Hello Colorado Springs I bet right now a lot of you out there are wondering Who the hell I am? I was just introduced as John Galt jr. So who is John Galt jr? Time will tell. I think it's more important to tell you what I am. I am a full time activist, I am the founder of Web Station #19 a popular INTERNET site which was voted best site on the web by Hightimes Readers in June issue. I am also the most protesting man in America. This is my 38th official protest / gathering so far this year. I am shooting for the big 50. I also have been seen passing out literature at many non hemp events as well. While I have been traveling I have stopped at concerts and even county fairs to offer awareness about hemp and other issues. I also have been involved in a whole lot of personal protesting, including freeing hemp seeds in six different states. Lately some people have been referring to me as the damn hippie freak that hangs out with Dr Heicklen AKA "the pot smoking Professor" Can you imagine that? me as a hippie? When arrangements were being made for me to speak here today I forgot to mention that my speeches tend to be long and rambling, but at least semi-coherent. What I have seen as I cross the country and talk to the "real people" is that the re-legalization movement is a giant sleeping dragon, who is about to be awakened from a long hibernation. Everywhere I have been I have been greeted with enthusiasm and support!
Today I would like to exercise my freedom of speech by speaking about protest. The first amendment states that we have freedom of speech and the right to petition our government for a redress of grievances. What does that mean? Freedom of speech is pretty self explanatory. We all know what rights are supposed to be, a power or privilege guaranteed by law or nature, that is to say something which can not be taken away. Petition in it's simplest meaning is to ask. Redress means to compensate, remedy, or adjust. Grievances are complaints or wrongs. This country was founded on protest! The first protest Document in our country's History was called the Declaration of Independence. It was and is a statement to an unfair government stating that we will not take it any more, that we no longer recognize your control over us. The Revolutionary War was a response to that document. The Boston Tea party, is another example of a famous protest in the country. Protest has been consistent through out our history not only as a right but as a means of change. In the sixties we had sit ins smoke-ins , bra burning, draft card burning, flag burning, occupations and many other forms of protest, to protest the Vietnam War and civil rights issues. In the seventies Environmental issues took the front in the protest movements. In the eighties protest was squashed and all people were feed the standard propaganda, our constitutional rights were stripped away one by one. We are supposed to be guaranteed certain inalienable rights by the constitution and it's amendments, Among those are the pursuit of happiness, freedom of speech, the right to petition the government for change , as well as be secure in one's person, property and home. This protest is a public response to a farce of a war, it is the second civil war in our history. They call it the War on Drugs, So what the first amendment tell us is that we have the power to ask the government for change when we think something is wrong... The war on drugs is wrong, very wrong and we are all here today to protest that war on the American citizens. But more importantly the founding fathers by including the right to protest in the Bill of Rights as the first amendment, assuredly thought it was the most important! The founding fathers are telling us not only can we protest, but that we are expected to protest.
I have been more or less active in the cause for 20 years now, attending events keeping current on issues and policies, As of late I have chosen to be more active. I have been running Web Station #19 for almost three years, doing my part hidden behind monitors and modems. Only this year have I made myself visible and started doing public speeches. My first since college was at one of Professor Heicklen's State college smokeouts. Currently I am on a six week speaking tour of the states. I have learned quite a bit from our most recent events, perhaps the secrets of the future success of this movement among these are;
1. The importance of ritual protest... weekly appearances keep us in the mind of the present. The mind of the present consists of all thoughts being thought about. The more people thinking about a problem the more likely it will be solved. Ritual protest firmly plants those idea upon society. The truth is it doesn't matter if you light up once a week at a public protest or every day at 4:20 you are protesting these laws and affecting the consciousness of society.
2. showing up at non hemp events. The fear factor keeps many people away from events like this one. At a non hemp event we can reach people who wouldn't dare show their faces here.
3. stubbornness, we just don't go away! Next year will be the 30th anniversary for the oldest protests in this country. Thirty years and things have gotten worse not better. We need basic changes in the way we allow government to direct and run our lives. The founding fathers believed that WE THE PEOPLE are smart enough to govern ourselves, to change and adjust things to a greater fairness as time passed. They believed in religious and cultural freedoms. They believed in "THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS" They believed in the separation of state and church, not a corrupt government legislating morality and "undesirable cultures" out of existence because those in power don't like the way a certain group acts or looks. We are being pushed into such small sub-compartments, that no one gets any say. The pursuit of happiness was also important enough to mentioned by our forefathers, but for their ancestors, now it is nonexistent. We must take our government back from the self-centered, self motivated fools who are running it and our great country in to the ground. We must protect and find balance among our Environment, personal freedoms and the economy.
4.Putting on long events like 30 hours during the Central Pennsylvania art's fest or 50 hours at the prisoners of the drug war protest during global awareness days
5. Having plenty of literature and making sure those who receive it are taking it home, you do this by having it readily available and visible but not "handing it out" make them ask for it and they will take it home!
6. Never underestimate the power of a single man. While doing the Bellefonte Protest I was alone several times. This made people even more curious.
7. and always remember you don't have to be arrested to protest or make a point !!!
Think about these things while you do your planning, it is also important to have a second in charge so the fight can and will be carried on if you happen to be arrested. When you get your event set up let me know and I will post it at the events page of my site.
8. finally remember the most important way to protest is the most under used. It's called voting, so when you leave here today Register to vote and treat your vote like you are the only person voting, believe that you can cause change to happen and get these self-centered idiots who are running our country now on unemployment where they belong.
I was going to speak about the uses of hemp today, but I don't want to use up all the good material because we have some other real good speakers coming up. So I just want to say a couple brief things. A lot of people think the movement is about getting high there are plenty of reasons to re-legalize hemp among them are:
Many very sick people are being denied appropriate medical care, because it is a crime for a doctors to prescribe, or even advise, their patients to use marijuana. I Might note thatDoctors and their patients are best qualified to decide what is the best medicine not Lawyers in Washington
Reason #2. Economic It costs about $26,000 per year to keep someone in prison. In addition, the inmate is not earning, so his tax dollars are lost to the community. Often an inmate's family has to go on welfare. The total cost for imprisonment can run up to $50,000 per year per inmate. There now are about 50,000 people incarcerated in the U.S. for non-violent marijuana offenses. The total cost to keep these people in prison is about $2.5 billion each year of your tax monies
. Social Security Re: Freedom issues
We are criminalizing an enormous percentage of the population.We have a greater percentage of population in jail than any where else in the world except Russia.We even have a greater percentage of the populous in jail, than China. The only time and place in history that these rates have been exceeded was in Nazi Germany. Two-thirds of convicts now entering prisons are doing so for non-violent crimes. One-half of these are for non-violent narcotics violations. For some reason the government has chosen to call marijuana a narcotic even though it doesn't fit the common definition. Because it Makes good statistics. How about these statistics?
There have been over 11 million arrests for marijuana possession or use in the past 30 years. If those people don't count for anything then how about this; I ask how many times has Marijuana been possessed or used that did not result in an arrest?
Hemp normally requires very little fertilizer and grows well almost anywhere. It is pest resistant, so it requires no pesticides. Hemp puts down deep roots, which is good for the soil. Hemp has been known to grow on the same soil for 20 years in a row without any noticeable soil depletion. One acre of hemp can produce as much paper as four acres of trees. Hemp paper is more durable than paper from trees. Hemp requires a growing season of less than 120 days, while trees must be grown for 20 years or longer before they can be used commercially.
The most fundamental of all human rights is to have control over your own body. As long as you are not harming others, your body belongs to you to do what you wish.
Pleasure Finally a reason to re-legalize marijuana is because it provides pleasure to some people. That is what the anti-drug people really detest. You will notice that there is no movement to outlaw glue or gasoline or paint, which are much worse for you than marijuana. Why do you suppose that is?
Now I would like to share with you excepts from a letter that I received after the four day protest at The Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts
I was very impressed by your devotion and courage, to put on the protest despite the arrest of Dr. Heicklen, and the continual harassment by the police. I hope that you're all as proud of yourselves as I am of you. I want all of your to know that what you've accomplished is no easy feat, and is something that most people could only dream of doing. Your continued activism and support of the reform movement has inspired me to do more to fight prohibition, in whatever ways I can. People too often find that the "easy way out" is more attractive, to lay low and play it safe. They let themselves fall prey to the intimidation of the law, rather than take the risk of defiantly standing up for their rights and beliefs.You, on the other hand, have overcome apathy, ignorance, fear, extremism and hate. You've stood firm in the face of oppressive and heavy-handed authorities to defend your convictions. You've worked to the point of exhaustion to make your message heard and to educate people about the truths concerning issues which in our society are so often surrounded by lies and misinformation.
Despite these and other hardships, you've succeeded in informing those who came to find out more about issues regarding the drug war. You've shown people, who otherwise would have thought that they were alone in their beliefs, that there are indeed others out there that feel the same way. You've made people think about whether or not the drug war is a good idea. You've spread awareness about cannabis, and about the evils of the war on drugs. You've looked the authorities in the eye and stared them down, both figuratively and literally. You've garnered the support of countless others in the reform movement, and convinced many to join you in support. You've made history by taking the first steps toward restoring the civil liberties which have slowly been stripped away, as well as our human birthright to utilize cannabis. You have successfully defended and exercised your freedoms, as embodied in the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights, and have proven yourselves to be true, red-blooded Americans; you deserve medals for bravery, courage and valor. YOU ARE ALL TRULY HEROES!
In closing I would like to address the dangers of Marijuana. The truth being to the users, the biggest dangers are the consequences of being busted . But marijuana is really dangerous to the government.. Why? Because of being the safest of compulsions, even safer than overeating, gambling, drinking, tobacco products and hard drugs. Because, those who have in the past or in the present, have partaken of the evil weed represent a majority in this country. Over fifty percent of the voting population admit to having smoked marijuana, at some point. most of the rest lie about it. Is there any question in the mind of the group assembled here today, that if every person who ever took a drag, whether they inhaled or not got behind a single candidate in any election at any level of government he or she would win by a landslide... With that thought in mind, I tell you again get out and register, get out and vote because those politicians haven't seen nothing yet.
Later on I was asked to speak again..
Speech 2 8/16/98 4:20 pm 8th Colorado Springs Hempfest
Hey everybody I am back, earlier today I gave a speech on protest, now I would like to talk about what exactly it is that we are protesting here today... continued