Class of: Classic & Horticulture Semester – S20140827 & H20140828
A. Why have you attended Oaksterdam?
I was extremely mad with the cannabis laws & perception in my country of origin, France. In Europe, the French people lead the way in cannabis consumption while they undergo the most prohibitive & rough laws. I enrolled at OU to give me more credibility to my cause in my country (cannabis legalization with control & regulation).
Today in France, the situation is terrible: we don’t have freedom of speech on cannabis, it’s highly illegal to promote or advocate for cannabis, even if you speak about medicinal use or harm reduction. It’s still forbidden to walk in the street wearing a cap or a tee-shirt which features a cannabis leaf. It’s especially a big racial issue; drug sentences are most often applied on minorities. Trafficking is getting big as well. Kids who do not go to school get killed over keeping drug territory and gang violence. In addition to suffering from medical conditions, patients must also suffer harsh and absurd court decisions.
It’s really hard to be an activist in France. Most people (especially the users) don’t want to talk openly about it because they are afraid to have any cannabis related charges. This is a taboo subject, a lot of French people use cannabis, but nobody wants to talk about it, so nothing is moving forward. The “Refers Madness” theories still remain in the media and in most people minds.
B. How has it helped or inspire you?
The OU team inspired me on the vision they have for the rebirth of hemp and cannabis industry. I learned a lot about the history and advocacy of cannabis, and realized that even a small group of well-organized people can change a lot for the community.
C. What would you tell prospective students?
That it was, for me, the most wonderful learning experience I’ve had, and that Oaksterdam has transformed me into a cannabis advocate for life! It was such a pleasure to be a part of this movement for this short period.
D. Can you tell us more about your plans?
Educating people on cannabis is now my life mission. After the first 3 months in Oakland, I went to Colorado for the same period. I am actually working on a Cannabis education Guest House project in Denver for the French & European audience who want to experiment Colorado regulations (for rec. users mainly but also for patients looking for solutions, organizations, medias & politics). My goal is to build bridges between our continents on a smart approach on marijuana while educating people with cannabis related activities.
But before everything else, my goal is to come back legally in the US to work back actively on this project. Denver Green Labs Co-working space & incubator has invited me and are helping me on this. So I hope it will work, and to see you there!