4/20 and 5: Five Minutes To Change Your World


San Francisco’s 4/20 celebration typically culminates in Golden Gate Park at Hippie Hill

By Jack Rikess
Toke of the Town

Northern California Correspondent

“People are coming to Haight-Ashbury like the Grateful Dead is back in town,” said longtime resident Jack Rikess. “They’re walking down the street and smoking joints. It’s going to be unreal. This could be the last illegal 4/20 in San Francisco.”
That was the quote I gave to the Sacramento Bee way back in 2010 when asked about living next to Golden Gate Park where San Francisco holds one of the biggest smoke-outs in the nation celebrating April 20th, the traditional marijuana smoker’s holiday.
Back then, I actually thought the marijuana wars were over. The public was having a change of heart and mind, and I thought that marijuana, if not legalized soon, would be decriminalized to the point of equating smoking a joint to the same enforceable penalty as pulling the “Do Not Remove” tag off of a pillow.

Besides, the newly elected president had said: 
When it comes to Medical Marijuana I have more of a practical view than anyone else.  My attitude is that if it’s an issue of doctors prescribing medical marijuana as a treatment for glaucoma or as a cancer treatment I think that should be appropriate because there is really no difference between that and a doctor prescribing morphine or anything else. 
The basic concept of using medical marijuana in the same way with the same controls as other drugs prescribed by doctors, I think that’s entirely appropriate. I would not punish doctors if it is prescribed in a way that is appropriate and that may require some changes in federal law.
What I’m not going to be doing is using Justice Department resources to try to circumvent state laws on this issue simply because I want folks to be investigating violent crimes and potential terrorism and there’s a lot of things for law enforcement officers to deal with.
~ President Barack Obama 
Boy Howdy, was I wrong! I thought the whole world was going to change and we were going to come to our senses, and do the right thing. Change was exactly what President Obama did — he became a member of the Right and then went after the Left. Now, two years later, it’s hard to say if we’re closer or farther away from our goals and objectives for access to pot for anyone who needs or wants it. 
Tomorrow, the mighty date of 4/20 will be here soon enough. Like many other activists, I’m asking that before you get high spend five minutes doing something for the cause. If you want to repeal something; help remove the perceived label that stoners are slackers and lazy. Dispense the myth that we do not have any political clout. 
Before you go to your park, student smoke-in, behind the bleachers at high school to be with your buds, before you light up on the way to the office or to your job, take five minutes to advance the cause that so many people are working tirelessly at without support or assistance from most of the stoners out there.
Here are a few suggestions.
1) Call the White House, be polite, say Happy 4/20! And then mention, “BTW, I would like President Obama to keep his promise to ‘not use Justice Department resources to try and circumvent state laws.'” Also while you have the operator on the phone, you might want to state that, “as progressive or liberal, I can’t vote for Romney, and I certainly can’t vote for Obama in 2012, because of his reversal on Medical Marijuana, can you recommend anyone else?”
White House # 202-456-1111
2) Contact your Congress member. Demand that they support the reclassification of marijuana from Schedule I drug to anything else, preferably Schedule III or IV. Tell your congressperson that attacks on dispensaries is not what you voted for. If you live in a state that doesn’t have Medical Marijuana, ask why. The members of Congress have to know we’re out here, we have a voice and we vote. 
Congress 202-224-3121

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3) Call the FDA, U.S. Food and Drug Administration. We want cannabis reclassified!
And when you’re on the phone with those operators, ask them about Sativex? When they sound confused, say, “Y’know, the medical marijuana that the government is does support.” Educate the person on the other end of the line.
4) Support the good guys. In San Francisco, State Assemblyman Tom Ammiano and State Senator Mark Leno, along with others, has stepped up to the plate and had the backs of tokers since 1995. Do you have a Paypal account or the like? Send them five bucks. Yes, just five lonely dollars. The fastest way to get a politician’s attention is to support them with cash. Tom and Senator Leno deserve our support, even if it is just a phone call saying Thanks!
5) Let the Bad politicians know that they do not have your support. Again, in my adopted hometown of San Francisco, Senator Diane Feinstein has been against pot since she first assumed office, initially as mayor after the tragedy of the shooting of our mayor and Harvey Milk in 1978.
Last year, Jere Melo was killed by a crazed psychopath that had a lifetime history of mental illness. The widow of Jere Melo, with the support of Diane Feinstein, is blaming marijuana growers for the death of her husband and has created a foundation against growers.
Besides misleading the public, this shows how out of touch Senator Feinstein is; if she thinks she can pull these kinds of shenanigans without us noticing, she’s wrong. Unless someone calls her office, she’ll get away with it.
San Francisco Office: (415) 393-0707  
Washington DC: 202) 224-3841
Please, to the Readers of Toke of the Town, let us know who is a c
hampion and who is a foe in your state when it comes to marijuana. We’re not state-centric any more. We can give money to out-of-town candidates that we support.

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Peanut butter kills more people than marijuana. (Marijuana doesn’t kill anybody.)

6) Sad Fact of the Day: Forget tobacco, alcohol, prescribed drugs when comparing marijuana to the deaths caused by the above usual suspects. How about this? Peanut Butter kills more people each year than marijuana. But they do not advertise those statistics, unlike the lies they tell about cannabis. What is the definition of dangerous? Skippy?
7) Call the Department of Justice and tell them to back off and stop wasting our tax dollars on raids we do not support. 202-514-2000.
When you have that DOJ operator on the line, inquire with, “BTW, I’m going to be in the Washington DC area later this year. Can you recommend a good place for a ‘Rub and Tug.’? I’m sorry, that’s the Secret Service, thanks.”
8) Call California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris and say, “Stop!”
       (916) 322-3360 or (Toll-free in California)   (800) 952-5225 
9) If you live in a state with Medical Marijuana and you’re a card holder, for your 4/20 supplies use your stay-at-home dealer instead of buying your meds at an access point or dispensary. Remember, the Black Markets will be here long as a drug company can steal our plant and call it their own. And when you do buy a little something-something from your Man, give them a little extra cash as a tip for being there all these years. 
10) On 4/20, remember all of the political prisoners who are locked up for being what I call, “Being on the wrong side of the Lake.” 
This is a saying I’ve developed from an experience I saw at Lake Tahoe one time. Lake Tahoe is a huge body of water that rests between the progressive state of California and the Gaming Commission-controlled state of Nevada. I once saw a party boat of young adults erroneously arrive on the Nevada shores thinking it was the Californian side. The water cops nabbed them. They had less than an ounce on them in their boat. Because it was Nevada, it was a felony. In California, it would have been a parking ticket.
Many of our brothers and sisters have found themselves on the wrong side of the shore. Chris Diaz in Texas, Eddy Lepp and Marc Emery are all languishing away in jails. Most can be contacted through Facebook. Let these fellow tokers know that there are people on the outside thinking of them.
11) Are you going to a public place to celebrate? Bring some extra garbage bags and remember not to leave anything behind. Park workers, besides for finding the odd bud or dime-bag, have to clean up after all you partiers. Be responsible and considerate, we’re not beer drinkers. Urinate accordingly.  
Let’s start 4/20 and Five movement!
Before you start your happy day, take five minutes to do something for the movement.
Let the World know we’re here.
Have a Happy 4/20, but do something. Every little act has consequences. 
Peace, Jack 

Jack Rikess
Toke of the Town correspondent Jack Rikess blogs from the Haight in San Francisco

Jack Rikess, a former stand-up comic, writes a regular column most directly found at jackrikess.com.

Jack delivers real-time coverage following the cannabis community, focusing on politics and culture.

His beat includes San Francisco, the Bay Area and Mendocino-Humboldt counties.

He has been quoted by the national media and is known for his unique view with thoughtful, insightful perspective.