I just finished a book, The Cannabis Manifesto, by Steve DeAngelo. It was a very good read for me and appeared at a time in my life when I needed another push to become more active in cannabis reform in America. I’m constantly looking for new books on the subject of medical cannabis and I may have skipped this one if it weren’t for the well known author and cannabis activist, and the push from Johnny Green from The Weed Blog to get the book.
Steve DeAngelo has been actively involved in marijuana reform since he was a young Yippie, and has as much experience with the movement as just about anyone out there. He created the largest cannabis dispensary in the country, Harborside Health Center, in Oakland, CA and also now in San Jose. I use the term “dispensary” very loosely because Steve and his crew offer so much more than cannabis products. They offer their patients an education, compassion and options, options being they are concerned with whole body wellness and have alternative treatments at each location, like acupuncture, reiki, massage, you name it, and Harborside offers these treatments to their patients free of charge. They have created the “model” that all dispensaries in the country should aspire to.
This blog is for patients and prospective patients and represents my journey with cannabis medicine and this book is part of the journey. From time to time I need to get pumped up to write. Steve’s book, along with my present local advocacy needs happened at the just the right time to push me to address my own cannabis advocacy and activism. Steve will pump you up. One thing I really appreciate about Steve is his tenacity. He is still actively involved with the medical cannabis movement, is considered an expert in his field, is often interviewed and quoted, and is constantly educating anyone who will listen, (and some who don’t). This book was the push I needed.
I came away thinking education is the key to cannabis success. Because I have learned so much over the years, and I have so many well informed friends, I forget that the vast majority of people out there have no clue about using cannabis. I believe many people involved in cannabis activism do know their stuff, so here is my plea… If you know something, share it. Share with your family, share with your friends, most importantly share with your doctors and other health care providers, and come out of the cannabis closet. We aren’t going to win the fight hiding ourselves from the public. I do realize that some people can’t do this yet for many reasons, but you must ask yourself, “Is now the time? And if not, when?” People need to know who we are and what cannabis has done to forever change our lives for the better, and why.
So many people I meet through my local cannabis advocacy group, the NM Medical Cannabis Patient Alliance, are angry. I see anger all over the internet as well – cannabis users hating on people who don’t know any better and are against cannabis legalization and cannabis as medicine. It is our duty to educate these people and not despise them. In order to educate you must have the knowledge you need to convert the unbelievers. We all demand compassion for ourselves, but we must also remember to have and show compassion to the uninformed, because these people have had decades of brain washing that we need to reach through with the truth. The old adage, “You can draw more flies with honey, than with vinegar” comes to mind. Be sweet, be accurate, and be prepared.
If there is one book out there that can help you to prepare for compassionate advocacy, Steve DeAngelo’s The Cannabis Manifesto may be it. Concise, well researched and cited, this is a great handbook for any cannabis advocate. Some may say it is a perfect book to give someone who is against cannabis use, but I think there may be better books for that, like Julie Holland’s, The Pot Book. The Cannabis Manifesto is better for people either sitting on the fence or people who already know that cannabis is not a demonic trip to hell. It is essential for good advocacy.
So, get out there, be active in your cannabis community. Help each other to never stop learning. Teach the people in your life, and then reach out to anyone who shows an interest. Educate your doctors, nurses, and therapists. Always take the opportunity to speak up when you hear someone preaching crap about cannabis, but don’t ever condemn their ignorance. Instead, you must educate them. We just can’t go around condemning all the cannabis ignorance out there. Be the honey to all those flies.