Thursday, September 08, 2005

It's Time For Another Tea Party

Among the more comical aspects of the drug war is the government's proclivity for creating what they no doubt feel are pretty snappy sounding names for the big operations being regularly undertaken and proclaimed as glorious "victories" in the war on drugs. The inanity of some of those operations (like the dragnet directed against internet glass vendors) deserves to be ridiculed in its own spotlight, so I'll take care of it in due course. For right now, I want to focus on a little operation of my own -- Operation Orange Pekoe.

One of the more important missing elements in the anti-drugwar movement is the use of coordinated publicity stunts. At the grass roots level, some good stuff is going on -- for example, Howard Wooldridge of LEAP is doing a coast to coast horseback ride spreading the message that "Cops say legalize drugs." Then there is Ed Forchion, the NJ Weedman -- a guy who has sadly enough had to pack it in due to a lack of support. Ed is simply an amazing guy and true American patriot -- unfortunately, he also publicly admits that he likes to use marijuana. Ed defends himself in court -- and wins! Ed has the courage of his convictions to the extent that he actually blazed up at the Liberty Bell one Fourth of July.

Unfortunately, there just aren't enough Ed Forchion's in the world, brave enough to take that kind of stand. But what if we could come up with a stunt that would be relatively "safe" to participate in, and was something that is almost guaranteed to get attention?

Operation Orange Pekoe

What I hope to do is create a new "Boston Tea Party." Orange Pekoe is a kind of tea (it's the stuff you find in any common tea bag) -- which when burned, just happens to smell a whole lot like the fake marijuana tablets that are used to teach people what burning marijuana smells like. Frankly, to me it just smells like burning leaves, but it fits the bill for getting attention in two big ways: it is tea, and you can roll it in a joint and smoke it in public where people will assume that it is the real deal. In some places, doing that can get you arrested -- good! When people get arrested for smoking tea, that is called "news" -- and getting attention is the name of the game.

Any large gathering of people will be a great opportunity to pull off Operation Orange Pekoe. So the Million Marijuana March at first glance seems like it would be a great place to do it. There is a minor problem with that idea, though: when people are marching specifically for marijuana legalization, it just doesn't get much attention (google for it yourself -- the media has no interest). Worse yet, people expect people to be arrested for pot at such events, so it may not be as effective as a neutral celebratory event where the focus is not on drugs and where there are a large number of people: something like the 4th of July.

I think the 4th of July is a perfect time to do this for two reasons: the symbolic value, and the fact that there will be a lot of people at such events -- and a lot of potential attention. Imagine being arrested on Independence Day by smoking tea in public in the name of your independence! If we pull it off, it will absolutely make the history books. I'll be doing it -- and I hope I get arrested for it.

Obviously, the more people who participate (and the more who face society's misplaced wrath for doing so), the better off we are. And the more publicity we get in advance, the better too. So start spreading the word, Operation Orange Pekoe has been officially launched as of Sep 8, 2005. Target date Jul 4, 2006 -- it's time for another tea party!