Hemp Fest West '99

      As the years go by, there are fewer and fewer of us who can remember the days of Hemp and Cannabis Prohibition, way back in the closing years of the 20th Century. You can tell your children that you were here, back in the days when anyone might be plucked away from the enjoyment of his life and locked up in prison just because he wanted to grow, use, or share some medicinal herbs. They considered this so bad a crime – way back then – that you couldn’t even grow industrial hemp because it looked too much like marijuana.

     Well, those days are long gone, and it sure is a big relief. Every day another brick from the wall tumbles down. More and more states are calling out for the right of people to grow and use industrial hemp, and also for the rights of individuals to cultivate and use their own medicinal herb.

     I think it’s time to celebrate. The End of Prohibition, once and for all, is in sight. I don’t know which will come first; I used to think that industrial hemp was a done deal, and once it finally went through, the end of the Prohibition of medicinal cannabis would follow shortly after. But it may work the other way around. It may be that the widespread cultivation of industrial hemp will just not be possible until Prohibition is finally over.

     I think it is time to press our advantage on to a conclusion. I think it is time to raise the issue to a National level and bring it to the question, as a referendum on the year 2000 ballot: Are the American People ready to give up enforced Prohibition as a policy of control? Can the Drug Issue finally be discussed as an issue of Public Health and Safety, and not Law Enforcement?

     In short, are the American people finally ready to restore the principle of Freedom: that free people everywhere should be left alone to live their lives in peace and freedom, without the intervention of a police state to maintain control? Education is the only weapon allowable in the Drug War, and all sides may use it. Everyone who has any information about cannabis hemp is welcome to come forward and publish their conclusions, and a Free People will consider the evidence and make up their own mind about what they want to do.

     The key to Freedom is Tolerance, in the same way that the greatest enemy of Freedom is Fear. We need to see a relaxing of Fear on all sides, just as with a cease-fire in any other war. Then we need to extend that to Tolerance, where everyone, no matter what their lifestyle, color, or economic status may be, is left alone to live their lives in Peace and Freedom.

     Finally, we can extend that to Love, and we can bring back another Golden Age. I think it is happening. I remember the explosive energy of the 60’s. Some of you here may remember with me those days: there was a very bright flash of light that appeared at that time, and everyone was dazzled. But the light was so bright that it caused a tremendous amount of energy to be generated, and that caused an enormous backlash that swung the pendulum away back in the other direction, away from the Light and into the Dark.

     I have watched with increasing dismay as the world has gotten colder and darker, and less and less tolerant, over the past thirty years or so. But I think we finally reached a turning around point a couple of years ago, and by now we are fairly into the recovery and heading back the other way with increasing momentum. Perhaps the year 2012 will mark the final achievement of the Omega Point suggested by Teilhard de Chardin, as a hyper-point of transition to a whole new reality.

     So let’s try to keep it all on track, and everyone help it along in any way that you can. Start out by trying to be tolerant of everyone, no matter who they are or what they are trying to do.

     And then we can just let the energy get Higher and Higher from there.

John Stahl
Arcata, California
September 25, 1999


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