Reform Activists Give Thanks

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We here at Ladybud Magazine are grateful for the year we’ve had with you, our readers, while we find our voices to lend to socially progressive issues — not just cannabis or overall drug policy reform, though we focus strongly on these issues. Our voices also allow us to unite with our brothers and sisters in hopes of a better world free from fracking, manifold corporate illusions, and human rights abuses, so that we may embrace a new sense of community and help to create more aware world.

It’s been quite a ride this year in just about every state for cannabis reform — activist families moving from restrictive states to more legally flexible ones for civil liberty redemption or for medicinal access or both, new jobs created, new legislation passed…all kinds of wonderful things for which to be grateful.

We asked some of our writers, readers and activist friends to contribute to this list so that we can not only reaffirm our gratitude for these things but also give a bit of insight about who we are and what we do, the challenges we face and yet in light of those, why and how we still hope.

Theresa and her daughter.

Theresa Collins, regional coordinator for Pittsburgh NORML Women’s Alliance:

“I am thankful that CYF didn’t take my daughter away from me when they visited my house due to my ex-husband calling them and “anonymously” tipping them off to the fact that I use ‘the marijuana.’”

Lindsey Rinehart, founder of the Undergreen Railroad moved from Idaho to neighboring Oregon to protect her traumatized family from harassment from CPS and law enforcement:

Lindsey rallying earlier this year to get her kids back after CPS harassed her family at both school and home.

“I’m grateful to be fighting to clear my name, and not to get my kids back or for my freedom. I am grateful for my children sleeping in their beds right now. I’m grateful for the “ninja vest” on my coffee table. I’m grateful for the mess about the house from the kids in general. I’m grateful that I have my husband and I have our freedom, more than anyone knows. I found out today that I was being investigated in Boise before we fled–again.

They were going after me again, my family again possibly. I’m grateful that I will never know because we left. I’m grateful for my new home in my new town in my new state. I’m grateful for a sensible cannabis policy in OR that won’t prosecute me for using a safer medication. I’m grateful to now be off of 14 Big Pharma medications for the last 3 months, thanks to cannabis!!! I’m incredibly grateful for all of the love and support from the cannabis activist community over this past year of my life. I don’t know what I would have done, how we would have made it through with out everyone’s outpouring of love and support. I just went through one of the hardest years of my life, if not, The hardest year of my life due to them stealing the children–that was the hardest thing I’ve ever been through. Thank you to everyone that has been there for us during this time.”

Niki “Smokes” Snow Dawson, cannabis reform activist based in Massachusetts:

“I’m thankful for the Salem City Council voting unanimously against a proposed moratorium for Registered Marijuana Dispensaries here in Salem, MA. During the discussion before the vote, the council thanked me for putting a face to Salem Families that are waiting for the dispensaries doors to open. I am so thankful for their warm reception and willingness to move forward into new frontiers.”

Eapen Thampy, Executive Director at Americans for Forfeiture Reform:

“I am grateful for the hard work of my colleagues at the Institute for Justice to help reform the federal asset forfeiture laws.”

David Malmo-Levine, a Canadian cannabis activist gives props to the ladies of the movement:

“Thanktivist”! I’m thankful for all the women in the movement – the list is endless! Without you females, the movement would be nothing.”

Mike Cann, Politics and Culture writer at Dig Boston thanked not only his colleagues but one of our own who gave up the ghost far too early and quite unexpectedly:


Michael Malta aka “King of Pot” KOP with Mike Cann

“I’m grateful for the love and support I have received for my work. And most grateful for having known Michael L. Malta, The KING of POT — if it hadn’t been for him, I wouldn’t be still doing it (activism). I might not even be of this earth. He saved me from a dark time and made me better than ever. I will never forget him for as long as I live.”

Lisa Roche-Kuprian, Registered Professional Nurse Advocate at New York Cannabis Alliance:

“Today, I am thankful for Evan Nison. He was a college student who organized a press conference for NY Patients in 2010 in Albany, NY after a New York State Senate Hearing on Medical Marijuana. On that day, I met a wonderful man in the hall outside the senate hearing. We developed a great friendship. We were married last month, and I am lucky to have married my best friend.”

Connie Guy, NORML member in Pennsylvania based in Mount Joy:

“As this holiday season approaches and having lost my dear mother this year as well as welcoming my first grandchild, I am thankful for the spirit my mother instilled in me all my life, to stand proud and strong for what I truly believe in…to never back down from a challenge and to see it through no matter the obstacle. She was my true hero. As I look into the eyes of my beautiful granddaughter, I am thankful for God blessing her with good health but am reminded of the many children who will and continue, to suffer the frailty of ill health and the injustice of our lawmakers, elected to serve and protect our families of this great commonwealth. This only makes me more determined to keep fighting until the right and noble thing is done.”

Kitty Greatbanks Miller, activist working closely with The Human Solution:

Kitty Greatbanks Miller

“We need to keep fighting.”

“I am grateful for my Human Solution team fighting by my side to help free plant prisoners and make sure they are cared for and not forgotten while we fight to change laws side by side. They have helped lighten my load and made it a easier path or road to travel.

I am also thankful that my best friend Kristin Flor’s mom Sherry Flor was released from prison finally after her husband and Kristin’s father died brutally neglected and abused in Federal Prison. We will not stop until all our plant prisoners are free! Not one person deserves to go to jail for a plant and if they do they don’t deserve to be forgotten by any of us.”

Kaliko Castille, owner and president at Brightside Community Foundation:

“I’m thankful for the two years of volunteer work I put in for a cause that I deeply care about, and all of the amazing people I met along the way, who’s connections helped me go from waiting tables to becoming a brand new dispensary owner in a state that just legalized medical dispensaries, and is quickly headed towards legalization.”

Erica Warren, overall drug policy reform advocate:

I am thankful that Linn State Technical College’s policy of drug testing the entire student body was ruled unconstitutional! I am also thankful to be a part of two great organizations that worked hard to end the unconstitutional drug testing policy, the ACLU and SSDP!

There were others, too, who implore us to remember love, compassion and to do our best to put our best faces forward with kind words and intentions:

Shaleen Title

The incomparable Shaleen Title

Shaleen Title, Treasurer and Board Member at Marijuana Majority:

“I’m thankful to my parents for instilling in me a sense of humility and an understanding that everyone will face ups and downs in life – it’s our responsibility to give compassion and justice to those who are suffering, not judgment. It has shaped the way I process every experience.”

Vivian McPeak of Seattle Hempfest:

“I am thankful for those activists everywhere who advance their ideas without personal attacks, denigration, and demagoguery, but instead laser focus on issues and injustices, offering constructive solutions that foster unity and collective advancement when possible.”

Vanessa Waltz, managing editor at Ladybud Magazine and board member at Coalition for Medical Marijuana New Jersey:

“I am grateful that the very first activists I connected with were people of great wisdom, strength, and integrity. Those initial contacts continue to teach me, support me, and lift me up when I am down, and our common bond has led to many beautiful friendships. I am also grateful for all the brave activists who led the way before us as well as the enthusiasm of the newer activists in our movement.”

Tori LaChapelle, contributing writer to Ladybud Magazine:

“I am thankful that through Ladybud Magazine and the cannabis movement, I have finally found “my people” and my true path and place in this world. I no longer feel alone because of my passion and activism. I have found myself in every way imaginable among the warrior women of the movement. I am thankful to the CannaFam — CannaQueens, CannaKings and CannaKids!”