…continued from Dialog With A Dope Maker… (P1of3) wherein I mentioned
* our Resident Beatnik was woke to a new #1 Priority: we can no longer poison our planet. He and the LA FP (50 years ago) were early supporters of the ‘Ecology Movement’. Had we all heeded Lawrence Lipton’s few principles, in this first of this week’s forward-looking articles, could we have averted our present Climate Change Crisis. Can they cure it now?
* As we said in Part 1, our second article here is not – at all – NORML and, yet, it was a clarion call (again, 50 years ago) for legalizing weed – for lots of the reasons it is, today, legalized so broadly. Strangely, tho, if you had been as old then as you are now – you would have said “pshaw” (IF you had been as old then as you are now.)
SO, here’s that first item… Lawrence Lipton’s column ‘Radio Free America’ on this date, exactly 50 years ago. Given that he was a Beatnik, and not just any Beatnik, but author of The Holy Barbarians (1959), the acclaimed historical account of that movement, breaking his bonds with it to advocate mass protest clearly showed how he, indeed, now felt that saving the planet was The #1 Priority.
In other words, in this case, independent self-expression wasn’t enough to accomplish the urgent solution of immediate and massive action to break through the Social Lie that would only continue the harm being done.
His and all the other statements that gave reason to support the newly initiated Ecology Movement did move it forward, but persistence was taken off track by commercial forces. Today, the same sage advice of “DON’T TAKE NO FOR AN ANSWER” has another voice, one that has connected to the very same segment of our society that the LA Freep spoke to – young idealistic people, people who could – and have – spoken truth to power.
And now, there’s another powerful force – US! the ‘boomers’. Think about how different this is – a rising tide of youthful concern re-awaking an older generations’s fervent, but set-aside, dream. Herein is an opportunity for unification, and its synergy may save us all!
Here is our 2nd article – one that sounds very much like those we often read by NORML, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. However, it wasn’t until the following year that that organization was formed. (Those of you who were ardently involved in that cause are, of course, forgiven for any lapse of memory on this point.) But here it is, a sane and sober rational for access and the use of pot without onerous restrictions based on misinformation. It’s last few paragraphs were right-on; even with the Federal Government waging a full-out war against it, spending billions per year in that fight, its – legalized -use is ubiquitous.
Simply put, just as they had predicted, laws fall to the governed’s demand. How did this up-hill battle go down? First came organizations with this as their purpose. Three were major players, two of which eventually folded into the first – yes, we’re back to NORML, est. 1970. (And here’s a fun fact – it was Hugh Hefner’s Playboy Foundation that initially funded it with a $5,000 grant, its donations rising to as much as $100,000/year.) In 1973, Oregon was the first state to begin decriminalizing cannabis. In 1996, California legalized medical cannabis, as did a majority of states by 2016. Among them, Colorado and Washington, in 2012, legalized cannabis for recreational use, as well. The continued liberalization of marijuana via recreational legislation is now sweeping the States.
While I wish to make the point that the resurgence of the concerns about about our environment should be ameliorated by this success, I, necessarily, must say that there can be little doubt that the cash it was likely to bring in was a large factor in its favor. In fact, it didn’t take large scale protests to move the goal of liberalization into legislation. So, though demonstrations make demands for change obvious, the history here should say to all new activists – as crass as it may sound – talk more about how coffers can fill up as temperatures come down. And that using these two strategies – of protest and passage of law – in tandem is the way to go. And not to forget our old beatnik, self expression certainly has its place in this new Movement. Best of luck to us all.
As to last of this week’s ‘prescient’ articles, the next one is of things that might come into being. The final article reveals ‘the secret the mainstream needed to keep, the thing that Boomers did that couldn’t be told’. You can find them both in Part 3 of Dialog With A Dope Maker…
… on this coming Monday 🙂