The rally hosted by Georgia C.A.R.E. Project and the Athens C.A.R.E. affiliate drew 25 protesters to send a message that Athens-Clarke County can decriminalize less than one ounce of cannabis by using citations rather than arresting “offenders”. Georgia C.A.R.E. Project director James Bell spoke later that night before the mayor and commission meeting.
Georgia C.A.R.E. Project director James Bell will be speaking this Saturday at the 37th Annual Athens Human Rights Festival in downtown Athens GA.
Originally created to commemorate the ninth anniversary of the Kent State murders, the Human Rights Festival is a two-day event dedicated to promoting free speech and confronting issues that challenge human rights. Throughout the festival, activists and members of various community, national and global organizations take to the main stage to discuss important social and political topics. In between speakers, live music performances entertain the festival crowd. As always, information booths line the streets, and children’s activities and youth performances are available for our younger attendees.
The free festival is from 10 a.m.–12 a.m. on Saturday, May 2nd and 2–9 p.m. on Sunday, May 3rd.
James Bell will be speaking on Saturday May 2nd at 4:30 pm. We hope you can attend!
Ask anyone who has ever tried to effect meaningful change in their community or government and they will tell you that successful activism is made up of equal parts determination, raw focus and pure luck. Activism is also an activity that rarely has an immediate payoff, so it is important for those that are serious about advocating for a cause to develop and maintain a network of like-minded individuals that can provide encouragement, motivation and constant support.
Welcome to your support network
Cannabis activism, unlike most causes, attracts people from all walks of life: white, black, male, female, parents, grandparents, rich and poor. In other words, the idea of cannabis legalization transcends most typical social and economic barriers and provides common ground for people who would have likely never interacted with each other. We see examples of this in states like Florida where common, ordinary citizens are standing next to wealthy professionals like doctors and lawyers demanding access to this plant.
But guess what? We have the exact same thing going on in our own state (minus a wealthy donor to bankroll things), and because of that we truly believe we have the opportunity to effect meaningful change very soon in the State of Georgia. Read on to find out how YOU can be part of that.
It doesn’t take much
Many people think of activism as a full-time job that requires the activist to conform to a certain image and project a certain message, but cannabis is different. Since cannabis law reform has the potential to affect so many different types of people, our message becomes less confrontational and more of a fact-driven campaign. We rely on ordinary people to write letters, make posts on the internet and otherwise share the facts with the rest of the population.
The easiest way to become a marijuana activist is to start by spreading the message on the internet. There are thousands upon thousands of internet and social media users that can be reached with a bit tasteful “guerrilla warfare” online and I’m going to show you a few things you can do to help spread the message of cannabis law reform in the State of Georgia without even getting out of your chair.
- Facebook: Facebook is a fantastic platform for sharing the good news about cannabis. Simply sharing posts and photos from our Facebook page is a great way to get your feet wet and, more importantly, determine what sort of barriers from friends and family you are going to encounter during your activism.
- Twitter: Giving you the opportunity to change the world in just 160 characters, Twitter is a fantastic way to connect with others who are interested in your subject. Use the right hashtags and watch the retweets roll in.
- Forums: Local internet forums are a fantastic way to get your message out to the masses, and can often be done anonymously. I have provided an example below of a message you can quickly post in your local internet forums, just modify it to fit the medium (and your tastes). Some examples of websites that run popular local forums include Topix, Patch and your local Craigslist. There are many many more, and running the search “forum +your town” will probably help you find even more.
- Blog Comments: Many people think of blogs as a one-way communication device, but it’s actually a lot better than that. A well-worded (respectful) comment on a blog post can garner a website thousands of new visitors. If you are going to leave blog comments try to link to the GA CARE Project, both in the text of the post and, if allowed, in the “website” box that is usually just below your name in the form.
- Write/Call Your Lawmakers: Believe it or not lawmakers tend to listen when a large enough portion of their constituency rises up to make a point. Send your lawmakers a short, well-worded and respectful letter or email telling them how you feel about cannabis laws in the State of Georgia. If you need help finding your Senators or Representative please use our Congressperson Locator Tool. To find contact information for local lawmakers, such as State Representatives, State Senators or the Governor please use the Open:States lookup tool.
- Letters to the Editor: Most smaller towns and communities have local newspapers with very open Letter to the Editor policies. If you are able, try writing a short letter to your local newspaper explaining why you think it’s time to reform marijuana laws in the State of Georgia.
Example Forum Post
Below is a post I made on my local Topix forum. Feel free to copy and modify it to suit your needs and post it in your own community forum.
Now that nearly half the country has recognized the many benefits of cannabis by legalizing it, states like Georgia are being forced confront the notion that this medicine has been purposely suppressed from the pharmacopoeia for decades. There is no longer any question that cannabis stops seizures, prevents Alzheimer’s, relieves pain and (hold on to your hats), actually cures certain types of cancer. And this is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the usefulness of this plant. Not only does it relieve or cure hundreds of other medical ailments, it’s also among the most useful substances on the planet in terms of production of material goods.
This plant produces oil that can run our cars, plastic that biodegrades and causes zero net harm to the environment, pulp that can supply all our paper needs and fiber to make things like clothing and rope, the strength and durability of which we have never been able to reproduce at a reasonable cost with any other material. In case you are asking yourself at this point WHY such a harmless plant, which has never caused a single overdose death in the history of its existence, remains illegal. In order to answer that question you must ask yourself who stands to benefit from making such a versatile substance illegal, and the answer to that question becomes obvious when see who the beneficiaries of prohibition are. That would be the alcohol industry, pharmaceutical industry, oil industry, paper and textile industries and others. It is these unfathomably gigantic organizations, which the U.S. Supreme Court recently granted “personhood” to, that stand to lose the most by repealing prohibition.
Stop believing the lies. Understand why the vast majority of Americans are tired of the trillion-dollar failure that is the War on Drugs. Visit the Georgia CARE Project today at www.GACAREProject.com and find out what’s going on in your own back yard. Then spend some time on Google researching the medical efficacy of cannabis as a medicine. I don’t need to steer you to any sources to convince you, there is more than enough evidence available for anyone willing to look at this subject objectively.
What are you doing in your community?
We would love to hear from you! If you are a marijuana activist (or want to be) leave a comment below and let us know what’s going on in your town.
We are also happy to send someone to you. If you are interested in hosting an event in your town and need a speaker contact us and someone will be in touch to schedule it.