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Texas’ Cannabis Family Values

When you think of the word community, what does it mean to you? Do images of folks helping folks during a time of crisis or disaster come to mind? What about a big picnic where everyone contributes something to the meal to share with others? Or how about a gathering for a wedding or funeral where people gather to share the happiness or sadness of an event? These events trigger feelings of belonging and being a part of something. It’s all part of feeling as if you’re included in a community.

So how do we, as cannabis activists, carry the community feeling to our movement? Actually, it’s pretty easy, but, because we are such a diverse community, it may not always be the easiest thing to achieve.

We need to agree to disagree when it comes to cannabis reform. Some folks believe that going a “medical” route is the only way to make changes in the law, while others are staunch “whole plant” advocates. Each position has its merits, but, because some may feel that one is better than the other, our community can appear to be divided. We are at a critical point in making change in Texas cannabis laws and we cannot afford any appearance of a division within the movement. Sometimes agreeing when you really disagree is not the easiest thing to do, but we’ve got to do it!

As the 2017 session begins to ramp up and wording for bills is being written, we need to be mindful of how we as a cannabis community are presenting ourselves to the legislative body and to the outside world. As a group, we are being watched by those who are making these legislative changes and any signs of a rift between those who support one type of bill over another could hamper any movement forward. Here in Texas, the legislative body only meets every two years. We cannot afford to show any kind of dissension because our time to make change is short. We need to remember that any forward movement toward what we all want is still a step forward.

There are other ways to make our community strong. We need to think about how we can support each other and be mindful of our unique community needs. Being a cannabis advocate may mean that your beliefs and actions could separate a person from his/her biological family. Often times, our chosen cannabis family takes the place of our biological family simply because we’re all on the same page. From experience, I can say my activist friends have become my adopted family. I may not always agree with their position on cannabis reform, but I am certain that my adopted family understands why I work toward changing laws and I’ll never be questioned regarding “why” I do what I do.

Texas Marijuana Policy Advocacy Workshops — January 2018
Texas Marijuana Policy Advocacy Workshops — January 2018

If you, like me, have an adopted cannabis family, this is also part of the larger community that we all belong to. If you know of someone in our community that is having a hard time, try to help them out. If they’re sick or recovering from a hospital stay – bring them a warm meal or even a batch of brownies to their house (with a visit) is a welcomed gesture. If someone is going through a hard time and just needs an ear to listen – pick up the phone and say hello. It won’t cost you a dime except a few minutes of your time. Think of how you’d feel if the shoe was on the other foot – wouldn’t you appreciate someone’s concern and friendship? That’s what we, as a community, need to practice and show to others that we are a common based interest group.

As a community, we are strong, we are growing, and we need to show a united front. Making new friends and allies within the movement is a great place to start. Be sure to support your chapter’s effort, volunteer your time, follow-up on getting together with someone you’ve met at a rally or meeting. Connect with like-minded people and give it your best shot at being proactive by educating others both within and outside of our circle.

There is strength in numbers and we, as a community, have the ability to show a strong front. We cannot succeed if we are not united in our actions.

With the new session ramping up, get involved! Try to make one new connection a month within our community. Attend a function you may not normally go to, pick up the phone and say hello, support others in the movement who are in need. We really are one big family and, what’s best is that, we are making our own family history!

Be supportive, build on our strength and help grow a stronger community by being involved and accepting positions that may not 100 percent match your own. We can only make change when we are solid with our appearance. Think about how you can help make our community stronger and act on it. Change is coming – be a part of the solution and help make our cannabis community strong and a force to be reckoned with!

Stay up to date with the latest cannabis news from a Texas perspective by following the Texas Cannabis Report social media pages.
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Dawn Brooks

Dawn works with the Texas NORML Senior Alliance.

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