Express Yourself? Does your opinion matter?
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Here’s something I think clearly points out that your opinion DOES matter.
An amazing thing happened in Georgia recently. Activists in the fight for cannabis legalization shut down or disrupted several official Law Enforcement Facebook pages/groups. The amazing part of it is, it wasn’t just Georgia activists.
It began when the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) posted the following “brag” picture. A friend of mine tagged me in the post and I noticed a couple of negative comments on it, about wasted resources. I’m on the Board of Advisers for Peachtree NORML and a regular contributor to their FB Group, so I shared the post, asking folks to go there and tell MCSO what they thought about their “4 plants” post.
I was honestly astounded by the response. The post got shared ….. and shared, and shared. Communities like #OnePlant and Georgia C.A.R.E. Project picked it up and shared it. The comments came flooding in, not just from Georgia, but from California and Arkansas and Michigan and Florida and Alabama and Kentucky and Tennessee and all over.
The First Amendment
At first, the MCSO deleted comments, a daunting task, as there were a couple of thousand of them. When someone pointed out to them that Federal Courts have awarded damages in cases where dissenting comments were removed from Official Government websites and FB pages, the MCSO just deleted the post. (Honolulu PD and San Diego Sheriff) Fortunately, American NewsX and The Hidden South picked the story up before the post was deleted. (There’s a great backstory here, concerning one Hank Ogle, The Mayor of Three Rivers as he is known, who was arrested for those four plants. That’s for another blog).
At approximately the same time, the Bleckley County Sheriff’s Office made a similar post. This post also got shared around and in the barrage of negative comments that followed, with the same deletion of comments and warning about those Federal rulings, BCSO decided to shut their FB page down.
The same thing happened with the North Georgia Drug Task Force. They completely shut their page down after a barrage of comments shaming them for wasting taxpayer dollars on marijuana eradication programs.
One County’s page responded to the comments, accusing us of “bullying” them and being ignorant. What cry-babies! For nearly 80 years cannabis aficionados have been bullied, threatened, belittled and publicly shamed. Yet those aficionados persevered and, despite all the government’s efforts, attitudes are changing. Now, as the old stigmas are falling away, as we Stand Up and begin to use their own tactics against them, WE are the bullies. If you can’t take the heat …………..
The effort continues today, with the latest barrage of comments directed at Arkansas Congressman Steve Womack’s FB post posing beside a dangerous marijuana plant as it was being arrested.
The Glowing Coal
I see a glowing coal; An ember of outrage, fanned by the wind of Injustices in Prohibition Enforcement and our lawmakers’ disdain for the Will of The People. An ember which sparked a flame. If you are outraged about these things, Express Yourself. Soon we will have a roaring fire.
Our Combined Voice is a powerful tool. Find these official web pages and FB pages around your State. When they publish something egregious regarding cannabis prohibition, tell them how you feel. Share it with like-minded friends/pages/groups so they can do the same. Your message doesn’t have to be hateful. Address it with fact. Hope for a meaningful discussion. One thing that will have to be done, sooner or later, is healing the rift between Weed Warriors and Cannabists. Please feel free to share what you find with Peachtree NORML. We’ll gladly help get the word spread. Sharon Ravert is the Executive Director of Peachtree NORML. She likes to say, “When we are talking we are winning”. It’s true.
I sincerely thank every anti-prohibition activist out there whether you are “boots on the ground”, a “keyboard warrior” or do your work behind the scenes. United, we are making a difference.