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The Five Marijuana Activists Who Are Like Brickweed

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brick weedAs the fight to regain our marijuana freedom heats up across the country, more people will jump on the legalization bandwagon.  People who were just pot growers, dealers and smokers the day before suddenly claim to be “marijuana activists” now that the term carries less social stigma and more economic clout.  But after nearly a decade in true grassroots activism, I’ve come across five types of “activists” who, like brickweed, should be avoided unless no better buds can be found.

The Herbal Huckster: This “activist” usually comes to the interview or rally with more “I’s” than a potato.  It’s not so much about the marijuana legalization as it is the marijuana legalization for them, and specifically, the great product they promote, the great dispensary they run, or the great organization they represent.  With guidance, the Herbal Huckster can be a beneficial player if enough positive information about legalization can be shoehorned in around the sales pitches.  They’re like the brickweed you can sometimes process into some decent hash.

The Keyboard Kommando:  This “activist” is found on the internet, researching the latest news and statistics on marijuana and producing them for a blog, podcast, or video show.  Many true activists do great work in this regard, but the Keyboard Kommando sees the internet and its chat rooms, forums, and comment boards not as a platform for the exchange of ideas and information, but a battlefield where any who question or disagree are to be slaughtered with a barrage of profanity, invective, and hate.  The Keyboard Kommando can be quite popular within their Thunderdome echo chamber, but they alienate from activism most of the casual readers who may have stopped by through a search link.  They’re like the brickweed that kinda gets you high, but leaves you with a raging headache that makes you wish you’d never toked at all.

The True Believer:  It’s hard to avoid the True Believer because marijuana has so many wonderful facets to believe in.  It’s an incredible medicine!  It’s a resilient fiber!  It’s an alternative fuel!  Yet while all these facts about cannabis hemp are true, the True Believer lives in a world where politics and economics don’t count.  These are the kinds of activists who propose grand initiatives that go far beyond what polls show the voters will actually support, believe that all-volunteer signature drives can successfully cover an entire state, and that all we must do is gather a million tokers to march on Washington, D.C. and Congress will immediately recognize its mistake and re-legalize cannabis.  They’re like the brickweed that actually looks and smells pretty decent, but no matter how much of it you smoke, you never feel high.

The Drama Queen:  These “activists” are stars in their own soap opera called “As the Bowl Burns”.  Their histrionics can be beneficial when explaining the plight of cancer-ravaged child or a police-terrorized toker, but inevitably the drama spills over into who did this and who said that, what organization snubbed them and how they’re being persecuted.  Sometimes Drama Queens become locked into an orbit around Keyboard Kommandoes, like a dying star feeding a black hole.  They’re like the brickweed you smoke that’s actually pretty decent, until you realize later you’ve gotten a mold infection from it.

The Party Animal:  Dude!  Did you see the huge-ass dab I just did?  Whoa, man, check out this quarter-pound joint!  Awesome!  And what about this sick-looking piece of glass?  Dude, that’s the bomb!  But what it is not is marijuana activism.  The Party Animal thinks merely smoking weed and lots of it and blogging and videoing it is activism.  Activism starts with a-c-t and requires educating the public, organizing people, and working for change.  There’s nothing wrong with partying and good times and there is some value in the public seeing that even the stoniest stoners are good-natured, fun people who aren’t puking and fighting and wrecking their cars.  They’re like the regular round-town-brown brickweed – it’s good enough to smoke and will get you by until you can get ahold of the real thing.

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About Author

Executive Director: Russ Belville has been active in Oregon marijuana reform since 2005, when he was elected second-in-command of the state affiliate, Oregon NORML. After four years with Oregon NORML, Russ was hired by National NORML in 2009, working as Outreach Coordinator and hosting the NORML Daily Audio Stash podcast until 2012. Since then, Russ launched the 420RADIO marijuana legalization network and is the host of The Russ Belville Show, a live daily marijuana news talk radio program. Russ is also a prolific writer, with over 300 articles posted online and in print in HIGH TIMES, Huffington Post, Alternet, The Weed Blog, Marijuana Politics, and more.