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Monday, July 10, 2017

Free the Weed 76 - by John Sinclair



     Highest greetings from Detroit, where I’m spending most of the summer rather unexpectedly due to some unanticipated old-age medical issues that emerged while I was in Amsterdam, and I wanted to get back to my superb primary care providers at the Rosa Parks Senior Citizens Clinic at the Detroit Medical Center before it got to be too late.

     I don’t think its anything to be alarmed about, but the terrible thing about getting older and older is that things start happening to your body and you don’t know what they mean, so you tend to quake in fear until you can figure out what’s happening to you. In the immortal words of Fred Sanford, Could this be the big one?

     I’m so happy to be alive today despite all the odds to the contrary, and as an old person in America I have the benefit of full medical care even though I don’t have any income or any insurance. I know this is one of the things that the Rumps are trying to eliminate from our social order even as we speak, but I’m going to enjoy my medical coverage as long as it lasts.

     I don’t know about you, but in my long life I’ve never seen anything like the Rump movement that’s taken over our country since the first of the year. These jackasses are taking apart everything good that’s been accomplished by our social order since the Great Depression of almost 90 years ago and trying to turn back the clock on social justice, equal opportunity, cultural diversity, a unionized workforce, and a semblance of government protection for the sick, poor and needy people among us.

     I remember the America they’re talking about when they say Make America Great Again, and it wasn’t so great for a whole lot of people who were denied entry into the mainstream of American cultural and economic life. They’re talking about a time when segregation was the law of the land and Americans of color were denied the opportunity to gain an education, enter the professions or purchase housing in a location of their choice.

     They’re talking about a time when employers controlled the workplace absolutely and employed thugs like Harry Bennett to keep the workers in line and oppose unionization efforts with criminal force. They’re talking about a time before employers were forced to provide health insurance, retirement benefits and other rights earned by the labor unions.

     I don’t know what kind of America you live in, but I resent being ruled by an ignoramus real estate developer and reality television star who lies his ass off every day and bullies anyone who gets in his way. The guy is a thug who regards the free press (such as it is) as the “enemy of the people,” to use a phrase he picked up from Adolph Hitler, and he manipulates the media to try to keep its focus off his serious crimes in office so far and on the surreal flow of propaganda and misinformation he spews out in every direction.

     As a life-long American I’m deeply offended to be represented by this clown and his idiotic policies designed to dismantle the social gains of a lifetime. This guy cheated and lied and bullied his way into the presidency and now the voters (and, yes, particularly the non-voters) have the president they deserve. Rump! Rump! Rump!

     I’m hoping you’ll forgive my intemperate ranting and raving this month, but I have the privilege of writing whatever I wish in this space each month and I’m dedicating this set of 1200 words to some of the things that have upset me so far this year.

     And whatever else you might want to say about the Rump, you should be clear that the America he’s talking about making great again is a place where the War on Drugs rages across the land, marijuana is identified legally as a narcotic, and here in the state of Michigan you could be sentenced to ten years in prison for possession of marijuana and twenty-to-life for selling or giving away any of the sacrament.

     This is precisely the America the Rumps are trying to bring back, and although they are doomed to failure, they’re going to make it very ugly for some time to come. But it’s like the filthy rich right-wing Koch brothers spokesman Mark Holden just tried to explain to the people on their side, decrying the Rump administration for returning to what he referred to as the “harsh sentencing era of the War on Drugs”: “You are never going to win the war on drugs. Drugs won.”

     That’s a goofy way to put it, but the point is well taken: cannabis users have won the War on Drugs because we were in the right and we kept on coming. We aren’t about to stop until the war is completely over and the opposition troops are completely demobilized and sent packing.

     We won the war in the court of public opinion, in the actual courtrooms where we proved that marijuana was not a narcotic, and in election after election where cannabis activists mounted petition drives, raised money, got the petitions signed and the issues on the ballot, and mobilized their fellow voters to pass the initiatives and make significant changes in the legal system.

     In our modern political system where elections depend upon millions of dollars offered candidates by rich people and their corporations and front groups in exchange for their fealty while in office, the people’s initiative is the one remaining vestige of
true democracy and the people who use the initiative process are the true patriots of democracy who refuse to be cowed by the professional politicians and right-wing pundits in the press who have kept the marijuana-using population under the thumb of the shock troops of the War on Drugs.

     Well, I’ve got 200 words left to address the topic that started me off thinking on this negative path about government refusal to comply with the publicly expressed wishes of the electorate, and that’s the idiotic campaign by the Detroit City Council and their counsel, a guy called Butch, to close down as many of the city’s 283 medical marijuana dispensaries as they can get away with.

     Detroit legalized medical marijuana before the State of Michigan did, and it legalized recreational use by initiative in 2012. The City Council refused to recognize these events and waited eight years to create rules and regulations for dispensaries in the city. By that time there were almost 300 outlets operating in formerly abandoned building and storefronts all around the city, each one employing Detroit citizens and upgrading the physical appearance of its neighborhood.

     This is the best thing that’s happened at ground level outside of the Woodward Avenue corridor downtown in many years. The presence of these cannabis centers has been mandated by the electorate, and obviously they’re being well used by the smoking public. But while the City should be doing everything in its power to encourage and enhance the efforts of these brave entrepreneurs to bring new economic life to the decrepit zones of the former Motor City, instead they’re trying to shit most of them down.

     This is some really stupid shit, and it’s fundamentally anti-democratic as well as idiotic. Throw the bums out! Free The Weed!

—Detroit
June 26, 2017

© 2017 John Sinclair. All Rights Reserved.

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