Sidewalk Ghosts / Interview 482: An Agent Of Change”

  “I became some sort of pot hero, like Cheech and Chong, Willy Nelson, Snoop Dog.” —Richard

_64A0739We are all in the thing together. A statement that is at the cornerstone of Operation-365s point-of-view: The grounding foundation that moves us to look at each other in the basic acceptance of inhabiting a shared planet. Every single one of us is built of basically the same DNA structure. Our blood runs the same red, our lungs require the same 02, and every one of us is subject to world’s plagues and disease.

The scientific and medical communities spend millions of dollars and mind power studying petri dishes, case studies and innovation new forms of treatments and medications.

From Herbology to radical and evasive procedures, the list of working and unsure cures is daunting. That, blended to bottom line profit of the pharmaceutical companies and of modern legislation blur the line between real and fabricated, leaving many a hurting person to feel as is a pawn on a chessboard of unimaginable scale.

Some of us sit patiently, quietly involved in awareness and throwing our votes and actions where it counts. Others protest loudly at levels the decibel of roaring lions. But for both, the combined outcome can be remarkable and impactful in facilitating change. Whether for better or worse, well I guess that will always remain a matter of circumstance and popular opinion; and yes, sadly at times, the side with the deepest pocketbooks result as the victor. But for those who stand strong in their beliefs. Those who have the stamina to stand true to their point-of-view with conviction, passion and compassion; Those of who are willing to bravely look into the eyes of the storm and proclaim, “This is how I see it. Hear me!”

Today we meet one such beacon to the passion of a cause.

_64A0743“A little plant named Marijuana saved my life,” Richard begins with unstoppable zeal, “…living with Aids for 20 years, and many friends of mine living with Cancer, Glaucoma, MS and 6000 illnesses across this nation. Marching from a little humble place in West Hollywood and San Francisco, across 22 states and the District of Columbia, and being in the room with two presidents, one that inhaled and one that didn’t. My name is Richard Eastman, I’m honored that you took my picture, and it’s all about freedom for Marijuana, freedom for the people, freedom for the planet.”

Y_64A0756es, Richard is on the front lines of one of the hottest legislative, religious and social topics in the county: The legalization of Marijuana. But looking deeper into his message his ambassadorship digs much deeper, into the very right to choose–that undeniable commonality that we are all equally human. Summed up in Richards favorite word, “Freedom!”

“We need more freedom, not just freedom for our planet. We need freedom to express your mind, to occupy this planet. Freedom to have food, freedom to have a place to live, freedom to work, freedom to just enjoy life on a planet called Earth that’s spinning around in the atmosphere with an untold amount of planets that we are just discovering, and the fact have a Cannabinoid ( in us that is in a plant that’s been on this planet longer than man. Putting the handcuffs on it. To put people in jail because of their skin color was unjust not only to me, but to Mother Nature.

Who is our worst terrorist? Not Osama Bin Laden. Mother Nature, earthquakes, storms, tornadoes, you know, to put a handcuff on a plant. To put a handcuff on the people, was to destroy the planet.”

Calling Mother Nature a terrorist, at first, is a claim that I find uncomfortable to stomach. But in respect to Richard I take a second look at his comparison. I settle down and as I do a clear view opens. Richard is telling us this. He calls them handcuffs, and yes, he is relating it to the plant called Marijuana. Or is he?

Maybe I’m justifying a perspective, maybe I’m not. But as I see it, I’ll look at the terrorist reference as a call to action. What I mean is this. The Earth has immense power. As Richard mentioned: Earthquakes, storms and tornadoes. She is unstoppable. Her ability to destroy is as real as her gift of beauty in immeasurable. That as we try to legislate her, to control her, to manipulate her, that in some way we are setting ourselves up for her repercussions. Not that she is a maiden with an unjust hunger for retribution, but an injured beauty doing what she needs in order to halt her attackers.

I know, your possible thinking, “what a poetic reach Mr. Radstone, where talking about pot here?” Well again, are we?


Now, back to pot, and Richard’s history. “’Many years ago High Times Magazine called me the ‘Green Lantern.’ The real Green Lantern, and in the 40 year history of that magazine, and this Lions Lair (where Richard and have met); over 40 years, and me, just a hippy from San Francisco that’s 61 years young. I’ve been smoking Marijuana 51 years. I started when they killed my president, John F. Kennedy; and then I grew up to be a hippy in San Francisco, and I saved the Hollywood sign and I grew up gay and knew Harvey Milk and I knew Dennis Peron and almost died from Aids, and then I was called upon to open a Marijuana shop, I did, and in LA there were more than 1000 of them; more than Starbucks. So you can imagine if I did this for money, I would be one of the wealthiest people on this planet. But no, I’m just an agent of change. Like the president said, ‘we are all agents of change, and there is no luck’ He said, ‘there is no luck.’

“’Ultimately, whether people think I am from another planet, or just some guy that fell into the pawn game of life and the chessboard of the United States Government, and the illness called Aids. Well, aids didn’t kill me, the government didn’t kill me, and ultimately I didn’t jump off the roof and kill myself; because my mission isn’t done. When it is done’”, he starts to sing,break on through to the other side… nobody gets out alive!!!’ Jim Morrison, nice to do this little interview with you.’”


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