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Cannabis Activist: The Ghost In the Machine

How many other causes put your work life at risk? Places of employment aren’t doing random kid fucker checks. There is less stigma around kid fuckers than cannabis users; this isn’t right.

The heart of my activism has been championing for people I don’t know. Lives disrupted some even ruined by a bad law. I share people’s stories online through social media posts or articles in some cannabis medium; there is never enough time to do so for everyone effectively.

As an American, as a human, I believe everyone is not guilty. Whether your life is ruined by prohibition through incarceration or for the lack of medical options, I believe all possession and ingestion of this plant is none of my fucking business.

Marijuana activism is depressing as fuck. It’s a fight for common sense, I don’t have to know you to say not guilty, but because people are assholes, not every cannabis activist are created equal. Some hold grudges or judge how one lived their personal life; I don’t care about any of that.

My activism and perception of the “cannabis community” changed when I became unemployed and was able to write about Lance Gloor’s trial first hand plus showed court support.

People, known people in the cannabis community, people highlighted in magazines like High Times and other large media outlets, told me either not to support Lance or felt he deserved what he was getting. No one deserves to be locked away and treated like cattle. My approach to marijuana activism is simple; if you’re in trouble for cannabis, you are innocent.

I watched Lance’s trial proceed, one where all the evidence presented was cannabis. Lance was following suit for Washington State at the time. There were over a thousand medical dispensaries in Washington State at the time, and Lance owned three of them. How the Federal Government got involved is a pretty fucked up tale, you might want to put on a tinfoil hat or take a deep toke on this one.

From what I gathered from the trial, Lance had issues with the local law, over cannabis. Eventually, a multi-agency task force known as WESNET got involved. WESTNET included local law enforcement and law enforcement from the local Navy Base.

(This portion is not in the trial, just my speculation as to why Pierce County Law Enforcement had a hardon for a guy making money like a 1000 other people were) As Lance became a successful businessman, the local authorities wanted their take in the form of campaign contributions and other small-town ways to launder money, and Lance didn’t want to play that game. He was a successful young businessman living his best life.

(Now back to the trial) What leads to Federal involvement is pretty fucking lame. The undercover investigating Sheriff testified that when he attempted to gain access to one of Lance’s stores that he was denied access due to not having a medical prescription as in accordance with Washington State law at the time.

He was denied access but pointed in the direction to get seen for a medical prescription. For an over 6 foot tall, out of shape, older white male, getting a prescription isn’t that hard with all the aches and pains incurred through life.

Once he received the proper documentation, he went back to the same dispensary and was allowed in the building past the security doors; this operation was not in hiding.

The undercover testified that he made multiple trips and made multiple legal purchases. Of his experience, he testified how he was intimidated by all the male staff and implied there was something nefarious by their presence, as opposed to when young women greeted him. This portion of his testimony was sexist and unnecessary.

Once the undercover State employee made his purchases, there was no crime they could pursue. Everything Lance Gloor was doing was up to par and then some with a thousand other dispensaries.

Since the State couldn’t make a case, the evidence through the interagency known as WESNET handed the evidence over to the DEA, who then was obligated to pursue a Federal crime.

Lance’s cannabis enterprise was solely Washington based; there was no need for Federal involvement, his real crime was being a successful businessman in America, who didn’t want to pay off law enforcement or snitch on co-conspirators.

The trial itself was a sham. All the evidence presented was that from the stores that were openly operating, there was no covert operation. They pointed to Lance’s lifestyle as guilt and even brought a showgirl to testify against him. During the trial, said showgirl found an article I wrote online covering the trial, she had it submitted for evidence with hopes of suing, but all I was doing was writing the truth of what I saw.

It seemed Lance was on trial for being a flashy young man with the presiding judge calling Lance, a flim-flam man during the verdict.

Lance was eventually found guilty and sentenced to 10 years behind bars. Ten years away from his daughter, mother, and step-father. Ten years to live in an eight by eight cell with no rights or luxuries. He was sentenced longer than some sex offenders for being in business with a plant.

Sometimes I feel like I’m too much of an idealistic hippie for this world, but then I think someone has to be.

Only You Can Prevent Forest Fires and Mass Incarcerations

Promote jury nullification; this is some civil rights shit, something that most people don’t talk about because it’s just not sexy. Jury nullification means that no matter the instruction given by the courts, as a citizen, it is your fundamental right to disagree with a bad law, thus in your opinion, that person is not guilty, no matter the “evidence.”

We hear jury duty and try to avoid it as an inconvenience, but this is your chance as a citizen, to make a difference for another and future citizens.

Promote jury duty and nullification; this is something I’ve done in booths at cannabis events and something you can do around a joint. People incarcerating other citizens for marijuana as a tool of justice can’t win.

When it comes to cannabis, there is no freedom until everyone is free. All good things take time and money. I think we’ve come as far as we had for common sense and normalization through advocacy what investor corporate cannabis has done for greasing the wheel to legalization.

While I smoke my “legal” cannabis, I think of how people are still serving time for business that is now “legal” in multiple legal states; before it was recreationally legal, its been someone’s medicine. The only acceptable form of legalization is the kind where no one sits behind bars for being part of a marijuana business, sanctioned or not. A kind where everyone is allowed to grow cannabis at home, homegrows.

Before it was “legal,” there were homegrows that led to jail. Now there are millionaires, homegrows for some, and prison for others. For years there have been many who have and still are ghosts in the machine. People helping others, educating, and voting. People speaking up because it’s the right thing, not the social media cred. I hope to make a series on how I’ve been a ghost in the machine, also known as an internet troll.

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