Sunday, January 22, 2017

The Inauguration of Trump and the Up-rising of the Women

I have to get something off my chest.

For over two months now, there has been a moral tug-of-war going on in my heart.  It is the tug-of-war between sensible commerce and moral duty.  It is a tug of war that kept my political views off of our facebook page for the business.  Mostly.

But I am done with that.  I am, today, officially done with that.

It happened with the Women’s March on Washington and the solidarity march we attended here in the central valley.  It happened because so many people posted angry comments under our photos.  We were harshly judged for standing in solidarity with the women.

We are Beguine revivalists.  If you don’t know who the Beguines were, maybe you should look them up.  They were progressive activists for women, in the middle ages.  Their core mission was to lift women from poverty by giving them housing security, food security, and training, and jobs.  This is who we are.  This is what we want to be.

Our capitalist enterprises are there to support our spirituality and activism.  It is not the other way around.  Our capitalist enterprises are for the women, for the people.  Our progressive activism is for the women, for the people.  Our spirituality?  That’s for us. 

Here’s what you need to understand about our origins.  This order was given birth by the Occupy movement.  Our origins are in protesting.  While out with the people, the formalization of this order came as a result of so many people asking for it – from so many asking for an order that has, as its holy trinity -- service, activism, and spirituality.

We grew a business from nothing, two years ago, to employing nine folks full-time and another nine to twelve in various specialty positions, and this all began from five thousand anarchist, activist, facebook friends.

Let’s just take a quick stroll through what we are all about. 

Mission statement: 

The Sisters of the Valley is a newly born, new-age group of Sisters whose fundamental mission is to get plant-based medicine into the hands of those in need -- and to do that in a responsible and sustainable manner.   The mission is supported by their founding principles, which are to honor Mother Earth and her intelligent plant, provide a valuable product to the people, empower other women to succeed, and participate in peaceful progressive activism.


#1  Chastity.  Do you think that when we take a vow to privatize our sexuality and keep ourselves covered at all times in public, do you think we can support a pussy-grabbing president?  How does that work?

#2 Activism.  Yes, activism is a vow.  So now, tell me, if activism is a vow we take, do you not expect us to join protests?

#3 Service.  This is our medicine-making.  We use non-psychoactive cannabis to make tinctures and topical salves.  We have hundreds of testimonials from people around the world thanking us for alleviating their suffering.  Trump is trying to appoint a man who has contempt in his heart for this intelligent plant.  Do you expect us to get behind that?

#4 Ecology.  This is the part of our vow where we respect and repair mother earth, try to reduce our foot-print, migrate to a more plant-based diet, and more friendly co-existence with her.  By Trump’s Exxon appointment, do you think he is taking an earth-friendly approach?

#5 Living Simply.  Trump represents the opposite of that.  He is all glitz and glamour and largess and wastefulness. 

Which political party do you think best represents the ethics and values of the Sisters?  The Green Party, naturally, and Bernie, who is green at heart.  With a few controlling our media propaganda machine, with a two-party grid-locked system, with DNC corruption, neither had a chance. 

People like to come onto our facebook posts and tell me ‘get behind your president’.  No, sorry, we cannot.  He represents the opposite of all we stand for.

One more thing, our business grew fifteen times the second year over the first.  We have, since the very beginning -- sold out of every jar, every bottle, of every product we have ever made.  We have hundreds of stores around the world who want to carry our products and over seven thousand loyal repeat retail customers.    

We do well because of our commitment to excellence, our commitment to making and protecting the medicines in an ancient-ritual spiritual environment.  We do well because of our commitment to using best business practices, to being ‘audit ready’ at all times, to ensure all taxes are paid, that no cheats are used, ever.  We do well because we are committed to making our customers happy and we are committed to being responsive to their calls, emails, and inquiries from many different social media platforms.

Sometimes I wonder if we were Trump supporters, if we adopted Trump’s business ethics, would our medicine do as well?  If we meditated on Trump-think, instead of the suffering of the people, would our products still do what they do for the people?  Do any of you seriously feel any compassion radiating from this new President of ours?  Do any of you believe we could be in a prayerful, spiritual, meditative environment with a picture of Trump hanging on our wall?

If you think you are punishing us by refusing to buy from us because of our politics – you are not.  I have maintained since the beginning that if we only had the progressive activists around the world supporting us, we will always grow and thrive.

Are we angry at the Trump-voters?  Heck, no!  The decision the American public was faced with was horrible, dismal, disturbing.  In the end, we had a choice between two shadow characters and the people chose the one who is 'out' about his darkness; they chose authenticity over pretense.  We don’t blame.  We don’t shame.  We accept that everyone did the best they could, with the deck stacked as it was, against the people.

The American people chose to throw a torch to the system.  One half of the people didn’t vote.  One fourth of the people voted for Hillary.  One fourth voted for Trump.  He does not have and never held majority support.   I take comfort in that.

So please, stop threatening us, as if we rely on your purchases.  We do not.  We try to be sensible in regard to our capitalist enterprises, but you are asking us to support a man who mocks our vows.  You are asking us to ignore our vows and mission.  It is too much to ask.  If it offends you, there are many places you can find CBD and it does not offend us if you wish to buy from others.  

On another note, I have had a half dozen women declare that they will not buy from us because they perceive us to be ‘pro-abortion’.  We try to explain -- it isn’t abortion we are proponents of, it’s just that we trust the women to make their own decisions for their own bodies.  Have you read our mission statement?  Regulating the vagina is the opposite of women empowerment.

We are well aware of the fact that first term abortions didn’t ‘become a sin’ in the Catholic church until one hundred years ago, coincidentally, at the same time the intelligent plant became demonized.  It is the same time that mankind stepped up the effort to trash the planet.  Do women not see that the divine feminine is under attack all the way around on this planet?  From the planet, herself, to the women who occupy it, to the vaginas of the women who occupy it?  All are under attack.

We are well aware of the fact that where women have food, housing, healthcare and education security, when they have equal rights and equal opportunity and equal pay in the work force, they have two children.  Inside a marriage.  Zero abortions.  Zero population growth.  So we are trying to understand why people want to regulate women’s vaginas?  Why wouldn’t you want to fix the root cause of the reason for abortions instead of just attacking the women on a moral basis?  Why does one woman want to control the vagina of another woman?  Is that thinking sticking to us because of 200,000 years of male energies dominating the planet?  Can we not shed ourselves of that and think only in terms of Sisterhood?

Here’s a special little note to the men, who have the propensity to give orders to the Sisters without thinking them through.  In the past month, I’ve had two men reach out to us – one to say ‘stick to weed growing and get the hell out of politics, you are making yourselves look stupid’ – and one to say ‘stick to weed growing and stay the hell out of spirituality, you are not a trained theologian.’
My answer to them both?  Sorry, we don’t take orders from men, but it’s cute that you tried.

Thank you for letting me get that off my chest.  I feel so much better now.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Being Beguine (Dec 2016)

Originally published December 5th, 2016


My fascination with Catholic nuns, my ever-on radar for nun-news, comes not so much from having grown up with them all around, but the fact that they are going extinct.  (If someone knows of a Catholic nun revival surge, please point it out to me.) 

It is the fact that we are alive to witness the extinction of a twelve-hundred-year-old tradition that is fascinating.  It is the fact that they ‘stood by their men’ through some pretty egregious happenings that suggests extinction is inevitable, perhaps even karmic.

As a child educated in a Catholic school, I had to swallow some pretty bizarre concepts, presented to me as ‘truths’.  The pope is infallible.  Purgatory is a place.  The Holy Ghost is a thing.

Recently, I heard a modern-day Catholic nun tell a news reporter that the white habits they wear represent being married to God.  She said they put on their wedding dresses every day to celebrate their anniversary of marriage.  The nuns I grew up with wore black, so I never heard of such a thing as the habit being a wedding dress!

It got me to thinking.  If no-one objects to the rather bizarre notion that nuns wear their wedding dresses daily, to re-live their marriage to God, then certainly people can wrap their heads around the concept of a Sisterhood of women who work with cannabis plants, make home-made tonics and tinctures, and support themselves through their own labors and without need of alms?

Our earth family should be able to accept the fact that we wear the gowns to honor our ancient Beguine fore-mothers, that we put them on to show respect for the plant and Mother Earth, that we put them on to remind ourselves to make our sacred ancestors proud, that we wear them to announce our presence to the people, as regalia, to honor them, whenever we are among them.  Yet, word on the street is that our local officials can’t wrap their heads around this concept.  Yes, word on the street is that they are fine with our cannabis business, but not with our uniforms.  So I can only assume that if we claimed to be married to God, if we claimed our uniform was a wedding dress, then it would be ok?


Actually, try as they might to make it about something else, we know too well why they object.  They object because there are no men in charge here.  They object because there is no male-founded, male-run, male dominated church here.  There are men here, of course, but they don’t run the show.  Furthermore, our order is ‘self-formed’ and, as ‘weed-nuns’, we are self-declared, which makes us empowered, and the old grey-haired white dudes running the central valley of California find that to be frightening.

In case you hadn’t heard, we are leaving a two-hundred-thousand-year-old period of male energies ruling the planet and are entering the age of feminine energies ruling the planet.  We are leaving our ‘conquer all’ mentality that formed our civilizations and we are entering an age of preservation, nurturing, nesting.  Of course, female energies must now rule, if we want to keep our people inhabiting this planet.  (Never mind Trump, Brexit, Geert Wilders, Marine Le Pen, and the others of their ilk, they represent the last gasp of a dying paradigm.  You didn’t think the conquerors would go down without a fight, did you?  But worry not -- hate is not a sustainable political platform.)

Before we bought our farm, we checked the history of the land to make sure no blood was spilled here.   We purchased as ‘near virgin’ land as is possible in these parts.  No animals were caged or slaughtered here, no one was ever hurt here, and we made a big upset in this place by putting a digger in the ground and splitting a line through the property diagonally, to lay electricity for lighting.  We had to do a special healing ceremony for the land, to repent for the cut we made.  The split in the land upset the energies of the property and made people who love each other quarrel and bicker.


In the same manner that we checked the land and the house before offering to buy it, to make sure that the energies here were right for the women and the work to be done, we would not reach for a spiritual practice or religion that had blood on its hands.  If murders and pedophilia and dark plots lurk there in the history of the enterprise, we don’t want it.  
We are starting anew.

Our holy trinity is S.A.S.  Yes, because we are political activists, we do ‘give sass’ (now and again), as Brother Emery calls it, but no, the acronym stands for Service, Activism, and Spirituality.   The most important part of our ancient-wisdom medicine-making is the environment the products are made in.  Therefore, we sought a pure place.  An untarnished little farm, a little closer to the gangster-town than we might have preferred, but the land, all the same, is clean.

We would not do our Activism, if it required blood or harm to anyone.  Burning fuel to get to our events is harm enough, and we pray for forgiveness and try to double up.  We yearn for solar powered cars, but what we have is fossil-fuel-burning carriages.

We approach our activism and perform our activism with pure hearts, good intentions, and would not go where dark forces gather.  The intention of our activism is to inform, educate, elucidate, where the media machine would rather you remain ignorant.

In service to the people through the cannabis plant, we are working in a space of ‘no harm’, because try though they might, no-one has ever died from an overdose of the Cannabis medicine.

And finally, our spirituality.  We are Beguine revivalists.  

The Beguines pre-dated Christianity and though they lived together, dressed alike, and prayed together, their mission was not to spread any kind of dogma.  Their mission was to rescue women from poverty and give them independence and property (wealth).  They were very good at it.

They were so good at it that during different times through-out their history, they were persecuted by different religious and political groups – mainly because the products they made were of such consistently high quality, and because their work had garnered them such loyal followings.  The attacks on them were for jealousy of their success, and because the Beguine mission was to empower women.    Our research indicates that in medieval times in Europe, many towns had Beguine villages within their castle walls and many travelers came from far and wide to purchase their products.


Eschewing Christianity is not because we are ‘anti-Christian’ – we are not.  It is simply that our practices identify with our pre-Christian mothers, those early enclaves, whose stories and practices were largely lost to history because they existed before books and written records.  Because of the lack of information, we must use our own imagination and intuition to build something akin to what their lives would have been.

This Yule Tide Season, I want a book on the Beguines, and more importantly -- time to read it.  But I am interested in the ancient Beguines, not the ones that recorded history is most likely to discuss – the Catholic Beguines.  

The first Catholic nun didn’t come about until the late 800’s, and I am interested in the enclaves of our Beguine mothers before that, because I am pretty sure that their conversion to Catholicism was coerced.  And that this move to Catholicism actually accelerated their extinction (just a personal theory at this point).

Because Christianity (widespread) happened when the first books became distributable, one might falsely come to the conclusion that our Beguine mothers were Catholics.  That would be un-true.  The Beguines were around long before Catholicism became mainstream.  The Beguines thrived during the dark and middle ages, when daily life was not so well documented, but just because it isn’t written, doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.

It’s not a surprise that the first book mass produced was the Bible, because the man who developed the printing press was Catholic.  I have to say I’m a bit surprised and pleased with the blunt Wikipedia entry on the history of the Bible (and the added apology to Catholics).

By 500 A.D. the Bible had been translated into over 500 languages. Just one century later, by 600 A.D., it has been restricted to only one language: the Latin Vulgate! The only organized and recognized church at that time in history was the Catholic Church of Rome, and they refused to allow the scripture to be available in any language other than Latin. Those in possession of non-Latin scriptures would be executed! This was because only the priests were educated to understand Latin, and this gave the church ultimate power… a power to rule without question… a power to deceive… a power to extort money from the masses. Nobody could question their “Biblical” teachings, because few people other than priests could read Latin. The church capitalized on this forced-ignorance through the 1,000-year period from 400 AD to 1,400 AD knows as the “Dark and Middle Ages”.

Pope Leo the Tenth established a practice called the “selling of indulgences” as a way to extort money from the people. He offered forgiveness of sins for a fairly small amount of money. For a little bit more money, you would be allowed to indulge in a continuous lifestyle of sin, such as keeping a mistress. Also, through the invention of “Purgatory”, you could purchase the salvation of your loved-one’s souls. The church taught the ignorant masses . . . Pope Leo the Tenth showed his true feelings when he said, “The fable of Christ has been quite profitable to us!”

Editorial Note: Let us state at this point, that it is not our intent to offend or “bash” Roman Catholics. It is unavoidable that every historical account has its “good guys” and its “bad guys”. Just as it is impossible to accurately tell the story of World War Two without offending the Germans and the Italians who were undeniably the enemies of world peace at that time… it is equally impossible to accurately tell the story of the English Bible without unintentionally offending those who continue to revere the Roman Catholic and Anglican Churches.


The Beguines thrived during the dark and middle ages.  They were focused on helping the women.  Their methods and order and spirituality drew women of all classes.  They built housing and many devoted their lives to the enclaves and when they died, left their wealth to the enclave so more unfortunates could be brought in, taught a trade, put to work, given honorable lives.  They didn’t live in the same house, but clustered their homes.  They owned businesses and houses, grew their own food and hemp and made clothing for themselves and to sell.  They made medicines for themselves and to sell.  They made jobs.  That was their mission.  That is ours.

Right now, this planet has a lot in common with the dark and middle ages.  Just like back then, women and children suffer the brunt of the poverty stick.  Just like back then, there is a certain hopelessness that sickens the spirit, when people cannot have gainful employment.  There is a malaise that happens when the deck is stacked against you – born poor, die poor.  We are re-living that again.  I call it the castle syndrome.  But we, the descendants of the Beguines, intend to occupy the castle, as our ancient mothers once did.

Samain* Season at the Abbey (November 2016)

Originally published November 2, 2016

*pronounced Saa-ween or Saa-win

Samhain's long association with death and the Dead reflects Nature's rhythms. In many places, Samhain coincides with the end of the growing season. Vegetation dies back with killing frosts, and therefore, literally, death is in the air. This contributes to the ancient notion that at Samhain, the veil is thin between the world of the living and the realm of the Dead and this facilitates contact and communication. For those who have lost loved ones in the past year, Samhain rituals can be an opportunity to bring closure to grieving and to further adjust to their being in the Otherworld by spiritually communing with them. (Selena Fox)

This year at the abbey, Samhain was another trip down ancient lane.

To accommodate the children and their modern-day custom of ‘Halloween’, the Sisters weren’t able to practice all the pieces and parts together, but beginning at sundown, we managed to get in all the seven services of Samhain and by the time the bonfire was lit, we were together as one.


With the coming of sunset, one Sister arranged the pumpkins and candles on the feast table.  She then joined an older Sister for a meditative walk through the countryside, setting the energies for the evening.  Meanwhile, one Sister was out trick-or-treating with the young ones, and would, no doubt, be late to dinner.


harvest meal, made by the loving hands of the day-time staff, was shared in a prayerful environment, in honor of the ancestral spirits.  Simple fare . . . potato kale soup and a vegetable pine-nut pasta salad, with several kinds of bakery breads. 


One Sister prayed over the feast table, taking special care to invite ancestors from the other side to join in the Feast of the Dead.  The table was set with an extra place as is custom, with a filled plate and bowl and wine glass, later set outside for easy access by the spirit world.

After dinner, two Sisters consulted their pendulums for predictions of the coming year.  Outside, the men built the bonfire.

solemn ceremony was held.  The Sisters gathered around the fire, robed in their formal gowns, holding hands and chanting, “We are the circle, within a circle, with no beginning, and never ending.”

There were prayers of thanksgiving and prayers for the coming years’ blessings.  There were prayers offered for those recently departed and those who have long departed the earth plane.  There were individual prayers and prayers for the Sisterhood. 

The women took their candles and sang as they moved first counterclockwise, then clockwise around the bonfire:    “Sacred Ancestors come to me, Sacred Ancestors please help me, All my Mothers, Fathers, Brothers, Sisters, and Relations, too, Who have loved me for always, I’ll keep the light for you.”


And the service ended with an ancestral story:

Imagine that we are standing at a bonfire in Northern England in the year 50 of the current era.  Christianity wasn’t a thing, yet.  The Bible was centuries from being written.  The country had been torn up by one war or another for the past fifty years and the people and the land had not yet recovered.  But here stand the women, ‘round the fire, on land recently conquered by the Romans.

Take yourselves there, to their fire. The women are gathered as we are, to pray, to talk.  Let’s sit. It is cold there, so they gather close to the fire.  

They share information that is not for others’ ears, so they gather close to speak softly and still be heard.These women, like many of us, have children.  These women, like many of us, are raising those children alone.  These women had to fight to get a loaf of bread each day and spent much of their precious lives begging or borrowing.  They knew they were not alone.  They knew they weren’t ‘special’.  They knew the men could join the military machine and get food, but their choices were far less.  They knew that other women, all the women, suffered the brunt of the poverty. 

“I have heard the Romans wish to end the conflict, to civilize this place, and live peacefully.”  Said one woman at the fire.  She paused before she continued and then spoke with unabashed hopefulness:   “There will be jobs, and medicine, and food.” 

Another Sister at the fire countered her:   “We will just be slaves for them and the profit will go to Rome.”

But then another Sister interjected an idea, a good idea.  “We must begin our own business.  We must own and control something, something that is ours, that will keep us safe.”
“They are allowing us to grow hemp,” says another woman, another face around the fire.

What followed, then, was a serious conversation about what was needed and how those needs could be fulfilled, so that the women could begin participating in a newly de-regulating business.  What followed, then, was a serious conversation about making jobs, creating housing and food security, through farming, textiles and medicine.  What followed, then, was an all-night conversation that didn’t end until the sun began to show its light. 
That night, at their fire, an era of empowerment was born.  This is not uncommon.  Women create in more than one way.

That night, at the fire, a lifetime of purposeful living, a life-time of sustenance for themselves and their children began to manifest.   That night, hope and purpose was re-born in the embers of the Samhain fires. 

And these are the ancestral mothers whom we honor and emulate.   These are the ancestral mothers whose blessings we pursue.


Taking a Trip on the Good Ship Could've Been (Oct 2016)

Originally published October 8th, 2016.

I woke up at six a.m. intent on pressing and preparing all the gowns for all the Sisters.  Instead, I spent the next thirty minutes looking for our iron (found buried under clothes in a laundry basket) and no one in the abbey, or working for the abbey, got by that morning without a lecture on how irons are integral to being a sister.  How everything has a place and must be kept in that place.  How the iron is essential to our grooming.  How we can get away with being wrinkled for farm work, but not acceptable for activist events.  I was so annoyed.

Nonetheless, I was smiling as I got in the car because at seven-thirty, on the dot, all road trip personnel were assembled, pressed and crisp, and ready to rock and roll.   And we pulled into the Capitol Building parking structure in Sacramento at precisely ten o’clock. 

The night before, I finally studied the sixty-page document that makes up Prop 64, the recreational marijuana legalization bill on the California ballot next month.  I knew I would be sitting at the Yes on Prop 64 table.   I knew my Sisters would be with the ‘Yes’ side of the audience.   It was being held on the Capitol steps, and politicians and media would be there, I was told. 

I saw no signs of either group in attendance, actually, but we did have a Citizens’ debate and that is the nourishment that drew me.  As activists, we are used to being ignored by both the politicians and the media.  That is just, yawn, status quo.

I went to Sacramento believing the debate would be – should we allow recreational marijuana or shouldn’t we?  I anticipated the tired old arguments about it getting in the hands of children, or encouraging use of it by all – kids and non-kids.  I quickly realized what my fellow panelists already knew. This debate wasn’t about that at all.
I asked for a show of hands from the No to Prop 64 side.  

How many of you don’t want to see recreational marijuana legalized?  No show of hands.  “Now, how many of you are sitting on the ‘No to Prop 64’ side because you think this bill is all wrong, too much power in the hands of the legislators, too much taxes . . .?”  I didn’t have to finish.  All the hands went up.

I was thrilled.  It appeared that every person there believes recreational marijuana should be legalized.  There was no debate from the people who say “NO” to rec. 

The debate became:  should we legalize now, with this big pharma bill, or should we wait and try to get it right, like Ohio did?  (Ohio passed on medical marijuana when the only bill on the ballot formed a four-company State monopoly.)  The voters didn’t reject it because they don’t want medical marijuana in their state, they rejected it because it was a corrupt bill and they know they can do better.  

I get it.  I understand and am empathetic to the No-on-Prop-64-because-we-can-do-better Team.  MCLR was better.  CCLR was better.  All of the initiatives that didn’t make it to the ballot, were better.  But guess what?  They didn’t make it to the ballot.  So our choice is now Recreational or No Recreational. 

To get Recreational cannabis, we have to put up with interference and taxation from eight different State agencies named in the proposition:

                Board of Equalization
                State Water Resources Control Board
                Department of Fish and Wildlife
                Department of Consumer Affairs
                Department of Public Health
                Department of Food and Agriculture
                Bureau of State Audits
                Bureau of Marijuana Control

We have taxation rights in here that will make sure the black market never goes away – which is, by the way, opposite the mission of the proposition.  We have a track and trace program that is just new chains, invented solely for keeping the plants and the people of the plants in chains.  I get it.  I agree, the other bills were better.  But the other bills aren’t on the ballot.  At this point, sticking with this argument is like taking a ride on the good ship “could’ve been”.

I used the analogy of human slavery.  The cannabis plant and her people have been kept in the dark, chained, beaten, starved, maligned, and cursed.  Now the slave-owner has extended sunlight and food, and lighter, more comfortable chains.  Prop 64 and all those agencies above who plan to feed off the sweat of the slave, they are, by their nature, racist, unfair, and the enemies of the cannabis plant.

But do we, the slaves, deny the sunlight, food and lighter chains?  With more than eight thousand felony arrests every year that will go away with Prop 64, can we afford to wait another day?

Here’s what Prop 64 does right:

Anti-corruption clauses restricting the licensing folks from dipping their fingers in the business.

Promotion of small business via a five-year delay before big grow licenses are issued.

Minors who deal or use will stop going to jail.  Stop draining their parents’ savings to keep them from going to jail.  Replaced with drug counseling and limited fines.   The drug counseling is free and the fines are less than what Fresno State charges a college student for j-walking.

It gives the courts authority to re-sentence people who are being penalized that wouldn’t be after Prop 64 goes into effect.

It re-affirms the Compassionate Use Act of 1996 and all those rights.

It prohibits liquor stores from selling cannabis (yeah!)

But mostly, it dis-empowers the police.  Every home in the state, every property, has the right to six indoor plants and the cities and counties can’t regulate that away.  This is a serious step for plant freedom.

If I was on the fence about Prop 64 before going to the debate, sitting up there opposite the anti-Prop 64 people was enough to push me all the way over, firmly, happily, with the Yes folks.  It’s because the No folks are angry and frustrated and apparently, desperate to get people to see it their way.

Here is some of the spin worth noting:
  1. THE BILL DOESN’T SAY ANYTHING ABOUT MEDICAL! They proclaimed this as if it is a great secret sin of the Proposition 64.  The truth is, Prop 64 is about recreational marijuana.  The governor and MMRSA have already got Medical on its path for over-regulation.
  2. IT ONLY ALLOWS FOR ONE OUNCE OF WEED TO CARRY! They proclaimed the unfairness of this based on MEDICAL needs of patients, they kept saying “This isn’t right for my veterans” (your veterans?) and one panelist claimed to smoke two ounces per day for his medical condition.  Those vets and that panelist can still have their two ounces a day, through the medical program.  We are talking about REC!  They kept mixing medical into the equation to confuse and scare.  (But seriously, anyone who has to smoke two ounces a day needs to look into concentrates and better weed.)
  3. MORE PEOPLE WILL GO TO JAIL THAN EVER BEFORE! This was a claim based on the fact that the old rules for MEDICAL (again, they couldn’t stop mixing issues) disappear at the end of 2018.  If a collective hasn’t gotten their license from the licensing board by then, then YES, they have to close and if they don’t, they will go to jail.  Does this sound like 8,800 felonies a year from Cannabis?  Do you think that there are 8,800 collectives a year that will be denied licenses and so all those folks will be imprisoned?  I don’t think so.  8,800 is the number of citizens per year that are being sentenced now, without Prop 64.
  4. They accused the YES team of working for big money.   To the left of me sat a hemp radio program host who spends all his life understanding the changing laws in the various states.   To the right of me sat a lawyer who went to prison for five years for growing cannabis for his dying mother.  And then there was me. 
  5. In their rebuttals, they would say things like, “Listening to them is like listening to Trump” and “We need a real debate”.  Yes, they said ‘this isn’t a real debate’ and now who sounds like Trump?
Their arguments were emotional, but there wasn’t much of an audience to hear them anyway and of the audience we did have, the majority sat on the No side.  Not "NO" on rec marijuana, just NO on such heavy handed legislation.  

While I was speaking, one man on the No side hollered “What do you know?  You don't pay taxes!  You work for the Vatican”.  That drew laughter from the folks who know us.  I replied, “We aren’t Catholic” and he said “Well, then, what the hell are you?”  Now that’s a good question.  

For the record, we aren't non-profit, we aren't in the psychotropics business; neither the recreational bills nor the medical marijuana legislation really apply to us -- neither of them do, and for the record, we pay all taxes and have no desire to be a tax-exempt organization, like, er, the NFL, for example.  No desire whatsoever.

According to every recent survey, Prop 64 is going to pass.  That’s not why I sat in the debate on the Pro-Prop 64 side, but the fact perhaps lent an air of confidence and calmness to the Yes side that the No table didn’t have.   Except for me.  I never do activism calmly.  But my debate-mates were calm.

The only legitimate argument for voting No on proposition 64 is because it gives the government too much control.  I don’t trust the government either, so we plan to activate against MMRSA (the marijuana control board) and we will make them reform.  But in the meantime, we will not refuse the sunlight, nourishment and lighter chains.