Updated: Jun 24, 2020
"For the law holds that it is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer"
-Sir Matthew Hale
I’m here in Santa Cruz, California on 4/20 where the University of California does all they can to smear cannabis as a criminal enterprise. As a Federally funded state institution, cannabis use of any sort has been deemed illegal on campus. The state that was the first to allow medical use, decriminalize cannabis, and finally legalize recreational cannabis use, intends to send another uninformed generation of cannabis naïve kids into the world. For a state who profits hand over fist on Cannabis taxes, regulations, certifications, applications, and annual fees, it’s all too ironic that its Universities present a draconian perspective of criminality associated with cannabis. Here's the other end of Sir Matthew Hale's dictum:
Driving onto a deserted campus who sent a majority of its students home due to Covid-19, (in addition to firing an entire class * of graduate students) I passed three Santa Cruz City Police cars on the single lane loop that winds through campus just now. With the campus having its own personal fear mongering operation of campus police, there’s no need or reason for city cops, sheriffs, or state cops to be patrolling the campus * like this. Aside from the absurdity of placing police departments within our universities, colleges, and schools (a topic for another day) you would think 420 celebrations could be handled by campus police alone. Why else do they exist, especially when far more urgent needs exist? The last thing on Earth California cops should be concerned with stopping is 420 smoking, especially with unemployment and the impending aftermath of extreme poverty looming. And had I not witnessed this same display last year on 420, I might actually believe this is a Covid-19 pre-caution, concerned with our well-being. But that’s just not the case, as the same threats were emailed to everyone last year, as an absolute abundance of swine poured onto campus. They stood guard in their little blue uniforms, harassing our youth and threatening to arrest anyone in the areas that 420 gatherings used to occur. Rest assured that today these cops are also patrolling on foot, surveilling walking paths and the bridges connecting the campus areas. A major operation with two or three lines of surveillance stacked one on top of the other in hierarchical descent to defend a nearly deserted UCSC against that horrible satanic sinner herself… You know who. (but if you don't know I'm talking about Mary-Jane).
Cannabis is illegal on campus we are told, and this includes for medicinal reasons at any and all times. It’s irrelevant of whether you live on campus or off, just happen to be visiting, going to classes, hiking, or biking around the* campus trails. The line of bullshit they feed us is: “well, its federally funded and as a federal institution cannabis remains illegal everywhere on school land”. What a crock of shit. Cannabis is federally illegal, yet states and especially California openly disregard what the federal government thinks to protect its citizens from absurd, draconian legislation. California is also a sanctuary city or state, refusing to work with or relay information to ICE for the mass deportations the federal government loves so much. Time and again California has been a leader, a trend setter, and unafraid to stand-up for its residents’ human rights. It’s the reason I moved to California and remain here. And while cannabis is a minor topic amongst a major health pandemic, 420 provided the perfect opportunity** to reveal aspects of the system funneling students into a stagnant state of corporatism, unfettered by informed consumer demand.
They prep the mind and body through constant anti-cannabis rhetoric at our universities, calling cannabis use “criminal” and threatening arrests to create an uninformed or misinformed bias to those who never question the status quo. They try to dictate this line of thinking with propaganda younger students often accept, despite unknowingly being coerced. ** It’s just another reason and another way to assert authority, inserting police into every aspect and dimension possible as power overflows and seeps into the minds of tomorrow. This surveillance state of corporate capitalism promotes an uninformed general public who flocks toward corporate leadership, as idealized by the country's corrupted Presidency.
So, as tens of thousands, * hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars are spent harassing citizens and arresting peaceful civilians on 420, maybe it’s time we rethink our positions of authority and where our tax dollars are being spent. * While I agree and understand we have some need for police, it's beyond time we remeasured their reach. When positions of authority no longer serve a useful purpose to society, they begin embodying a nationwide symbol of injustice and oppression. It’s time to reel in those with a badge remembering they are our employees after all.
* Signals every time a police car drove by me while I was writing this article.