by Rick Thompson/originally appeared in The Rolling Paper – September 2021 issue
While onstage at Cannapalooza recently I was inspired to talk about an apple tree I could see from the stage. It was full of fat apples, ripe and falling, and the parallel between this natural event and cannabis law reform was crisp and clear to me at that moment.
We all have a personal idea tree. We have many interests- family, cannabis, pets, cannabis, our entrepreneurial spirit and cannabis, etc. Each interest is a branch off the barky trunk that is ourself. We have ideas for each area of interest- some great thing to do with the fam, a new project to start, acquiring more cannabis, whatever. Each idea is a twig, upon which is a baby apple. Each apple on our idea tree ripens at its own pace, independent from the others.
It might take a while for that idea of taking the kids to Florida to become ripe. It might take not very long for that idea of acquiring more cannabis to ripen. Each idea, each dream, each fruit has its own life. And we, as the gardener of that tree, are responsible for nurturing the fruit.
If harvested too early, the fruit can be sour. If harvested too late, the fruit can be rotten. If you wait until they are teenagers to take the kids to Florida you might not get them all there- teens are busy people these days. Rotten fruit. If you go when they are babies, they’ll not remember anything, and the trip was probably a bit sour, against the best-case experience.
Ultimately you are the one responsible for the care and maintenance of your idea tree. Some ideas will be shared fruit- any family trip is planned with your spouse, for example- while others are personal. You choose to harvest your fruit, you grow or ignore it, you foster or forget about it.
With cannabis law reform, it’s a shared fruit. Protecting the caregivers- a shared fruit. If we outrage in June, but legislation corrupting the caregiver system isn’t introduced until December, we harvested that fruit too early. If we wait until warmer weather to express outrage, because it’s more convenient, that December legislation may be too far advanced for us to make changes or stop it altogether. We would have harvested too late. Cannabis law reform is tricky. You have to be a good gardener to keep up.
With shared fruit comes conflict, unfortunately. Some want to be the only person allowed to pick fruit. Some want to be the person who says, “Pick it now.” Some want to just criticize the entire tree, and others want to nitpick on the subject of proper fruit picking. The reality is, there are very few competent gardeners in the orchard. The number of people paying attention to the tree is small. It’s not always clear who owns the hand reaching toward the tree.
What is clear, to those who watch the gardeners as they watch the tree, is that some move with grace and purpose while others merely hover. When the knowledgeable tree-minders reach for the fruit, other hands shoot up, eager to be seen and eager to claim credit. Those who would have you rage immediately are picking fruit too quickly; those who would have you believe the danger is far off are harvesting the fruit too late; but those who are watching, those who are warning, those who tell you when the caregivers face their greatest danger, those are the gardeners to listen to. When they pluck the fruit, when they tell you to rage, and to write letters, and to appear in the legislature, and to record personal videos, you listen to THEM. The people paying attention. You should know by now who they are, and who isn’t one of them.
This is me, telling you, get ready, because it’s fruit-picking season and the time is near for us to petition the legislature to keep intact that which we have nurtured and protected for twelve long years.