Not The Brightest Button In The Cluster

I’m really not. It’s mostly the passion is all a Lorax has got. I am rather slow as my thinking sometimes shows. But the heart keeps a beating like the drum in the meeting and that’s just how it goes. So The Lorax keeps planting and praying with the hope and the seeds seeds seeds. Because hoping and praying is what everyone needs!

I’m not ashamed to admit, well only slightly, that it takes me a long time to figure stuff out. I mean for example when I was younger there was this Mexican dude mustache that lived on my lip. I mean, I am a Mexican dude so I guess it’s expected, and even likely. So really the thing was kind of at home living there. (Full disclosure, I also had a mullet for a while but that’s another story that only further proves my point.) But anyway, the thing is, I didn’t even realize, really, that the El Mustachio was on my face. I guess one day I finally saw it and I was like, what the? How long has that thing been going on?

And I’m that slow with other things too. Like the recent decriminalize nature movement. It’s basically the idea that people should be allowed to grow which and whatever plant they so choose. Now I’m a child of the 60’s and since I was very young I could not figure out how any plant could be illegal. I mean I grew up wandering through cholla cactus forests where if you weren’t careful… You wouldn’t die but it might make that seem like a desirable option if you ever accidentally rode your bike into a horrendously prickly patch. Which I did. But it was legal!

And right out my window there’s trees that if you climb and slip, you’re dead. But it’s totally legal! Even weirder, growing up and around those same trees is a lot of lovely looking and super thrivey poison oak. And that stuff is perfectly legal! Even though two of my sons have had several severe episodes requiring urgent medical care, sometimes just from touching a dog who had touched that plant. What I’m asking is… WHY IS THAT BLANKETY BLANK AND SUCH AND SUCH A PLANT STILL PERFECTLY AND COMPLETELY LEGAL???

I mean if any plant were going to be eradicated, interdicted, inspected, rejected, counter surveilled, entrapped, enforced upon, or with helicopters coming down from above, laid to waste with good old fashioned justice rained down onto the situation of any particular individuals conspiring to “manufacture”, aka cultivate the “Devil’s Weed” Poison Oak, which is particularly dangerous and has no accepted medical value etc etc etc, well then… Let’s eradicate it! I can get behind that. Or at the very least let’s arrest people who grow it!

Just kidding. I don’t think that. Just don’t play with it. Keep the animals out of it, stay away, leave it alone. Respect it. If you can’t get it together to do or not do that much, there’s no law that’s going to have the power to help you.

Same way with Jimson Weed, Datura. It owns the desert where I grew up. And it’s 100% all beef patty perfectly legal. No problema. Yet people die from eating even not large portions of it every year. They say it’s a medicine too and I know it is used externally for wounds and other things but I would not touch it. Will not. I do not want it in a box. I will not touch it with a fox. I do not want Datura Sam I Am! But it’s got a beautifully aromatic flower I tell you what. For people who play around with it though, they chance their last perfectly legal trip leading to extreme dehydration and delirium ending in death for the unfortunate or unwise. Or is it both?

Laws don’t have the power to bestow wisdom on the unwise. That is unfortunate but true. Their power is only in the threat or fear of punishment. And friends, that to me is just not the style of our grandfather medicine. Correction and self discipline yes, but even then it works through love faith hope and charity. What part of punishment fits into that?

So I don’t get it.

All I’m asking is why does the medicine need to get mixed up in this decrim language that they’re passing around, literally, in various cities and I guess maybe states?

I know, there’s legitimate concern of cultural appropriation, beatnik copycat spirituality, and there’s some thinking about how allowing peyote cultivation by rando people impedes the actual or formative peyote conservation efforts already in progress. Ok, I get that. And happy to discuss and hear it with complete transparency too. But let’s stay with the idea for now that peyote neither deserves or needs us to get it all tangled up in this legislation.

In a reasonable world, legislation to decriminalize personal possession, but not the sale of plants- would not mention any particular species, but most particularly, not peyote. This seems to be the primary request of a council of Native American Church groups and The Indigenous Peyote Conservation Initiative.

But if for oversight, political expediency, or just by the nasty habit of making some plants illegal so they’ve all got to be renamed and be remade legal all over again…Well then at the very least include language referencing the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (and the exemption language of The Controlled Substances Act) so as not to ignore or contradict them.

And definitely consult with NAC organizations and membership as to the cultural/spiritual considerations that need to be taken into account, whether or not peyote is specifically mentioned.

But as I started out this page of the novella saying, I’m not that smart and also pretty slow. I’m not saying the way something has to be or who’s on first or anything like that. I was just hoping the medicine could be left out of all the talk about drugs and mushrooms and mescaline and crack and heroin and stuff. Because none of those things are even the same. Oh, they’re all something someone could grow or extract from something you grow. But why does our sacred medicine need to even be discussed with all of that? It feels like someone talking about my mom at a bar because she never drank, and that’s just wrong.

Back in the 80’s when I rocked that mustache I clearly didn’t realize that the world didn’t see things the way I did. Very not smart. But I was passionate enough that along with my wife, we wrote the following:

We hold these truths to be self-evident: That all plants and all animals are of divine origin, each having their own usefulness and purpose.

These plants and animals provide the essential provisions of life; accordingly, the relationship between caretaker and provider must be one of respect, sustainability, and ultimately, symbiosis.

As inhabitants of the earth, all people have the inalienable right to protect, steward, utilize, and promote the knowledge and use of all things that grow on the earth.

Therefore, we declare the stewardship, knowledge, and use of all nature’s provisions to be our inalienable rights.

The prohibition of these rights is a direct violation of our inherent pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness.

I was simple and in love but even after all these years I still wish it could be like this. It never mentions any particular plant, only that the prohibition of any and all of them is a noxious concept.

The decriminalize nature legislation likes to get all up in the weeds with the creepy language of the controllers, of the subjugation of the people and the plants and everything that got us into all this. (In my possibly ignorant opinion. And I continue…) 🙄

Now, somehow the same government who supposedly “allows” us to practice our religion in the first place is on our side? Seems to me “they” never gave any right that was not previously stolen. I’m slow so maybe that’s why I’m not getting how the same system that brought us the devastation of the great tatanka herds, the peoples, the ceremonials, the treaties, and who have managed to do such a great job with everything from the war on drugs to covid, is now going to help us by letting or not letting people grow medicine?

And do decrim laws harm peyote conservation? If so, I’m completely against it. That conversation is multilateral and I can only give my opinion while hearing all others. Especially anyone who uses medicine respectfully. Less so anyone who doesn’t.

But Loraxes wake up before the sun so I’ve got to run. Thank you everyone. It seemed like it was fun!

Thank you for this day. May I rise to see the dawn and your flowers open with the growing sun. And help me to help myself again.

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It Is Food And Medicine

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