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Discussion in 'Marijuana News' started by aeroblurg, Mar 25, 2001.

  1. By Cletus Nelson

    The tactics used by activists to voice their dissent against the prohibition of marijuana have changed very little since the 1960s.

    Despite the fact that the drive to legalize cannabis began in an environment that spawned such violent, armed groups as the Weather

    Underground and the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA), today's hemp advocates are firm adherents to the peaceful protest.

    Each year a myriad of non-threatening marches, candle-light vigils, demonstrations, and sit-ins are held in the hope of ending the herb's illegal status. Although the tireless efforts of these many tie-dyed

    warriors are to be commended, the war against America's pot smokers keeps escalating.

    Casualties of war

    The government's own statistics betray this fact. Consider the FBI's 1995 Uniform Crime Report, which shows a record 600,000 Americans

    arrested on marijuana charges. Of these, 86 percent were charged with

    the simple possession of a substance that has caused far fewer

    fatalities--zero, to be exact--than alcohol, tobacco, prescription

    medications, or aspirin.

    Will Foster is a living example of a victim of the hysterical anti-pot

    crusade popular among politicians. The father of three and successful

    owner of his own software company sits in an Oklahoma prison after being

    handed a 93-year sentence for the "crime" of growing a few plants to

    help assuage his painful arthritic condition. High Times magazine

    reports that over 25 percent of the 1,630,000 prisoners in America's

    prisons and jails are doing time for drug crimes, with the majority of

    these non-violent offenders serving sentences for growing or possessing


    "In 1994, at least 25 marijuana users were killed by police officers or

    died while in custody," hemp activist Ed Rosenthal notes in "Why

    Marijuana Should be Legal." This statistic alone gives evidence that

    these laws which were originally intended to protect the health of the

    public have long since strayed from their dubious goal. As the criminal

    prohibition of a herb that has yet to be linked to a single death

    continues, those who aren't arrested (or dead) often live in constant

    fear of anonymous tips, urine tests, asset forfeiture, and other

    components of the "zero tolerance" juggernaut that continues to

    victimize law-abiding citizens.

    Fighting the police state

    Today, many a casual smoker must fearfully wonder if a paramilitary team

    of black clad "no-knock ninjas" brandishing semi-automatic weapons will

    break down their door in a dramatic pre-dawn raid. Out of this miasma of

    fear, oppression, and intolerance emerge the Green Panthers.

    Shifting their focus from protest to resistance, the Panthers--referred

    to as the "fanged mouthpiece" of the hemp movement--are adjusting their

    tactics to a drug policy they predict will one day devolve into outright

    bloodshed on the cannabis using community. They openly reject the

    posture of non-violence and pacifism adopted by their ideological peers

    and have given up trying to "change the system." This loosely based

    cadre of activists is boldly choosing to move in a different direction.

    When a militia ... isn't a militia

    Fiercely asserting their Second Amendment right to bear arms, the

    Panthers represent an interesting social phenomenon: They are the first

    marijuana group preparing to openly espouse armed rebellion against

    federal drug policy. Their strong defensive position is not unlike

    today's burgeoning patriot movement. Although the two may share a common

    mistrust of the federal government and a firm belief in the right to own

    and bear arms, Terry Mitchell, one of the founding members of the

    Panthers, finds the comparison inaccurate.

    "We found with very few exceptions--[members of] the militia movement

    think the drug war is a good idea," he scoffs. The WACO siege, a

    rallying cry for militia groups, registers little with these new-model

    pot heads who have a strident dislike of drug war supporters. "As a

    group the Panthers have very little sympathy for them [Branch Davidians]

    because they were anti-druggies--Heaven's Gate, too," Mitchell says.

    Opinions such as these have not endeared him to local patriot groups and

    he says they have threatened his life on four different occasions.

    However, they aren't dealing with your typical bong-toking peacenik. "I

    can shoot the asshole out of a rat at a thousand yards," snaps the

    native Texan.

    Pipe bombers?

    Headquartered in Cincinnati, OH, these hard-liners are mainly recognized

    by drug policy activists for their incendiary publication Revolutionary

    Times. However, if events occur as they predict, they may be the forward

    guard in a revolution among the nation's tokers. The Panthers foresee a

    time when stoners will be forced to take up arms for their right to use

    what they call the holy herb.

    "The actual dynamics of an armed struggle haven't formed up yet," says

    the 47-year-old activist. Articulate, well-read, and politically astute,

    Mitchell is emblematic of a growing segment of society who at one time

    "played by the rules," but now view the Washington establishment as

    corrupt, and any attempts to change the system futile. Far from a

    backwoods political neophyte, the ex-'60s radical carries extensive

    experience as National Director of the Libertarian Party and in 1988

    served as Assistant Director for the Washington, D.C. office of the

    National Organization for the Reform Marijuana Laws (NORML).

    Armed pot-riots

    The Panther finds no ethical dilemma in activists arming themselves. "We

    think an armed society is a polite society," he says in his rich Texas

    twang which crackles over the phone like machine-gun fire. Mitchell

    believes the virulent anti-gun stance found among the modern left is

    unrealistic in the post-WACO 1990s.

    "That actually is some hangover politics from the '60s," he observes.

    Above all, Mitchell says the Panthers hope to sound a much needed

    wake-up call to those who still believe these pernicious laws can be


    "What we're trying to convey to the pot movement is that the system

    isn't the one we grew up with. ..the Tenth Amendment is a myth," he says


    Birth of a movement

    The genesis of the Panther weltanschaung began ironically in the

    backyard of the nation's most powerful drug war hawks. Some eight years

    ago, a small core of firebrands gathered in Washington, D.C., hoping to

    provide a "new wrinkle" to end the senseless criminalization and

    harassment of America's estimated 10,000,000 pot smokers.

    Seeking to provide tools, strategy and political focus to other groups

    across the nation, they began to study the tactics used by fellow

    dissidents with other agendas.

    "We had to get out the narrow focus of the pot movement," Mitchell says.

    Analyzing the methods of such successful political factions as Aids

    Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT-UP), Queer Nation, and Earth First!,

    Panther experts came to an interesting conclusion: The entrenched powers

    had quickly learned how to nullify these confrontational tactics, which

    the Panthers are convinced have become obsolete.

    "Our enemies learn real fast--you try these methods of direct action now

    and you'll get zilch," he says heatedly.

    Birth of a nation?

    Their continued studies led the Panthers to come upon what Mitchell

    calls an "endgame strategy": secession. "Once the US starts to rumble

    like the old Soviet Union did, that is when our people have the biggest

    opportunity in our cultural history," Mitchell says enthusiastically.

    He envisions a day when a repressive federal government will declare

    martial law, and the nation will be plunged into civil war--not unlike

    the post-Cold War conflicts that arose in many nations, such as the

    former Yugoslavia. When this time comes, the Panthers plan to be


    The armed pot smokers and their supporters hope to stake out a coastal

    strip of land 20 miles from the Pacific Ocean beginning due north of San

    Francisco and extending 10 miles south of Portland. If they succeed,

    they will create what they call the first "Stoner Homeland."

    The nation will be based on libertarian values, community-based

    government and the Gross National Product will be high quality

    marijuana, and the many other products which can be produced with the

    versatile Cannabis sativa plant. Mitchell is a fatalist who is convinced

    this is the only choice left for the pot community.

    "If we don't win, nothing is lost. We were marked for extermination

    anyway," he says.

    A trend toward secession

    Today's post-modern mindset may find such an idea laughable, but a

    number of similar movements already dot the national landscape. The

    Nation of Islam, the Aryan Nations, and the well-publicized Republic of

    Texas are the most visible examples of the many divergent factions who

    view secession within America's borders as the only antidote to an

    oppressive federal government.

    The national Libertarian Party has noted this growing trend; their 1998

    platform includes a plank calling for the "right to political

    secession--by political entities, private groups, or individuals."

    The Panther's designated homeland was chosen for a number of reasons

    other than the high-quality buds indigenous to the region. Mitchell's

    previous experience with NORML and the Libertarian party gave him

    insight into the marijuana-sympathetic demographics of the Pacific

    Northwest. While examining databases for both organizations, he found

    that the majority of the nation's libertarians and card-carrying members

    of the pot legalization lobby reside in this small section of the


    There is already a steady flow of bud smokers who have been relocating

    to the Pacific Northwest since the 1960s to escape draconian marijuana

    laws in their respective states. Terry believes the recent increase in

    arrests has exacerbated this trend.

    "According to our sources in the areas, the migration has sped up

    considerably over the past five years due to the Drug War-- with

    property seizures being the way they are, they have fewer things to move

    anyway," he comments.

    The new prospective country already has its own set of by-laws based on

    the U.S. Constitution, the Articles of Confederation, and other landmark


    "Some of the best forward thinking minds came up with the by-laws," he


    Will the armed Panthers expect resistance from the government when they

    declare their sovereignty? Mitchell doesn't expect it to be an obstacle.

    "When our roadblocks go up on the highways and our voices start coming

    over the radios and televisions ... we expect most of the cops and

    National Guard will have left their non-paying jobs and there won't be

    much trouble with them," he says optimistically. Those who choose to

    remain and possibly obstruct the new homeland will be promptly asked to


    "This will probably not be pretty," Mitchell says. "But it is a

    political imperative. This calls for leadership that has nerves of steel

    and an iron determination not to be stopped," he adds.

    Maintaining the network

    Currently, the Panthers believe the first step in achieving their

    homeland is providing vital intelligence to other dissident groups who

    stand opposed to the War on Pot. Their efforts include their unique

    "diagram of the war on drugs."

    Posted on their website, the chart tracks major anti-drug policy from

    the United Nations Office of Drug Control Policy in Vienna, Austria all

    the way down to what they term "snitch groups," like the Girl Scouts of

    America and Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) Mitchell says the

    schematic that alleges the United Nation micro-manages US anti-narcotic

    policy was originally met with skepticism by the reform community.

    However, Terry points out that Global Days, a series of demonstrations

    held worldwide in June to protest the UN's role in drug prohibition, was

    directly influenced by their efforts. "

    "A lot of people thought we had made it up--now we're starting to see a

    real focus," he says.

    The information war

    Gleaning information from teachers, scientists, police officers,

    military veterans, prisoners, and others, the Panthers publish

    Revolutionary Times (formerly the Revolutionary Toker), providing

    excellent coverage of the drug war. The small periodical scooped Time

    magazine and their non-mainstream competition last year when it

    reported on experiments conducted on behalf of law enforcement in the

    use of allegedly "non lethal" weapons, such as infra-sound technology.

    Their publishing house, Panther Press, sells important survival

    materials for the '90s pot smoker. Like a pot-focused Paladin Press, the

    Panthers distribute publications on building resistance groups,

    surviving police encounters, "guerrilla growing," cold weather survival,

    and other vital resources for renegade bud smokers. They also furnish

    free legal referrals for busted potheads, and their POW support project

    raises the awareness of the prison population by sending free copies of

    Revolutionary Times to inmates.

    On toward a "Stoner Homeland"

    These many activities lend credibility to a group of activists who

    appear to take themselves and their mission seriously. Could we one day

    see a stoner homeland enriched by hemp-related commerce flying their own

    flag--a white field bearing a large green pot leaf?

    Mitchell hopes that if enough people get involved, America's "last

    outcasts" will join them in fighting for their "light at the end of the


    "I believe that the odds for the pot culture are better now than they

    ever have been for the formation of an independent Homeland," he says.

    Mitchell grimly foretells a day when many will be faced with the choice

    of joining the Panthers or death.

    "It's either gonna be a Stoner Homeland or a stoners last stand," he


    (Note: This article has been printed in several magazines and the

    newspapers of large cities.)
  3. First of all, how is it I am only the secong person to reply to this? And also, how on Earth are they gonna control population in this Utopia?
    I also want to comment on how anyone in this day and age can be anti-MJ. My sister is always saying how bad she thinks it is, and ignorance is no excuse with all the information out there. I mean, sure, up until I was about 15, I thought of MJ in the same way as other drugs, but I know better know. My sister is 17, and I guess the damn media must have conditioned her long ago. To add to that she has the succeptable mind of your average preppy teenybopper American girl. It simply sickens me. Everything is ruined by misinformation and a bunch of fucking criminals who go and fuck up their lives, murdering and so forth to maintian their "other drugs". As far as I know, LSD-25 is the main popularity other than the Holy Grail, among the enlightened neo-hippies such as many of us. Yet even that was created in a lab. Why curse something used for good since the dawn of time? Of course there is going to be negative side-effects sometimes. Nothing created by Gaia is perfect. She kicked us outta there way back when. Yet people such as my blonde sister just use any negative ramblings they may hear to annoy those of us who enjoy laughing uncontrollably or getting cancer relief. BTW, I especially liked the part in the article about "additional trials".

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