On Saturday, September 12, the Jay and Randolph County Cannabis Coalition held a rally at the corner of Washington and Main Street in Winchester to support their efforts to reform laws that criminalize Cannabis and Marijuana. On Friday, Marijuana activist “420 Jim” parked his “Cannabus 2” at the corner, where it remained until the end of the rally. Jim has been traveling all over the country over the last several years getting signatures for his petition to legalize marijuana at the federal level. “When people donate, I let them tag my motor home. I educate on cannabis and hemp. I tell people to please to go my website and sign the petition. If they really, really, really want to get these laws changed,” states Jim. 

420 Jim is a man of many words and will share his passion for marijuana legalization with anyone that will listen. “I changed my legal name to ‘420 Jim’,” he told me showing me his driver’s license that indeed did say “420 Jim.” The ‘cannabus’ and t-shirts that he sells and wears feature two crosses, a green one that says “marijuana heals” and a red one that says “alcohol kills.” The green cross was used because it is used by medical marijuana dispensaries in states where it is legal. Red was used on the alcohol cross as a way to encourage people to stop using alcohol. Alcohol has led to several negative events in Jim’s life, including his mother being murdered at a party involving alcohol. “This would be a beautiful planet if, back in the day, things would have been reversed and they had gotten rid of alcohol and kept marijuana,” said Jim. “My mom was murdered in the 1990’s in Sarasota, Florida at an alcohol party attended by four people. We could have had 4000 pot heads at a party and that would have never happened. You don’t see much violence in Cheech and Chong movies,” he explained.

“I mean no disrespect to religion by the use of a cross. “I’m a Christafarian, half Rastafarian, half Christian. I have read the Christian Bible, and the Hebrew Bible. God gave us Cannabis. According to the Hebrew Bible, it is the third ingredient in anointing oil,” he states.

The rally was organized by Katherine Kritsch of Union City, in conjunction with the Indiana chapter of NORML (National Organization to Reform Marijuana Laws). Her son, Korey, died at the age of 27 from a Fentanyl overdose. He was prescribed Adderall at a young age which lead to an addiction that lead to further drug use and eventual incarceration. In jail, her son learned from more seasoned drug users what to take to make him feel better. “Many of the pharmaceuticals that are prescribed are highly addictive and as the body develops a tolerance, require higher doses to be effective,” states Kritsch. “Cannabis can be used to treat a number of conditions, is much less addictive, and has fewer side-effects than many of the drugs currently being used to treat these conditions,” she explains. “If I’d had the knowledge I have now when Korey was diagnosed, I would never have agreed to the Adderall treatment.

33 States have approved the sale of marijuana, including our neighbors in Illinois and Michigan. Both of these neighboring States have a lower rate of overdose deaths than Indiana. A 2014 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that states that allow medical marijuana undergo a significant reduction in mortality from opioid abuse than states that do not.

The JRCCC believes that there are many in Indiana that are suffering from numerous conditions that would greatly benefit from the legal use of cannabis. Their goal is to change the current laws to legalize the use of cannabis to help alleviate the suffering of these individuals.