Who are you, i502drew?

I’m a dude in my late twenties that occasionally cries himself to sleep because being a “stoner” after legalization no longer includes the buy-for-friends-smoke-for-free option. . .

Haha, just kidding!

It wasn’t until being repeatedly denied entry-level cannabis jobs because of my bonafide and documented industry experience (known as a felony) that the magnitude of power we share through cannabis legalization brought a tear to my bloodshot eye.

That’s when I started @i502drew, my first Instagram account. It’s been over a year since then and thanks to the positive responses (sometimes negative!), I created an online blog to share my experiences and observations on legalization and legalized cannabis.

Stoner or Activist? Possibly both.

I’m a world away from where my passion for cannabis legalization began: the tip of a bullet that murdered a high-school peer just minutes after he sold my friend a dime bag ($10 worth) of weed. It was the first bag of weed I’d ever held in my hands and my first time smoking cannabis. The unforgettable memory of my first ‘high’ on that school day afternoon was forever accented by the cold truth of the next morning’s terrible news. The familiar story of gunshots in Chicago and the morbid reality of prohibition had never rang their senseless bells so loudly in my ears.

A decade later, I find myself intertwined with an idyllic west coast culture that’s actively rejected the model of prohibition which left my first pot dealer dealer lifeless behind the high school we attended. Yet, teenagers here in Washington State don’t end up dead over dime bags of any drug- and there’s also a hell of a lot more riding on legalization than the pot jokes, strain knowledge, and homegrown laws that the Pacific Northwest marijuana culture tends to focus on.

Like what?

Like the chance to challenge the Big Pharma, Big Farming healthcare and agriculture combo for the first time in nearly a century (with state licensed medical research, which has been irrelevant since the 1930s). Like the restoration of voting rights to the millions of Americans with criminal records for cannabis offenses. Like the commutation of the 100 or more drug war prisoners in Oklahoma and Missouri that are serving out lifetime prison sentences with no parole for non-violent cannabis offenses. Instead of incarcerating potheads, shouldn’t we imprison the coke-snorting, pill-popping executives of every single slithering drug company that targets society’s most vulnerable with Xanax and Vicodin?

We’ve got to dismantle the private prison industry, too. It mocks the very meaning of American ideology. Did you know North Korean factory laborers get paid more than inmates in many American detention facilities? Why do you think Trump is pretending to build a wall when we’re seeing federal immigration crackdowns? It’s largely because nationwide decriminalization policies have put state and federal governments at risk of losing their private prison contractors. For what? For failing to meet the occupancy quotas that politicians signed off on. The fix? Replace drug users with DACA dreamers.

The building of a Wall creates the illusion that aliens will be deported!

It’s been estimated that nearly ONE OUT OF THREE inmates in federal detention centers are “undocumented” aliens. That means we’re all paying our taxes so that private companies can make $30,000 or more per year off of each detainee, indefinitely, without ever pressing charges! Sheesh, with that type of uncertain future, a person will practically beg for 14 hours of manual labor a day. This is not a theoretical OR an isolated situation, folks. This is what is happening in United States of America right now.

So, while my first chance as a cannabis entrepreneur came at the cost of another man’s life, I’m surrounded by social naivete and white privilege. That’s not meant to be an insult- it’s only in the last year or two that I’ve come to understand how the history of slavery, drugs, and prisons all intersect. Before you say legalization isn’t about white privilege, ask yourself: do you really know why The Marijuana Tax Stamp Act of 1937 was passed? It had little to do with Hearst’s paper empire, and, by the way, it DIDN’T make marijuana illegal. That happened in 1972. Prohibition’s purpose has always been to mitigate dissenting votes (according to Nixon, the votes of blacks and hippies), but it’s since grown into one of America’s cancerous dark horses: a publicly subsidized for-profit private industry. And a big one at that.

Frankly, if you or a family member has never faced criminal prosecution and the accompanying asset forfeiture, loss privacy rights, loss of child custody, employment discrimination, denial of financial services, refusal from academic institutions, and inability to vote or run for public office, then you’re probably being shielded from the real truth.

Compassionate legalization is about modern slavery, racism, and social justice.

At the risk of offending you, let me be clear: I’m not concerned for you right to grow 99 plants in the privacy of your backyard. The notion that American citizens actually have the right to sell homegrown tomatoes is both indignant and shallow. First of all, it ISN’T legal to sell tomatoes from your garden to a neighbor, but more importantly, most people don’t even have backyards, the free time and money to tend them, or even access to plants and seeds! Meanwhile, another mother working three jobs to support her family loses a child so that privileged Americans get easy access to the drug, the medicine, and the lifestyle which we are fortunate enough to freely enjoy in Washington State. It’s nearly inconceivable to me that Washingtonians continue to selfishly impede the cannabis legalization over the unsatisfactory repeal of laws they never even followed in the first place. WAKE THE FUCK UP WASHINGTONIANS! Think about the bigger picture. We’re spearheading an unprecedented chance to achieve major breakthroughs in restoring worldwide justice.

For Christ’s sake, let’s have the compassion to demand that other states pay attention and DO THE RIGHT THING because innocent lives still depend on our far-away success! Legalization is the sort of thing that gives trodden-on Americans the hope and strength to make it through their everyday life, and there’s very few reasons ANYBODY in Washington should refuse to participate in the movement, regardless of how “objectionable” its terms are.

Whoa, that’s pretty intense. Maybe The Weed Watch isn’t for me?

Not so fast. You don’t have to know how you feel about my personal beliefs yet. Righteousness aside, what I’m building is a universally useful tool for legal cannabis shoppers. If you want honest and unfiltered reviews of licensed growers, processors, retailers, and their products, then THIS IS FOR YOU! You won’t find this kind of commentary anywhere else, except maybe at The Weed Watch’s Washington D.C. based affiliate- GentlemanToker.com!!

Okay, let’s get started!