When 64 percent of voters in Miami Beach in a straw ballot said they would support medical marijuana in Miami Beach last week, it was no surprise.
Pot smokers may not wear rainbow flags, but they have finally come out of the closet.
For forty years, since early in the 1970’s, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws has been fighting to change repressive and regressive laws against the responsible use of cannabis by consenting adults.
The truth is the ‘war on drugs’ was never a war on drugs. It was a war on good and decent people, whose only crime was smoking a joint at the end of the day.
Most Americans have always known the horror stories about pot consumption were delusional hallucinations by cowardly politicians afraid to be seen as ‘soft on dope.’
NORML is winning the battle today because a raised consciousness amongst Americans realizes they can trust themselves more than their government.
This new awakening is why in 21 states where citizens have been asked if they want pot to be decriminalized, they have resoundingly said ‘yes.’ It is why current Gallup polls have showed nearly 60 percent of Americans wants pot legalized.
It isn’t because we are all stoners, though many of us are. It is because we as Americans are fed up with the lies and laws our legislators have passed and prosecuted. Over four decades, we have empowered our government to create draconian drug laws that compromised our civil liberties and sacrificed common sense.
They have enacted statutes allowing our sons and daughters to be jailed, our cars to be seized, and our scholarships to be forfeited. In certain places, moms and dads can still lose custody of their kids because they are caught smoking pot. It is an outrage and injustice Americans can no longer endure or countenance.
The only reason Miami Beach even agreed to a straw ballot is we showed them 8,000 petitions we had signed by residents supporting a special vote to make pot arrests the lowest priority of law enforcement. The public is always one step ahead of the politician.
Today, though, from Miami Beach to Maine, from Seattle to South Florida, we are saying ‘Free the Leaf.’ It’s not just to get high. There are valid medical and curative reasons to support normalizing marijuana.
Hundreds of thousands of Americans who were living with HIV learned years ago medical cannabis enhanced their appetite and inhibited a ‘wasting away’ syndrome. Others, like Elvy Mussika, a grandmother from Hollywood, Florida, who gets monthly prescriptions of cannabis from the DEA, found out pot can retard glaucoma and cataracts.
Scientists in Israel have discovered cannabis can control muscular spasticity and arthritic conditions amongst the elderly. One housewife in Manatee County, Cathy Jordan, has used cannabis for a quarter of a century to combat Lou Gehrig’s Disease. She grows her own in her backyard, and an enlightened prosecutor has declined to prosecute her, acknowledging her use is a ‘life-saving condition.’
Baby boomers from the 1960’s are now in their 60’s. For those of us who smoked joints watching Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix, we have seen an America supplicate itself to pharmaceutical companies who gave us a sea of prescription pills which have led to multi million dollar class action lawsuits and premature deaths from unanticipated consequences. None of us have ever died from weed. But we have all been victims of the war against it.
Still, it does no good to enter an era of recrimination. As we approach an age of decriminalization and even legalization, let me just say ‘welcome.’ If you support reform now, and you have not before, thanks for joining a good cause.
In Florida, an effort has been launched to place medical marijuana on next year’s ballot as a constitutional amendment. If the signature requirements are met, you will get to vote on it. Like every other state where people vote on cannabis, it will pass, with cross-sectional support in both red and blue counties. Pot has only one party.
Support those communities that want to legalize and medicalize cannabis, and you will be on the right side of history, part of a community wrongfully denied a voice and now, finally, after all these years, rightfully being recognized.