Recently, some grassroots Tennesseans began organizing a Medical Cannabis & Industrial Hemp Awareness Day for Tuesday, March 5th. An event has been created on facebook, hosted by Aaron Elijah Colyer. The description for the event reads as follows:
We will be meeting with our Representatives and Senators through out the day and are interested in scheduling appointments with your Representative and Senator.”
Any Tennesseans who wish to support this effort, whether able to physically attend or not, have been asked to write to their respective representatives and senators. Minus my personal information, I have decided to publish a copy of my letter here. I am making it a public record as an open letter in hopes that others may be inspired to do something similar to what is being done by some in Tennessee to stand for freedom. Some may even find this open letter useful as an outline or template for contacting your own reps. However you decide to participate, please join the effort to push back against the encroaching state.
Representative Womick & Senator Ketron,
I am one of your constituents. Upon being medically retired from active duty in the U.S. Army for chronic severe post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), I moved to Tennessee a few years ago and settled in Murfreesboro with the intention of using the post 9-11 G.I. Bill to attend Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) at some point. I am currently still in recovery for PTSD after spending 15 months in Afghanistan’s Konar Province with the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team for Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) from May of 2007 to August of 2008. As a patriotic citizen who has taken very seriously my oath to defend the Constitution of the United States and the inalienable rights of the people which the Constitution protects, I have devoted time, effort, money, and other resources to standing up for freedom in a wide array of issues and areas of life. Without individual liberty, the blood shed by my fellow patriots is in vain. I may no longer be a war-fighter on a foreign battle-field, but I will continue to fight for freedom and speak out when I see it needs to be defended.
I must say that as someone who enjoys learning about the philosophy of liberty upon which our great country was founded and is represented in America’s founding documents, it saddens my heart and angers my freedom-loving sensibilities to see what kind of oppressive and freedom-killing laws are sometimes passed and upheld. After losing fellow American soldiers in combat and knowing the history of how the American soldier has spilled plenty of blood over the centuries to secure for us and our posterity, the blessings of liberty, I must say that I have very little tolerance for authoritarian travesties of justice and assaults on the very liberty which many of us have served with our lives at stake to defend. This is why I am compelled to speak extremely loud and crystal clear against the war on American’s civil liberties which has been called the ‘war on drugs.’
For anyone who has actually honestly studied the issue of the drug war and marijuana prohibition in particular, it quickly becomes blatantly obvious that there is no excuse for such government oppression of the people’s rights. There is no logical or moral argument left for continuing to imprison non-violent offenders for victimless “crimes” at horrendous taxpayer expense and detriment to the future functioning and productivity of those imprisoned. Make no mistake about it, the asinine position of our federal government to classify cannabis as a schedule 1 narcotic and to ignore the rights of those individual states of the Union which have decriminalized and/or legalized marijuana only shows the ignorance of federal bureaucracy and provides glaring example of federal tyranny. It seems our government has forgotten who works for whom. As free people, Americans own our own bodies and therefore the choices about what to put into our bodies. I could also mention the idiocy it must require to believe that the government regulate a plant such as cannabis, the insecure sanctimonious attitude it must require to advocate pointing guns at people for smoking, the raping of the taxpayer’s wallet to imprison people who haven’t hurt a soul, or the miscarriage of justice represented by the lack of judicial discretion around mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenses, but I think you get the point and I would rather refer you to several great books and research if you were interested in exploring the issue further. I would also like to point out that cannabis has been proven to be of astounding medical value to countless Americans suffering from such illnesses as multiple sclerosis, glaucoma, cancer, and PTSD. Regardless of anyone who may take issue with recreational marijuana use, it is absolutely nobody else’s (including government’s) business to take away the health and medical choices of the afflicted. These and many other reasons are why I am writing all of this per my right in the 1st Amendment of the U.S. Constitution to petition my government representatives for a redress of grievances about the devastating effects of cannabis prohibition on otherwise honest and peaceful law-abiding citizens. Alcohol prohibition didn’t work, was a horrible idea which became disastrous, and serves as a historical model of how not to handle ingestible substances. For those who have studied this, the historical parallels of that failed prohibitionary effort and the current cannabis prohibition are unmistakable. It’s also noteworthy that the beginnings of wide-spread cannabis prohibition and the war on drugs in general was largely born out of a fabricated racism-driven irrational public frenzy which was perpetuated and taken for granted by known authoritarian bigots such as Harry J. Anslinger, and industrial hemp was pushed out of the market largely because of unfair protectionist policies for other industries which lobbied government and didn’t want to compete with the superior quality and wider array of applications hemp provides. In other words, the roots of the expensive and freedom-choking war on drugs begin in corruption and ignorance and only the corrupt, ignorant, and/or coercive self-righteous busybodies have any interest in continuing the prohibitionist fiasco.
While I realize that full drug decriminalization may not happen in Tennessee overnight, I urge that you please consider the actions toward legalization of recreational marijuana in the states of Washington and Colorado; the medical exception to cannabis prohibition in Alaska, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, & D.C.; and the success of lower rates of addiction, disease, crime, and government spending by rolling back the harsh penalties of prohibition in the foreign nation of Portugal. It may also be of particular economic interest to the people of Tennessee as our neighboring fellow tobacco and other cash-crop neighbors in Kentucky make a move to capitalize on the hemp industry with efforts such as those being lead by Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer. The political landscape is changing, and history will favor those who stood for freedom. Please consider the issues brought up in this writing; and remember that some of us are not asking permission but telling you that you should respect the rights and liberties which are inalienable to us all, voiced and protected in America’s founding documents, and defended with the lives of patriots. I also know for a fact that there are those who have died wearing our nation’s uniform who hoped that we would one day quit treating marijuana smokers as criminals. After all, a guy like me only seeks to enjoy some of the freedom supposedly for which I fought. One of the results of fighting that battle is that I have a health condition for which in good conscience I believe the best treatment is medical cannabis. I do not recognize anyone’s authority to deny me that basic fundamental human right, and will stand opposed to any person and any law which seeks to deny me that right. Will you please stand for freedom and liberty with me?
A.G. House is a veteran of the war in Afghanistan and former licensed minister of the United Pentecostal Church International who has become an atheist, anti-war activist, and gotten involved in many other issues which he believes affect the individual liberties of the people who’s Constitutional Rights he took an oath to defend. He is currently recovering from PTSD where he lives with his companion dog, ‘Liberty,’ in the heart of Tennessee and enjoys the therapeutic hobbies of writing, playing drums, and other forms of artistic expression.