When civil rights movements become divided
Starting in 2009 which was shortly after the raid on CHANGE dispensary in Spokane WA, there was a notion for a petition drive to legalize cannabis on a ballot initiative. The group was Sensible Washington.
I had been driving from Deer Lake in Stevens County to go to protests and meetings about this topic.
Deer Lake was roughly an hour drive each way or maybe a little longer.
But I had made friends with a lot of folks in the medical marijuana community, and in fact we built the website for Change dispensary (www.changeinspokane.com). So my family and I regularly made the trip to support those in the community.
When we knew that there would be an initiative for full legalization, we made plans to move in to Spokane, despite that we are not really happy with living in a city as opposed to a rural mountain area. But we set forth anyway.
Our first order of business was to buy a screen press so that we could help with what little we were able to. Since we had a new baby in the house and driving long distances to Spokane to get signatures was difficult and in most cases impossible. We decided to send what provisions that we could to area coordinators and potential volunteers. We gave out between 100-150 shirts in 2010 to promote the cause. We used our own design, “Real Change is Not Too Late – 1068”.
We didn’t play a particularly involved role, nor did we have time. But we helped in what ways we could, and after getting to Spokane for the end of the petition drive we went out and got several sheets full of signatures.
We opened our business on North Division in a busy area in hopes to give people a place to sign the petition that is comfortable and professional as well, we had that business open for 3 months.
There was some mix ups during the campaign, and the area coordinator kept getting changed around. It was a little frustrating, but a lot of work was getting done while Renata Rollins was coordinating and that was encouraging. So we kept up our support, and even in the end when it was clear that we would not make the ballot, we gave another lot of merchandise from our store to encourage the unpaid volunteers for their efforts. We gave two complete skateboards, and 10 screen printed shirts.
We got word back from the coordinator that we gave the items too that one set of bearings got lost, and I don’t think they were ever recovered, so despite that we gave two complete skateboards, it only ended up being one complete setup, and then most of the parts for the second. The coordinator called us and asked us if we had another set of bearing to replace the bearings that were lost, and we didn’t have any.
Well, fast forward to the following year, this year. Things started slow, but in January MHP dispensary hosted a New Years Eve party and Sensible Washington folks were invited. I brought a dozen Sensible Washington shirts that we made, and a bunch of inventory from our store to donate for a raffle. We gave the shirts to who we thought was a coordinator, as she had been claiming to be one.
But the friend that she brought was claiming that she in fact was the coordinator. Well, since they were both riding together I figured it doesn’t matter who we gave it to, because it’s going to get to the right place one way or another.
Three months pass and there were supposed to be weekly meetings happening in that time, but in fact there was no meetings, except for one at the first of January in which it got canceled by the new coordinator and the meeting was rescheduled to be at someone’s house. It didn’t turn out very well because instead of it being a meeting of Sensible Washington volunteers, it ended up being a room full of dispensary owners, and the main topic was SB 5073. I was annoyed by that, because SB 5073 has been nothing but bad for our laws, and promoting SB 5073 seemed unproductive. The topic was I-1149, but that wasn’t what was being discussed.
I did some broadcasting on this topic and I was able to interview the state coordinator (at the time) Don Skakie.
After that, no Sensible Washington meetings happened at all for months. So a new coordinator stepped up and invited everyone to meet at a organic food store to have coffee. This was the first meeting in almost 3 months, so we donated shirts to this new coordinator person. Which caused conflicts with the second coordinator that came after the first coordinator. (confused yet?). Yet, we forged through. We ended up finding out that the first lot of inventory didn’t get used properly and for about 3 weeks the coordinator couldn’t even tell us what happened to the items. We thought that would be sold as a fundraiser, and it would help the coordinator with her expenses. Instead she blamed someone else for losing them, and we had to track everything down. We got about half of the items back. It was a mess. It caused a lot of hurt feelings too.
A few weeks after that meeting in March we were undecided on where we would be having meetings, as no one had a place yet. So we found a virtual office that had a conference room and we paid $200 per month to use their facilities. We had 4 meetings.
The first meeting we had 12 people show up, but the second coordinator (not using names) got pissed that we were having meetings for some reason, maybe because she wasn’t doing anything and hadn’t yet held a meeting in 3 months. So she started calling people and telling them “the DEA is investigating that place, and you will be under DEA surveillance”. Which is fine, we streamed each meeting over the internet, so incase people who had something to worry about who wanted to could still attend the meeting, and not have to be associated directly. But we didn’t care if the DEA was watching the place, it was silly. We had been advertising in the paper and spreading the word about an open to the public meeting. So if the DEA wanted to be there, it’s not like this meeting was secret and maybe if they were listening they learned a few things.
This is the power point presentation from March 4th 2011, our first meeting:
So after that our attendance started waning, we went from 12 people to 5 people, and at the last meeting there was only 4 people. A competing group who had been trying to get something going was just getting started at this time, they owned a medical marijuana collective, and instead of having their own meetings they were sending their volunteers to our meetings, which I made a reference to in the video that I made about this. I had to ask the person who was coming to not come back unless they could stop being rude by interrupting people, and I also ask that they take care of personal hygiene issues as people were starting to complain including my family who came to the meetings.
After awhile when we realized we had done all that we could do, and I am proud to say that we got petitions in to the hands of about 25 people including 14 area businesses, as well as we gave out dozens of t-shirts to support the cause as well as yard signs. But when it was obvious that our effectiveness had reached it’s limit in this pursuit, and when we realized that we needed to get set up for our new arrival who is due in August, we decided to leave 2 months early to go to California where we intend to build a hemp dome.
Before we left a new group had started to be formed in Spokane that had not been there before. We heard from Sensible Washington state coordinator Jared Allaway that the ASA was holding a rally and that they did not want attendees to talk about full legalization. I didn’t hear or know who was involved in organizing the ASA in Spokane, but I relayed publicly that Donna Lambert had been receiving a lot of attacks from this group in San Diego and I expressed my disappointment that the ASA would like to silence talk about full legalization.
Also see this regarding Donna Lambert: http://slu2.com/u4I
Well the competing group who I mentioned that were sending people to our meetings rather than holding their own, are the same group that is organizing the ASA in Spokane. After I left I got physical threats sent to me via facebook which I video taped and uploaded to youtube (I made it private, but I have it on the record as well as oodles of other interesting situations). People may request to become friends on youtube, and if you NEED to know more, I can allow certain people to see it. Friend me here; http://youtube.com/xcannabiscom
So now they are saying that I was mean to their representative and that I have done more harm than good.
Fortunately for them, Im not there any more and they can get cannabis legalized in Washington without me.
Unfortunately, this is the same group saying “don’t talk about full legalization at the rallies“.
Why work on full legalization on the down low, but publicly say “don’t talk about full legalization”?
Either way, I can relate to Marcus Garvey and other civil rights activists who have had to deal with similar drama. Marcus Garvey’s story is particularly interesting, I hope you get a chance to watch the documentary “The Influence of Marcus Garvey”.
Alternatively you can see this video on xCannabis instead of Youtube:
THE INFLUENCE OF MARCUS GARVEY PT. 1
THE INFLUENCE OF MARCUS GARVEY PT. 2
THE INFLUENCE OF MARCUS GARVEY PT. 3
THE INFLUENCE OF MARCUS GARVEY PT. 4
THE INFLUENCE OF MARCUS GARVEY PT. 5
ATTENTION: If anyone has a story to tell you about me. It would be in your best interests to get the facts.
I have most of the conflicts, threats and bizarre situations recorded on video, you are more than welcome to ask me to send it to you so that you don’t have to wonder.
To learn how to end prohibition nationally visit: http://vote.org