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Rise Up

It's time to reclaim the pot industry

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This is an open letter to the so-called cannabis community, a community that is unable to stand together and express any political power; that is unable to see that the regulatory regime isn't really about cannabis, but rather economic control, blind ideology and loss of civil liberties; and that pretends to have the moral high ground, but lacks the moral courage to claim it.

There are a lot of good people in the cannabis industry and there are some responsible businesses and corporations, but there is no cannabis community. There are a few brave (or foolhardy?) souls and marginal organizations fighting the battle for crumbs, that nevertheless don't engage in political freedom and cultural integrity. There are also a lot of self-righteous, identity-politics "victims" unable to look beyond their narcissistic neediness.

People who really care about the free and creative use of cannabis as a social health and safety benefit have two albatrosses around their necks: the oppressive, arrogant and treacherous government apparatus, and the passive, frightened and atomized cannabis community itself.

We face two ongoing struggles. The first is a running series of skirmishes to claw back rights lost to corporate behemoths that own the control-fraud rackets (and the governments administering them); the second is a decades-long cultural-values war as medical facts supplant the reefer hokum ideologies and the overall structure of suppression and regulation. Truly, cannabis acceptance advances one funeral at a time.

We must engage both simultaneously and continuously with some dynamic combination of soul-numbing bureaucratic confrontation and high-integrity civil disobedience against the hypocrisy, extortion and abuse of process by our "leaders" and their owners. Cannabis growers and suppliers have decades of experience working with integrity outside the law, which will continue in a black market made inevitable by the regulatory excesses.

Both the content battles and the acceptance war will advance with a series of test cases in the courts, combined with a general refusal to play the regulatory game designed from the beginning to destroy the existing cannabis culture and violate our natural human right to maintain our health and sanity.

I challenge, invite and encourage all people who have any stake in this matter and the financial wherewithal to fund the skirmishes and the war itself. Decide what's really important to you and which side you are on, and whom you really serve. Enroll your peers in the community to step up their engagement and build political power through weight of aligned numbers. Finally, put your time, money and personal energy where your mouth is.

'Oaky Joe' Munson is a Forestville cannabis grower.

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