Nikki and I were at the Mendocino Town 4th of July parade on a float sponsored by the Mendocino Cannabis Policy Council. While I sat around the “conference table”, Nikki was out front waving a banner that proclaimed: Cannabis is Medicine, and shouting out: “Protect the small farmer!” I had a banner that urged: “Take the High Road, Legalize Cannabis!”
The response was enthusiastic, especially from a large contingent of Senior Citizens, who know for sure that cannabis is medicine.
At one point it occurred to me to shout: “LIFE, LIBERTY AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS”. This I repeated throughout the whole parade. At one point a wag added, “And the Munchies”
Then, I really started thinking about the meaning of this famous phrase from the Declaration of Independence. The Declaration states that these truths are self evident, that all people (they wrote ‘men’) are created equal and are endowed with certain inalienable rights (they cannot be taken away), that among these (implying that there are other inalienable rights) are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
First of all, this is part of the Mission Statement for the founding of the USA. It is not a legal document, like the Constitution. It is kind of a promise. This is what the America stands for.
Interestingly, cannabis embodies all three of these principles:
- LIFE: cannabis is medicine and not only alleviates many painful and debilitating conditions, it also saves lives.
- LIBERTY: cannabis represents the right to grow one’s own medicine, one’s own food, and the fundamental right to alter one’s own consciousness without harming others.
- PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS: This is the essence of the acton of the herb. To chill out from the stress of the modern world, listen to music with friends, to laugh and enjoy the munchies. I call this the INSPIRATIONAL use of cannabis. It alters one’s awareness and heightens the enjoyment of life.
Most of us in the early days used cannabis as an inspiration for creativity, for expanded awareness of the surroundings, to stimulate the tastebuds, to focus in a deeper way on the music, to overcome one’s inhibitions on the dance floor, or to let it all hang out in any creative making. It is also a social ice breaker, stemming from the tradition of passing the joint and turning one’s friends on.
Then it became an issue of liberty and it still is, since more than 600,000 people were arrested in 2014 simply for possession of an herb that Thomas Jefferson, Founding Father and author of the Declaration, grew cannabis and more than likely smoked it.
And then we learned that this magical flower is a great healer and life saver. It was indeed one of the original medicines used by our paleo ancestors. Cannabis is about life itself. As a grower there is great joy in simply walking through the garden amongst the maturing plants, feeling their vitality, inhaling the myriad aromas, getting a sense of fulness from their greenness.
By denying people the right to choose their medicine and choose their conscious enjoyment, the government is violating the very principles upon which this country was founded. By persecuting cannabis, growers they are threatening the survival of the last vestiges of the family farm, another principle upon which this country was founded.
So it seems that cannabis sums up all that is the promise and potential of America and at the same time, points out all those things which are out to destroy the life, liberty and pursuit of happiness of the cannabis user.