Sink or Swim Pt. 2 “Back to the Basics”

Article By: Aaron Evans
Photo by DJ Deprave

Some of the fondest memories from my childhood are the days I spent at the neighborhood watering hole. The summers seemed endless, pristine. Worry free, I’d splash and play with the other pool rats, partaking in relay races and cannonball competitions, out to catch the attention of the lovely local ladies. As far back as I can remember, being in the water was second nature, but that wasn’t always the story. Apparently, I sunk like a stone during my first lesson, resting helplessly at the bottom until the instructor pulled me to the surface. However, over time, I would become known as a fish in the water. The skills I had grown to obtain only existed because at some point in my life, someone with more experience and knowledge had taught me how to hold my breath, doggy paddle and float. Without these basic and essential tools, I would have drowned the very first day and never experienced one of my most precious childhood freedoms – swimming.

As I look around our culture, I can’t help but feel like some of us have forgotten the basics of the game or never had them laid out in front of us to begin with. Perhaps we’re sinking for the simple fact that we never learned how to swim. Anymore, common sense isn’t common place, and I often hear arguments about why down is up, up is down, and 1+1=3. But here’s the thing, I studied philosophy for a few years in college and I’m an adamant believer in logic; therefore, I feel the moment has arisen to revisit, as taught to me, the basics behind what has allowed us to keep our lips above the surface thus far. Call them guides, call them natural laws, call them what you will, but from my perspective, these are the ‘unspoken rules’ of being green.

Rule #1: NEVER call the cops on a fellow smoker, grower or blower.

Unless the health or safety of you or your family is in immediate danger, DON’T BE A RAT. I don’t care if so and so called you this or that, or if somebody undercut your price; it’s irrelevant. Don’t get me wrong, where I grew up, these are issues that would be addressed immediately, but not by snitching. The sooner we see that this is a ‘together we succeed, together we fail’ battle, the better.  With every bust, the conservative media is given another stone to toss at our delicate glass house. For every grow that is eradicated, another patient goes without medication. With every diversion of energy, we fall further from our final goal.

Bottom line: don’t make their job easier than it already is. Our many enemies have an immeasurable tactical advantage. If this was any clearer, it would be a window. Take a second to look outside your box before acting on impulses that have bigger implications than your personal world. Once you rat, you never go back.

Rule #2: NEVER call a fellow smoker, grower or blower a cop, fed or informant without absolute proof.

If you have undeniable, indisputable, 100% hard evidence that an active member of our community and culture is a cop, fed or informant, AND you’re ready to present it to the public in an inarguable fashion, I would then say that it’s your ‘moral obligation’ to step forward and share that evidence, as to protect others. But, for as much as I love music, if you heard that shit through the grapevine, I’m tuning you out. We, as a community, have no time to imitate daytime soaps. I dig the TV show WEEDS. I like laughing at its absurdity, but I never intend to live in its warped reality.

Bottom line: false accusations cause confusion and unrest. Without trust, we have no true allies, only temporary alliances bound to tumble under the pressure of oppression.

Rule #3: 3.3 is not 3.5, 27 is not 28, and so on and so forth.

My grandfather founded and ran a sand and gravel company until he passed away at the age of 63. Rising from humble beginnings, he built a successful business by providing his customers with a quality product at a fair price. He wasn’t always the cheapest, but his word was the Midas touch. Contractors could count on each delivery being exactly to spec, and sometimes he’d toss in a little extra for good measure knowing that a happy customer would return, time and time again. This is relevant because the sand and gravel business has one thing in common with the green business; they both heavily rely on scales as the backbone of their commerce.

My grandfather watched his competition fail as they implemented unjust business practices, such as calibrating scales in their favor and mixing subpar grades with higher grades. He stuck to his guns determined to be an honest man before a rich one. He knew that each of us worked hard for our daily bread and deserved to have our labor respected when spending our bounty. 30 years later, with our nation’s fiscal situation engulfed in an exponential slump, this truth shines brighter than ever. An 1/8 pre-weighed should be 3.5 grams, EVERY TIME! An ounce in an airtight turkey bag should be 28 grams, EVERY TIME! In a world ruled by jealousy and greed, the quick come-up can often lead to violence or a detention center.

Bottom line: karma is keeping score and will come knocking at your door if needed. In a culture of cultivation, please believe that you reap what you sow.

Rule #4: NEVER put your provider on blast.

Several days ago, I was reminded of this while in route to my favorite co-op. Less than 50 feet from the front door, I was approached by a seedy smile and an outstretched hand holding subpar meds. I quickly waved the young man off, not having the time to stop and school him about Rule #4. Little did I know the opportunity would present itself again moments later. As I came to the front door, I noticed the character was following behind me. Luckily, one of the budtenders was returning from break, so I had ample time to alert him about the situation. Quickly confronting the problem, he explained to the gentleman that he was clearly out of line and would not be allowed to sign up as a new member. I, being the loudmouth that I am, decided to throw my two cents in and explained how his actions brought unneeded heat to our culture. I told him the story of my friends from the Kush Lounge who are currently under federal prosecution after falling victim to big brother’s watchful eye less than half a mile from where we were standing. As his face turned ill, I could see he realized the implications of his unthoughtful deeds to himself and the community. He apologized and vacated the premises.

Our opposition is more observant than they are given credit for. In the medical world, follow protocol. From your doctor, to your co-op, to the proper transportation of your meds, it’s more or less known what you can do to avoid an incident with your local law enforcement. That’s why magazines like NUG are here, to inform the community. If you don’t know, ask; assistance is abundant.

Bottom line: questioning our enemy’s intelligence is only questioning our own. We must be honest with ourselves about our shortcomings if we are to withstand this ongoing attack upon our existence. The sharpened blade of a skilled warrior always strikes at the flaws and weaknesses of its opponent’s armor. This is a lesson we must never forget.

Rule #5: Support legalization of hemp and marijuana, period!

For the record, I support full heartedly ANY legislation that leads towards the legalization of hemp and marijuana. I know this is a hot button topic, but you can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs. If you’ve rocked a ‘legalize it’ t-shirt, bitched about outdated laws, or gotten lifted with rebellion, then the time is now to tip the first domino. The only reason I see for anyone in our culture to stand against legalization is for monetary gain. Concerns over corporatization are understandable, valid and very real, but they also have strong roots in the overall landscape of how our country is being run. If we want to protect hemp and marijuana, we need to see the big picture and how this ties into protecting many of our other rights that are dissipating daily.

Bottom line: if someone’s love bunny in Humboldt has to go without $200 yoga pants so that Hector in Golden Hill doesn’t have to go to jail anymore, I’m cool with that. If a few shops have to close in order to keep the gangs and cartels from running National City, I’m cool with that too. Call me crazy, but life is about balance. We don’t live in a world where you get everything you want right when you want it. This has become the predominate mentality in America, but it couldn’t be farther from the reality of our world.

We, as with every other revolution, must swim one stroke at a time. Equal rights didn’t come to pass with the end of slavery or segregation alone. It came from an ongoing fight and many years of winning small battles until the tide was turned. Even now, with an African American as president, many individuals and organizations are still pushing for absolute equality as the scales have yet to fully balance out. Those driven individuals have never given up their pursuit of freedom, and we must be equally focused on our objective if we are to overcome our shackles.

The seas are going to get rougher; the real storm has just begun to brew. At the moment, we’re treading water and safety is only a sliver of land in the distance. We’re close, it’s within our sites, but not as close as some of us think we are. The true test may ultimately be our endurance and resolve. So I endear you, no matter how dark the waters become, keep swimming. No matter what the winds may whip your way, keep swimming. No matter how bad your muscles may hurt, keep swimming. Swim toward the shore of freedom.

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