This Pack Of Weed Will Register You To Vote!

Introducing the Higher Ground Ballot Box

To celebrate National Voter Registration Week (Sept. 22nd – 28th), Higher Ground and Saints Joints has created The Ballot Box. The elegant voter pack contains a QR code that immediately registers voters, a mini version of the Bill of Rights, non-partisan information about voting and elections. It also includes five premium cannabis joints to help fire up voter activity in the democratic process.

“The Ballot Box is a new platform to spark engagement, and register new voters,” notes Higher Ground Editor-in-Chief Michael A. Stusser. “In addition to helping get out the vote in 2020, it will also put folks in a damn good mood till Election Day.”

Higher Ground TV has been using humorous viral videos and parodies to elevate the dialogue on cannabis culture, including Comedians in Cars Smoking Cannabis, and Profiles in Legal Cannabis. Their latest project is a joint effort with Saints Joints, an innovative marijuana company based in Seattle.

Saints Joints is one of the most successful cannabis brands in the country, collaborating with a variety of artists and musicians. Their hard-cased luxury boxes have highlighted artists such as the Bay Area’s Jeremy Fish in their Artist’s Series packs, a Tattoo Art Series featuring Jimbo Phillips , and a Limited Edition Pride Pack with proceeds benefiting Equal Rights organizations. Each specialty box is a limited edition similar to album covers, and creating a rock n’roll collect-‘em-all incentive.

“We see ourselves as leaders not only in the arena of legal cannabis, but as members of the mainstream community,” said Lawrence Perrigo, founder of Saints. “The collaboration with Higher Ground is our latest joint effort to raise awareness, and show how cannabis brands – and consumers – are doing more than getting high. We’re also highly engaged in the democratic process.”

Racial disparities in cannabis are also reflected in the current Black Lives Matter movement. “When we dreamed up this project, we never envisioned the incredible Black Lives Matter movement we are seeing,” notes Perrigo. “But as with so many issues, people of color are more negatively effected by the War on Drugs. Black people are four times more likely to be arrested for possession – even though whites and blacks use cannabis at the similar rates. People voting to make policy change in these areas is more important that ever.”

National Voter Registration Day is a nonpartisan civic holiday celebrating our democracy. First observed in 2012, it has quickly gained momentum ever since. Nearly 3 million voters have registered to vote on the holiday to date. The holiday has been endorsed by the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS), the National Association of State Election Directors (NASED), the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC), and the National Association of Election Officials (The Election Center).

“We thought it was important to include the Bill of Rights in our Ballot Box,” said Stusser, “because these individual rights weren’t originally included in the Constitution. Like the legalization of marijuana, the people had to push the government to allow it.” The Bill of Rights, of course, includes the first 10 amendments in the Constitution, including freedom of speech, religion and the press, the right to assemble, States rights, and due process.

Thirty-three states have legalized marijuana for medical use, and another eleven, plus the District of Columbia, have authorized recreational sales and consumption for adults. Thomas Jefferson argued in 1787 for the right to be free from warrantless search and seizures: “A bill of rights is what the people are entitled to against every government on earth, general or particular, and what no just government should refuse, or rest on inference.” While the Father of the Declaration wasn’t speaking of cannabis legalization at the time, his words ring true for activists supporting the movement.

The Ballot Box includes a special QR code that directs to the Cannabis Voter Project – and immediately registers individuals to vote. Established in 2018 as an initiative from HeadCount, the nonprofit and non-partisan Cannabis Voter Project is focused on educating, registering and turning out voters. HeadCount has registered half a million voters since 2004 at concerts and events. The Ballot Box link includes an easy-to-use online registration page and news to keep voters informed on election deadlines and voting locations.

Higher Ground explores and celebrates the elevated aspects of getting high. Founded during a revolutionary time of economic and spiritual transformation in the legalization movement, the brand documents and chronicles this incredible era in our history, and advocates for the legalization of cannabis (along with civil rights, gay rights, and human rights), and embraces the end of – yet another – prohibition.

Members of the abolitionist press, Higher Ground combines advocacy journalism with a sense of humor to bring the cannabis culture to the masses.


For more information, contact michael@michaelstusser.com

WATCH: Alexa And Siri Star In Hilarious New Parody.

Campaign Promotes the National Day of Unplugging 

What if, instead of answering every command, Siri and Alexa encouraged you to try and figure out a few things…yourself? That’s the premise of the humorous new parody which encourages us to rely less on our digital devices, and “Use It Or Lose It.” Award-winning filmmakers Michael Stusser and Marty Riemer (“Sleeping with Siri”) collaborated on the video to coincide with the National Day of Unplugging (March 1st).

“We wanted to do something fun to bring attention to the National Day of Unplugging,” notes Stusser. “I think the notion of having our “Smart Devices” push back a little bit – “Stop asking so many stupid questions!” is a crack-up. It’s the idea that, If you Google everything, you won’t remember anything.”

dayofunplugging

In the faux-commercial, a man (Stusser) is gently coaxed by his various Digital Assistants to try and use his own cognitive skills – so as to continue to sharpen his memory, math skills and sense of direction. The video pokes fun at how reliant we’ve all become on our newfangled smart “assistants” for even the most simple tasks, and warns of the potential for “digital dementia.”

“The main goal of these projects – tech timeouts and digital blackouts – is just to get people thinking about ways to find balance,” states journalist Stusser. “It’s fine to use Siri to call for reservations, or have Alexa order more toilet paper. But, every once in a while, calculate a tip on your own, or try and remember your Mom’s phone number. If you want to go really crazy – how about committing to a device-free dinner?!”

The filmmakers’ documentary “Sleeping with Siri” illustrated the importance of finding balance in an era of digital madness, and won a variety of film festival awards (including The American Documentary Film Festival, Big Easy, and Hollywood Film Fest).  After the success of the doc, the team created The Tech Timeout Academic Challenge, a program which asks young people to set aside their digital devices for up to a week in order to understand and appreciate concepts like using the library, playing board games, and finding your own way home. The program has been conducted in over 1,000 schools across the country, and is the basis for an upcoming follow-up documentary.

Journalist Michael A. Stusser has written for mental_floss, the New York Times, Village Voice and Seattle Weekly. His “Digital Madness”column appears in the Good Men Project. He is also the author of The Dead Guy Interviews (Penguin USA). Marty Riemer, who did the post-production and direction for the video, runs Twisted Scholar, an educational production company. The cinematographer for the “Use It Or Lose It” video is Mark Goodnow, of The Production Foundry.

“Use It Or Lose It” drops in advance of The National Day of Unplugging – which is on Friday, March 1st and 2nd. Now in its 10th year, this tech-free holiday consists of a 24 hour period from sundown to sundown, to unplug, unwind, relax and do things other than using technology, electronics, and social media. The idea is to disconnect (for a while) from digital devices, and connect with ourselves and our loved ones in real time. 

In the real world, of course, Siri and Alexa will not encourage you to unplug anything. Finding tech-free moments, digital blackouts and screen-free time will only come about by creating those moments for ourselves, one hour at a time, one day at a time. So, why not start now? Why not try the National Day of Unplugging? The mind is like a muscle: Use it… or lose it.

Texas Medicine and Railroad Gin: Lessons From Prohibition

By Michael A. Stusser

The 18th Amendment revoked the sales and use of alcohol in the United States in 1919. Shocking as it may seem that such an act could become law, the roots of Prohibition were complex (people were drinking too damn much canned heat) – and misguided. The government created a campaign to scare Americans about liquor with propaganda that looks shockingly similar to another era of prohibition – the one launched against marijuana use. (Not surprisingly, Americans continued boozing it up – through home distilleries making moonshine, private speakeasies, and mob-led bootlegging.)

highergtv logo

We’re highlighting the shared journey of alcohol and cannabis prohibition – because they’re retroactively such hilarious images – and we can learn many lessons from these historical documents as we continue to fight for the legalization (and decriminalization) of weed. Laws attempting to legislate morality and ban items that are not evil or against public welfare have never worked – but Bless ‘Em for Trying!

Here’s a look at some of the ways both Prohibition and Reefer Madness were marketed to the masses

"Medicinal Whiksky" and "MJ Medicine"

“Medicinal Whiksky” and “MJ Medicine”

Before Prohibition (as with cannabis), alcohol was frequently touted to help with various ailments. Here is a bottle of bonded “medicinal whiskey” labelled “for Medicinal Purposes Only.” Cannabis, of course, has been helping with chronic pain, stress, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, glaucoma, cancer and much more for centuries.

AntiSaloon
An “Anti-Saloon League” was formed to promote prohibition. (The group became popular with many inside the government after passage of the income tax amendment in 1913 – as they were no longer dependent on booze to fund operations.) This is from their newspaper, The American Issue, from Jan. 25, 1919.

Screenshot 2018-07-27 13.54.26While women were major backers of the early Temperance Campaigns, they also rallied for Repeal of Prohibition. Women are, of course, also leading the legalization movement and many are CEOs of prominent cannabis companies and organizations.

TemperanceAbuse
As early as 1871, the campaign against spirits had begun. Here is a Temperance illustration of a drunk man hitting his wife. Much of the prohibition propaganda was sold as a way to protect women and children from boozing hubbies and fathers coming home wasted from work, drinking his paycheck away and raising hell and havoc.

Screenshot 2018-07-27 13.59.15

Straight to the Point. The bottle or your best girl!

Screenshot 2018-07-27 14.03.05
Asking American to choose their country or their cocktail, posters like these advocated for Prohibition during World War I.

Screenshot 2018-07-27 14.06.39
A far cry from biblical verse (“Wine that gladdens human hearts, oil to make their faces shine, and bread that sustains their hearts”), firewater was eventually sold to the masses as dangerous, deadly rotgut.

ReeferMadnessMove
In 1936 the now infamous film Reefer Madness was released, warning Mom & Pops about the dangers of weed by showing a group of pot-smoking teenagers descending into a hellscape of murder, madness, suicide and violence after firing up a fatty. Yikes!

DavilsHarvest
Similar to the Prohibition propaganda attempting to scare wives about drunken husbands, this 1942 film used the Devil himself to put the fear of God into families.

Screenshot 2018-07-27 14.11.10
Like films such as Reefer Madness and Assassin of Youth, Marihuana attempted to scare the Bejesus out of the general public with absurd claims of cannabis leading to wild orgies (if only!), impregnation, heroin addiction and, yes, kidnapping. That’s some strong ganja!

prohibcelebration
PROHIBITION REPEALED! Oh Happy Day! By 1933, Americans had had more than enough prohibition, and public opposition had become overwhelming. First Congress passed an act legalizing beer and wine, and by December of 1933 Utah became the 36th State to ratify the 22nd Amendment – repealing the 18th (Prohibition) and restoring the sale and manufacture of alcohol.

Screenshot 2018-07-27 14.16.44And soon, we’ll have a National Celebration for the Legalization of Cannabis!

Author Michael Stusser is the host of Higher Ground, the World’s first talk show highlighting cannabis culture. Think of it as “The Daily Show” meets “Good Morning America”…but with a giant bong on the desk. For more on Higher Ground and host Michael Stusser, visit www.highergroundtv.com   or www.michaelstusser.com