Cape Town, South Africa.
Annual Cannabis March 2018.
There's a picture of a mature woman at a march, her T-shirt says
"I can't believe I'm still protesting the same shit".
That's how many of us feel about legalizing cannabis.
The economic implications of HEMP, the medicinal, social and economic implications of cannabis as a medicine are HUGE.
If I was a leader, I would have a task team comprising of all sorts of forward thinking people planning our future using hemp and cannabis; engineers, doctors, social workers, educators, psychologists, economists, artists, etc. and to make sure that everyone is included in this revolution, not just corporates and pharma and government. And to network with people around the world who are already living with legal use, how it's being regulated etc.
Although things might be loosening in the cities in terms of personal growing and smoking at home (depending on who you are), for many people in small towns and those unable to afford expensive lawyers etc., prison and a record are still hard realities.
Given all the research and the global move towards understanding and embracing the profound benefits of this plant, that people are still being ARRESTED is literally crazy! Wasting precious tax money on courts and prisons, breaking up families, criminalizing breadwinners, not to mention squashing people's realities with a limiting criminal record, when we could be spending that on hospitals and education, building people up!
For centuries, people the world over have been smoking, drinking, eating, planting, harvesting materials and healing people with this plant. And they still are. Loads of people use this herb. But it has to be done secretly. Puts a lot of people at real risk.
But not on this day. On this day, thousands of people openly lit up in front of the police, outside of Parliament. For hours!
By all accounts, organizing the walk/march parliamentary thing was complicated and took a lot of negotiations right up until the final moments. Stressful. And there was sabotage - someone kept cutting the sound, VERY stressful for the crew and MC etc. Despite that, there were speeches and info shared and songs sung. A Rasta prayer, so beautiful, so humble, so appreciative, so calm, so poetic - calling for people to put aside their differences and know that we are one and that magic rippled out over everyone there connecting us. It's a special feeling.
Much bizarreness as well - Louis Botha and his horse towering on the one side, a huge image of the pope on the other, a lot of police all around on the perimeter - with the most magnificent mix of people, all lighting up and lightening up. And speaking out. And stating the case again!!
And dancing. So many bright and creative and responsible young people. What struck me again was how peaceful and present smokers are.
No fights, no aggro, no ego.
Someone asked me something about the effects of imbibing the other day and I realized that he thought that it has the same effect on everyone, or that there's one general "high" that all people get.
The opposite is true. For some people it works as a a pain killer. For some it works as a muscle relaxant. For some it helps people sleep. For some it works effectively for anxiety, panic attacks and stress. For some it helps with diminished appetites. For some it stops seizures. For some it just gently takes the edge off.
However, for some it actually creates anxiety, paranoia, vertigo, increased appetite etc. For some it's addictive, or rather there is a dependance because I think it's not actually physically addictive. Whatever the case, if it doesn't work for you, do not consume!
The same way that some people can't/shouldn't drink alcohol at all, they get sick or violent etc. We don't ban all alcohol because of what it does to some people and society as a whole. Yet something that has so many positives is.
I'm tired of seeing young people being able to buy a pack of highly addictive nicotine cigarrettes with huge amounts of added poisons that has to have a WARNING on the side of the box about DEATH yet being searched and locked up for a herb that is so good for you.
So we keep marching on! With special thanks to Bongalong's whole team, the marshals, the people, the kids, the DJs, the musicians, the cops, the cleaners and everyone else who helped make this happen.
SEE MY PHOTO ESSAY IN THE DAILY MAVERICK HERE
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