Highest greetings from New Orleans, the place I like to call the Cradle of American Civilization As We Know It. I’m sharing my 71st birthday with daughter Celia, seeing many of my hundreds of friends from my 12 years as a resident here, participating in the Cutting Edge music conference, playing some gigs with Carlo Ditta and Tom Worrell, and recovering from my trip to the Pacific Northwest and Los Angeles earlier this month.
I flew from Detroit to Portland, Oregon right after Labor Day for the annual Hempstalk Festival, where the great American poet John Trudell and his band called Bad Dog were featured on stage for an audience of about 10,000 marijuana patients and recreational smokers who danced, celebrated, cavorted, shopped for cannabis-related products and heard a wide range of speakers urging the passage of the marijuana legalization initiative that’s up for the vote in November.
My host was the organizer of Hempstalk, Paul Stanford, who also hosts a regular television talk show called Cannabis Common Sense from the community TV studios in Portland and directs the Hemp and Cannabis Foundation and its THCF Medical Clinics, with offices in 9 states helping patients obtain their state's permit for legally possessing, using and growing medical marijuana.
THCF has produced over 500 episodes of its live weekly TV show for cable television in Oregon, Washington, California, Colorado and Michigan, and may be viewed on demand on the THCF websites. If you look you’ll find rhe show with John Trudell and myself from early September. I also made an appearance on Paul’s TV show when I was in Oregon in March for the ill-fated What The Fuck Festival.
But speaking twice now of the legenday John Trudell, I should treat you to a new poem of his sent to me by our mutual friend Michael Donnelly, who put me up and drove me everywhere during my week in Oregon:
A Hollow Noise
the billionaires are robbing the millionaires
the millionaires are robbing the middle class
while together, they are all robbing the poor
all the while implying god vouches for them
in god we trust, as taking gods name in vain
introducing demons and evils into the realm
humanity herded into invisible caste systems
shooting up religious programmed behavior
narcotic-ing with guilts and fears and blame
then if those narcotics wear off or don’t take
there are the laws of the authoritarians state
to keep everyone in place or make them pay
the rules of patriotism are effective weapons
when used politically against the disagreers
manipulating emotions into distorted chaos
corporate jihadist’s frenzied economic terror
turning citizen believers into the new infidels
cannibalizing, as a way of maximizing profits
using elections as links in their chains of debt
with good cop bad cop political party blinders
and promises of honor and other lies that bind
deeper and deeper into the abyss of desperate
until the thing called freedom is a hollow noise
trying to remember what it feels like to be free
trying to forget that feeling free can’t feel free
September 18, 2012
After Portland I took the train up to Seattle to sit in on the first Seattle Medical Cannabis Cup and play some gigs with a funky little trio called The Damn Shame and the great Seattle guitarist Simon Henneman, sitting in with his fine quartet at a place called Lucid and assembling a splendid ensemble for the Sunday night showcase at the Racers Club.
Relaxing in the High Times Medication Area at the Seattle Cannabis Cup I encountered a couple of brothers from the True West Compassion Club in Holland MI, fresh from attending the San Francisco Medical Cannabis Cup in Oakland CA and dropping in on Seattle before heading back to the West Coast of Michigan. Another homie in attendance was the legendary cannabis chef from Ypsilanti known as Captain Kirk, whose confectionary entry won first place honors in the medibles Cup competition at Seattle. Congratulations, Captain!
The state of Washington is also about to vote in November on a legalization measure, and additionally the state of Colorado is considered almost certain to free the weed when its citizens cast their votes this fall. There’s a lot of excitement building in these states and also here in Michigan, where four different municipalities are trying to straighten things out for their citizens in the face of the criminal opposition to the medical marijuana laws by the Tough Nerd administration and its acting General, William Schuette.
I’ll be back in Detroit on Election Day to submit my ballot in favor of full legalization within the city limits and, of course, to cast my vote for the reelection of my president, even though I couldn’t disagree with him more on his stance behind the endless War On Drugs. While I know he knows better from being a serious toker while in college, and despite the disappearance of a political advantage for proponents of this idiotic crusade ever since over half of the voting public has now endorsed full legalization in the United States, reports like the following from NORML may shed some light on the president’s recalcitrance:
Former DEA Heads Urge Justice Department To Oppose Statewide Marijuana Initiatives
(Washington, DC)—Nine former directors of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) sent a letter to US Attorney General Eric Holder urging his office to actively oppose several statewide ballot measures that seek to depenalize the personal use and possession of cannabis by adults.
"We urge you to oppose publicly Amendment 64 in Colorado, Initiative 502 in Washington, and Measure 80 in Oregon," the letter states. "To continue to remain silent conveys to the American public ... a tacit acceptance of these dangerous initiatives." Signatories include every former director of the DEA since the agency's inception.
Amendment 64, the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act, Initiative 502, and Measure 80, the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act, all seek to amend state law to allow for the limited possession and distribution of cannabis to adults. Both Amendment 64 in Colorado and Initiative 502 in Washington hold solid leads among likely voters. A recent Survey USA poll of Washington voters showed I-502 ahead by a margin of 57 percent to 34 percent.
The DEA letter did not specifically address separate state initiatives in Arkansas, Massachusetts, and Montana that seek to regulate the physician-recommended use and distribution of cannabis.
Holder's office previously spoke out in 2010 against Proposition 19 in California after receiving a similar letter from past chiefs of the DEA. That measure sought to allow for the limited possession and cultivation of cannabis for adults. The measure was defeated at the polls by a vote of 46.5 percent to 53.5 percent.
I’d tack on my usual screed about the contemporary police state built up on the framework of the War On Drugs and how the only people who have a real interest in continuing this ugly assault on the dope-smoking citizenry are the components of the vast so-called law-enforcement
Community, but I’m out of space for this issue so I’ll just sat goodbye and urge you once more not to forget to vote on November 6, wherever you are. That’s where democracy begins—with your vote.
September 25, 2012
© 2012 John Sinclair. All Rights Reserved.