On our first day in the new country, my wife and I took off across Bangkok to see the most ancient Wat in the city. Sitting behind us on the ferry was a young American woman, a baby strapped to her chest and a 3-year-old clinging to her leg. I struck up a conversation with the only other Caucasian person on the boat as we were going to the same place: the Grand Palace. The opulent complex served as the royal residence when Thailand’s capital was moved across the river from the “Old Kingdom” to become the foundation for the “New Kingdom.” It turned out that our new friend was exploring the city with her girls while her husband worked at the American Embassy. We ended up spending the day together; we Californians amazed at the spirit of the ex-pat.
What a notion, that people could engage in basic dialogue and embark on an adventure together–and what an amazing adventure it was. As we crossed the river on a jam-packed rickety ferry from the “Old Kingdom” to the “New Kingdom” I had a spiritual moment of purpose–someone has to shoulder the weight of holding space for the medicine. Economic gain is so attractive, patients are so invisible, and most citizens are uninformed about even the basics of cannabis medicine.
The NEW KINGDOM OF CANNABIS FREEDOM we dream of is possible. To proceed, we will be forced to burst our own bubbles and examine our roles, discuss what we can do together, and develop alliances as a community to fulfill common goals. We can create an open space for all to build their dreams surrounding this plant. Let’s celebrate that we live in California and have an enviable basis, Prop 215, on which to build these dreams.
In 1000 years, we will have access to cannabis as a fact of daily life; to be without it would mean humanity will not have survived. The question is the nature of access during our lifetimes–will this generation of humanity be written off to the War on Drugs? Many in California have not been good stewards of the planet; using harmful pesticides, contaminating water sources, ignoring municipal codes and more in every county of the state. Of course following the rules was never an option either, but most never asked for permission or forgiveness. So is it too late? Are local bans under MMRSA a nail in the coffin for medical cannabis in California? Only if we let it be.
Since my return, I’ve had the most amazing conversations with my moms, so many of them are bringing friends into the fray, and educating their neighbors. I even saw a Mom I’d spoken with at a conference, on local TV 2500 miles away advocating for her son, say she was using the medicine illegally in a hearing before the state legislature. My heart swells with pride for the Moms and Dads leading the way through the fire. It’s not too late for our kids, it’s not too late for any us with chronic diseases. We have access to cannabis medicine now, and access will only improve if we keep patients the priority for the medical system. It is our responsibility to know our own story, to be able to educate our neighbors about why our medicine is important, and to stand up and say, “I am a medical marijuana patient, I take fewer pills than I did before and my quality of life is greater!”