Though it has devolved over the years into more of a Disneyfied Hallmark holiday, the roots of Christmas run deeply through various forms of religion, often telling a tale of a virgin birth in a barn and a 7lb 10oz Baby Jesus, born to die for the sins of mankind… a story of a savior, or so it goes.
The fact is that Christians, Catholics, Buddhists, Muslims, Judaic people, and even Pagans all celebrate significant holidays in December, though most have a vastly different belief in how we should acknowledge the so-called Savior of Humanity.
Logic tells us that they cannot all be right, right? That’s why they call it “having faith”. But, if this hellacious year has taught us anything at all, it is that you need to also put faith in what you can see right in front of your face and 2020 has shown that there may be a true savior that is a bit more… down to earth.
Of course, we are talking about cannabis and while we do not expect you to fall to your knees and worship this plant, it is worth taking a few minutes to appreciate the role it has played in helping us all stay sane in a crazy year.
SOMETIMES BEING AN OUTLAW IS A MORAL OBLIGATION
“I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that ‘an unjust law is no law at all’.”
So said the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. in defense of his own outlaw status in the turbulent 1960s before being assassinated on film on April 4th, 1968.
Of course, we all know how the story goes once the law caught up to Jesus, too.
Cannabis, too, has been persecuted by a society that once accepted it, then prohibited it, then resurrected it in the name of “legalization”.
That path to the popularity that the plant enjoys today was blazed by pioneers who risked it all, and often lost it all, just to sow the seeds for the culture, and for a multibillion-dollar industry to emerge.
Though the cannabis plant remains on Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act, strictly prohibited by our federal government, four more states (AZ, MO, NJ, SD) were added this year to the roster of those that have given Uncle Sam a fat middle finger and established taxed and regulated adult-use recreational cannabis markets. That brings the total of rec weed states to 15, with roughly 1 in 3 American adults aged 21 and up now having access to cannabis without a doctor’s consent.
At Beard Bros Pharms, our entire cannabis story is one of hustling to stay one step ahead of unjust cannabis laws, with faith that this day would come when we could grow this plant in peace without fear of being crucified for it.
There is still a lot of work to do on cannabis reform, for sure, but this winter it warms our heart to know that 93 million Americans have a better option than booze or pills. An all-natural, sustainably sourced option that more and more Wise Men and Women are turning to every day to optimize their overall wellness.
Pick up virtually any religious text and research its tenets on justice and the treatment of prisoners, however, and you will see that our society has strayed quite far from the morals it claims to uphold.
FREE THE PLANT, FREE THE PRISONERS
Growing, extracting, selling, buying, or consuming cannabis was a dangerous game not that long ago and there are tens of thousands of people incarcerated right now as proof of that. Millions more have had their futures crippled by petty misdemeanor cannabis charges that tarnish one’s record permanently.
With the rise of cannabis reform, however, comes a mandate from the masses that if cowardly corporations want to cash in on cannabis, something must be done about the people most negatively affected by the decades of drug wars that led us to legalization.
With rising popularity, cannabis and its advocates have a louder voice than ever before. So, the demands for criminal justice reform and cannabis reform are now synonymous, and every new cannabis market that emerges is being forced to focus resources on expunging people’s records for past crimes that are now regulated activities.
Again, though, the work doesn’t stop there.
There are still far too many people doing time behind bars on non-violent cannabis charges. Groups like MISSION[GREEN] and Freedom Grow, and folks like Cheri Sicard, are doing the lord’s work when it comes to cannabis prisoner advocacy. Their efforts have seen a handful of prisoners granted early release this year as the absurdity of incarcerating people over pot goes mainstream.
We do not pretend to know what religion, if any, that those free men and women follow but we do know that it wasn’t Jesus, or Buddha, or Mohammed that freed them. It was the hard work of men and women dedicated to the cannabis plant and dedicated to human rights that got them out.
A BIBLE, WRAPPED IN A FLAG, SMOKING A BONG
Like a fart in the breeze, American politicians try their hardest to just float along the path of least resistance hoping to get noticed.
So, it should come as no surprise that the same old farts that were calling cannabis a gateway drug and vilifying it before, are now preaching about the perils of persecuting the plant for all those years.
Hell, America just elected one as its next president.
Have they suddenly seen the light?
Have their shoddy moral compasses finally found an honest direction?
No, they want that money, son! They aren’t bashful about it either. In fact, that is how they pitch it to the populace. Like the kid running for student council in school who promises to install new soda machines in the quad, we have grown-up politicians using the same tactic to get their grubby hands on cannabis tax revenues, telling anyone who will listen that big fat cannabucks will soon solve all of society’s ills.
Neglected your schools for decades to the point of disrepair? CANNABUCKS!
Finally realizing that drug therapy may be better than mass arrests? CANNABUCKS!
They are so brazen that they are even saying they’ll provide more body armor, unmarked vans, and crates of tear gas to your local police force, all paid for with… CANNABUCKS MOTHERFUCKERS!
Bad roads, CANNABUCKS. New public library, CANNABUCKS. Offsetting the unprecedented financial losses from an economic shutdown in the midst of a global pandemic, CANNABUCKS.
If your society sucks, they say, cannabis will be the savior.
Just last month, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo was quoted as saying that “the pressure will be on” local lawmakers to approve a new recreational cannabis law in the state as soon as possible in order to, as he bluntly states, offset a $15 billion hole blown into the state budget by COVID-19.
Yeah, yeah, we said earlier in this piece that we do not expect anyone to get on their knees and worship the cannabis plant, but these jaded, two-faced politicians should be forced into some sort of atonement before bailing out their own mismanagement by begrudgingly passing cannabis laws.
They can start by bringing that same legalization energy to the debate about veterans’ rights when it comes to cannabis. Talk about a savior… We know for a fact that giving our nation’s military veterans safe, affordable access to high-quality cannabis products will absolutely reduce the atrocious 22-per-day suicide rate that their community is afflicted with due in large part to the pharmaceutical cocktails they are being dosed with.
COMPASSION AT ITS ROOTS
Whatever the masses considered to be “normal” was turned inside out this year and all Americans were forced to take a deep gaze inward. Beyond all the 24-hour news channels, the social media, and even influences like a Beard Bros article, what a shitload of people found on that personal journey was a reconnection to compassion.
From strapping on these goddamn masks every day, to marching in a Black Lives Matter rally, a lot of people rediscovered their love for other people as well as their disdain for unjust laws and regulations.
Cannabis can certainly be a savior for many people, we have seen it and lived it. But it’s not THE savior for society as it is being made out to be, nor should it be forced to live up to that fairy tale.