Guest Contributor: Robert Caputo, Board Member, Arizona NORML

All over North America, citizens are achieving landmark victories for those on the side of civil liberties, personal health, and community outreach. Two precedent setting models that are quickly advancing our ability to reform and reinstate these basic human necessities are the Anti-NDAA and Medical Marijuana movements. Both PANDA (People Against the NDAA) and NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) deploy social and political leadership, encourage ease of action by providing a resolute and steadfast foundation, and benefit the community as well as the individual with their actions and advocacy.

If you haven’t heard, sections 1021 & 1022 of the National Defense Authorization Act allows for the indefinite detention of American citizens who are merely suspected, not convicted, of terrorism. No charges need to be brought against them and their right to trial and due process is removed. It also can be used to implement Law of War in the United States, declaring US soil as a battleground. Meanwhile, Medical Marijuana is providing treatment, and in many cases cures, for a variety of the most common and some not-so-common illnesses & diseases, and yet current policy prevents such ailments from being realized.

So, if you care about either of these issues, then why should you care about the other?

The Marijuana and Anti-NDAA movements are both precise and adaptable examples of local, effective, and immediate action that can be taken to restore our vital rights to health and personal freedom. For instance, on November 5th, 2013 the city of Portland, Maine passed initiative “Question 1” which removes all criminal and civil penalties for adults possessing up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana for medical or recreational use. Just about one month sooner, on October 7th, 2013 the city of Albany, NY passed Resolution 80.92.13 which recognizes the application of, as authorized by the NDAA, the Law of War to residents/citizens of Albany to be unconstitutional.

On the surface these represent only a couple of the many great victories that show us how we can surely reinstate our civil liberties, but further is the reflection of an overall shift in consciousness and self awareness, two more things the system is trying desperately to keep us all from attaining.

Many government documents have cited ridiculous attributes that could have you considered a terrorist. Fortunately, at the present time, Marijuana activists are not on that list. That’s not to say it couldn’t happen in the future. An article published in November 2010 by the Redding Record Searchlight newspaper of Redding, CA reports on a mock terrorist attack and states, “The Shasta Dam scenario began with the two mock bomb blasts followed by the “Red Cell” terrorist group taking over the dam in an effort to free one of their fellow marijuana growers from prison.“ This mock drill was carried out by 20 agencies coordinating with the US Bureau of Reclamation over an 18 month period and a cost of $500,000. Those are some serious resources clearly aimed at propagandizing the plethora of marijuana users and growers in Northern California and the US abroad.

Instances like this provide subtle clues at where the future perception of marijuana users could be steered if we don’t act.

Movements like these are directly representing the power of using your local system & your state rights to take a stand against certain misrepresenting or over-reaching government policies. In cases where the state level just can’t push through, we are among plentiful opportunities to take a stand at our local levels to provide a reinforcing “bottom up” support. It is issues like public health and personal freedom that have the capacity to unite the entire political and cultural spectrum and with organizations like NORML and PANDA blazing the trails, just a little more of this and we’ll tip the scales towards having our civil liberties, community well being, and individual prosperity restored – this time for good.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest contributor alone and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of People Against the NDAA.