How Passionate Are You About YOUR Cause

Let’s Talk About Heroes

There’s a lot of banter going around about Allen Peake. It’s actually turned into a national story. I was interviewed about it this past Sunday by Mikel Weisser, the Director of AZ NORML and a contributing writer for Cannabiz News.  A lot of folks seem to want Allen arrested.

I have a different opinion.  I say Allen is a hero, regardless of the speculation that he’s trying to corner the market on cannabidiol in Georgia. I think the parents and all their supporters who showed up each year fighting for added conditions and safe, in-state access are heroes.  People like Jennifer Conforti, Angela Simons, Bridgett Liquori, Dale Jackson and so many others. They are at the Gold Dome IN FORCE.

They’ve ALL been openly defying both Federal and Georgia law to get the medicine they need.  Should we arrest them and lock them up, also?  Should we leave Abby, Colin, and Jackson in the hands of Child Protective Services?  Should we let Angela Simons sit in jail because she openly defies the law and in a year’s time has gone from one foot in the grave to being healthy and active?  You want to lock these folks up for furthering THEIR cause by openly breaking the law, but you don’t want to get off your own asses and wallets to further YOUR cause?

They DO Feel Our Pain

MANY of the folks in the medical movement are sympathetic to our plight.  Many are willing to help us, but to be honest, they aren’t seeing us helping ourselves much. The LEADERSHIP of Peachtree NORML is ALWAYS there. The “members” are a different story.  I’m honestly tired of the same old crap I hear.  I have to work (well, take a day off), I have a family to think of (well, help change the law so you don’t have to worry about being arrested), I can’t afford the gas (well, I’ll bet you can afford a half a zip of weed).

Do you think these folks don’t have families to think about? Don’t you think that they worry EVERY DAY about what could happen to them?  Don’t you think THEY have to work?  Don’t you think that THEY can’t afford the gas when the expenses of treating their families are so high?

Seriously?  You Want Allen Arrested?

Is Allen a criminal? Are the parents?  Do they deserve to be arrested for what they are doing? NOT ANY DAMNED MORE THAN SOMEONE WITH AN OUNCE OF WEED IN THEIR POCKET DOES, Y’ALL!!  Don’t we post memes saying “WE ARE NOT CRIMINALS”?  Put that in your bong and take a deep hit.

Change does not happen without sacrifice and risks.  Change does not happen without controversy.  I’d rather have two or three hundred folks actually dedicated to effecting that Change, puttin’ their money and time where their mouth is than 10,000 sitting idly by, waiting for someone else to do it for them.

Where Have YOU Been?

Last session Senator Howard Jones submitted a “decriminalization” bill, SB105. There were maybe SIX of us at the hearings about it. Yes, the polls say that better than 60% of Georgians want to AT LEAST see it decriminalized, but our legislative body DOES NOT READ POLLS!!  Even if they do, whatever they take away from them is minimized by the fact that YOU, as “members” of this organization (though not necessarily paying members) NEVER SHOW UP TO SUPPORT PENDING LEGISLATION.

It’s time to quit making excuses. It’s time to quit whining about THEM not supporting US.  It’s time to get off your asses, come out of the smoker’s closet, and get active in OUR FIGHT with both your money and your time.

When Peachtree NORML sponsors an event in Liberty Plaza, we have 50 or 60 folks show up. The legislators are sitting in their offices, looking out the windows, and laughing at us. They don’t think we have any support because NO ONE SHOWS UP TO SUPPORT US!!  Now, imagine THOUSANDS of people meeting somewhere close and marching on the Capitol in solidarity for OUR cause, then all gathering in Liberty Plaza. Do you think they’d be laughing then?

The Lens of Finance

“Oh, Tom!  You’re gonna run off our membership”, some of you may be thinking.  What membership?

2820 (the “number” in our FB group) X a $25 yearly membership = $70,500 a year. Think of how many charter buses that will cover. How about some strategic pick-up points around Georgia where you could board a bus and be driven to the Gold Dome to support hearings and participate in events?

2820 x a $5.00 monthly donation to the Legal Defense Fund = $169,200 a year. Think of how much support we could provide to Georgians who are arrested for marijuana.  We will be announcing new programs, tailored specifically to legal defense for our contributing members who run afoul of Georgia’s marijuana laws, within the month.

We have 12,000 + followers of our FB page.  I’ll let you do THAT math.

Here’s the problem.  Peachtree NORML has FEWER THAN 50 PAID MEMBERS.  Our coffers remain small and are mostly supplied by donations that are solicited when the time comes to pay the bills.

Everyone on the Board of Directors is a volunteer.  We don’t take salaries.  Most of our travel expenses come out of our own pockets.  We are there for YOU!!  When will you be there for US?  Sharon Ravert and her crew made great strides on a shoestring.  Imagine what we could do for you if you would just spend $25.00 a year to help us.

It’s time for US to become heroes.  When you finally decide you’ve had enough, and you are willing to do WHATEVER IT TAKES, no matter the risk; When you are ready to put your money where your mouth is, maybe Georgia won’t be the LAST state in the union to legalize.

Until you decide, enjoy your closet, and keep peeping out your curtains.  Peachtree NORML will be standing in the gap.

19 comments

  • This was an amazing read.
    It sparked so many ideas at once.
    The bigger issue is having so few organizations state wide.
    I’m in West Ga.
    I follow Norml and GA Care Project.
    We need to have organizations and monthly meetings all over the state, maybe one group hosting for two or three nearby counties to begin with.
    If this can be organized, then getting the collective numbers before the elected body during session may be easier.
    The charter buses; another great idea at different points of pickup.
    I agree with every word you wrote. I also understand the fear. I had more people than I can count contact me in support of the changes to the marijuana ordinance in the city of Temple, but only a handful of them were brave enough to speak before the elected body for fear of being targeted.
    And I completely understand that.
    Numbers of supporters is where part of the answer is.
    Individuals who support these changes putting themselves out there to run for elected office is another; the silent supporters being registered to VOTE those people into office is another solution.
    Having members in sub groups ALL over the state holding meetings, educating others, and yes; paying dues to help offset the cost of the fight is crucial as well.
    I’m here to help in any way that I can.

    • Thank you, Penny, and thank you for proposing the ordinance in Temple. There are others in that area that want to form a Peachtree NORML chapter. I’ll put you in touch with them.

  • Im very proud of you Tom. Thank you

  • 50 paid members? That is disheartening.WTH?

    • We out number the prohibitionist 10 fold, but they do have an unlimited budget to fight us. Millionaires Corporate types fund them, We have enough roadblocks, we must raise the bar on donations now.

  • Bout time you sounded off!!!!!

    • Well, a new position, all that. We have to get the Veterans organized, Skipper. Counting on YOU to lead that charge.

  • I am very impressed about your story Tom McCain. I’m willing to pay dues toward any group meetings, charters etc. We all have to stick together because we are all fighting for the same thing. This will also help to spread the word to many other people who hasn’t learned about the fight. I’m in it to win it no matter what it takes. There is one thing that I know. It has to be legalized. The pain is real and this is the only thing that helps. Thank you again.

  • Excellent read Tom , Your background with law enforcement and your south georgia roots brings two unique new audiences to the table. I wish you the best and look forward to watching Peachtree NORML expand and prosper , You inherit a team of outstanding activists to ensure your success .

  • 70 percent disabled vet. I depend on the for pain. I get no help with pain meds, they just don’t work. Thinking about moving to Fla. For their medical laws now. Can’t afford to move can’t afford to be arrested either.

  • maybe you should go to other towns outside of atl to recruit instead of just expecting people to show up you have to gather your people just like jesus did Shepheard’s must flock there sheep you go to every big town in g.a like a rock tour and then at the end of the year set a big date for the people you recruited that are committed to being members to show up to and i’ll guarantee you your numbers will be huge 1 town you guy’s keep skipping is rome i can help you gather people here all though i no longer smoke im waiting for it to get legal and have wrote all over the internet and to my senators governor and other state reps like Allen peake and allen unlike the others wrote back!

  • Well said, Tom! I’m beating the cancer slowly, I’m sure — but the best I can do right now is to support a local chapter if one actually appears. I had no luck, perhaps someone can do better in the Savannah/Statesboro area. We KNOW the people who use cannabis are out here in the thousands. How to make that direct contact, and motivate those who are either lazy or scared to show their face, their position? I do, of course keep my $25.00 dues paid up, even on rotten disability pay, I can manage that; but I never managed to be nearly as active as I wanted to be. I, too, would love to see some SERIOUS participation at just such a rally. It’ll take folks younger and healthier than me, but first those people have to be reached … and then (dare I say it?) “fire ’em up.”

    • Thank you, Seth, for keeping the membership up and for what you tried to accomplish in Statesboro. Prayers for Healing!

  • Dear Tom,

    I am NAVY veteran, osteomyelitis survivor, stage 4 cancer survivor, husband, father of two and small business owner. I live in the same county that Sharon’s nightmare occurred in. I use MJ and it has improved my life tremendously, but I have to hide it, pay too much for it, and risk my freedom to use it. Because, of a system you get a retirement check from NOW! A system you helped and profited from then and now! I would love to do an event in the Square or a float in the parade, but ask Sharon what kind of mark that will put on you here. If I am caught, I loose my driver’s and professional liscences. I can not work without my liscences, my wife does not make enough to cover all the bills. We cannot afford legal representation and have no rich family or friends to fall back on. I think you can see where I’m going with this, an arrest will ruin us! But, MJ improves my health and happiness, which makes my family and business happier and healthier. So, we are willing to risk it. Shame on you for scolding or preaching to a populous you helped oppress all throughout your illustrious career for personal profit/paycheck. How many MJ arrest happened in your Posts and Offices. You say you were just doing your job, locking up poor people trying to survive the best way they knew how. And, that you never personally made petty arrest, but your fellow boys in blue did. Every Nazi didn’t kills Jews, some were not even for the cause, but they did wear the uniform and help facilitate harm. You did as well! Enjoy your comfortable life, finances, and clout you accrued working your way up a system that destroys families, waste tax dollars and makes the USA a sadder, more fearful country. The rest of us will be out here working real jobs, sacrificing or health and bodies building the USA, while hiding in our closets at night to recover from it!

    Sincerely,

    Derek

    • Thanks for expressing that, Derek. I’ve been expecting it to come from someone.

      I fully respect your position. Believe me, I’ve beaten myself up about the very issues you bring out. However, I can no more change the fact that I was a part of the “system” you condemn than I can the fact that I’m white. What I CAN do is use the knowledge and experience I have gained within that system to try and effect change in Georgia’s marijuana laws. I do that by both railings against the system and working within it from this side of the fence.

      I appreciate the fact that folks have concerns about “coming out”. The risk to family and jobs is real, although Georgia quit suspending DLs for “possession only” 3 years ago. You make an assumption about my situation, though. A conviction for a marijuana offense could very well affect my Federal retirement. Johnson County did not have a retirement plan, so I get nothing from them. If I were in jail for any extended period of time my Social Security could be stopped until I am released. When I exhort supporters of decriminalization or legalization to stand up, I am not doing so from a “no risk” position.

      As far as a comfortable life, I am in the struggle just as deeply as anyone. I deal with living paycheck-to-paycheck and too-much-month-at-the-end-of-the-money like most Americans do these days.

      I’m truly glad to hear you’re a survivor and that cannabis helps you. I hate you have to hide it, but then, that’s why I’m here sticking my neck out to make a difference. So you won’t have to. There are other ways to contribute than by publicly standing up, though, and my exhortation to take action if you’re passionate about the cause included buying a membership in Peachtree NORML or considering a small monthly donation. Either way, you’re doing something. I wish you the best with your business and family. Maybe soon in the scheme of things you won’t have to fear for them.

      Sincerely,

      Tom

      • Tom,

        First off, I would like to apologize for the assumptions I made about you, I stand corrected. I do not think you are a bad person and you are certainly doing more for the cause than me, Kudos! What we need is unity and I’ll be the first to admit that is not the zibe my comment puts out. I’ll be the first to admit I have things in my past I’m not proud of. So, again I apologize. I will gladly support with donations and membership, but I will not dance around with a sign. You have my support and I wish you the best.

        Secondly, to explain my comment, I’m outraged. This is moral issue. This isn’t just about Law reform, it’s about a class of people being victimized and exploited. And, to cap it off, we are forced to fund it. The level of law enforcement and the severity of punishment for a drug crime offender will be determined by that persons standing in society. Rich guy gets community service, poor guy gets the book. Everyone knows the elite neighborhoods are full of top quality drugs, its glamorized in reality shows. But, you don’t see urban warfare in those areas. Yes, it’s urban warfare. Police units use the same gear and tactics used to enter homes that soldiers use in Ahfganistan and Iraq. On everyone, not just hardcore criminals. But, hoods, trailer parks, and middle class neighborhoods are the targets for raids and no knock warrants. Rich can afford lawyers, poor can’t. The poor and middle class make easy targets. Simple as that! It’s about money not drugs. And while politicians are playing games, dragging their feet, waiting for a way to profit from this, lives and families are being destroyed. I’ll be the first to march or amass for a true movement fighting for our GOD GIVEN RIGHT TO BE FREE, but I won’t be part in begging a bunch of talking head, true criminal, beuracratic sheep to look down from the capitol at my poster board, sorry! We need true outreach and education across Georgia, then when our numbers are up, we charge the hill in victory! Just my thoughts.

        • No need to apologize, Derek. My skin has gotten kind of thick over the years. Your comment was kinda mild in comparison to those I’ve gotten from some of my former LEO associates.

          Your observation that using cannabis is part and parcel of our “God-given right to be free” is spot on. I wrote about that in cannablog.net a while back. (http://cannablog.net/marijuana-legalization/is-cultivation-and-consumption-of-cannabis-a-basic-human-right/). We’re organizing a march for February 3rd, 2018 that we hope to get two or three thousand folks involved in. Hopefully that will pan out and maybe you can be a part of it.

          Outreach and education are what we are all about, my friend. This WILL come to pass. It’s just a matter of time. Stay in touch.

          Tom

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