This past night my eyes were opened by a group of people who spoke of charity and compassion and really meant it. I know they meant it because they were actually doing something about creating this compassion. It was different from the meet and greets that I had experience so fat in my 2 weeks on the campaign trail. Although the stunning revelation that the people with the least to loss and the most to gain has always been apparent in politics. Suffragist, people of color, gay and lesbians, immigrants all groups fighting to find a place in society where their voices can be heard. I thought I knew what these well scrubbed voices looked like but I am coming to find that I do not know what they look like and I had no idea who was really doing the work behind the machine.
Every meet and greet that I go to are the legions of unscrubbed, unhoused, unsung heros of the street that are placing their lives in the hands of the powers that be so they can advocate for their lives. It is not the beautiful perfect smiles of faces warmed in large homes or even the young in college that I see in these meetings. Sure there are some of those faces scattered amongst the crowds; but it the limbless and those without teeth or a place to live that are out there every day making the world a better place for you and I to be a part of. These people with nothing are finding within themselves the great compassion to put themselves last when they are the ones who suffer the most. Thank you Elise Conners for opening my eyes to the organization Compassion Behind Bars. Imagine the rehabilitation of repeat offenders if all our efforts were created and carried our with compassion instead of hate and fear and apathy for the men and women incarcerated in our institutions. I think the outcome would be different. I think we could have greater success returning these misunderstood people to society. I do not advocate giving everyone in jail cannabis but from someone who has recovered from having 11 t cells and being on the brink of death how medical cannabis help regain my appetite, eased my pain and anxiety, and gave me rest when there was no chance of these things before its use. It allowed me to stand the harsh regiment of antibiotics and pills by keeping my stomach at ease as I made my recovery. This was only 7 or 8 short years ago and look at me now. Healthy and vital.
At the Harvey Milk Cannabis Town Meeting I met a black woman who is shy and withdrawn to meet nut has created an entire program that takes medical cannabis to 10 non violent offenders behind bars in San Quentin. This heavy set woman with a number of disabilities herself battled the legal system time and time again to take these non violent offenders who could not eat or sleep due to the ravages of HIV medicinal cannabis so that their lives would be better. A woman who appears on the outside as frail and encumbered by her own hardships in life has found the passion and compassion to step up and speak out and make a change.
Last night at the Harvey Milk Cannabis Town Meeting the stories that Dr Mike Aldridge and his wife who talked about the connection between gat rights and cannabis rights. In 1972 the first bill was placed on the table stating " No person over the age of 18 should be arrested for growing, selling, or possessing marijuana." It was in 1972 that this law was put on a ballot measure. It lost 33 to 65 but it had gained a new and soon to be powerful mans attention. Harvey Milk took up the call for legalizing cannabis and was very close to putting it up for a vote with Mayor Moscone and other powerful SF politicians; in the forms of Prop W and Prop 215, when both men were shot and killed. Dianne Feinstein who became mayor after their deaths killed these initiatives and scrapped along with it many other forward thinking measures like need exchange and compassionate care. It some or all of those measures had passed I wonder now how many fewer people would have contracted HIV due to dirty needles, ability to eat on harsh medicine, and get the rest so needed when it was needed and in a natural holistic way.
The continued struggle to show people who suffer from chronic pain, HIV, and many many other debilitating diseases, is being led by AXIS of Love, Champs,Lynn's Compassionate Co-Op ( Started by Elmar Lynn and his partner who would die of HIV and Hep C complications but before they did started compassionately sharing their home grown medicine with members of their hospice helping us all to realize the benefit of medicinal cannabis),WAMM, MediCann, and many other such organizations is beautiful to see. Its not about getting high and recreational use, instead about compassion for those who suffer.
For many in this day of politics toady the bottom line is what is most important. The figures of CA State deficit are looking at over 10 Billion in shortages. These shortages could cause more people to go homeless as jobs become more scarce and the price of housing continues to rise. More and more people with HIV and other catastrophic health concerns will go without medicine and proper care. Hospitals will be forced to close and may not have access to medicines for the people in their care. The middle class will be whipped out and forced to scrounge to keep their families a float. In San Francisco and Oakland through tireless courage and compassion regulated marijuana has created hope and revenue. AB390 will regulate its sale state wide. This is needed because there are places like LA and San Diego that without regulations create grey areas that undermine the work of advocates and growers across the country. Tom Ammiano has been championing this cause and here in SF we are seeing that regulation can and does work.
This bill, AB390 is coming up for a vote and two women in the bay area have the power to help it pass. Please contact the offices of Fiona Ma and Nancy Skinner to help get AB390 through the State Assembly . This bill will regulate the sale, growth and possession of marijuana in the state of California. Also this bill is thought to raise at least 1.3 billion dollars for the state coffers. Where is the state going to find some of its money to balance the budget from some of the most compassionate people on the planet, marijuana growers, distributers and the doctors who believe in its medicinal use. Cannabis can save lives, ease pain and create revenue for our already troubled state. Pot may very well be the miracle needed to save more lives than just its users.