The theme behind the compassionate use law still rings true today
It is very important for everyone to cultivate compassion within. Compassion is important to yourself and to those who make up your community. Its community includes family, friends, but also those with different points of view: your adversaries and your enemies. A little compassion goes a long way in turning an enemy into an enemy. An enemy is just one step away from a friend.
Looking through a lens of compassion can be a daunting task, especially when so many people are just plain wrong! Where are they? Each person has their own perspective which is part of what we hold dear about our First Amendment. Seeing the world through the eyes of another helps to see eye to eye. People often disagree so bitterly on such pressing matters. Compassion is one of our most crucial tools in finding common ground to understand each other and to implement solutions that work for all parties.
Even the most favorable cannabis advocates would do well to feel compassion for those who are afraid to regulate the substance. Opponents of cannabis tend to cite the safety and protection of children as their main concerns. As an advocate for cannabis regulation, I hear these concerns loud and clear and I share them. Cannabis regulations help alleviate these concerns, which gives me hope that the “divide” is not as big as we have been led to believe.
In 1996, California Proposition 215 (The Compassionate Use Act) proposed to allow the personal use and cultivation of medical cannabis for people on the recommendation of a physician. It was designed to help people with cancer, AIDS, glaucoma and other debilitating illnesses find relief.
It rose from 55.6% statewide (MUCH higher in Sonoma County), illustrating that enough people have found it in their hearts to give this ‘alternative’ substance a chance ( remember that cannabis has been used for medical purposes for 5,000 years by written record).
The initiative to legalize medical cannabis was created on the basis of compassion for people with HIV and AIDS. Just take Brownie Mary as an example. During the height of the AIDS epidemic, Mary Jane Rathbun was famous for making hundreds of pot brownies a day to give to AIDS and cancer patients. She distributed them throughout the San Francisco community. While she has been arrested a few times for possession, her compassion has helped pave the way for California to be the first to choose cannabis regulations over ban. She was just an ordinary woman who saw a need for pain relief, and she made a commitment – something we could all do in our own way. Its legacy lives on through the Brownie Mary Democratic Club, the first cannabis organization to be officially connected to a major political party, the California Democratic Party.
This compassionate foundation for the medical cannabis movement has also been found elsewhere, in Santa Cruz, California. After becoming a consumer of medical cannabis and suffering the consequences of her illegal status, Valerie Leveroni founded the Wo / Men’s Alliance for Medical Marijuana (WAMM) in 1993. WAMM is a non-profit medical cannabis distribution collective in through which members receive biological drugs. cannabis at cost. Valerie Leveroni and WAMM were key aspects of the legalization of medical cannabis in California and provided a much needed pain relief substitute for so many people with chronic pain and AIDS. When you look at the history of cannabis in this state, much of it exists thanks to compassionate efforts to help those in need. It is something that we must continue to support and nurture.
Modernization of regulations, at local and state level, provides adults with access to regulated cannabis. Cannabis is a therapeutic substance. More and more people, with the advice of their doctors, are able to substitute cannabis for certain prescription drugs with monstrous side effects. Imagine the power of adults able to grow or buy an herb that provides healthy relief.
Regulated cannabis brings relief to millions of people in our state every day. Cannabis has been illegal federally since 1937, but prohibition collapses one state regulatory effort at a time. The federal government has come to their senses and legalized hemp and, in all likelihood, will legalize cannabis soon. Undoing the prohibitionist preference and bringing in culture will take time. Slowly but surely, local governments in California are adopting and improving cannabis trade regulations over prohibitionist policies. Adapting to this change and seeing how we can work together to create safer, quality-tested, ecologically grown and accessible cannabis is the future. There are fears on this plant that need healing. There are needs for this plant that require access. A little “two-sided” compassion will help us best meet each other’s needs, allowing us to be on the same side of what is happening.
Craig Litwin was one of the main signature collectors for Prop 215, served as Mayor of Sevastopol where he co-wrote one of the country’s first dispensary ordinances. He is the CEO of 421 Group, a Californian cannabis consultancy company headquartered in Sevastopol, and co-creator of Resourcery, a state-licensed and licensed cannabis oil extractor, tincture manufacturer and balms and a dispenser.
Craig litwin was one of the main signature collectors for Proposition 215 and served as mayor of Sevastopol, where he co-wrote one of the country’s first dispensary ordinances. He is the CEO of 421 Group, a California cannabis consultancy firm headquartered in Sonoma County, and co-creator of Resourcery, a state licensed and licensed cannabis oil extractor, manufacturer of tinctures and ointments and a distributor in Sevastopol.