Cannabis Reform Coalition hosts ‘Yes We Cannabis’ teach-in and fundraiser

By Patrick Johnston

(Christina Yacono/Daily Collegian)
(Christina Yacono/Daily Collegian)

The Cannabis Reform Coalition hosted a teach-in and fundraiser on Friday, which featured music and speakers on the subject of marijuana and its medical and recreational legalization . According to the CRC web page, their goal is “to dispel the myths, lies and stigmas surrounding marijuana and to reform the unrighteous laws that surround it.”

The event was held from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the Cape Cod Lounge. The first talk was about hemp, and many made the argument its uses were too numerous to pass up. They added that using it freely would be beneficial to the United States, saying that industrial hemp can be used to make paper, insulating material and plastics. Hemp as a nutritional aid was also discussed.

For the rest of the event, speakers alternated performance time with musical acts ranging from the hip hop of The Verbal Surgeon to the beatbox of the HONEYCOMB.

LePurpose (Lamont Edwards), a rap/hip hop artist who performed said “I felt it was right, that it was the right thing to do,” when asked why he decided to perform at this event. Edwards described music as everybody’s “gate-way drug,” something everyone enjoys and something that can send a message in a way few other mediums can. Edwards expressed that he felt good about performing for what he believes is a good cause.

“I couldn’t do something more positive,” he said. “I mean, what’s more relatable than ganja.”

Once the music started, the crowd began to dance at the encouragement of the performers. Not one person in the crowd didn’t dance, and they only stopped to listen to the speakers. Many speakers praised the legalization of medical marijuana in Massachusetts and explained the medicinal benefits of marijuana for those with terminal illnesses, HIV/AIDS, Parkinson’s Disease, PTSD, Autism and many cancers.

By 8 p.m. CRC vice president Cameron McCrae began his speech. He spoke about people’s rights when confronted by law enforcement with regards to marijuana. He discussed Miranda Rights and what to do if confronted by a police officer. He stated the phrases “I do not consent to a search” and “am I free to go?” were important to anyone confused by what rights people have. McCrae advised the crowd not to leave anything potentially incriminating out in the open, and to avoid any questions by police. He also advocated closing the door behind you if you are talking to a police officer who comes to your house, so as to hide any incriminating evidence. The crowd was also advised about how to spot fake search and arrest warrants.

The final speaker was CRC president Sebastian Vivas, who talked about the private prison industry and the inequality faced by minorities in the United States when it comes to drug laws.

“Slavery is alive and well in America,” he said pointing out that prisoners, often convicted under drug laws and sentenced to labor, are often paid 25 cents per hour and mistreated. He stated the goal of the private prison industry is to make money and for that, they will do anything they can to keep people coming back to prison. Vivas then pointed out that despite most drug users in the United States are Caucasian, most of those in prison belong to minorities.

“They’re going to do it to the minority, because that’s what they’ve done for two hundred years,” Vivas said. “The system is not working for you, it’s working against you.”

Patrick Johnston can be reached at [email protected]