical clubs that might exist, rallies that are planned, local cannabis products, open-minded politicians or any prominent activists that live in the area. The people that own and work in these headshops are often super friendly and more than happy to help you connect with others of like mind.
Helping make annual events more fun and have a bigger impact is one easy way to get involved. Many places are organizing 420 celebrations on April 20 now, giving everyone a chance to get out there and make a statement. Making signs, designing costumes and painting banners all help make the event more colorful and give people something to take pictures of. Taking pictures and sharing them around is another easy way to help, as far too often our work is not properly documented and many good photo opportunities are lost because no one is taking the time to shoot a camera. Certainly promoting these types of events beforehand is very important, so contact the local organizers long before the actual day to get posters, handouts or other promotional material. Making sure there are pamphlets available for interested people passing by and the media is another important thing to do, as every opportunity to educate the public about this amazing plant must be taken. Another great way to have fun is by organizing contests and games at these events. Whether you play a game of REACH FOR THE POT, have a joint rolling contest or best costume contest, getting people together to have fun and hand out prizes is always a crowd pleasers.
(Reach for the Pot at the Victoria Courthouse)
If you are really lucky there will already be a local group meeting that you can join. Hempology 101 has a few chapters in Canada, but it is still very small compared to a group like the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, which has many branches across the USA and the world. There are political groups like Sensible BC, medical marijuana dispensaries and publications like the Cannabis Digest that always welcome some help. There are also groups for moms, dads, grandparents and students. The list goes on and on…
If you live in the USA there is likely a group already trying to legalize, decriminalize of implement a medical cannabis program in your state. Helping with these political initiatives is critical, as the entire world has been pressured by the USA into implementing these laws, and many countries like Canada are unable to change their laws without leadership towards legalization coming from there. Any time spent trying to influence the political process and politicians in the direction of legalization is well spent.
While it might seem to be a daunting task, if a group to your liking does not exist, then maybe it is time to form one! You obviously have access to the internet, so that is the best way to start. Web pages are easy to build, and it is almost too easy to start by building a facebook page and growing from there. There are people all over looking to get involved in this scene. After decades of harsh repression, the cannabis culture is itching to become a regular part of society. You can either be a spectator or be part of that change. Good times await!
There are many types of events you can organize that are fun and easy to put together. It does not take much more than a poster to have a picnic. Movie nights can be a lot of fun, giving organizers a chance to answer questions when it is over. Speaking events are ideal but take more time to create. Weekend campouts provide an ideal occasion for like-minded folks to spend some quality time together to plan and have fun. Of course, political rallies are sometimes necessary to get the word out about terrible government policies.
Whether you join and existing group, start a new one or fight as an independent cannabis mercenary, there is no doubt that working to liberate this plant is one of the most rewarding community-building experiences one can hope for. With so many wonderful people stepping up to the plate and doing things to legalize cannabis, there can be no doubt that one day soon our streets will have more pot cafes than bars. For those looking to have a career in the cannabis field, now it the time to bust a move by helping develop the scene in your neighborhood. There is great strength in numbers and with each new dedicated activist our victory is closer. We live in amazing times. Be part of that living dream.