By Nyesha Stone
Eight states have already fully legalized marijuana. Now, Mary Freeman wants to make Wisconsin the ninth, but she wants to take a different approach. Instead of starting with just medicinal use, she wants to go straight to all uses– medicinal and recreational. After 7 years in the making, Freeman showcased, “Zorba the Buddha,” a documentary exploring Cannabis, at the Milwaukee Public Library on Sat. 2. The film runs a little over 17 minutes and it gives the audience different perspectives on why some people push for legalization.
“People are finally willing to talk about it,” Freeman said.
After the showing of the film, Freeman had three guest speakers—King Rick, an original member of the Black Panthers, Milwaukee Alderman Tony Zielinski and Peter Heffernan, yoga master.
King Rick started the conversation off by saying Milwaukee was one of the poorest cities in the United States. He also stated most black people were in jail for marijuana, yet they only sold it, never grew it. He said this was a problem because there are non-people-of-color making a profit off the same thing black people are sitting in jail for right now.
King Rick wants marijuana to be legalized, and those in imprisoned for marijuana to be released immediately.
Heffernan doesn’t see the point of “beating around the bush,” especially if the government was “thinking about the people.” He insisted that if a person could choose to have a joint over a beer they would, so why not make it legal?
Zielinski admitted that Wisconsin is a backwards state, meaning it would never be possible to go straight to all uses before medicinal because, “we have Scott Walker and the republicans.” Since he and others don’t have the legal authority to change the law, they changed the price of marijuana tickets from hundreds of dollars to five.
Freeman doesn’t like the idea of starting with only medicinal use because it leaves out the community she wants to help the most—the inner city black community.
She wants to build marijuana farms in the city and use the profits to rebuild the school system. If Wisconsin only goes medicinal the bottom people will be left out.
“I’m passionate about social justice,” Freeman said.
She said she no longer will let the one percent take from the rest of society, which is why she’s fighting so hard for the legalization of marijuana.
It’s hard for this to become a reality because if marijuana becomes legal everywhere, the system will fall apart, said Freeman. The tobacco, alcohol and paper industry will all come crashing down because marijuana can replace these things, which will cause the government to lose hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Marijuana is a political issue when most people see it as a multi-purpose herb. The government has classified marijuana as a schedule one drug—the same category as heroin. And that also means the government does not believe marijuana has a medical use, unlike cocaine which is a schedule 2 drug.
It’s actually the world’s number one cash crop, but not everyone’s making a profit from it. Freeman wants to give the power back to the little people.
What would Wisconsin look like if marijuana was to become legalized? Are you ready for that?