How to make a difference

In last issue’s editorial I complained about the tribulations of producing this magazine, and the lack of support we receive from some hemp stores and other businesses. I received a great deal of positive feedback to that editorial from readers and my peers within this movement. Some readers sent us sympathetic letters and cheques (bless you all), while many more said “I am low on cash but want to help. What can I do?” So for this editorial I have compiled a list of things you can do to help liberate cannabis, but which don’t cost very much money.
? Educate yourself and others. The most important thing you can do is to learn about the issues and to teach those around you. Get a copy of The Emperor Wears no Clothes and Marijuana Myths, Marijuana Facts, and read them both thoroughly. Learn more about drug policy, and make an effort to find out about developments in other countries. Discuss marijuana and drug policy with your family, your teachers and students, your clergy, and anyone else around you. Don’t let ignorant prohibitionist comments pass by unchallenged.

? Write letters to the media. Writing to the media is a more effective way to shape public opinion than writing to politicians. A short, timely letter to the editor should take less than an hour to write, and if published it can reach many thousands of people, sometimes millions. Even if your letter is not printed, by sending it you increase the chances of a similar letter being printed instead. If you write a letter or two each week, you will almost certainly see your work in print on a regular basis, which can be very satisfying.

The Media Awareness Project (MAP), maintains a cannabis and drug policy newsfeed, accessible via email and the web at www.map.org. Their excellent service makes it easy to stay on top of world news, and to immediately respond to news articles from around the globe.

? Get involved in local politics. Most cannabis political campaigns are focussed on the federal government, but municipal and other local governments usually control how federal laws are enforced. It is far easier to have a positive impact on the local political landscape. Attend City Council and Community Policing meetings, and explain how prohibition is counter-productive and leads to crime and violence. Get your friends to come with you. Ask civic leaders tough questions, and educate them about how they can enact a rational drug policy.

You can even take this idea to the next level and run for municipal office. An effective mayoral election campaign can be run on a very low budget. An articulate candidate with a few friends and a photocopier can have a profound impact on the political debate. Mayor Brian Taylor of Grand Forks, BC, is an excellent example of what can be accomplished by an outspoken hempster on a small budget.

? Grow more pot. The war on marijuana is a very real attempt to eradicate the species Cannabis from the face of the earth. By growing marijuana you are keeping the cannabis gene-pool alive and contributing to cannabis culture in a very real way. Although getting started on your grow room will require some investment, the rewards will pay you back many times over. Once you’re growing the fine buds, be sure to set some aside for donation to your local medical marijuana buyer’s club.

? Invest in cannabis culture. When you spend your dollars on a new bong or a hemp shirt, buy from retailers who put back their earnings into the movement. Ask hemp store owners and bong merchants how they contribute to legalization, and encourage them to do more. Volunteer some time helping them in their activist pursuits.

? Get a job. There’s plenty of ways to make a decent living while being active in the cannabis freedom movement. From growing and selling kind buds to working in a hemp store, from making hemp twine jewellery to developing a new hemp technology, from writing articles for pot-mags to carving pipes and bongs. The ads that fill our pages are a testament to the incredible entrepeneurial opportunies offered by the worldwide resurgence of cannabis culture. Take advantage of them.

This list is just the beginning, limited only by your imagination and dedication. What you do can make a real difference. Never underestimate your power.

Dana Larsen
Editor, Cannabis Culture

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