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.