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Today I’ve chosen to waiver a bit from my usual cannabis related writings to touch on another subject I feel very strongly about which is the current state of the United States “Justice” system.

I’ll start with the details of my specific case and then get to the points I’d like to touch on. Through my experience growing up in San Jose, CA I have seen countless numbers of my friends fall victim to the outdated and destructive laws of the California prison system. I myself have been nearly bankrupted by court fees, lawyer fees, fines, court ordered classes and in my specific situation airfare between Vancouver where I live and California where I was committed for a first offense DUI. I am currently working at firearm training facility for which I am required to pay 20$ a day for the privilege of spending 8 hours being disrespected and having orders I don’t understand barked at me by over supplemented and or overweight police officers. As far as I’m concerned this is no less than slavery I am forced to buy myself into.

Now let me explain the process through which ordinary citizens are forced into poverty and crime. The laws set up by our government are designed to force people into the prison system and keep them there. When an individual such as myself, either by misfortune or poor judgement, commits a “crime” as defined by the state they are given two choices either prison or bankruptcy. Let me mention that about two days ago while at my work site I found that the jail I could have been in was just locked down for a series of stabbings with one death, which leans my decision towards the bankruptcy rather than the possible death. Now If you so choose to stay out of prison, and hopefully alive, they take you for every bit of money you can afford or not afford to pay them. If you can not afford to pay your fees out right then the state collection agency holds the right to take your paychecks in full until you have payed your debt. Now the biggest issue with this is the fact that if you are in fact convicted of a felony it makes willful employment damn near impossible and leaves you with the mentality of “why fight for a job if they’re just gonna take the money”. With the current state of economy and the lack of jobs in the state of California there are little to no employers who are willing to pick a convicted felon over the abundance of alternatives. Now this means that even if you so choose to try to rejoin society as a law abiding and contributing member the state will continue to rape you for what little capital you have to live by. This leaves only a few options for these people to ever support themselves or their families which the easiest and most obvious options include the sale of drugs or theft related crimes. Now if you have been convicted of a felony you will also have been assigned a parol officer who’s sole purpose in life is to catch you if you ever commit another criminal offense. This means that when you do you will be forced straight back into the vicious circle that is the California system and effective establishing not only California but the entire United States as a prison state.

You would think that the key purpose of the prison system would be to rehabilitate criminals, however from my experience it does simply the opposite. For myself, had I chosen to pay my time in jail rather than the work program, it would have been an advanced education in drugs and crime to spend 30 days with the criminals in the Alameda County jail. I would be sent in as a young man who made a mistake one night while drunk, and come out scarred and bitter with the knowledge and experience of those in there who wish to share their tales. Not to mention that about two days ago while at my work site I found that the jail I could have been in was just locked down for a series of stabbings with one death.

Our government has gone too far with their punishments, as I see my friends and families being pushed further in to ghettos and forced into poverty I know that it is time for a change. I know that it is time that our government sets up a system to help further the progress of our citizens and society. Its time that we abolish these ridiculous three strike laws and jail time for non violent offenders. Why lock someone up who is of no threat to the general population? The current system is destroying our communities and our country and we need to see a change before our once prosperous cities fall into conditions beyond repair. For we know what happens when governments take everything from their citizens, the only possible outcome is a civil uprising and ultimately a revolution.

Please write your politicians, let them know of the injustices being performed and taken out on otherwise law abiding citizens. The laws should be put in place to protect the people, not destroy them. Whatever it is that you have seen as an injustice we have to be made known. So please, please write to your officials and push for change; or we will see the true power of the people united against their government.

“The people should not fear their government, The government should fear their people.”

I take this quote very strongly to heart, and I think its time that we show the government just what it is that they need to be afraid of. They need to be afraid of what they are doing to us, because we can only bend over and take it for so long.

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Hey everybody, so Thursday morning I caught wind of a quick action protest that was being set up to march through the streets of Vancouver to show our support for Marc Emery and to spread the message that his wrongful incarceration must be dealt with and remedied by the Canadian government.

The march started with the rallying of the troops down at the CC headquarters where we met in the intersection of Cambie and Hastings, dawned our “Free Marc shirts”, picket signs, posters and flyers, lit up some spliffs and began our march through the city chanting and handing out information. We started through the city and stopped to post and light up at all the major intersections while our police escort held up the surrounding traffic. We received some good coverage from CTV who was filming us from their balcony.

The whole while we made our rounds through the city Jodie Emery was on the phone doing interviews with radio stations, newspaper and street level camera crews. All in all it was a great success and a good precursor to today’s world-wide rally for Marc Emery’s freedom. It starts at 2 today at Victory Square in Vancouver, across from the CC Headquarters on Hastings and Cambie. I hope to see a lot of support out there today as well as from the rallies across the globe.

For my friends down in Nor Cal, there will be a rally held in Vacaville at the corner of Marshal and Peabody (Across from the High School). It would be a great display of support for one of my and the rest of the cannabis communities’ great heros. For everyone else in the world have a look HERE at cannabisculture.com to see if there is a rally going one near you. I know its a bit late to plan big but any support is good support.

Let me apologize for the lag in getting these shots up, but here they are. The cream of the crop from our shots of the Vancouver Art Gallery on 4:20 this last week.

For those of you living around the world you may not quite understand our traditional 420 smoke in here in Vancouver. Each year thousands of people gather infront of the art gallery here in downtown Van city to in one impressive toke fill an entire city block with the sweet smoke of the cannabis plant. Every year it is so impressive to see so many people of every different kind coming together to show their love and support for what should be our legal right. There are booths and street vendors all over selling bud and edibles, bongs and pipes, and generally promoting the use of the herb to the public.

The highlights of the event being of course the on-the-dot cloud rising above Vancouver’s biggest session in history, the speakers of course, David Malmo Levine, Jody Emery and many others, Marc Emery who was there through the whole of the event politicin’ shaking hands and kissing babies (not that there were any babies there, that would be entirely inappropriate). The music was good and the atmosphere was amazing.

However this year’s traditionally peaceful celebration was a bit tainted and if I may say no exactly “putting our best foot forward” for the cannabis community. The state of the affair was complete chaos from when I arrived to when I left. There was immense amounts of trash all over the grounds, there were people tagging on the art gallery, a girl passed out and had to be taken off by paramedics, and if thats not bad enough for the first time in over 20 years of 420 celebrations a fight even broke out dead center of the crowd.

Now this sort of thing makes me very sad because the entire statement that everyone there had come together to support was lost. Now this was little to no surprise  considering there was over 10,000 people crammed together on one downtown city block. This to me is simply poor planning. They desperately need to move the celebration to a new venue and judging by the number of people they bring out its gonna need to be a big one.

So here is what I propose!

The Vancouver International Cannabis Festival!

Now much like the operation of the Jazz festival in Gastown every year, we could host something similar with stages and booths up and down water st. and extending up to queen elizabeth square right in front of the Cannabis Culture headquarters. I think this would be fantastic, more space would mean less chance of fights and we could bring in bands from all over the world to perform infront of thousands of people. Political leaders and activists could speak from different stages and get their messages out to a wider group of people who instead of trying to fight though crowds without burning themselves on a blunt could comfortably smoke and listen to what they have to say.

However the concern is due to the poor execution of this years event it may be possible that BC Marijuana Party may not have much bargaining power with the city to continue this event let alone host it in a bigger space next year.

On another note, I’ve got some great shots of this year’s event and will have them up for you guys to check out on here very soon!

As always, Peace and blow that smoke proud.

~The Hempen Journeyman

Hello Hello and Happy 4-20 everybody!
Once again we come upon that special time of year when an overwhelmingly growing number of our population chooses to simultaneously shift their state of mental being to that of a calmer and more peaceful nature through the enjoyable consumption of that wonderful herb we all love so much.
This year will be my first Multi-National 4-20 and I’d like to bring you all along with me on my journey.
My celebrations began last night when the clock struck twelve and I was lucky enough to be able to try some fine PK Hash from one of the Bay Area’s newest cannabis clubs the Purple Elephant down in San Jose. I wish I had been able to visit the dispensary myself and give you guys the run down, however due to my severely lacking transportation situation a friend of mine picked it up and made the trip to hook me up with a delicious 420 midnight toke. We settled in to the night and had a few beers and being that it was getting late I was forced to hit the hay and get some rest in before my trip back to the perfect scene for a 420 day of fun, Vansterdam.
As I type this I’m waiting for my plane to board at SFO International airport and I think I’ll recap on the herbal highlights of my past week in California. The biggest development since my northern migration is the number of cannabis clubs springing up in the Bay. More and more counties have been legalization the operation of clubs within their jurisdiction and what this means for my San Jose family and all you south bay dwellers is that instead of making the 30-60 minute drive (depending on traffic) out to either the San Francisco, Oakland, Berkley or Santa Cruz clubs, You can now visit one of the fine cannabis “retail” outlets in the south bay or whichever side you happen to live on!
Oakland’s Harbourside opened a second club in San Jose and continues to uphold their excellent standard of profesionalism and quality. From this particular club I was able to sample a few different strains. From the Midgrade shelf we tried a very sweet tasting “Chem Dog #4” and of course toasted back some grapes of danky, danky “Grand Daddy Purple”. I was also lucky enough to get a taste of one of their top shelf strains called “Champagne” this one we took through my brother’s new digital box vaporizer made by Natural Goods.
A quick side note on this particular vaporizer, It worked great but the temperature was a bit hard to regulate and I feel that with the jump in temperature when you draw through the mouthpiece could potentially be degrading the THC. The digital temperature readout showed close to a 30-50 degree jump in temperature which seems excessive to me. I see now why Volcanoes work so well due to their consistency in keeping your herb heated to that perfect 374, or whatever your magic number may be ;).
Well I am just about ready to board my plane back to Vancouver so wish me safe travels and I’ll be reporting back on the festivities in Vancouver as soon as I make it back to the city!
More to come along with pictures after the festivities!

I could barely contain my excitement when I found these fantastic gift boxes online!

Test some of the best strains from world renowned growers with these month to month daily sampler packs. A new batch is released every month to satisfy even the most rounded of connoisseurs.

These gift packs ship secure and anonymously world wide so purveyors of fine herbs can share in the advancements of some of the finest cannabis growers world wide!

These and other fine Cannabis consumer products will be available as soon as april 1st 2011 after we all get out to vote and legalization has passed through California and spread throughout north america. Unfortunately until then lets just give credit where credit is due and appreciate these fantastic designs by Cho Hee Ha at Yanko Design

Spread the Word! Get out and Vote!

Yesterday in California the initiative to legalize marijuana passed and is set to be voted on for the november ballot!

With Californians already showing 65% support for the legalization in recent polls things seem to be looking up for our hero for the first time in a long long while. Check out the full story from the the LA Times here:

Measure to legalize Marijuana will be on California’s November Ballot

An initiative to legalize marijuana and allow it to be sold and taxed will appear on the November ballot, state election officials announced Wednesday, triggering what will probably be a much-watched campaign that once again puts California on the forefront of the nation’s debate over whether to soften drug laws.

The number of valid signatures reported by Los Angeles County, submitted minutes before Wednesday’s 5 p.m. deadline, put the measure well beyond the 433,971 it needed to be certified. Supporters turned in 694,248 signatures, collecting them in every county except Alpine. County election officials estimated that 523,531 were valid.

Next step is to get out there and vote Californians!! I’m up in Vancouver at the moment but I will be sending in my absentee ballot via mail! If we all get out there and vote this time its for real!

Peace and keep blowing your smoke proud people, soon we’ll be able to do it free!

~ The Hempen Journeyman