Dear freedom fighter, I would like to welcome you to the world of activism. You have come to a place in your life where you have decided to change the world with your actions. This is no small feat and I applaud you for your choice. We live in a modern world with technology to put machines on other planets and inside cell walls, yet in this same world we imprison good people for nothing more than growing a plant or furnishing it to sick people. To the rational human, this is unacceptable behavior but it’s our reality and it’s our turn to change it.
To be sure this task of ending a “war on drugs” funded and fueled by government, the chemical industry, big pharma and other big guns is going to take some doing. We’ve made some progress in the past 20 years but have much to do. Last year more than 700,000 Americans were arrested for cannabis and none of their lives are the same. Much as our founding fathers faced overwhelming odds and superior firepower, our foe is formidable to say the least. But a righteous cause, determination and the spirit of liberty prevailed against the redcoats and if enough of us stand together in lawful defiance we can change this paradigm of prohibition
Chances are you or a loved one has been recently raided, arrested, charged with a crime or even convicted. Hopefully you are out of custody and are free to fight outside the confines of a cell. To be sure, the decision to fight rather than take a deal and be a “good boy or girl” for the next few years takes stones and I applaud your spirit. Statistics show that nearly 90% of criminal drug cases “plead out” and never face jury trial. The truth is that a huge percentage of those end up in prison anyways on violations. If you have not been snared by our “justice system” and are still willing to stand up to make change, I am touched as you are a rare breed. I only hope that we find a way to increase your numbers as “POWs“ are often stripped of resources and spend what little time and resources available fighting their own battles for freedom.
As a newbie you will soon figure out if you are a leader, a follower or a solitary. If you are a solitary, there is much you can do to support the movement and who knows from my perspective, especially if you aren’t fighting for your own freedom it may be the best way to make a difference especially if you are a writer. If you are a follower, all you need to do is find a good group or even more than one as most groups have strengths and weaknesses. None have all the solutions or this problem would be solved.
If you are a leader however, your job will be difficult but very rewarding. Prepare to be scrutinized, criticized, chastised, lied to, lied about, misrepresented but respected if you stand your ground; remain consistent, honest, humble and true to your cause. There is nothing more heartwarming than receiving a call or letter from someone you have inspired to join the fight telling their story and expressing gratitude. I consider everyone willing to fight for liberty and justice a “Superhero” it is important to keep things in perspective. As much as I respect those that go above and beyond the call, we are all in this together and no one’s role is more valuable than another’s. When the smoke clears and we live in a world without prohibition, we will all be part of the history!
Reason, season, and lifetime…. Remember these words as we are all in this movement for one of them. When anyone makes a life choice seldom are they permanent. Most “Lifers” have been fighting for rights and liberty in one form or another all of their lives. If you are a leader, this is a very important lesson to learn as you tend to be much longer termed than many others. Weather you start your own group or assume a leadership role in an existing one keep in mind that any help is good help but not everyone in every group is helpful. Some folks will come for a day, a week, or a project then move on with sometimes no reason at all. Remember to be grateful for even a small gift of time, talent or resources as you will quickly find out that we need all the help we can get.
You will need to learn balance and patience to be effective. Many in this movement, especially some of the more animated ones are broken and fragile. Intensity and passion are both powerful tools but are often turned on members when things don’t go “just right.” Always stay calm and never let them see you sweat. You will also find many flakey, self- serving types that seem to only show up for the photo op or moment in the spotlight. Remember, the effective leader will make allies whenever possible and never burn a bridge unless there is no other choice. One of the biggest enemies we face is ourselves. Groups compete for funds and attention. “pot stars” seldom seem to help in the trenches but try to remember it’s up to us to make the most of every situation.
Remember your mission and cause always. The more effective you become, the more criticism you will receive. No one seems to be immune to the accusations and innuendo even when you do everything in your power to be pure and true. Consider it a compliment when unfounded accusations fly and never look back to see who’s following. Don’t ever assume because you help a comrade that they will be there for you and don’t assume that the stranger standing next to you won’t jump in when things get hot. Sometimes you will feel alone but in fact you are surrounded by good folks while other times you expect many but few show up. My position is that I will fight till my last breath even if it’s all alone.
If you are fighting in the justice system and I hope it’s out of custody, remember not to lose focus on your battle. If you are a leader, many will come to you for help and likely there will be much more demand on your time and energy than you can supply. You may be in the position of needing to raise money for legal fees. Be creative and know that fundraising is seldom the answer and the monies raised are hard earned. If you do need to raise money though, if possible, set up an account with a 3rd party administrator. I made the mistake of just doing it and faced accusations of using legal funds for other purposes. Remember your court battle is yours. Give it all the energy it deserves. People may offer help and some actually will but it’s on you to make your defense all it can be. In closing, I meant this to be a short letter but I’m not good with few words. Realize that this battle is bigger than any of the freedom fighters taking the bullets or throwing them. Every step we stand on was paved by those that went before and hopefully our kids will reap our rewards (at very least.) Whoever you are, know that there are those that support and are there to help if possible. Maybe I will sit in your trial one day or maybe you will sit in mine. Either way Thank you for making the right choice in deciding freedom is worth fighting for and that No one should be in jail for a plant EVER
In Solidarity….. Joe Grumbine