Grateful to be joined by an elite group of local leaders and advocates from around the city, state and region:
Kym Byrnes, TribeTokes Nancy Udell, Empire State NORML David Rheins, MJHeadlineNews.com Chandra Batra, MASSCANN Troy Smit, Long Island NORML Steve Bloom, Celebstoner.com Baba Israel, NY NORML, artist and activist Grant Smith-Ellis, MASSCANN Alan Beardsley, Curved Papers Pam Sabrin, The New School
MO Curved: Steve was just talking about you.
Bloom: Yeah, we were just doing, Freddy, we were just doing a whole preamble of everybody’s memories of you, going back …
Fab Five Freddy: Oh!
Bloom: … to Wild Style and Yo, MTV Raps, and then, even bringing it up to date, when we saw you at the Marijuana Rally a couple of years ago when you were working on “Grass Is Greener,” right?
Fab Five Freddy: Yeah. I shot that for my film, though, unfortunately, that did not make it into the film. It didn’t make it in, but I got some footage. That was inspirational.
MO Curved: That was the day that …
Fab Five Freddy: That’s where I got the papers! You sponsored it, and I was like, these Curved Papers are so great. Then a mutual friend connected us, and you gave me some. Love those. Love those Curved Papers. So …
Bloom: So … Freddy, where did you come up with the idea for the film? Where did you come up with it? Like, how did you decide to make that movie?
Fab Five Freddy:
Well, you know, that, in the way that conversations, in the way that great ideas sometimes happen, I was having a conversation with a really good friend, that I’m about to go into business with. It’s a really good story. So this is a guy, a black guy, a brother from California that had been in the legacy game, up and down California, from Humboldt down through the ‘hood, got caught up in the system, but still, yo, one of the unfortunate things, for people who have been in this legacy of cannabis purveyors and dealers oftentimes have been criminalized, imprisoned, especially people of color. So anyway, we’re talking one day about four years ago. He was like, I figured out, Im gonna start a consultancy business, and I’m gonna call it forty acres and a mule. Because he couldn’t touch the plant, having been in the criminal justice system, but he could be a consultant to advise people who were coming in on all the processes, what strains, and you know, how to maximize what he’s doing, and in that conversation, the forty acres was a reference to forty acres that black people were promised, during Reconstruction, which did happen for a hot minute. So that’s why Spike Lee called his film company Forty Acres, it’s a reference to the fact that black folks after having been enslaved, were denied the ability to take part, or to grow, have some land, to make things happen for themselves, and so he was gonna get that forty acres in the cannabis space. Which was the whole thing, and that conversation sparked the whole idea.
I just was like, wait a minute, you know, black folks were jazz, we’ve been at the front of this since the beginnings of jazz, which I’d known, which you’ll see in the movie, which I learned from my
Dad, who was a Jazzhead, and went back further than I’d realized, and, you know, if you’re a High Times person whose been plugged in, then you know chunks of it, it’s history, but um, then I realized the Hip Hop people I’d introduced, to the audience, when I was doing, Yo! MTV Raps, the MTV thing, and they were big proponents of the plant. Snoop. Cypress Hill. Damn near everybody else. So that really was the genesis of the idea. It was a conversation with a friend. Even the title. “Grass Is Greener,” all happened in this fun conversation. While, of course, I was hitting something really good and really green, and really great flower. and this whole movie sprung from that, and it was a pretty fun thing to tell the story which you’re gonna see.
And it’s a little bit of a snapshot of where I come from, how I come up and the story of the plant that connects, joined at the hip with America’s music, Jazz, as it grew and was created, so did this plant get spread around. And the fact, particularly the fact, that it brought black folks and white folks and anybody together to celebrate, and share this plant, that’s what led to this plant being criminalized, and it’s a sad nightmare reality that something so beneficial and helpful has gone through this, and, so, that was the, I learned way more, that was the fun thing about the doc, is, you learn, I learned a hell of a lot that I was able to share with, you know, a lot of people, with you guys.
The time is now. We have a big chance right now in February and March to do legalization right. Cannabis Excelsior!
In New York, we’ve had a poor medical marijuana program since 2015, which has been a disservice to our medical community. We want to fix that and make sure the same thing doesn’t happen with long delayed adult use.
There are many examples to follow and best practices to refer to, as we are likely to be the sixteenth or seventeenth state to do this.
The #MRTA is The Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act, and that’s the bill from the Legislators, who have worked on it with advocates from the cannabis community for six years. There are supermajorities in both the Senate and the Assembly that can pass it standalone right now.
The urgency is that the proposed budget contains a competing proposal by The Governor, called #CRTA in the form of an “Article 7 Bill,” that will pass if the budget passes. That’s the bill the Governor’s team came up with a couple of years ago, the Cannabis Regulation and Taxation Act.
The thing about getting bills passed in the budget is that the politicians don’t have to say what they voted for pot. We don’t want to have the CRTA passed this way without the public being aware.
We want to see a public dialog between the Legislators and the Governor to get the MRTA into the proposed 2022 budget. It can be passed standalone beforehand. Let your leaders know you expect #equity #justice#homegrow and #sustainability in NY’s legalization.
Governor Cuomo, Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, Assembly Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes, Senator Liz Krueger and Director Norm Birenbaum are key players and authors of what should be a unified piece of legislation that New York can hold up to the nation.
Among the many issues facing New Yorkers, and the general public, marijuana legalization is not always too close to the top of the list. But it touches on a surprising array of issues that are of great concern to many. In light of the year we had in 2020, #equity and #justice are on Governor Andrew Cuomo’s radar, and are even addressed in the CRTA this year. They are core issues in the MRTA, and have been all along. Another core MRTA issue is Home Grow.
Sometimes it seems that for some members of the cannabis community, Home Grow is not a big issue because they are not familiar with it. Notwithstanding, for Empire State NORML, and all the NY State NORML Chapters, it is a top priority, and a central focus of our efforts for the MRTA with our Do The Right Thing, New York (DTRTNY) campaign. It is a huge issue in terms of fairness and personal freedom, and an urgent issue for many medical marijuana users.
Home Grow doesn’t undercut the legal market. In fact, it does undercut the illegal market.
There is no right for the tomato companies to say “you can’t grow your own tomatoes, because we’re gonna sell you tomatoes.” It’s not right. Do the right thing, New York. Don’t let corporate interests take the plant away from us. If they cannot provide what the consumers want, we will grow our own.
You know what undercuts the legal market? Having prices too high because of bad regulations and over-taxation.
We’ll be the sixteenth state to legalize. The roads are safe and the kids are safe in legal states. Safer! The data is there.
In New York two groups oppose legalization for two reasons. Law Enforcement and The PTA oppose because of their own corporate financial needs, firstly, and secondly because of a reefer madness type ignorance along with newer disinformation by other corporate interests.
No one in the legalization movement supports lawlessness. Think about that. We are trying to get the right laws passed.
And we are just as careful with and concerned about our kids and yours as anyone else. Just the same. As far an NIMBY. IIYBY. It’s in your backyard. You don’t hear about it, because nothing bad happens.
Specifically regarding driving. Stoned driving is not drunk driving. A New York cop said he’s done hundreds DUI stops in his career. Two involved “the smell of weed.” Impaired driving due to pot is just not a thing.
There are lots of things you can do well while stoned that you cannot do when you are drunk. Look at the NBA and NHL. Can’t do that when you are drunk.
This money grab Law Enforcement does each time a state legalizes weed. There is no need. Cops go where you are needed. We need you and we respect you. New York can spend tax money on important things people actually need.
The state and local governments should stop spending money on private schemes to use technology to fine and arrest people, to generate government revenues, and private revenues, by putting them in private jails. #personalfreedom
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