Know the Facts - Change the Law

Know the Facts - Change the Law
Life - Liberty - Pursuit of Happiness

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Million Marijuana March UPDATE

This was a bad year for me, personally. As some of you may know, I have a badly damaged spine from being assautled by a couple of cops bent of stopping my activism. While they did the damage, I do not put the blame entirely on them.

There have been many cops and other prohibitionists who have harassed and stalked and even assaulted me over the years. The assault by two cops here in Delaware is why my health is so bad. Their goal was to shut me down.

But, the responsibility lies withing the community. Without the DIRECT support of the community, whatever I do is pointless. Those who complain that just because I could not go to a march and it fell apart while THEY DID NOTHING just do not get it.

Perhaps that is why the laws and cops are only getting worse in Delaware.

The prohibitionists and temperance people KNOW that YOU will do nothing.

I am the sponsor for the Delaware portions of the Worldwide Marijuana March (known by many names), and have been for a couple of decades. Every year, I get hundreds of emails, hundreds of phone calls. Only one time have any more than a small handful of people shown up.

Also, I am a patient. I have severe spine damage. Sometimes I can bearly get out of bed, let alone my front door. If YOUR do not come, help answer some of those hundreds of phone calls, help put up posters and flyers, help answer the hundreds and hundreds of emails, help keep the office organized, help get permits or whatever other of the many, many tasks, if you CAN"T EVEN SHOW UP at any of the scheduled and publicized meetings, then THEY WIN.

THE COPS tortured and beat me for over three and a half hours. That alone is not enough to stop me. BUT IF YOU SIT BACK DOING NOTHING THEN THEY WIN.

The problem is, some years, like this year, just getting things organized takes so much out of me that I need assistance to get around the day of the event. There are three different events in Delaware, and I have had to organize all three, year after year.

This year, I was suffering so badly that I needed someone to push my wheelchair and drive me to each event (I tried to schedule them so that would be possible). Not one person stepped up to help. NOT ONE. But, from people who have called after the 3rd, I am hearing that, basically, nothing happened. I can’t imagine why.

If people are dedicated, and want this to happen, why should it matter if one, poor (literally), suffering, old, stoned hippie not being able to come would make the entire thing fall apart. I’ve tried, year after year, to get someone in better shape to start learning the ropes (no pun intended). But, everyone just wants to smoke out and party on.

No one else wants to be responsible for getting things done.

If no one steps forward to help organize, I will probably stop doing this. I’m sick of the lack of support in Delaware. I am sick of the people who think that these things are easy to do, and will not do anything but the minimum, if anything at all. I should be a speaker, and do some behind the scenes things. I should not be the only thing holding these marches together. That is YOUR responsibility (the generic your, I am not pointing to any one person).

Ya know, I know organizers in other states. I’ve worked with most of them at one time or another. They get people volunteering ALL YEAR LONG!!! Here in Delaware, it seems like people are just looking for a reason to smoke pot in Rodney Square or on Legislative Mall in Dover.

I can not do it this way any longer. If I do not get volunteers to help with the many, many things these marches take, I will not be sponsoring any more of them.

I’m exhausted. If you want these things to continue, then YOU HAVE TO STOP UP AND VOLUNTEER. Now that I have that off my chest, what will happen next? Will I get any volunteers? If not, you ONLY HAVE YOURSELVES TO BLAME when nothing happens to change the laws.

YOU have to be the change that you want to see. YOU have to come to the meetings, and help lobby the politicians, and help organize and run these things. I USED to be a one man tornado. I ran EVERYTHING about these marches, I went to visit the politicians, I talked to the cops and etc., etc. But, now my health is shot, I am done without YOU to step up and DO SOMETHING MORE CONSTRUCTIVE THAN COMPLAIN!

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  1. Ah, my dear hempman. This post saddens me, though what you describe is very familiar.

    I do not smoke marijuana, but as a libertarian I completely support its decriminalization. You have taken this issue by the horns and made it your primary focus. For that, you are to be commended. I think it is better to take a few areas of interest and become and expert rather than just sit back and whine about everything in general.

    You bemoan the lack of participation and the relative lack of dedication; however this type of situation is very common. I can only tell it from my own perspective:

    My issue of passion is motorcyclists’ rights. I am active in groups both locally and nationwide. A common lament among the most committed activists is the very thing you refer to here. Bikers will sure as hell show up at Hooters for a ho-down, but try to get them to attend a biker rights rally, local motorcycle rights organization (MRO) meeting, or even write a letter to their representative (if they even know who their representative is) is like trying to skin a cat. I don’t know why this it. Perhaps it is just the nature of people, or, if something has not affected them directly and personally they can’t get pumped up about it.

    Some people want to participate but they don’t know how or are afraid. I had one guy who doesn’t have a computer or a typewriter ask me to write a letter for him on a particular biker issue. I did that for him, and he signed and mailed it. Sometimes you have to go that far, and it is always worth it. Some people feel removed from the lawmaking process; you need to help inform them.

    Another example: Montana is a big State. I have an internet friend there who was heading with a group of five other bikers to their state capitol on a cold winter day to testify regarding a piece of legislation. The capitol was an 8-hour drive, and they would not have access to the internet either during their drive or when they got there. I updated my friend by phone on certain statements that committee members made in the press so that they would be up to date on who was for ‘em and who was against ‘em. Activism happens in many ways; some big and some not so big.

    So, it is not just the marijuana issue where the sheeple are content to sit back and let others do the work. It happens a lot. Trust me.

    There are times when I get burned out and need to take a break. I find at times I can’t even enjoy an outing with a group of bikers. While they are talking fluff, I seethe in aggravation that they aren’t talking about such-and-such a piece of legislation or are more informed on national level issues that have an impact on us locally. It annoys me. So some times, I just step back.

    Some people just aren’t the “demonstration” type. I certainly am not. I am more content working behind the scenes, and using the power of the internet and public forums to both educate myself and make my views known. I have learned a lot from others’ mistakes and accomplishments. I have learned a lot about what it means to be a true activist, and it helps to know there are others out there, if only for moral support. In the State of Delaware, I would say that there are only three true biker activists, and I include myself in that. So again, your situation is not unusual.

    It is easy to become disheartened. Take a break from it for a week or so, then you can come back stronger.

    I don’t know you personally, but considering your medical issues I would encourage you to not knock yourself out over demonstrations and sign-waving and such. I think that you can use the internet to develop additional coalitions and support. I have put “sample letters” online so that people can easily download them as a template to write their representatives. That’s just one small way of helping people to get involved.

    A word of advice: if you don’t call everyone who doesn’t agree with you 100% an idiot, you might make some friends and support you never thought you could get.

    Another two cents worth: You don’t need converts to your cause, you need converts to your commitment. It makes no sense to waste time arguing with someone about the merits of decriminalization. Find the ones who agree and help them to become active.

    Carry on, brother. You are not alone. Apathy and laziness is everywhere. Dedication is rare. Stay true to you ideals, and perhaps find another avenue, such as promoting this blog, to express them.

  2. Thank you very much for the kind words, Shirley. I appreciate your insight, particularly given how much alike we are.

    I suspect that this situation is like when DO banned Hempman. I have something like 150 recommendations, but I suspect that people feared retalitation if they said anything about my gettign banned. I believe that this is a similar situation.

    People will cheer me on, and I get lots of email to that effect. But it is hard for people to get focused in the first place, then that much more difficult to get people to stand up when we live in a police state where cops will assault people just for saying cananbis should be legal.

    I am not going to say too much more, just yet. I vented, but it has not helped me feel better.

  3. hempman,

    I would say that due to old dover days being such a local school oriented event with maypole dancing at the same location is a poor choice for such a demonstration.
    As for myself, I think the two would mix badly. This is why I choose not to go at the last minute.
    As Ms Vandever says it is a primary focus for you and less so for others. The matter of being the most intensive part of the unpatentable drug war there are risks. The risks vary by person.

    One cannot gamble more than you can loose. Your dedication is commendable yet the reality in this state like other is the anti-[natural]drug business is so
    well funded there is a small hope of change in the presence of profit

  4. brother, what you report seems to be a sad face of law reform. People are frightened. I can't fault anyone for the fear factor. But the reality is that I've done the Dover end of things for almost three decades now, and no one has ever been arrested or targeted from that one.

    I also see what you are saying about ganaj prohibition being profitable. It is profitable. Profitable for cops, who get to boost their arrest rates with relatively safe busts. Profitable for prosecutors and judges who see easy marks, and profitable for politicians who know that although MOST PEOPLE WANT GANJA DECRIMINALIZED THEY ARE AFRAID TO SAY ANYTHING!!! For politicians, it is easier to pander to the cops, who want to have ganja prohibition as a tool to enhance other busts, and as a way to persecute certain types/classes of people.

    The ONLE thing that WILL take the "profit" out of ganaj prohibition is when regular people stop falling prey to the scary bogeymen that you mention (that really do not exist) and stand up and demand that we stop wasting $70 BILLION a year (state and fed) on this failed war on people for chosing a different recreational drug than tobnacco or alcohol. The time the profit will be taken out of prohibition will be when VOTERS start to ask where that $ .75 on ganja prohibition for every educational dollar is actually going.

    These marches are only a rallying point. The real work starts now, when we can hound the politicians, just like the cops do, to let them know that WE - the people who actually vote them into office - will not stand for this any longer.

    Brother, I am putting together lobbying trips that will go to the offices of the politicians. If public education that shows that WE are EXACTLY like everyone else at Old Dover Day is not your cup of tea, how about a five minute audience with your favorite politician?

    If you do not have my email, it is in my profile here, just let me know if you will go. We CAN take the profit out of prohibition for the politicians. But, it takes YOU, not just me.


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