Even though the tunnel is long and filled with diversions there is still a light at the end. The journey that has shown me the true nature of the Prohibitionist has also shown me many wonderful allies. In October 2009 when I committed to being an activist I anticipated losing 40% of my business. (56% vote approval of prop 215 = 40% disapproval= 40% job loss). THIS DID NOT HAPPEN!
I have been open with Aerospace companies and soccer moms, Corporate CEOs and city workers; all from outside the MMJ community. People who do not even use cannabis (I think)! The worst reaction was abject neutral apathy. â€œThatâ€™s nice, but can you fix my mail server?â€ My mother, the lifelong Republican and devoted â€œillegal drugâ€ hater, has seen what I am doing. Her response floored me and brought tears to my eyes. She reminded me of the arguments over cannabis we had when I was a teenager. She would say it was against the law, I would say it is harmless and the law is stupid…
Her response, which she needed to remind me of, â€œI always told you that if you did not like the laws then change them, and son, that looks like exactly what you are doing.â€ This conversation took place in 2010 and was the first time I mentioned my activism, let alone my arrest in 2004, to mom. As tough as that conversation was, the anticipation and dread were far worse.
The same was true with my non MMJ clients. Frequently I hear that my passion, my activism, is supported by others, if I could just not mention their name…
Right there. Did you see that? That is the fear! THAT is the ENEMY! Itâ€™s like going to the beach when we were kids. You see someone out in the six foot surf. You watch as the waves crash over them, but they are still there when the water recedes. It must be safe to go into the 2 foot waves. That is kind of fun, so then you try the 3 foot waves. Even better but you still check to make sure the guy in the six foot surf is still there. He is, so you feel safe, and you enjoy the waves. If that guy was not there, if anything happened to him, you would not go back to the 2 foot waves, you would leave the water. The reality is that there is not just one person in the six foot surf, there are many in San Diego alone! Some have gone far beyond the 6 foot waves and THEY are still there also. Even in San Diego, the MMJ community is filled with typical representations of regular citizens. What could be scarier to a prohibitionist? We look like they look, dress like they dress, talk like they talk. We live right next door to you. We are the invisible majority and our discontent is growing.
For over 20 years I wore a mask, lived a dual identity, a split personality. The cannabis connoisseur to a select few and a clean cut corporate IT geek to everyone else. I hid my consumption from almost everyone I interacted with. How many people smoke just to hide the smell of cannabis? A little secret the tobacco companies do not want you to know, but it is one reason for them to back prohibition. For 5 years I grew my own cannabis, and my personality split worsened. Only a handful of people knew the real Dan, Dannabis. Everyone else got the mask. People may not know what is behind the mask but they are smart enough to see the mask. This distance kept me from establishing relationships with anyone that was not a cannabis user, and even then I was paranoid (rightly so) of whom I could really trust. This isolation and fear is the planned, designed, and implemented strategy of the prohibitionist.
But is it really working? Look at all the people in the BIG surf… I am still here, arenâ€™t I? And far better than just survival, we have achieved victories. With Jovan Jacksonâ€™s case the jury reported that they couldnâ€™t convict since the law was unclear. To me that suggests an inclination to convict if the law was not so vague. But with Eugene Davidovichâ€™s case the jury response was overwhelmingly clear. â€œWe believe in you young man. What happened to you was terrible.â€ No ambiguity with the law, just a shameful abuse of it.
So come get your feet wet.
Pay attention to the sources of Cannabis news.
San Diego Americans for Safe Access.
Meet others like you at meetings or online – http://www.meetup.com/safeaccesssd has many good resources and will help to keep you up to date. If you would rather focus on friendships than activism partnerships then check out:
And for goodness sakes pick up a Nug Magazine, they are everywhere, even 7-11â€™s.
Also, remember to do whatever is necessary to make sure you feel safe. Use a fake name, I do (kind of), donâ€™t share more than what you are comfortable with, and let people know what your boundaries are. We understand. We really do. We are neither blind nor ignorant to the stigmas, both real and perceived, that many people face. So keep an eye on those of us that are in the BIG waves. If the time comes to get out of the water then you will know by what happens to us.
How can we help you? How can we help you help us? How can we help you help us help you?
My momâ€™s son, Dannabis Ruderalis
Proactivism Computer Connections
San Diego Americans for Safe Access