Cannabis subjugation is a worldwide issue, not a local, state, or national issue. People who believe that believe in herbal rights. People willing to wear a ball and chain settle for patients’ rights or states’ rights.

I’ve been hemming and hawing over whether “is” or “are” is the most sensible verb for the title. The grammatically correct choice is “are,” as in “What are Herbal Rights?” Correct or not, that says something entirely different from what I’m trying to convey.

Specifically, “is” triumphed over “are” for the following reason: herbal rights, singular, suggests a movement, like civil rights. Conversely, herbal rights, plural, conjurs up images of permissions allowed in localized MMJ systems.


  • It’s okay to carry up to two ounces if you have a state license
  • You may be able to open a dispensary if it’s located more than 1,000 feet from a school.

That’s not was not what I was getting at at all; “rights” — what you can get away with according to statewide MMJ initiatives — aren’t really rights at all. They’re nothing more than privileges, like the privilege of being able to keep packs of cigarettes in your jail cell and the privilege of earning ten cents an hour in the prison shop fabricating license plates.

Let me put it a different way: being able to grow an acre of marijuana and distribute it to your fellow cavemen was a god-given birthright; being allowed to purchase two measly ounces of pot at a time is an arbitrary privilege granted by humans in artificial positions of authority.

“Patient rights” are galaxies away from god-given rights. The notion that a creator force intended the magical weed for the sick and dying alone is absurd, or “he” would have made it much scarcer and much more difficult to cultivate. Something else about them is troublesome, to say the least.

Patient rights are artificial rights that come at the expense of rights for others equally deserving of them.

A perfect example would be the schoolteacher who dares not apply for a medical marijuana license for fear of losing the gig.

Therefore, a new term was needed which describes a nobler cause than patient rights. It would have to describe freely distributed cannabis for all of mankind, not an elite few. Voilà — “herbal rights” has [not have] got what it takes. Herbal rights describes a cause, an all-encompassing quest, to remove longstanding stigmas shackling marijuana on the world stage. Subtracting these stigmas would allow cannabis commerce to flow freely and settle into a natural economic equilibrium.

Anyone who’s poked around Cannabis Commerce knows we’re convinced that pursuing patient rights state-by-state is in a league of one as the single dumbest mistake committed in the long and storied history of American activism.

Our Ten Reasons Why Medical Marijuana is Cannabis Commerce’s Ball and Chain is practically a book-length sermon on the matter.

If we’re dead-set against patient rights, then what exactly are we for? Until now, there was no short and sweet answer.

What we’re for is herbal rights.

I can give you the long-winded explanation … or I could put it into a few simple equations that a Martian could understand:

Patient rights = crippled, constricted, ever-changing privileges for a select few sick and dying souls arbitrarily designated as “the patients” by doctor mills and government entities. Right now that group includes maybe 2% of Americans.

Herbal rights = unfettered freedom, for perpetuity, to purchase marijuana and profit from selling it for 100% of Americans over the age of 18.

Going one step further:

Herbal rights = civil rights = women’s rights = gay rights.

Unlike patient rights, herbal rights don’t change every time a local regulator gets a hair up his you-know-where, any more than the state of Alabama is going to reinstate slavery or the state of New Hampshire is going to legislate against redheaded women voting because they’re too fiery a certain time of the month.

But is Cannabis Commerce only concerned with herbal rights in the United States of America? Hardly. It’s true that we’re a little more focused on legalization here, we live here after all, and we know a little more about the scene here than we know about the scene in, say, Bulgaria. But fear not: once prohibition topples in America, the rest of the world will copy us just like it copied Coke, Big Macs, and major appliances (for better or worse).

So … which cause are you backing — patient rights or herbal rights?

If you said “herbal rights,” I’m not sure I believe you.

Practically all I ever hear about, and I couldn’t have my ear to the ground any more hours in the day than I do, is the precious patients and their safe access to meds … and how the big bad federal apparatus keeps trying to take that away from them.

Let’s step back a moment and take a look at that. Not only hasn’t there ever been safety for anyone in MMJ states because of clear conflicts with prickly federal laws like The Controlled Substances Act, but passing patient rights initiatives actually blocks the rest of us from gaining any legal access to the magical herb — quite possibly forever.

That hasn’t stopped patients and their legal mouthpieces from whining about federal interference ad nauseum.

The selfish patient rights manifesto goes a little something like this: “as long as we can get meds in our town in our MMJ state, who cares about anybody else?” In response, I propose a more magnanimous herbal rights platform: “we’re all in this together, and we’re not done until everyone everywhere has their god-given rights restored.”

One of the reasons I’m writing this is that it’s been brought to my attention that when I casually toss off a phrase like “herbal rights,” I’ve been assuming that people know what the heck I’m talking about. But they don’t. Fair enough. So, let’s talk about what herbal rights means to me, what it means to others, and what it means for you and yours.

God’s gift or Satan’s spawn?

Curious whether other minds had been thinking along similar lines, I Googled the (rather catchy if I say so myself) term “herbal rights.” I was surprised how few search results appeared.

Fortunately, there was one atypical yet compelling entry for me to sink my teeth into. It was placed on the relatively obscure website of the California Cannabis Ministry. I know a little bit about California cannabis ministries, because one of them happens to own the domain name; it’s the reason this site has a hyphen between cannabis and commerce. I mention that because I’m aware through the negotiations to acquire that certain religious groups are convinced that hemp oil is holy oil. They don’t consider the magical herb to be just a good thing, they believe it’s a good thing worth worshipping.

I’m not sure I disagree.

What follows are some select quotes from Paul J. von Hartmann’s 2007 article, “Religious Arguement [sic] for Herbal Rights” — which appears to have been reconstituted in 2012 as “Drugs Don’t Make Seeds” — with accompnaying cannanalysis from “the pot prophet for pot profit.”

And off we go …

The world’s oldest global culture does not need (and will never get) permission to exist from an extinctionistic, dysfunctional, hyper-violent, morally & fiscally bankrupt, physiologically and mentally degenerate, evolutionarily disintegrated, transient and hypocritical, corporately corrupted political regime.

Well move to Russia, then! Just kidding. After being bored to death by all the watered-down, play-it-safe, just-the-facts-ma’am journalism out there, that highly subversive fusillade is really refreshing. “Extinctionistic,” whatever that is [bent on it’s own destruction?], may be a poor choice for the first adjective … but the rest of the selection has a certain lilt to it, an undeniable guerilla charm.

The insidious prohibitionist construct can only result in the inevitable counter-productive result we are willingly participating in.

That’s the truth wrapped in a bracing jolt of revolutionary lingo. It’s not your usual editorial pablum. Thank god. Sounds like me on crystal meth.

ANY tolerance for ideas about controlling, taxing and regulating any “herb” — as if it really was a “drug” — is fundamentally misguided from the outset.

That’s mostly true. It’s also Utopian. In an ideal world, like the one before iPhones when Cro-Magdons roamed the earth, collecting cannatax would indeed be fundamentally misguided. But our present “civilization” requires costly infrastructure (survival skills having waned over the eons) that was unnecessary in prehistoric times. Today, homo sapiens are dependent upon infrastructure  — even cannabis ministers preaching via the internet. A scenario in which Earthlings are free to cultivate and purchase marijuana even as the governments of the world tax it is a reasonable concession to reality.

2700-year-old stash uncovered: they didn’t have life sentences for possession when this shaman roamed the earth.

Why does the contemporary Cannabis culture simply continue to accept that herbs are, somehow, rightfully regulated by a “drug” agency? Since when is farming any “herb bearing seed … and every green herb” no longer a fundamental human right, and forced through manipulation, propaganda and illogic under the jurisdiction of the corporately controlled courts?

Because unlike civil rights activists, herbal rights activists are sheep afraid to rock the boat with displays of civil disobedience — even though that’s the path to proven results. Marching on Washington worked out pretty well for civil rights, if I recall what was going on politically around the time The Beatles appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show. It is, of course, completely mind-boggling that pro-pot voters who form a majority not a minority have put up with prohibition for eighty years. If the NFL was banned for eight minutes, redblooded Americans would picket outside the nearest stadium brandishing torches and pitchforks; NFL fans actually have backbones.

The contemporary Cannabis culture has yet to recognize and fully acknowledge itself, in solidarity, as the world’s most ancient global culture. To reclaim our legitimacy, We the People of the Cannabis culture need to identify Cannabis as both unique and essential. In doing so Cannabis will be elevated to its rightful stature, which is in fact valuable beyond the rightful jurisdiction of any court.

We could all use a cannabis messiah, that’s for sure. It’s true that cannabis subjugation is most definitely a planetary issue, not a local, state, or national issue. However, it’s going to take more than awareness to make it out of the wilderness and into the promised land of milk and honey. It’s going to take someone to point the staff toward Canaan (the name of the Old Testament’s promised land is not a coincidence). And that someone will be commanded to mount a march on Washington — the bigger the better, followed by epic marches in every other capital city from Lima to Lhasa. That said, von Hartmann states a compelling case for herbal rights as fundamental rights that humans have over-legislated, to put it mildly.

The evolution of revolution is revaluation. Viva la revaluacion! — Paul J. von Hartmann

Doesn’t make any sense, but I appreciate the joyful, alliterative Che Guevara-like cadence. Beats the drivel TV news serves up every night.

Fragmentation of the Cannabis “movement” into distinct “medical,” “industrial,””nutritional,””recreational,” and “spiritual” compartments has divided and bureaucratized the grassroots. We have been misled by “pro-Cannabis” bureaucrats, who have a vested interest in conceding rightful jurisdiction over “every herb bearing seed.” Every “voter initiative” that begs permission (that will never come), has been sold to us as a way to “legalize” or “decriminalize” marijuana,  while our freedom to farm “every herb-bearing seed” has been undermined and disempowered by the “drug policy reform establishment” including DPA, NORML, MPP, ASA and the rest of the oxymorons who have failed to end prohibition.

It may be over-the-top, but every word is true — particularly the completely justified condemnation of  NORML and ASA. Here’s a kindred soul who’s not settling for crippled statewide MMJ amendments, either. I hear ya, bro!

Seeds of construction.

In spite of the obscene amount of money and time spent in “fighting” lobbying and voting to regain what is our god-given right to grow, use, smoke, plant, harvest, sell, and worship the Cannabis plant, in ALL of its many forms and uses; criminal disregard for the public will continues to be demonstrated by the blatantly misanthropic, anti-Constitutional, federal (“feral”) government’s increasing harassment of California dispensaries.

Uh-oh. Well, I thought for a second von Hartmann wasn’t settling for crippled, statewide MMJ amendments which meant I wasn’t a lone voice howling in the wilderness.

The effectiveness of ASA’s brainwashing tactics can never be underestimated; here’s an organization which excels at persuading healthy people to vote for MMJ initiatives which exclude them. Some of ASA’s patient-centric propaganda has apparently permeated von Hartmann’s indomitable will. Ever see the 50’s classic, Invasion of the Body Snatchers? ASA has remade it into Invasion of the Mind Snatchers.

“You will accept marijuana for the sick and dying alone. You will settle for a two ounce limit on purchases. You won’t care about people in other states as long as you can have safe access to meds in your town. You will not concern yourself with repealing federal prohibition. Do you understand?

Hmm. Is cannabis god’s gift for everyone, everywhere, or a local problem in northern California? Is the brass ring herbal rights for the sick and the healthy … or patient rights for a select few sick and dying?

Let’s take a closer look at the “feral government’s” harassment of California dispensaries. First off, let’s turn it around. Didn’t the sudden presence of brick and mortar California dispensaries harass longstanding federal laws and policies which may not be “right” but are nonetheless presently carved in stone? The only sane answer is, “Yes.”

Accordingly, the real problem is not the feds harassing California dispensaries, it’s the fact that activists in the State of California (and everywhere else, for that matter) choose to waste their time shooting for quasi-legalization on the state level instead of gunning down federal prohibition once and for all on the national level.

Federal prohibition is the problem. That should be the target — not the federal “apparatus” sworn to uphold it. Last time I looked, the federal apparatus was comprised of people trying to earn a paycheck like you and I.

As long as the vast majority of activists continue to ignore this basic fact, government enforcement personnel will continue to earn their pay seizing and eradicating, just as you and I carve out a living by honoring our own agreements.

Von Hoffman and his ministry might want to update/upgrade its position here — unless it only cares about obtaining supplies for the ministry’s ceremonies in California — even as people in MMJ wastelands like Wyoming, Texas, and South Carolina have no prayer of pushing through MMJ amendments in their states.

It is amazing and enormously sad to observe that regardless of mankind’s imminent, predictable, foreseeable extinction as the result of compounding systemic imbalances being imposed on environment, economics, and social order, we are STILL allowing ourselves to be herded into hoping for relief through an impotent and disingenuous vote.

Paul’s big bud: there’s only one word to describe it — divine.

Like the vote for California Proposition 215 you were concerned a paragraph above about the feds violating?

Okay, it’s sad, agreed: but what’s the solution? It’s not just awareness, it’s getting our faces out of our vaporizers, our butts off the couch, and our asses in gear marching on Washington to reclaim our natural birthright.

Our children will grow up justifiably angry at us for our collective cowardice. “Essential civilian demand” is the surest, quickest way to reclaim our (federally and internationally) un-restricted access to the one and ONLY plant that can reverse climate change, before we run out of growing seasons.

Collective cowardice is right. And that’s an understatement. “Gutless wimps” [aka NORML] is more accurate. The blueprint for freedom already exists — copying MLK and the civil rights movement which borrowed nonviolent civil disobedience from Gandhi and the movement to boot the Brits out of India.

Unless we recognize ‘time’ as the limiting factor in the equation of survival, and every growing season wasted in argument as an opportunity lost, then one day very soon we will wake up to realize that there is nothing that can be done to prevent our own, self-inflicted extinction, following a period of unthinkable suffering, illness and death.

Thank you for the call to action and recognizing the urgency of the situation! There is no more time to waste.

Although Paul J. von Hartmann only mentioned herbal rights in his title, he still hit the crucial points, exhibiting heart and passion in the process. I hope he doesn’t mind me jumping in to connect the dots and pointing out one hypocritical aspect of his position.

That brings us back to … what is herbal rights? We can answer that now.

Herbal rights is a cause … a cause to restore fundamental, god-given rights for All Peoples of Planet Earth to utilize the miraculous cannabis plant for medical, recreational, industrial, or spiritual purposes.