Miami's 16th-Annual Medical Marijuana Benefit: "It's Not Just About Smoking a Joint"
"Why are we underground right now, sir? Why can't we be out in the open?" asks Private Miller while sitting in a smoky interrogation room during the opening scene of the 2008 movie Pineapple Express.
"Why aren't we in a square right now? Why aren't we talkin' to people, lettin' them know that Item 9 exists? Get it out! Shout it out from the rooftops! This is great! This is the bee's knees, Item 9!"
Now, that bit was set in a marijuana-ignorant America. And today, we are all well aware that Item 9 does exist. But there are still many people, like General Bratt in the stoner flick, who sternly affirm that cannabis should remain illegal.
Of course, we here at Crossfade aren't in favor of a weed ban. And neither are the fine folks of Miami's Medical Marijuana Benefit Concert.
"Prohibition isn't a good thing, and it has to change," says Flash of Ploppy Palace, the organization behind the annual pot party.
The use of Mary Jane is a crime in Florida. But across the country, acceptance of the herb has come a long way. Twenty states and Washington, D.C., have laws allowing users to smoke pot as a form of medicine, and Colorado just became the first state to allow the legal sale marijuana for recreational use.
Support has also grown in the 305. The City of South Miami became the first municipality to pass a resolution to support medical marijuana in 2010. And just a few months ago, Miami Beach voters overwhelming approved of decriminalizing weed.
"It's a bigger issue, not just about someone smoking a joint," Flash insists. "We're putting medical marijuana patients in jail, especially if they're using it for AIDS, cancer, and glaucoma. We're persecuting people."