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41 Years Later: Hash Bash and the modern Sinclairs

Hash Bash proves there is still a desire, current news proves there is still a need for cannabis law reform in Michigan and the United States.

41 years ago or so a fellow named John Sinclair was arrested for two marijuana joints. These arrests are still happening in Michigan. That action prompted artists, activists and ordinary citizens to rally in support of the convicted; the Michigan Supreme Court changed the law, Sinclair was released, and the rest is, as they say, history.

Fast forward to April, 2012. 41 years later and we’re still having lives ruined over a single marijuana cigarette. Cannabis is so prevalent in today’s society that every socioeconomic group, every religion, race, creed and profession consume marijuana. Some of Michigan’s Senators and House Representatives, the Attorney General, and well-positioned law enforcement personnel have admitted to being current or former cannabis consumers. Lions, Tigers, Wolverines and Spartans have been jammed up for possessing or using cannabis—even though there was no diminished performance, no associated crime, no risk to society or anyone other than themselves. 41 years after Sinclair’s arrest, it’s time to rethink this failed legal policy.

I am a son of Flint. My elementary school is closed, my high school is closed, half of my junior high school is closed—the other half was ripped down. The road my town has taken from the 60’s to today has been filled with dead ends, potholes and construction signs. Corporate exits, human exodus, economic downturn, crack—you can name the cause and you’d be right. The one thing you cannot say about Flint is that marijuana killed this city. It didn’t. It doesn’t have the power to.

Of all the troubles we could focus attention on, marijuana is the least destructive. Remember that Sinclair guy? He’ll be speaking at this year’s Hash Bash. 41 years later and he’s still going like that battery-powered rabbit on TV. If cannabis is such a threat to our bodies and our cities, where is the proof? There isn’t any. Pardon the pun, but pot is just a smokescreen concealing the real parties responsible for society’s ills.

Who are those responsible parties? That’s an issue larger than the size of this blog column. What we can say is there are people today being placed in educational, financial and societal jeopardy because of the perpetuated illegality of a plant. If you need proof, pick up any newspaper from this last week. Any Michigan paper from any day.

Lions running back Mikel Leshoure failed to report for a court date in northern Lower Peninsula’s Berrien County regarding a marijuana possession charge. Charles Rogers, a former Spartan and Lion, has multiple charges pending against him including a marijuana offense. Current Lions defensive tackle Nick Fairley was arrested in Alabama on Tuesday for possession of marijuana. Derrick Nix of the Spartan basketball team has been suspended indefinitely for possession of marijuana. None of these issues involve violence, danger to others, theft, or mistreatment of women or children.

Look at the opposite example. Former NFL quarterback Ryan Leaf is now addicted to pills and has taken to stealing things from his friends in order to support his habit. Leaf was arrested and posted a $76,000 bond on a charge of burglary and theft of oxycodone from an acquaintance last Friday, March 30, and was promptly arrested again on Monday, April 2 for doing the exact same thing. On Sunday two Great Falls, Montana, homeowners found Leaf in their home, unauthorized, and after his exit they discovered three bottles of pills missing. During his Monday arrest, 89 hydrocodone pills were discovered floating loose in the pocket of his bathrobe.  

This Saturday’s Hash Bash will feature Sinclair but also Steven DeAngelo. DeAngelo has achieved fame through his television series “Weed Wars” and as the leader of the world’s largest dispensary, California’s Harborside. Being the largest sometimes get you the wrong kind of attention: Harborside just paid the IRS a reported $2 million in back taxes over a dispute between state law and federal rules. This week the IRS and DEA raided a California college—Oaksterdam University—and many believe they are looking to give them the Harborside treatment.

Being successful in politics, in business, in education or in sports will not exempt you from being a victim of the DEA disinformation campaign. It will cost people their scholarships, their endorsement deals, their livelihoods and their freedom just to maintain the illusion that marijuana deserves to be a Schedule 1 drug. Redirecting attention from enforcing outdated cannabis laws to preventing and solving violent crimes is the reason behind the Committee for a Safer Michigan’s effort to legalize marijuana in Michigan. Government is not a self-correcting machine. Society has called for a change; we activists are the tools through which that change takes place.

For more information about the effort to legalize cannabis in Michigan,please visit: www.repealtoday.org

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Dave April 14, 2012 at 03:00 PM
Alot of drugs have some origin in some plant. The rain forest is full of plants, yet to be discovered that can be used for medicines. I know of a group down in panama that has listed over 200 medicinal plants and trees so far that are native to that country. There are even alot here in the US which most people don't pay any attention to.. you can look em up in a website called plants for a future. It lists every plant known and it's uses, whether as medicine or food or clothing or building materials etc. It's a good site for those wanting to learn about plants and their uses. Now the dangerous side effects.. well let's see what they are pushing on TV.. there's drugs that'll make you walk in your sleep, have bloody noses, or crap your pants.. just listen to the side effects they name off on one of the commercials for "legal" drugs that they push on TV. Yep those are dangerous too. Guess you gotta take the bad with the good if you want any relief. You are wrong though on the permanent brain damage statement. I'd like to know where you came up with that one? If you elaborate a little more i might be able to figure out what you're talking about there. As for it being a cancer cause just like tobacco I would of tended to believe it myself if i didn't know better.. it would make sense that anything smoked would do some damage. But, studies have even shown that it can be usefull in fighting cancers. Not the THC part.. but cannabaloids that don't even get you high.
Dave April 14, 2012 at 03:36 PM
DJG.. where does the plant get the blame for the violence? That's like saying alcohol was the cause of St valentines day massacre, not the prohibition of it. It is the criminalization of the plant that causes the cartels, gangs, drug dealers and police to commit violent acts.. not the plant itself. MJ actually has the reputation of making people lazy and unmotivated.. not violent. It's the exact opposite of what you might think. I'm not going to say that just because athletes use it that it's ok either. The way i read the article is it is pointing out that people who get busted come from all walks of life, and some are even famous. You are right that you'll never see a good headline of a public official or athlete that is using it. There are reasons for that too. It's because the media gets paid to run anti-marijuana shows and PSA's.. so, it wouldn't make much sense for them to report anything positive about it. It'd be counter productive. They'd loose too much advertising money if they did. I am glad that you do see that it should be legalized though. You don't have to like using it yourself to see how much damage keeping it illegal causes. It is this war on citizens who self medicate that causes the violence and crime and puts the MJ in our schools for the kids to purchase.. not the plant itself.
Ronald Wolf April 15, 2012 at 05:55 PM
Don't bogart while you read Dave. I said "possible" brain damage, and "needs to be studied". Observational evidence in cultures where smoking herb is common points to lassitude, and a general slowing of the mental precesses man. Real potheads have so much of the crud in their lungs it only takes them a couple of tokes to get high. The roach which where most of the THC is concentrated you know, but that is also where most of the most toxic and carcinogenic tars are deposited. About twelve times the amount in your average Kool cigarette (old hippies could always be spotted smoking kool, or Salem). Pot to my knowledge has never put anyone in a hospital, or in an insane asylem, but it MAY contribute to mental changes not YET thoroughly researched. As to why weed has not been thoroughly researched the answers are obvious. It makes no money for the drug companies and never will unless its licensed and regulated. A Canadian study came up with the supposition that today's grass has had the beneficial cannabaloids bred out of it while adding to the THC part.. Todays buds are not Mr.Naturals marijuana, or the kind that was stashed behind the couch fifty years ago.
Dave April 16, 2012 at 02:51 PM
LOL.. i've never been accused of bogarting before! I haven't even heard anyone say that in at least a decade... now the more common saying is "puff, puff, pass" which is a little more subtle way to tell someone to quit hogging the joint. And you did say "possible" which is why i thought you may have had some study which would provide more information on it. I still remember the old readers digest articles which used to claim the same possible damage.. but of course none of it was ever based on any actual study because back then no one was allowed to do any testing of any kind because the MJ itself was illegal. The U.S. studies for the most part have only come about since it was legalized for medicinal use. And I'm all in agreement for doing as much studying as they possibly can to determine both the beneficial uses and the detrimental effects. We don't get that with the fake weed they sell as incense.. no testing whatsoever.. and I know some of those ingredients are used to make insecticides out of. How is that right? Where we differ is on the criminalization of something, be it MJ or salt, or alcohol; just because it may be over used or misused. You're smart enough to know smoking is just one way to use this product. When they do legalize it for everyone i'll be the first one on the market with MJ butter. You'll find it in every drug and grocery store right along side of the beer coolers. But untill then I'll just keep putting the crud in my lungs.
Dave April 16, 2012 at 04:07 PM
Ronald.. I can see where you're coming from now. It should be kept illegal because it hasn't been proven to be absolutely safe. My view is the opposite, it should be legalized because it has a long history of as you say it "never putting anyone in the hospital." My argument is that there is no evidence to show it to be any worse than any of the other legal drugs and it should not be held to a higher standard. Not only can they not prove it's worse.. they can't even prove it's as dangerous. We have drugs such as tobacco, alcohol, incense and prescription drugs which are far worse for a person to use, and yet those are legal. Whether they're properly regulated and enforced or not is another story, but, they are far worse. The problem as i see it is that when we do make new laws we don't follow thru with enforcement of those regulations. As the police will tell you themselves they have regulations against selling that incense stuff to children and yet 50% of the high school students report that they or someone they know have tried it. That looks to me like someone is dropping the ball on the enforcement side. After all there is no black market in incense yet.. they know where the stores are that sell it. We can't keep making everything illegal when they can't control what they already have illegal. They're just losing more ground. On the cannabaloids being bred out.. as a plant breeder i tell you they can also be bred back in. FYI they've also bred hemp without THC

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