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Monday, May 28, 2018

Free the Weed 88 - by John Sinclair

 "It’s a medicinal herb,
not a narcotic drug,
and if it’s a gateway to anything it’s
positive curiosity
and sensitivity to great music
and art."

Hi everybody, and highest greetings from the Motor City, where I’ve just today completed my eye cataract surgery and am getting ready to finish my physical testing program next month at the Detroit Medical Center.

I’m feeling far better than when I wrote here last month but I’m still beat up and healing from the several serious spills I took during the past year, including meeting the sidewalk face first after getting hit in the back by a bicycle in Amsterdam last August, tripping in the bathroom and crashing my hip into the commode just before returning to Detroit, falling face down and crashing my head on a big crystal rock in my own bedroom on Thanksgiving night, and finally tripping over my own feet on March 9 in New Orleans and smashing my face and entire corpus onto Carrollton Avenue, necessitating a trip to the new medical centerin the Crescent City

My poor head has recovered fairly well but the rest of my body is not working right yet and I’ve had to reduce my walking as far as possible since I’m afraid of falling down again before I can get fully healed from the last ones. But I’m planning to resume performing on stage next month and thereafter unless something else goes wrong, and I’m really concentrating on keeping it together so I can celebrate my 77th birthday in October.

I don’t mean to piss and moan or to burden you with my personal miseries, because I’m very happy to be alive and mentally I’m in pretty much as good shape as I’ve ever been, but it feels good to get some of this off my chest and explain my somewhat reduced performance level of late. My many friends always want to know how I’m doing and I know a lot of them read this column, so this is my report and I’m standing by it.

What I’m looking forward to a month after my birthday is the opportunity to vote to legalize marijuana in the state of Michigan, something I’ve wanted to do for all my adult life. Following the certification by the State Board of Canvassers of the MILegalize petition, the legalization proposal will appear on the November ballot barring some kind of evil machinations by the degenerate State legislature and the Neanderthal Republicans who make up its majority.
These people never give up. Their forebears in the U.S. Congress in 1937 criminalized marijuana on a whim with no scientific or any sort of proof of harm to justify making smokers and their suppliers the worst sort of criminals subject to the most severe punishments. Michigan quickly followed suit, classifying marijuana as a narcotic and mandating prison sentences of 20 years to life for sales and ten years for possession of marijuana.

I hate to sound like a broken record, but there’s absolutely nothing wrong with marijuana. It’s a medicinal herb, not a narcotic drug, and if it’s a gateway to anything it’s creativity, enlightenment, relaxation, sensuality, positive curiosity and sensitivity to great music and art. Marijuana is a good thing, and people who smoke marijuana are generally good people, not criminals nor dope fiends nor people to be arrested and imprisoned by the police state.

For 80 years these unscrupulous politicians and their vast police, prosecutorial and imprisonment specialists have terrorized marijuana users and their suppliers with arrest, impoundment, property seizure, drug testing, prosecution, trial, probation, imprisonment and parole. Millions upon millions of law enforcement personnel of every stripe, from patrolman to narcotics agent, probation officer, prosecutor, judge, courtroom personnel, drug testers, rehabilitation experts, wardens, jailers, parole officers, drug treatment specialists, and legions more have plagued our lives and imposed their insane system on every aspect of our lives.

Now that support for marijuana legalization is at an all-time high, as no less a source than CBS News has reported, the heavy, oppressive hand of the law will be lifted off our heads once and for all, but it’s going to take more time and even greater levels of struggle to completely free the weed from all unnecessary and exploitative government interference with our smoking, copping and growing. Mark my words: They aren’t going to give up their ill-gotten and long-enjoyed gains without kicking and screaming every inch of the way.

My friend and fellow MMMReort columnist Tim Beck, long-time legalization activist, strategist and organizer of wildly effective voting activity, operates an important listserv called SaferMichCoalition that connects scores of activists, progressive attorneys and politicians, smokers, dealers, thinkers and doers in the state of Michigan.

Last week a listserv member posed the following Thought Exercise: What happens to marijuana lawyers, courts, state labs when marijuana is legalized? Also curious about prosecutors, state labs, court dockets too.

I send out sort of an impertinent message to the list: “They will likely be swept into the dustbin of history, where they belong.”

I meant no disrespect bur rather referred to the fact that the whole horseshit tissue of the marijuana laws had no basis in fact or reality and were made up of whole cloth by vicious politicians to punish certain deviate segments of the populace for insisting on getting high.

My reasoning was, since everything about the marijuana laws was absolutely wrong, we should be able to throw the whole thing away and never have to think about it again.

Free The Weed—Forever!

Listserv member Allen Peisner responded: “As long as the police and courts hate marijuana, they will take leaps and bounds with the law to persecute people. There are many people who have their freedom thanks to skilled marijuana lawyers.

“Criminal defense attorneys are often despised, despite their important role. I understand this and knew it when I became one. I welcomed the challenges.

“Clarence Darrow said: ‘To be an effective criminal defense counsel, an attorney must be prepared to be demanding, outrageous, irreverent, blasphemous, a rogue, a renegade, and a hated, isolated, and lonely person—few love a spokesman for the despised and the damned.’ Who cares if it is a little dusty?”

As one of those many people who have gained our freedom from prison and other forms of state punishment “thanks to skilled marijuana lawyers,” I’d like to offer my thanks and appreciation to the likes of my first defender, Bill Segesta, the great Sheldon Otis, the future socialist judge Justin C. “Chuck” Ravitz, the gigantic Hugh M. “Buck” Davis, and attorneys who were law students then like Dennis Hayes of Ann Arbor, Neal Bush, Otis Culpepper, and a legion of others that helped me get out of prison. Thank you!

— Detroit
May 20, 2018
© 2018 John Sinclair. All Rights Reserved.

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