Writing, timing, riding, fighting

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Though this blog has been seriously lacking in content over the past six months or so, I’m going to be posting many more writings here, published both personally and professionally. Recently I started writing for a publication called Hybrid.Life, which I would highly recommend for anyone interested in herbal and holisitic living. I’ll be writing about everything from sustainability, environmentalism, and activism, to spirituality, gardening, healthy living, and cannabis, of course.  So I’ll be reposting articles that have been published on Hybrid.Life, and will also be posting more personal writings, poetry, and photography in between.

This year, I’ve been getting more and more passionate about marijuana policy reform, as my life was greatly impacted by a possession of marijuana charge I received while travelling into Bellaire, Michigan back in April. Though I was fortunate not to serve any jail time, and haven’t denied my responsibility for making a bad decision (considering present drug laws), I am still going to be paying for this so called crime for about a year or so. However, this experience has focused my attention on the injustice of marijuana prohibition and has clearly exemplified the ineffectiveness of our Draconian legal system.

As I said, I feel somewhat lucky for the way that my legal situation played out. Even though I was ordered to do forty hours of community service, and have to spend the next year on probation (while randomly drug testing four times a month), and I’ve been ordered to pay more than a thousand dollars in court costs and fees, many who are charged with possession in our state lose out considerably. If my skin were a different color, or if I had a larger amount of marijuana, a large sum of cash, or some valuable items with me when I was arrested, I probably would have been jailed, may have been severely mistreated, or had my possessions seized by the police, which is a popular method of fundraising for law enforcement these days.

Now if I were black man, I think it’s pretty safe to say that my chances of being jailed for possession would have been much higher. Most of us are well aware of the countless recent incidences of police brutality perpetrated on blacks, most of which have involved minor threats or violations that have escalated into severe beatings or murders perpetrated by various officers in several places all over the country. Needless to say, with these things on my mind, I was relieved to be white and thankful that I was able to escape a confrontation with the police alive.

It may seem like I’m exaggerating a bit here, but it’s hard not to think this way when there are many more arrests for marijuana possession than for violent crimes in our country these days. And in the state of Michigan, blacks are about four times more likely to be arrested for possession than whites, despite very similar overall usage percentages. This is a disturbing trend, especially at a time in our country where black folks seem to be getting targeted by police more and more, and are even losing their lives in their encounters with the cops. Moreover, I now know how it feels to be profiled, as I believe my encounter with the State Police in Antrim County, Michigan was initiated due to the fact that I was bearded and long-haired, while heading to an Anniversary party at a popular brewery where many “hippie” types were congregated, obviously drinking, probably smoking pot, and listening to live music.

Unfortunately, I was in the wrong place at the wrong time when I took a very small amount of medical marijuana (which I was using as medicine after hernia surgery), on a trip up north. And even though I wish it had never happened, I have learned a lot and have been inspired by the experience. I am now working as hard as I can to help raise awareness of the benefits of cannabis and the injustice of prohibition. I’m helping to collect signatures with MILegalize for a petition to put a ballot initiative for legalization of marijuana in Michigan next year, and am writing to state and federal lawmakers to encourage their support of decriminalization…and I’m telling you all of this because I hope you will too.

When I was charged with possession, I had a legitimate medical purpose for using cannabis, which neither the police nor the judge had any concern about. I didn’t (and still don’t, in fact I never will) have a medical marijuana card to allow me to use it medicinally. I don’t feel it should be necessary, don’t really want to be “officially labeled” a marijuana user, and at the moment, I don’t really have a condition that necessitates it. Although I could technically get a card for back pain that suffer sometimes, due to scoliosis, I’ve also been ordered by the court not to use medical marijuana anyways.

Personally, I don’t feel that I need a reason, an excuse, or even a medical condition to justify the use of cannabis. The fact of the matter is that it’s a useful and enjoyable healing herb. It should be more readily available to everyone for medicinal use, and for recreational use for adults if they should so choose. It’s safer than alcohol, more effective for pain relief than most prescription drugs, and more and more, science is finding that there are few, if any, drawbacks or possible long term detrimental effects, even with regular usage!

I believe the time has come. Prohibition is a massive failure; our jails and prisons are over populated with non-violent offenders, families are being financially drained, emotionally strained, and sometimes even completely destroyed by misguided laws and overly aggressive courts, demanding large fees and often harsh sentencings…all for what? Because of a misunderstood, unduly maligned and demonized plant? Enough is enough…it’s time to legalaize it!!

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Happy Veteran’s Day? 😔

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When I consider a “holiday” like Veteran’s Day, my first thoughts don’t evoke a sense of gratitude toward elders who fought in “just” wars against fascism, or even those revolutionaries and radicals who have wrested their freedom from the hands of tyrants and labored tirelessly to free themselves and others from oppression. Unfortunately, it seems to me that our military serves more to protect corporate interests and the insular efforts of our monied elite to keep themselves protected from those they steal from, in order to build their protected fortresses and global empires.

I mostly consider the perpetual pogroms of the modern age, and the many unjust and unnecessary imperialist ventures that continue to take the lives of young men and women, to be more for the sake of unfettered capitalism, mass consumption, and the continuance of American cultural hegemony than anything else. So while I am thankful for the amenities of modern life and the efforts of those who risk their lives to protect our “freedom and security,” I am equally disgusted by the blind patriotism and imperialist mindset implicit in simply wishing everyone a happy Veteran’s Day.

I mean no disrespect to our fallen soldiers and their families, nor do I want to trivialize the sacrifice that members of our military make to serve our country.  However, I don’t believe that “freedom isn’t free” and I will not accept the idea that violence and war can ever lead to reconciliation and peace.  So please forgive me if this seems offensive, off-putting, even treasonous, or a complete betrayal of American sensibilities. Often, I feel those things when I see patriotic memes and statements about our benevolent military.

Where are we taking this?

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There is nothing so freeing, yet so restrictive, as being your own boss, managing a small business, and striving for entrepreneurial excellence.  Then, there’s the balance of maintaining family life, holding true to one’s convictions, vision, and life goals.  Simply aiming for the ideal can only take one so far. Being present in every situation is of the utmost importance, yet vigilance may be hard to come by in times such as these. Still, we mustn’t squander the privilege of this opportune moment.

sheiswearei

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History unfolds like a storybook of mythological tales; herstory untold, has been subdued and relegated to reside in the background of reality. Our window into surreal banality, is the faerieland of our loving; living creatively for the sake of sanity. Warning bells ringing, bringing presence of peace to present future past, our destiny, fast releasing, manifesting ethereal planes of fifth dimensional finality.