First the Seed, Then the Weed

South Florida's NORML chapter gets an infusion of new blood and a renewed commitment to keep lawmakers from kicking the cannabis

Kent fights prosecution on all levels. "To ignore the criminal end of it is to forget the drug war's tools of illegal surveillance, invasion of privacy, forfeiture, the compromising of the Fourth Amendment. If you deny that, you're fooling yourself." Perhaps the most irksome of all the restraints on marijuana, Kent adds, is the one deployed against those who need pot for medical reasons. "With AIDS and chemotherapy patients, the problems include vomiting and weight-loss syndrome. The inhalation of marijuana restores the capacity to eat. The idea of 'the munchies' has a scientific basis in fact." Kent says he will represent any AIDS patient busted for using reefer -- pro bono.

The attorney's new army of activists -- all volunteers, all struggling just to pay rent and buy groceries -- stands right behind him, out in the open and armed with the evidence to win the war on cannabis prohibition. "I like to think we're a powerful lobby," the NORML veteran adds, preferring not to mention his 75 million fellow Americans who also could line up behind the cause of legalization. "Maybe the national organization is a little more disorganized than I'd like, but it's getting itself together. It better, because if they can't tap in to the local activist energy springing up all over the country, we'll abandon a great opportunity. I want to be known as the Johnny Appleseed of pot for spreading the word."

A nice thought, but Kent is just a bit late. "A prohibition law strikes a blow at the very principles upon which our government was founded." Abraham Lincoln said that.

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