Marijuana Activist Gatewood Galbraith Spoke Truth To Power

Gatewood Galbraith is dead. This is a sad day for the legalization movement and those in it dedicated to fighting for the rights of the small guys – the ma and pa growers and dealers – who our community relies on to exist.


Gatewood was not afraid to speak truth to power, be it the powers-that-be or the powerful people in our own community. He kept the rest of the movement honest, as is evident in the following quotes. Maybe that’s why I liked to quote him so often, because he put into words what others were afraid to say.


I first heard of him in a video on industrial hemp, “The 90s” I think it was called. It came out in 1990 or 1991, right before I made the decision to dedicate my life to this cause. Along with greats such as Jack Herer and Chris Conrad, Gatewood Galbraith was inspirational to those of us who became active in the 1990s. Without pioneers such as Gatewood, the movement would not be as big and as strong as it is today. We all owe him a huge debt – the least we can do is read his words and weigh them carefully. And with that, I’ll leave the rest up to Gatewood, speaking from beyond the grave, forever:


My name is Gatewood Galbraith from Kentucky, Kentucky Marijuana Feasibility Study. We stand for legal marijuana. What is needed is a full and lengthy discussion of the flaws of decriminalization stands … When you say it’s going to be next year before you even talk about these things, it is an immediate sacrifice of another 416,000 arrests across the country while you sit around and try to get some sort of a statement together. Decriminalization doesn’t discuss the back issues of smuggling, adulterated products, consumer rip-offs that happen every day pot smokers. It doesn’t talk about the basic civil liberties that marijuana is used as an instrument upon. Decriminalization doesn’t deal with selective enforcement by police officials; allows the trampling of constitutional rights; allows the people to spend time in jail over their relationship with a plant. … The Single Convention Treaty could easily be nullified. There is no reason to stand for this. Every country that has signed that has broken the rule, and it’s legal tradition that when treaties are broken, people can resign the treaty. The Single Convention is not the end-all argument for decriminalization. Decriminalization has shortcomings in every way. It doesn’t address the basic issues. The longer NORML stands on it, the longer it’s going to take to educate the public about what the basic issues are going to be, and are right now. And NORML’s not doing a damn thing. We don’t hear about them in the South. What the hell are they doing with $4,000,000 operating budget, sitting around throwing nice beautiful conventions in great hotels, when people are going to jail every day for marijuana and NORML can do something about it, and they’re not?”  -Gatewood Galbraith, “1977 NORML Formal – Does Decrim Really Work?”, Blacklisted News, pp. 278-279.   Quietly and without much fanfare, while Nancy Reagan paraded the kids around in their “Just Say No” t-shirts, the local marijuana grower had replaced the international cannabis smuggler as the main source of supply, and cannabis activists everywhere were responding by appealing to the interests of these farmers. Down in Kentucky, Gatewood Galbraith became the voice for the Kentucky pot grower:


I would seek to implement this plan whereby we allot our farmers a certain poundage to grow each year. The farmer cannot sell to anyone else. He can only sell it to the state. The state would be the middleman. The state has a legitimate interest in taxing and controlling this substance. The state would then package it, grade it for potency, and turn around and sell it wholesale to licensed retail dealers around the state – the people who are dealing now for a living. The object is to spread the wealth as much as possible. We don’t want the oil, tobacco, and liquor companies, or the pharmaceutical industry gaining control of this market. It’s extremely important that it be kept in the hands of the people who have put it together over these last twenty years.” [23]  – Gatewood Galbraith, High Times, March 1990, p. 14   According to Galbraith, licensing and taxing growers and dealers did not necessarily have to involve 1) corporate monopolies, 2) caps on the number of outlets or 3) excluding those currently growing and dealing cannabis from the legal market.


via : CannabisCulture


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