A Job, Marriage, Kids, FREE MARC and Marijuana Activism: Doing It All and Loving It

I decided that I’m going to Washington, D.C. for the Rally to Restore Sanity / March To Keep Fear Alive to volunteer handing out “Free Marc” Water Bottles and “Free Marc” literature on October 30. We are recruiting MORE volunteers too: we need at least 10 more people to help us. If you are interested, my contact info is at the end of this blog entry.

My eldest son, Ben, is very excited to help Marc and pass out FREE MARC Water and get a Free Marc T-Shirt! We are a family of four just making ends meet, so this is a big deal for our family!

To raise some cash for our trip to D.C., I decided to have a yard sale this past weekend on Oct. 16. I was up until 2:30am the night before pricing, sorting, cleaning and packing stuff. Baby woke up at 4:00am (ugh). I worked my sale from 8:30am to 1:00pm. Then back to mommy duties: Child rearing, yard-work, laundry, and then dinner. Ben (almost seven yrs old now), made a large messy mountain of pillows and couch cushions in the middle of my living room while I cooked. Hubby got home from work around 10:00pm and we watched the live stream of the Moneybomb while cutting out Free Marc handbills (2,000 of them) for the Washington, DC Rally. I trimmed all my posters and bundled my Free Marc literature into piles. We donated $10 to the Moneybomb, which is what we can manage on our Family-of-Four-Shoe-String Budget. One drop makes many ripples on a pond!

How It All Started

When Ed Rosenthal was raided in 2002 it inspired my husband Keith to help out. Keith started writing letters to our constituents in support of creating a medical marijuana program in our home state of Rhode Island. After hearing of Ed’s arrest, Keith and I began researching more online. Through our cyber-searching we landed at Cannabis Culture‘s website where AskEd articles were cached. We joined CC‘s Forums and started taking an active role in the movement to end prohibition.

Our First Encounter with the Prince of Pot

We were honored to attend the Tokers’ Bowl II in Vancouver in May of 2003. We headed to Cannabis Culture Headquarters, and we smelled the wonderful aroma pouring out of the storefront onto the sidewalk. Then we saw Marc Emery for the first time. He was parading around his store proudly carrying his Canucks Bong, sharing his Chocolate Chunk with anyone wishing to sample! He walked over to us with Canucks Bong in hand and said “Where are you from?” “Providence Rhode Island!” we said. Marc gave Keith a sample from the bong.

That was our first face-to-face meeting with The Famous Marc Emery. TB II had so many things planned! We rode a tour bus driven by the Reverend Herb. We went on a Cruise. I remember the Tall Brothers playing 420 tunes live. We met Mik Mann, a.k.a. Opus, on the boat ride and had a great chat about all kinds of cannabis. The Vancouver Police Harbor Patrol followed the boat and made it turn back to port after learning there was a “pot party” happening on the cruise. Marc held a “Medieval” Themed Ball with food and music and entertainers in costume; of course Marc had a crown with marijuana leaves on it! He IS the Prince of Pot after all! We got to chat with Marijuana Man the last day of the event and he filmed us for his POT-TV video “Marijuana Man Rips the Lid off The Toker’s Bowl 2”.

More Activism with Loretta Nall

About three months after the Tokers’ Bowl, we met Loretta Nall on the CC Forums, and joined her at the Boston Freedom Fest at the end of September 2003. We manned the booth with her all day. I was seven months pregnant with Ben at the time, and I remember it was very hot, my feet hurt (typical prego symptoms), but we did it – and it was FUN! We took the spare pamphlets back to Providence and stuck them in free newspapers and handed them out to people at our work.

Keith met up with Loretta again in Washington D.C. to help out at the Jonathan Magbie protest. Mr. Magbie was a quadriplegic arrested for having some marijuana under his seat in a car. He then died in the jail cell five days later. It was an absolutely tragic and heartbreaking outcome caused 100% by this awful Drug War. I quickly designed a five foot banner for them and emailed it to be printed in D.C. by Loretta Nall.

Marc Emery Seeds Direct, Baby is born, and Being a Caregiver in Rhode Island

In 2005 Marc Emery’s store was raided by DEA agents. It was very upsetting to me, and I wrote letters to Vic Toews and sent money to Marc’s Lawyer whenever I could. I bought Michelle Rainey‘s MEDICINAL t-shirt and an autographed CC Magazine from her. I mailed money to CC‘s HQ for Greg Williams’ legal fees.

In October 2008 I wrote President Obama a letter telling him all about Marc Emery’s plight and begging him to Pardon Marc and not allow the extradition to take place. I wrote letters to my Representatives, my local politicians, Vic Toews, anyone I thought had a responsibility to listen, learn, and act. We wore our “No Extradition for BC’s Three” t-shirts at community meetings and fundraisers.

On my birthday, April 20, 2009, I learned I we were going to have another baby! Chase was the best birthday present I could have ever asked for! We donate to Rhode Island Patient Advocacy Coalition. We maintained active roles in our medical marijuana community throughout my pregnancy, attending fundraisers and Community Cardholder Meetings.

My husband and I are both Licensed Caregivers and we take great pride in our ability to help sick people find relief. Our patients will never again have to use their meager social security incomes on a God-given plant. Sick people have enough on their plates; they shouldn’t be forced to choose between gasoline and medicine. We never expect anything in return, but we get a lot of gratitude – and that is more than I could ask for. It feels good in the soul to help somebody in need.

In March of this year, two retired Providence police officers sponsored a bill (House Bill 7275) proposing changes to Rhode Island’s medical marijuana program. It was written to outlaw cultivation rights of both patients and caregivers, essentially forcing them to only utilize the State-regulated Compassion Centers instead (which aren’t even operating yet thanks to our incompetent Dept. of Health!) I and dozens others waited hours for our turn to testify against it. I rebutted every lie and fear tactic they presented with hard facts and rational eloquence. I even received a round of applause! Representative Peter Martin went on to say that it was one of the best hearings he’d ever been to. He reminded us that it would have been the late Thomas C. Slater’s 69th birthday that same day. Mr. Slater was a Senator who fought so hard for the Medical Marijuana Act here in RI. He finally lost his own battle with Cancer in 2009. The Bill’s proposed changes were “held for further study” and then later died when no vote was taken.

This past August, I finally hunkered down and wrote Marc a letter to his FDC SEATAC prison. I cannot begin to describe the adrenaline pumping through my veins when I opened my mailbox a week later and saw a colored envelope with Marc’s name on the return address! I practically RAN inside. I closed the door to the bathroom to keep the kids outta my hair for 10 minutes and read Marc’s letter with the engrossed attention of a schoolgirl reading her Nancy Drew! He encouraged me to organize a rally on September 18 in my hometown of Providence. I got started the next day.

Decisions, Transitions, and Our September 18 Rally

Between juggling school meetings, a full-time job, doctors appointments, and all the little chores that fill up a busy mom’s days, weeks, months, years – I manage my time as best I can. My eldest son Benjamin is having a hard time adjusting at his new school (we just moved out of Providence in August because we needed a decent public school system – Providence’s school are the worst in the State). It was a very big transition for Ben, he had to deal with moving from his home in Providence, adjust to Mom and Dad’s changing schedule, and change schools all in a 1-month span. It’s a lot of extra effort getting time off to work with his teacher, principal, Special Ed staffers, and stuff like that. It’s not always easy, but I take my mommy duties very seriously and I will do anything for my son to ensure his success in the public school system! If you don’t advocate for your children as a parent, they can fall through the cracks. I struggle to keep my sanity with the school system sometimes, believe me!

I print material and posters often from the FreeMarc.ca website. I’m all over color copy sales at printing stores like a fly on honey. I sell things on Craigslist to raise money for printing costs, supplies, and “thank you” gifts for protestors that show up to rallies (it leaves a good impression and encourages folks to help out in the future). I hit up busy streets, head-shops, and cafes hanging rally posters and stapling little bundles of Free Marc handbills so people could “take one” and learn more. I did this for two weeks leading up to the rally itself. The Monthly Community Cardholder Meeting for RIPAC that month was a great opportunity to spread the word and recruit volunteers. Keith rolled 57 joints (of Snazzleberry) and brought them to the RIPAC Meeting. “You can have a Free Marc flier” he said to the crowd, “but: you can only have one if you take a Free Marc joint too!” You should have seen the stampede; I thought the kids were gonna get trampled by walkers and canes! It was a great way to help out those in need and get Marc’s message out. “Free Meds to Free Marc” was our slogan.

The Rally was small but successful. We brought water for people, a first aid kit, apples to share, lots of chalk, and I made three really LARGE 4’ x 6’ posters mounted on foam board. I had picket signs and posters and handbills and fliers to dole out to people in what I call my “trusty activist survival box.” We had about 15 or 16 folks in total throughout the day and one awesome volunteer, Dave, who stayed with us ALL DAY for the whole six hours! YOU ROCK DAVE! One woman even brought her kids who were sporting home-made Free Marc t-shirts! Every protester that came to the Sept. 18 rally got a Bee Line Hemp Wick for their support. We made an 18-foot banner out of pieced-together color copies with large X-shaped tape strips down its entire length. Voila! A cheap, sturdy, wind-proof banner for the cost of about 10 color copies (11” x 17”) and a roll of clear packaging tape! We took the banner to the highway overpass at the State House and took “shifts” waving and smiling at drivers and handing folks Free Marc handbills.

The Sept. 18 rally was the same day as Boston, Massachusetts’ annual Hempfest. All the drivers heading North on the interstate to Boston saw my banner and signs. I witnessed THOUSANDS of thumbs-up, truck drivers honking their horns, flashing headlights, waves, and smiles. My face hurt from smiling all day and my shoulders were sore from waving so much. I guess this is how the Queen of England feels after a day out – DAMN! We started the rally at 11:00am at the State House and took turns on the Interstate overpass until about 3:30pm.

We wrapped up on Thayer Street (Brown University Campus District) around 5:00 pm. Our last audience of the day was a Providence police officer on foot patrol. He was probably the most informed person we spoke with all day. “I’ve seen all the movies Marc Emery has been in,” he said. “We shouldn’t be arresting people for pot. I drive 13 kids a week to the hospital from Alcohol poisoning. We should not be putting anyone in jail for marijuana. Alcohol is deadly, but Marijuana is not.”

We gave him a bunch of Free Marc handbills, and he told us he was a member of L.E.A.P. (YAY!). I wrote Marc a letter that night to tell him how the rally went with some photos of us and our signs. Marc wrote back that same week offering more inspiring words and suggested other ways I could stay active for the cause!

For Columbus Day I got an old bed sheet, bought two cans of spray paint (one bright green and the other black), and a roll of twine. I made a FREE MARC EMERY banner and hung it over the interstate in Providence. It stayed up all weekend and only took maybe two hours of my time and $12, but the good feelings last forever!

On October 14, my husband taught his first cultivation class for the Rhode Island Patient Advocacy Coalition. The students received booklets with all the information a beginner needs (how plants use water, how light affects plants, etc.) The course books each got a FREE MARC cover with the “Who is Marc Emery” flier printed on their backs. Keith explained in his opening for the class why Marc Emery is on the cover: His seeds helped so many patients in Rhode Island.

Letters from Marc, Letters to Eddy Lepp, and a Duty to Protect Free Speech

Marc writes back to every letter I write him. He constantly educates and inspires me, and always expresses his gratitude for our efforts. I’ve had contests to get folks to write to him. We donate meds at Community Cardholder Meetings with Free Marc material attached to it; “Free Meds to Free Marc!”

I write to Eddy Lepp in LOMPOC California Penitentiary, offering him words of support, empathy, and encouragement. Marc isn’t the only person sitting in a cell for this God-given plant. I consider it my responsibility as a Free Citizen of the US to support those who have been locked away fighting for an end to prohibition.

We have a right to free speech in this country that we often take for granted. Think of the citizens of China; can you imagine driving down the highway with a Google Marc Emery Sign in your car’s back window and fearing imprisonment for that? There are many places on this planet where one could still go to jail, possibly even be tortured and killed, for just this.

Americans need to realize that we’ve become complacent and our apathy has allowed horrible holes to appear in our First Amendment rights. The Patriot Act is one very somber reminder. Americans can now be found guilty of “providing material support to terrorism” for the mere act of “counseling others to embrace peace”. In the LAND OF THE FREE, citizens have their homes raided by the FBI and are incarcerated for the mere act of participating at anti-war rallies and peace protests. I can’t say it enough: NO VICTIM = NO CRIME!

Keeping the ‘CAN-DO’ Attitude

I am a dedicated mother of two beautiful boys. I am a faithful and adoring wife. I am a Board-Member of my son’s school. I am a compassionate caregiver for two patients in RI’s medical marijuana program. I am the office manager for a Federal Government contractor, and I’m an activist. I am all of these things full-time. I live, breathe, eat, and sleep my responsibilities – all of them: Motherhood, Marriage, Work, School, Caregiving, and Activism. It’s a balancing act, it’s not always easy, but it is the most rewarding thing I could ever ask for in my humble life!

With hard work comes great rewards. I was raised this way and still live by those words. I know what I’m doing is making a difference, whether it is here in my home State of RI for our patients’ rights, or whether it is in a foreign country to get Marc Emery home to Canada. I count my blessings. You only CAN’T if you say you CAN’T. All we need is a CAN-DO attitude, a little time management, and we ALL can do anything!

Please email me at [email protected] if you are interested in helping out in Washington, DC at the rally on October 30. Thanks for your support!

Comments

4 Comments

  1. undergb on

    Thank you for such a thoughtful, compassionate letter from the heart. As a non-smoker myself, I can nonetheless appreciate the ongoing struggle for freedom from overgrown government that you and your family puts its heart and soul into and I’d like to thank you from the rest of us. We each have our way of helping out, but you really represent what’s best in this country – taking your time, energy, compassion, creativity and risk in order to simply do what we should simply be allowed to do. I’m sure this takes a toll on your in many ways but know that the selflessness of you and your family inspire others.

  2. Catharine on
  3. Hokulani on

    Aloha Catherine! Your life sounds somewhat like my life! I am a mom, wife, busy professional dressmaker, and cannabis activist working to FREE ROGER CHRISTIE. He is the founder of the THC-Ministry and is being held in the Federal Pen in Honolulu. This gentle 62 year old ordained minister, with no prior criminal record is being held WITHOUT bail after the Judge declared he was a “menace to the community” for doing much the same thing you and your husband are doing in Rhode Island, providing cannabis for medical patients and for church member’s sacrament. Although, Hawaii allows medical use, the state has NO dispensaries and no legislation for any. Simply unacceptable and inhumane for patients too sick to grow their own!
    Another GREAT activist/mom/writer/professor, who wrote a 3 part story about giving cannabis to her autistic son is Marie Myung Ok-Lee, another Rhode Island resident. Both of you are making great strides towards mass re-acceptance of this sacred and multi purpose herb.
    I say mahalo to the intelligent and responsible activists/moms of Rhode Island who are single handedly changing peoples perceptions of cannabis. I believe whole heartedly that cannabis needs to return to its prior status in the plant kingdom-“Tai ma-the great plant”, as the ancient Chinese once called it. People like you give a new image to legalization and help others to see that WE are normal, responsible people who choose to use a God-given plant for medicine, sacrament and for LIFE, LIBERTY, and THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS! (Oh boy, I hear those founding fathers screaming from their graves again!)