We May Be Afraid, But Not Today

As I sit writing, my mind wanders back to April 19, while I was at Benny’s getting some poster boards for my signs I was making for April 20.

“What do you have, a school project?” the woman at the register asked. “No.” I answered. “Anything good?” she asked me. “Well….it’s for a rally tomorrow.” She inquired further, “What’s the rally for?” At this point there were two paths I could have chosen: I could have lied to avoid bringing up cannabis, or I could tell the truth and see what happens.

“It’s to rally for legalizing marijuana” I answered her, totally straight-faced. Her response was refreshing, “I’m down with that, I can be down with that” she said. Then she turned to her boss who had been talking with a customer and she said “wanna go to a marijuana legalization rally tomorrow?”

Of course he just stared at her and wandered away, but the conversation ended up getting into the wasted resources of our police officers and judges, to the child-molesters who get out of jail and back onto our street to victimize again and again, to the non-violent cannabis seed seller, Marc Emery, who sits in a U.S. prison for 5 long years.

The reason my mind wandered to this was because sometimes I get overwhelmed trying to change the world – and I AM trying to change the world. I get overwhelmed and the one thing that keeps me from getting discouraged during the hard times is the realization that every time we simply take the time to write a letter, or be truthful to strangers, relatives, politicians, police, about our beliefs and convictions, that is one more person you may have changed that day because of your CHOICE to take action. To just do it, so to speak.

My husband and I went to Toronto, Ontario Canada May 7 for the Toronto Freedom Festival / Global Marijuana March that is held there. It is an annual gathering of some 25,000 – 50,000 (depending who you ask) people celebrating freedom and the cannabis culture.

People from all over the world march globally May 7 every year, but Toronto’s march is the largest. May 7 was a converging of people from very different backgrounds – racial, social, monetary, political; but we all had the same message: this plant and its people must be free.

People everywhere were sprawled on their picnic blankets, packing bongs, smoking hash, playing music, selling seeds, it was how the world should be. Police were there to do their job: Keep the PEACE, and because we were all peaceful, there was nothing for them to do. They didn’t bother anyone and no one bothered them. This is how the world is supposed to be. Walking in unison with 50,000 like-minded individuals, all fighting for the change we want and need and demand of our governments, marching to be seen, marching to be heard, marching to be accounted for: we were all individuals but the march made us one.

As an American, I find it amazingly refreshing to experience things like Vapor Central on Yonge St., which is a “bring your own marijuana” lounge where you can rent vaporizers, bongs, or pipes and hang out with your friends, meet new people, watch the game, whatever. Folks on the sidewalk don’t bat an eyelash at this establishment. The police are not hovering outside. There were no crazed druggies trying to claw their way through the walls. Basically, the world isn’t coming to an end just because people are smoking cannabis, right? The way it should be.

At the march, we met so many people that are fighting for change every single day. We had the pleasure of finally meeting Mrs. Jodie Emery. She is the most gracious, kind, strong woman I’ve met in this fight, and to hear her take a call from Marc, her husband, so far away in jail, during our dinner was a sober reminder that we are not ALL free. Some of us have lost our battles. Some of us are suffering behind bars for fighting for our freedom.

Not a day goes by in my life where I’m not trying to do something to fight cannabis prohibition. Lighting up in the privacy of your home with your friends, is not enough. We need MORE people speaking out. We need more mothers writing their politicians saying “Hey, I’m a good mom, I have a great job, I love my family, and YOU WANT TO PUT ME IN JAIL FOR CANNABIS – a plant safer than alcohol or tobacco.” Politicians need to know that it’s not the Mexican drug cartels, it’s not the mobsters, it’s not the gangs, it’s the mothers, fathers, sisters, daughters, sons, uncles, aunts, all of us, it is all of us that they are continuing this war on. We need to come out say “enough is enough”. I for one have had enough. Marc Emery is my hero, my mentor, my inspiration, and having him locked up in the U.S. on a 5 year sentence for SEEDS was the straw that broke the camel’s back for me. I vowed to change the world.

So when I feel discouraged, and tired, and start to let the negative thoughts creep in at what a monumental task I’ve bestowed upon myself to accomplish, I remind myself of Benny’s and that one pivotal moment to possibly educate another person (and that person will educate another person, and the ripple effect continues). I want to change the world because I want my children to live without the fear that these previous generations have lived with. The harms of the drug war, the cannabis war, the war against freedom to choose, outweigh any possible social harms by ten, twenty-fold. So knowing that truth and living the opposite can lead me to feel discouraged and frustrated and helpless sometimes. But I really do believe that cannabis is on a near biblical scale, for those that are religious, because there is nothing else like it on this planet. Its benefits and abilities are countless. Those in power will demonize and persecute the things that threaten their power. Marching 50,000 strong shows that maybe sometimes we may very well be afraid – but not today – and the change is coming.



  1. rocky123 on

    What you all keep talking about is evil alcohol and tobacco is legal and is more dangerous. While I do believe that, they are trying to get rid of tobacco and scare people with the 2nd hand smoke shit. The govt. is putting out propadanda on 2nd smoke just as they do marijuana. If people fall for this propaganda, it won’t be long where tobacco is banned, then next will be alcohol and fat people. This is not a freedom loving country any more but special interests like big pharma. Leave us alone, we don’t need a nanny state to take care of us, let us live our lives the way we want. If something is bad for you its my choice, I don’t need my govt. to take care of me. They try to scare people about 2nd hand smoke and it’s all a great big lie, just as they try to do with marijuana.

  2. Roxanne on

    Hi Catherine,

    Let me first say thank you for all that you are doing in this quest to legalize this wonderful plant. This article gave me an optimistic push, dealing with the Monday’s after an awesome TY2011 weekend.

    This article reiterates that people are living proof of what the plant has to offer, and by word of mouth, and connecting with other like-minded individuals, there WILL be a day where we won’t have to worry anymore. We only have 1 life, and we deal with necessary evils on a daily basis. Marijuana should not be one.

    I am always looking to assist in this cause. It’s time for the world to change.

    Peace, THC, Sustainability for ALL.


  3. Catharine Leach on

    Fellow Rhode Islander…
    -c. 🙂

  4. R.I.C.H. Budz on

    Attagirl Catharine!!

  5. Robin on

    What an inspiring message you so eloquently posted. It is time for the community to leave it’s comfort zone and speak out for what they beleive in. A “War” against anything is such a harsh word I love Mother Theresas’ belief “I was once asked why I don’t participate in anti-war demonstrations. I said that I will never do that, but as soon as you have a pro-peace rally, I’ll be there.” We are a peaceful community of Mothers, Fathers, Sisters, Brothers and we do not deserve to be treated worse than a hardened criminal. Why is such a wonderful healing herb so threatining to those with closed minds. I know it is difficult to speak out sometimes, I myself am not good at public speaking, and I have to think about things first to get them just right. But sometimes you just have to starting talking to the clerk at Benny’s and you’d be surprised at how well you do. Peace and inspiration to you all.

  6. Judie on

    I to have had enough.
    For the last year I have been re-educating myself & educating others. LOL Locking Marc up was also the final straw for me. I knew then that I had to pick up part of the torch so to speak.

    Enough is enough this has to end.

    What have we become as a society that allows the atrocities that I have read about. It’s just a plant for God sake! Wake up Sheeple!

    I am always getting told that one person can’t change the way’s of the world… I’m so glad I don’t believe that

    My group of “soldiers” is growing
    Together we are going to change the world.
    Ripple ripple ripple…..Ripple ripple ripple

    Thank you for brightening my day

  7. andy on

    35yr old white male in Wisconsin, end the leverage, drug war crap!!!

  8. andy on

    drug war crap!!!mechanisms of the generational rich, I’m an Obama guy but Ron Paul is looking real good for liberty, I might vote his or Gary Johnson’s way, we have to end this war, it’s crap and I believe the heart of the beast, so many things would change. Obama is a damn good man but he needs to end the drug war it might sway my vote from him which is regrettable. I’m sick of the leverage they have over good people, penalizing them for really nothing, it ruins lives hugely, really!!!! Vote and write the Reps..

  9. Bhonze on

    I am from the US South; I have been to the vapor lounge and the experience was so awesome. I had my own weed and it’s comparable to going to a star bucks. Everyone in there own little groups toking up. No one bothers you or harasses you. Everyone minding there own business; Hey I thought USA was the land of the free? I felt more freedom in Vancouver than I have ever felt in America. What a shame!!!

  10. Catharine Leach on

    Yes! There are many ways to help this cause, even if maintaining privacy is required. And calling your local representative or senator and leaving a voice message with their secretaries is very quick and easy, and you don’t have to leave your name – you can just say “I’m a voter in so-and-so’s district and I want him/her to ——– ” they just need daily reminders that they are continuing a war on their own peaceful [VOTING] constituents.
    In Rhode Island we have a coalition that holds monthly meetings, and it is private to cardholders in the RI Medical Marijuana Program only. That was we are all card-holders, and there is a lot less fear from those that have a job they could be risking, etc. (Unless you bump into your boss at the meeting!) 🙂

    I truly hope that RIGHT NOW we are approaching a high-water mark in this movement across North America, and that when the tumultuous waters recede, a new land where we are all free emerges.

    Catharine Leach.

  11. Catharine Leach on

    “One Drop Makes Many Ripples On A Pond”

    my mantra 🙂

    Thank you for this. I hope that you will work now to inspire those in your life – and continue the effect the ripples on OUR pond.

    -Catharine Leach.

  12. Jerry from Texas on

    A few of us in Dallas marched on Saturday from city hall to the J.F.K. grassy noll.It is a historic place for a cannabis legalization march where a great man lost his life so the rest of us could be free to march for a right and just cause that we beleive in. It’s a great shame that so many of our like mined smokers are so afraid to come out and support a march that they believe in. You can’t expect a change if you are not ready to fight for it or you think maybe it will happen because you let somone else take the heat for it like Marc Emery. It’s time that all of us pay our fair share and support the movment. If we stand as one we can get the job done,so join Norml or Willies Tea Pot Party….How about Americans for Safe Access…LEAP. I know some of you can’t be out front because of a job but you can donate dollars to the cause. Help the movment any way you can but it’s time you did somthing for a cause you beleive in.

  13. jomila on

    Awesome, inspires me to be more active in the movement. That ripple effect you talked about;)