The pandemic is not only a public health threat. It is a threat to our freedom.
End Marijuana Prohibition NOW!
April 20th (420, 4/20 and 4:20) became the international symbol of the celebration of marijuana use as an act of public defiance against marijuana prohibition. It was furtive at first, but with increasingly public defiance.
Over the almost four decades since it began, “420” has become vastly bigger and more open, but it remains essentially a one day celebration. Now the time has come for us to move beyond having just a one day party and make it a month of defiance, planning and mobilization for however long it takes to take back our freedom.
First, the party is over. Because of the pandemic we will not be able to exercise our rights to “Freedom of Assembly,” which in the past has been a great opportunity to get high and celebrate with our friends and actively defy the prohibitionists. But that spirit was literally “gone with the wind” as the moment passed.
We can and should enjoy the freedom we have won, but we cannot leave anyone behind, and too many people are still suffering and dying. We must remember that 20 million Americans have been arrested on marijuana charges since the first “420” and another 50,000 will be arrested this month, including 1,600 on 4/20 itself. Party on, dude?
So let us declare April to be “Marijuana Legalization Month”! And let us DEMAND that the Federal and State governments “End Marijuana Prohibition Now!”
We should reach out to our allies, and not just in the cannabis industries. We need to recruit new allies who understand that marijuana prohibition is … and always has been … a massive fraud.
We are now in the grip of an international health emergency that is devastating our already fragile health care system, wrecking our economy, and threatening the health and well-being of billions of people around the globe.
Is that the Covid-19 pandemic or is it the Drug War?
Actually, it is both.
Marijuana prohibition and the Drug War are simply a slow motion public health disaster. The latest semi-official semi-scientific guess is that the pandemic may kill perhaps 250,000 Americans. Certainly, it is a threat that has to be stopped.
However, in 2018, there were 67,367 (primarily opioid) drug overdose deaths in the United States. There were also 34,865 alcohol induced deaths. Plus 480,300 deaths attributed to tobacco. Pharmaceutical Drugs approved by the FDA killed 22,134.
Oh, and marijuana overdose deaths were still ZERO, but marijuana possession arrests totaled over 608,000, while total arrests for violent crimes were only 521,000.
And in a nation founded by hemp farmers, the prohibitionist police state has placed unscientific and absurd limits on the cultivation of this agricultural staple, depriving the people of the world of food, fiber, medicine and a way out of poverty.
Free people should not have to beg for longer leashes and looser collars. Free people should not have to beg for justice, and certainly should not have to beg for mercy when they are sick and dying, and yet that is still the outrageous situation in which too many Americans and billions of others are trapped. This is everyone’s fight.
This year’s celebrations will have to be virtual, but the technology has evolved so that we can share the day with people all over the world. Concerts will be streamed, and activists who once had to hide in the crowds can now tell the oppressed people of the world that Freedom is possible. We have proven that.
Witness as we Stream Freedom, and the moment will live forever.
So we are demanding that this war on us must end. Freedom is an everyday celebration, and an everyday struggle.
End Marijuana Prohibition NOW!
Richard Cowan is a former NORML National Director and co-founder of Real Tested CBD.