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This is a song about Ben Masel
They tried to break him but he gave 'em hell

(sung to the tune Neil Young's My, My, Hey, Hey)

I know, not much of a song. He deserves better.

Just some bad rhyme, a light-hearted tribute, one I hope Ben would appreciate. That song does make me think of him though...for some reason. I guess it's the 'it's better to burn out than it is to rust' line. Describes him pretty well. Dude went out fighting. There is some video later of him protesting near the very end of his life. He left his deathbed at the hospital to protest for free speech. Think about that when you see him at the Wisconsin State House.

Ben was brilliant. Pity we can't all be, but we can at least look up to his example. He was a fighter for justice to the bitter end. A real hero.

He was kind (often) and was generous to a fault, as we say down South.

He was the only professional defendant I ever knew. He battled the system with their own laws and routinely kicked their asses. They was no flies on Mister Ben.

So again, sorry about the song business. I don't know where that came from. This ain't no real song.

This is a song (skip to the second vid if you just want to see Ben in action):

If there were a song about Ben Masel, it would have to mention his fight to legalize cannabis. He was a champion of the cause. He personified the legalization movement. He never gave in. He never wore out. He protested till he died.

After justice itself, his main cause was cannabis. Some don't see that as a noble cause but I do.

Cannabis is the perfect medicine for growing old. Making it available to an old person or a person in pain is a compassionate act. As was fighting for a lifetime to legalize it, as Ben Masel did.

I admit that the first time I heard the term 'medical marijuana', I thought, what a clever scam. What a great back-door attack on the system that forbids marijuana. I was all for it of course. I always knew it was harmless and that a lot of people found it helpful. Just as I have known all along that it's not for everyone.

But as far as medicine goes, it took me a while to see that as clearly as I do today from my oldster perch. I get it now. There's no better medicine for growing old. The aches and pains, the heartless system, the needless worry. It's good to find relief – of course it's wise to balance that with right action.

To make proper use of it requires maturity IMO (not that I'm a nut about it). It is in the end, for most people, pretty harmless stuff. And what's better, for many it is true medicine. It has the quality of curing what ails you. If it doesn't make it go away, it'll make you feel better about it. That's quite a gift for many. For adults, it should be perfectly legal - as it is in the process of becoming, starting with Washington and Colorado and moving forward from there. Should have happened a long time ago.

Many medical properties of cannabis are now well known, and we are learning more all the time. There are promising anti-cancer properties being discussed in the literature.

It certainly makes life less painful. And the more aware you are, the more painful life can be, existentially speaking. Add existential angst to aging, or the gradual breakdown of the sentient organism, the living and dying organism, and you have a formula for one helluva ride. It's good, in this overwhelming age, to find a natural way of easing the angst a bit, to significantly relieve the pain, both physical and psychic. It's just what the doctor ordered if'n you ask me. YMMV. It ain't for everybody. Use good judgment.

And it's not just for aging. It is, for many who suffer from various and sundrie, a natural and harmless way to relieve suffering. If they could have given me cannabis when I was in the hospital, I'd never have od'ed on dilaudid and come so close to buying the farm. Just a tray of magic brownies to be eaten as required, would have served me so much better (though I don't mind admitting I might want some of the other too in that extreme circumstance, but it wouldn't take nearly as much). No wonder Big Pharma don't like it.

My friends who medicate with cannabis tell me they don't feel in the least divorced from reality. They just feel better able to cope with it. There are different kinds, different strains or phenotypes of cannabis, that produce differing effects. There's creative weed and sleepy time weed. There is certainly weed that will stun you under certain circumstances and for brief periods of time – but serious events (emergencies needing responding to, for example) cause a near immediate and total come down. So you rarely are so far gone that you suffer for it. You are able to do anything within your normal abilities. There are exceptions of course. Especially when eating it. It's possible to get much higher eating it than you ever will smoking or vaporizing it. Dosing is more of a concern when ingesting. Again, good judgment is key.

Much of the acceptance we see of the medical cannabis movement and the legalization movement as a whole can be traced back to the tireless work of Ben Masel. Thanks Ben. The world's a better place because of you.


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