San Francisco's Cannabis Patients' Union Targets Common Issues
Last summer, a small group of Medical Cannbis Patients in San Francisco begin studying our peers to see how well they were being treated in our community. We called the group, The San Francisco Cannabis Patients' Union to put patients and their needs of top of our priorities.
After seeing more recurring problems develop with the same 'leaders' and local groups which harms our people most in need, we decided to move full steam ahead to liberate these people in need. There are tens of thousands of us, at or below poverty level, whose needs are NOT being met well, in accordance with The Will Of The People, as expressed California State Proposition 215.
To kick things off, we put patients first and called them to a social meet and greet, this past Saturday afternoon. We held a social event to hear directly from the patients about their most urgent needs and issues which are not being met by the current medical cannabis community.
James Leonard, a local community advocate and long time resident of San Francisco is one of the co-Founders and is one of their spokespersons. James first moved to the Bay Area in the late 1970's with his family, who are mostly from Ohio.
He says he has been watching how the people most in need have been treated for the past several years and decided it was time to do for the Medical Cannabis Patients some of the same kind of tasks he's done with his work to help the homeless living in shelters while he was a guest and later inspector of them, serving as a Member of the SF Shelter Monitoring Committee.
Key is to figure out who's interests matter the most; what is it they need they most; and then give it to them without fuss or burden.
While on the Shelter Monitoring Committee and in his roles as outreach volunteer for the city's first 'sanctioned' homeless garden community (Octavia Lily Gardens in Hayes Valley Neighborhood) and for the Mission SRO Collaborative (they help tenants in need) James has seen too many ways to get people what they want and need. But, it can only happen when they are driving the vehicles that take them where they think they want and need to go next.
"It's all about empowerment", He emailed in his notes for this story. 'If our role as humans is to serve the humans around us, then what sense does it make to serve anyone ahead of all those in need, first. I came from a family where you never took more than your share and you always shared with those most in need, first.
If you do not do that you will find yourself in a crisis or disaster, such as snow storms where you can die if you are alone, the only people left to help you, may be those people you failed to help before you find yourself, needing their help, to survive,"
So, James goes on to say that every time we let fear run us, we will neglect someone close to us, who needs us, right now.
After attending all the meetings, expositions, visiting all the dispensaries, collectives and groups, he has come to the conclusion that once again, we have thousands of decent people being shoved aside, defamed and called 'Dumb' in public on the stages set by so called compassionate leaders of various cannabis movements.
Anyone who knows James and his peers inside many groups, understands that these residents do not make snap judgements and are known for unusual tolerance and patience in things to do with people.
But, it's clear that once they see too many people suffer at the hands of the same people or groups, there is no limit to what these stand up residents will do, as they have continously done for years, to expose and terminate any abuse or harm to vulnerable people that is brought to our community's attention.
This past social event of the Union is no exception. About 24 patients showed up to share a nice family meal (lining up, optional!) of Adobe Chicken over rice with Pizza on the side. No one was kicked out. Everyone's voices were heard, loudly. And it was driven by what The Patients had on their minds.
Although the Union was created by four long time residents and patients, they did very little to 'Steer' or 'Frame' the debate, other than to make sure each person was well heard and understood for our mutual benefit. It was painful to not have a set structure and agenda, but that was the point of this social event.
It was for the Founders of the Union to hear directly from The People, after they have had food to eat, drink to quench their thirsts and cannabis medicine outside BEFORE the serious business even begins....
So, there you have it. They came together, all their needs were met first and guess what ? They actually SPOKE UP and gave the Leadership two clear Directives.
1. They identified the four or five specific issues which harm them the most.
2. They voted on a person to be in charge of research to identify exactly who, what, where, when, why & how those most common issues are happening, at nearly every cannabis related place or function in San Francisco.
Well, that wasn't so hard. Yet, James says when you really, really care about the people around you and you empower them, it takes a load off the entire city.
But, if you rebuke or belittle them, especially, ahem, P-A-T-I-E-N-T-S who likely have a physical, mental, emotional or traumatic issues, then its best NOT to react to every thing they do or shut them out or make them feel unwanted or less than. Its very expensive for our city to deal with the residents who are mistreated.
It costs pennies on the dollars for peers who are experienced with all kinds of people in various states of abilities and states of mind or being to serve our people better than others, who often publicly tell us how dumb we are or how much they hate us, like that one SF Medical Cannabis Task Force Meeting told an entire crowd of cannabis activists in the Halls of City Hall, who had done her no wrong.
She screamed how much she wishes we would all just go away.... See, how we are treated in public by our public servants ? Personally, we feel for her, but we need 100% capable leaders, who count us in and make us feel good and worthy, don't we ?
We deserve the best our city can offer and its not happening so well, right now.
James went on to say, this city should be grateful that during the shelter reforms, SRO Hotel and other major movements of late, that the people we are empowering have not treated their former abusers and scammers the way thousands of our city's residents have been treated. The good people in this city (those who maintain respect for others, in public) totally outnumber those who are not very kind to us all.
However, therein lies the key difference. James and almost all of the advocates and people he's been working with, over a lifetime, rarely stoop down low to do to others what has been done to so many of us here and in other cities.
"To win, in the end", He says, "each one of us must have what at takes to treat others well, at all times possible or the entire community will collapse, over time. If you don't give a group of clients or patients what they want, as they want it - then it always begs the obvious question. If you aren't serving the needs of the people in need, in front you now, today, than what are you doing ? Who's needs are your really serving, instead of theirs ?"
When people are 'serving themselves' they don't pay attention to the here and now because their minds are distracted with their own needs. They talk about what they have done in the past or worse, they talk about what's going to be in the future.
The truth is, if you ignore those kinds of people and move ahead with getting your own voice and will heard and others join you and you all ignore the people we no longer can trust, guess what ?
Truth becomes so clear about your unmet needs and the lies or nelgect which once overshadowed us,goes away and you can rise up and be free. You win when you speak out and refuse to let others decide what laws can be passed or what future it is that YOU want. This is how you make your own destinies.
Having a Union like this, of, by and for the Patients, most in need is the only way to escape the clutches of the abusers and become self empowered to work in groups who only care about one thing. You, the Medical Cannabis Patient, in need, today.
To Apply for Membership in The SF Cannabis Patients' Union, please visit the San Francisco Cannabis Patient Union's HomePage - here on Zoho.com.
You can find their SF CPU Organization Site on FaceBook , for now.
This group wants to be away from sites wholly owned or funded by major for profit banks and financial corporations, who run the corrupted, private Federal Reserve Banking System.