This 4/20, Stand Up For Freedom

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PHOTO: George Eastman House, circa 1910

Thousands of people across the country are gathering today to celebrate 4/20. Whether we are students or teachers, parents or patients, slackers or professionals, there’s one very important thing we all have in common: We all believe in freedom.

And we can all fight for freedom. If you aren’t already fighting for freedom, let today be the beginning.

I wasn’t born an activist. When I first learned about NORML, I wanted nothing to do with it. I liked to smoke my weed on the downlow. I liked to fly under the radar. Fuck that! Fuck that person I used to be!

If you truly believe in freedom, don’t just come out of the marijuana closet, run out screaming and bring your friends along for the ride.

Let your voice be heard. And don’t stop until we are all free.

You might be surprised at how many people will listen to you. For the first time in our lives, the majority of Americans want marijuana legalized. According to the latest polls, 52 percent of Americans support legalization.

But our work is far from done. We need to turn that 52 percent into the new 99%. We need to be loud enough to drown out the voices of corporate greed and prohibitionist lies. We need to be loud enough to create real change. Because right now, things are still really fucked up.

I’m sick and tired of my brothers and sisters going to jail for a plant. And when you have a felony record, it’s really hard to find a good job, and you can’t get student loans, and you can’t vote.

People just like us are losing their homes through asset forfeiture. People just like us are having their children taken away. People just like us are going to jail. And for what? For absurd laws around a beautiful medicinal plant that has never hurt anyone. This is not a “War on Drugs,” it’s a war on people. It’s a war on us.

If you’re already fighting for medical marijuana, decriminalization, or legalization, please fight also for our prisoners of war. Speak up for them. They deserve to be free. They deserve to be reunited with their families.

If you’re not involved in advocacy yet, there are lots of ways you can start. Join NORML, talk to your legislators, talk to the media, or better yet BECOME the media. Start off by stating loud and proud: “I love Mary Jane and I believe in Freedom.”

Live every day like it’s 4/20, and I don’t just mean the getting high part. I’m talking about the speaking up part. I’m talking about spreading the truth and demanding freedom.

So spark one up and play some Bob Marley. Don’t just groove out to the music, listen to his words. Turn the volume up loud and get up. Stand up. Stand up for your rights.

Happy 4/20, everybody.