76 | Bill Hill, Smoke Out A Republican

“It’s very hard to stay actively sort of, joyfully racist, which is a big part of being a Republican, in many cases, is sort of enthusiastic, self satisfied racism. All of that falls apart, when you reach a certain threshold of using cannabis and your mind kind of escapes those terrible things.”

— Bill Hill

We’re politically polarized, and a meme never changed anyone’s mind. That’s why former Republican Bill Hill has launched Smoke Out A Republican (SOAR), a national effort to connect with  Republicans, one at a time, with the mind-altering help of cannabis.  Listen and learn why:

  • Racism has become a plank in the Republican Party platform.
  • Questioning the beliefs you were raised on can be uncomfortable, but cannabis can make it easier to be honest with yourself.
  • There are varying levels of getting high, and why, to really see things differently, you need to get four-bananas high.
  • Bill favors sativas and sativa hybrids like Wedding Cake, Bruce Banner and Lamb’s Breath
  • What you can do to help Republicans see the light.

You can follow SOAR on Twitter, and visit the blog here.

Transcript of Kannaboom Podcast with Bill Hill, Smoke Out A Republican

Copyright 2021 © Kannaboom

Kannaboom 0:00

Hey, and welcome back to the Kannaboom podcast. This episode is a little different. It's a little crazy because we get political. And in general, I have tried to avoid politicizing the podcast. It's really about wellness and how cannabis can help you be more well. But these aren't normal times. We are more polarized than we've ever been. And in trying to weigh whether I would be alienating half the audience I thought it through, I came across a quote from President John F. Kennedy, who said, "The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in times of great moral crisis, maintain their neutrality." I don't know about you, I'm not up for inhabiting the hottest place in hell. So I thought we would give a soapbox to our guest Bill Hill who has started an organization called Smoke Out a Republican. Maybe Republicans don't want to be smoked out. But Bill's idea is to sit down and smoke a joint with someone and maybe it can help open their minds. So give a listen. I think you might enjoy the episode. There's a lot of good stuff in it. If you like the podcast, please subscribe at Apple podcast or Stitcher or your favorite podcast player. And please leave a review so other people can find the show. If you like the episode, I hope you'll share it with your friends, so they can be enlightened as well. And here's my interview with Bill Hill. Cannabis is booming, and Kannaboom is on it. Welcome to the Kannaboom podcast where we interview experts on the changing story of humans, health and hemp from San Diego, here's your host, Tom Stacey. It's Tom, welcome back to the Kannaboom Podcast. Today we have Bill Hill of Smoke Out a Republican Hey, Bill.

Bill Hill 1:32

Hey, how are you? Really good.

Kannaboom 1:33

Really good, how are you doing?

Bill Hill 1:34

Doing? Great. Thanks for having me.

Kannaboom 1:35

You are back east, right?

Bill Hill 1:36

Yep, I'm in the DC area.

Kannaboom 1:38

Oh, okay, the hotspot.

Bill Hill 1:40

Something like that.

Kannaboom 1:41

Lots going on back there. Um, as we record this, today is a very big day as the second impeachment trial begins.

Bill Hill 1:48

Yes, it is. Indeed, we're a couple of hours away from the start of what's going to be a long and messy process, but a very necessary one and hopefully one that will have a good outcome will say.

Kannaboom 1:57

Well tell us about Smoke Out a Republican. When did you start and what's your mission? And how's it going?

Bill Hill 2:03

Yeah, so we actually started right after Donald Trump was elected in 2016. But the experience of being a smoked out republican and therefore a former Republican, thanks to cannabis started for me anyway, 20 something years ago, because I was raised a Republican, very conservative one. And then in my early 20s, I tried cannabis. And after a couple of times, I kind of went, 'Oh, my God. I've been totally wrong my whole life about the way the world should work.' And basically, thanks to cannabis, I realized that everyone is a person. It's a very basic simple idea for people who are not raised Republican. But for Republicans. It's a, like a earth shattering revelation to realize like, oh, wait a minute, everybody's the same as me. Everybody deserves to be happy, just like I do. I'm not better than anyone. And once I saw that, and once people generally see that, you know, I couldn't go back to being a Republican. So as the country has descended into this terrible partisan insanity, and especially when Trump was elected, I decided it's time to spread the word. So we started in 2016. And it was pretty small, pretty local. We were doing some, you know, just talking to friends and acquaintances and doing some stickering out in public with our logo. The smoked out elephant. But then, about a year ago, actually on April 17, I think last year, we decided to go digital. So we've got a website, SmokeOutARepublican dot com, and we're on Twitter at Smoke Out A Repub1. And the goal really, is to let people know, first of all, that this works, this is a way to open people's eyes, that cannabis really does wake people up. And I think people know that. But generally speaking, Republicans aren't the ones that are most likely to try cannabis. So what we want to do this year is to get 1 million Republicans to try cannabis. And the thinking is that, like me, many of them will wake up, at least enough to say, 'Oh, my God, I've been living this terrible, this terrible, immoral way of seeing the world, and I need to change.' Not everyone will do that. Certainly. But as many as can do that , we should give them that opportunity.

Kannaboom 4:25

Wow, that's a lofty goal. And do you have sort of a methodology? Say, I want to raise my hand and say, yeah, I'm up for this.

Bill Hill 4:32

It's a great question. Well, the first thing we need to do is make sure that we don't spread the virus. You know, I considered waiting until COVID was completely passed to really start pushing this because what I don't want to do is have people break quarantine or, you know, get together with people and not be vaccinated. So that really if you're hearing this and you want to do it, please wait until you're vaccinated and whoever you're going to sit with and smoke with, they're also vaccinated or maybe do it over Zoom. That's also a possibility. But once we're all vaccinated, what we want everybody to do is think the first thing you do is think about, like, who might you do this with? You know, is it? Do you know somebody who's a conservative or Republican, that you have a relationship with, you know, somebody who's a friend or a colleague, a co worker, maybe somebody in your family, maybe your boyfriend, or girlfriend or husband or wife? Or if you have adult children, maybe your kids? Not underage kids, we don't advocate breaking any laws at all. But think about who might be interested. And a good way to sort of decide who that might be is, you know, does someone have interests that are creative interests, or curiosity interests? So are they into lots of different kinds of music? Do they like art? Do they like movies, maybe like they like to draw. Maybe they're interested in, you know, exploring other cultures or other religions, any opening to seeing the world in more than one way or to being creative and artistic, people like that have the capacity to be interested in and enjoy and appreciate new experiences. And that really is what's what's important and necessary to find people that are going to be into this, and for whom this is going to work. And once you've thought of those people, then you just sort of say, 'Hey, listen, I know you don't smoke or use cannabis. But you know, that I do. And I liked it. And I thought, you know, do you want to try it?' It's not a pressure thing. And you certainly don't want to say like, 'Hey, you should stop being a Republican, smoke this,' that's not gonna work. So it's, it's very much just like reaching out to people that maybe you wouldn't have reached out to before. And then inviting them to do it. And if they do it, and if they like it, great. Invite them to do it again. And there's, there's sort of more to it. There's a process that follows that, of course, but it's really just thinking of people that could be interested, inviting them to share it with you, in a safe way. And then just seeing where it goes.

Kannaboom 7:05

That's really interesting. So it's sort of a mind expansion concept. Have you used this in your own life? Has it worked for you?

Bill Hill 7:11

I have, I definitely have. So for me, personally, with friends with significant others. It has worked. And one of my favorite stories is my partner now when we first started dating, hadn't really smoked before. Or she had a little bit but hadn't really, you know, gotten high. And then I smoked with her. And I remember we were listening to the Beatles, and Strawberry Fields Forever came on and she went, 'Oh, now I get the Beatles.' And I was like, 'Yeah, okay, yeah. See, that's how it works.' So there is that opening of the mind that happens. But historically, it worked, too. I mean, if you look at the 1960s the people that were so many of the people that ended up you know, at Woodstock or wearing tie dye or whatever, the hippies, they started off as people with buzz cuts or horn rimmed glasses, you know, wearing neckties or poodle skirts. And they ended up you know, liberated from that sort of square lifestyle. And a lot of that had to do with cannabis later with LSD, but initially, with cannabis. So it is, the liberating potential of it is tremendous. And I think the difference between now and like back in the 60s, is that because of the growth of recreational cannabis, and sort of cannabis culture, it's become much more about a cultivated personal experience, and less about a communal experience that's mind expanding. But the potential for mind expansion, as you said, is very much there. And the potential for bringing people together that otherwise would be very separate, like Republicans and non Republicans. That potential is there, and we want people to sort of seize that potential.

Kannaboom 9:02

Well, that's a good point. And I think historically, it's always been, you know, Nixon hated people who consumed marijuana. He wanted to kick John Lennon out of the country, and he lumped black people and cannabis smokers together as kind of undesirables. Right?

Bill Hill 9:17

Oh, yeah. And that goes way back to the 30s. And even before I mean, the original prohibition against marijuana consumption, you know, dates back to the 30s. And it was associated with Mexicans or you know, that old word Negroes or whatever it is, and I'm a white person, so I acknowledge that, that that's a word that may not be right for me to use and so for those who may take offense of that, I do apologize and I won't use it again here. But it's definitely there's a lot of racism built into cannabis prohibition. And it's been taken advantage of by politicians and so Ronald Reagan would be another good example. You know, the war on drugs. Listed cannabis with cocaine and heroin and all these other what I call 'kill-you drugs,' real drugs, if you will. And that's an absurd association. So there's definitely in the mind of Republicans. And on our website, SmokeOutARepublican.com. I've got a blog post about this recently called Republicans, the Anti Stoners. And it gets into a little bit of why Republican leaders and Republican culture hate marijuana so much. And I think it has to do with a lot of myths. But it also has to do with a fear, maybe it's an unconscious fear, a fear of what cannabis really does, the good thing that it does, which is wake people up, because it's very hard to continue to believe in, you know, policies that help the rich over the poor, or policies that exclude immigrants just because they're from, you know, the other side of a border and imaginary line. It's very hard to stay actively sort of, joyfully racist, which is a big part of being a Republican, in many cases, is sort of enthusiastic, self satisfied racism. All of that falls apart, when you reach a certain threshold of using cannabis and your mind kind of escapes those terrible things. And I don't think that Republican elected officials or cultural leaders want that to happen, especially among the youth, because they want people to stay in their fold. But cannabis liberates people. And so it's very threatening to those established power structures.

Kannaboom 11:27

You put your finger on a couple things there. One is there's sort of an atavistic tendency, I think, for Republicans to want to roll things back to the 1950s to like this Ozzie and Harriet sort of Eisenhower era, where people didn't smoke cannabis and women stayed at home and cooked and cleaned. And there was a middle class, which there isn't much anymore. Do you see that?

Bill Hill 11:49

Definitely. And that worldview is now and was then a myth. You know, the 50s, the white sort of Ozzie and Harriet or Father Knows Best, right? That kind of worldview. It didn't really exist. I mean, those households were, the adults in those households were often World War II veterans, a lot of whom were PTSD and alcoholic and violent. The women were subjected to domestic control. And, you know, a lot of them didn't work. And it was a very repressive environment for anyone who might have been gay. It was highly militarized. It was the Cold War, there was a deep Red Scare going on. People in Hollywood were getting blacklisted for being communists. And of course, segregation was real. It was pre Brown versus Board, it was pre Civil Rights Act, pre Martin Luther King. But what's very interesting is that in the 1950s, you also had you like the beatnik generation, right. And you had poets that were coming out of the post World War II experience, and creating the counterculture that then in the 1960s, exploded across the country and across the world. And cannabis actually was a huge part of that, you know, you might have called it tea or grass. And actually, it started even earlier with like the jazz movement, and that sort of part of the world. And so the cannabis has always been there as an undercurrent. And Republicans do want to return to this sort of imagined earlier time where everything was perfect. But it was, if it was perfect for anyone, it was perfect for a very small slice of people. And it was really bad for everybody else. So that's not something that we would recommend.

Kannaboom 13:45

Right? And I mean, times have evolved since then. The world is more complex. We have the Internet and all that stuff. We're networked in new ways. But if you look at it, sort of from an anthropological view, would you say Republicans are stuck at a certain stage of development in cannabis might help budge them off that?

Bill Hill 14:03

I don't know if it's a stage of development, but I do think it's a worldview that has very serious limitations. It's impossible. Well, let me put it this way. It's not adaptive, it's maladaptive to see most of the members of your species as not members of your species. You know, I think it's fair to say that, you know, the tremendous inequality in this country, and the crime and disease and deprivation and lack of opportunity that come from that economic inequality, or racist, racism based inequality are toxic. Those are terrible things that should not exist. And they're not good for anybody. Whether it's the victims of those things, or the Republicans who live in fear or, you know, see their own hatred justified in the world around them. That's maladaptive. I mean, you know, human beings are social animals, we should be working together. And things work better when we do that cannabis breaks down the artificial divisions that for whatever reasons Republicans see in the world, because they are really imaginary. I mean, part of the way that I see the world is that there is only one group. And it's called everybody, and that any other ethnicities or or nationalities or sexualities, or anything that you might use to separate yourself from people, or to put yourself above other people are just fantasies, they're just kind of historical accidents that you happen to believe in, because you were trained into it. And that your training is usually a result of an accident of birth, right. And religion is similar, although I'm totally fine with whatever religion anybody wants to be. But I think a major tendency among Republicans from an also, you know, an anthropological or sociological perspective, is to just really deeply believe whatever they grew up believing. In fact, that's a huge part of the identity, it's like, this is my heritage, this is my culture, you know, I was raised this way. And that's actually potentially a really bad thing. Just because that's the way you were taught does not make it right. There's an independent thought process that everyone needs to do to ask themselves, well, is what I believe good. Is this good for me? Is it good for the world? Did my parents actually teach me something good? Or did they just teach me what they thought? Because that's just what people usually do? And is this terrible? That's certainly what I went through. And it's very jarring to question yourself and question your worldview and question the culture you're a part of, and then to reject it. And that's a tough, brave thing to do. But that's why cannabis, I think, is really important, because it lubricates that process, it makes it easier to be honest with yourself, and to be critical of the world around you. And to then reach the conclusions that naturally come from that self examination.

Kannaboom 17:08

Well, that can be a scary moment, too, when you do question some of your basic assumptions. And, you know, it seems to me that some of what you're saying is tribal based, it's like an opportunity to move off of a foundation of tribalism and into something more like a universalism.

Bill Hill 17:23

Totally, totally, you know, it's, we tend to think that the world has changed a lot, and that we're in this very modern period. But unfortunately, I do think that, you know, as long as we still believe in even just countries, you know, my position is that countries are completely imaginary. They always have been that there isn't a difference. You know, that the land is what's real, right? Things you can touch are real, and things that are just ideas in your head, don't deserve to be treated that real if they're going to be destructive. So yeah, the tribalism has gone to the scale of international law and militaries, and nuclear weapons and everything. And it's all just kind of crazy nonsense. It's a play that we're all acting in that we were all just born into the third act of and like, no one's thinking about the fact that it's just a made up like kabuki theater. So cannabis can kind of snap you out of that. And I think it's really important. But you're right, it is really frightening. There's another post we did on our website about, you know, How high do you need to get to stop being a Republican? And we use, we use this thing we've made up called the banana scale. So you're gonna go bananas, right? And basically, one banana is like, well, I'm eating chips, and two bananas high is like we're giggling. Three bananas high, is this sort of like, 'Hey, man, did you ever think about... level, and four bananas high is where you're actually in this space where you can like, either have an interesting revelation or have a total freakout. And so yeah, it's a weird, jarring situation. But it's one that I think if you're with good friends, and people who care about you, you can sort of get through it in a positive way. And think of it as a good experience and something interesting that you want to pursue again, and that's why we want people that's why we're not saying, 'Hey, Republicans go try pot.' We're saying, 'Hey, people who like cannabis, go reach out to Republicans, because it's important to do it together with someone who's experienced and who likes you and can support you through it.'

Kannaboom 19:29

How about the question of there are Republicans who do smoke weed in and haven't yet awoken?

Bill Hill 19:35

Yeah, that's a great question. I think a lot of those folks are one banana, or two banana smokers. And that when they occasionally peek through to three bananas, and you know, say for example, because this happened to me, I was a Republican who smoked pot before I stopped being a Republican, right. You know, I would get high and then it would wear off and I'd go right back to being racist and terrible. So you have to reach a certain level. And then you have to kind of embrace that level. So I'll give you an example. I had a really good friend in college, who was a Republican like me. And I was starting at that point to have these kinds of, quote unquote, deep thoughts, you know, that can be a little jarring. And self reflections can be like, 'Whoa, wait a minute, I don't want to question my religion, or I don't want to be a communist or whatever. I've been taught that that's terrible.' I'm gonna, I'm kind of freaking out. And she and I were talking about this once, and I was starting to actually kind of embrace those experiences and say, yeah, this is scary, but like, I'm going to pursue it. It's interesting, like, maybe it's gonna show me something cool. And I asked her about it. And she was like, 'Yeah, I don't, I don't like those deep thoughts. I like to back away from those, those kind of scare me, I avoid those.' So I think that Republicans who smoke weed, you know, if they smoke enough of it, they're gonna kind of encounter those moments of potential, you know, great leaps of revelation, or enlightenment, or even just interesting thoughts. But it can be kind of scary. And I think a lot of Republicans back away from that. Because a big part of being Republican is not self examining. It's avoiding questioning yourself. And actually, the Republican culture is all about not, you know, sort of crossing that line, not questioning what you believe in. And if you do that, you're a weirdo, or you're to be rejected. The other problem, I think, is that if you're smoking with friends, and you get high enough to where you're like, 'Hey, guys, did you ever think about like, whatever?' There's a decent chance that your friends are not having that same thought, and they're gonna make fun of you. You know, there's a social pressure element to this. That if you're the one person who's like, 'Wait a minute, guys, what about this?' And you get made fun of or ostracized, you're probably not going to stick with that line of thinking, you're going to say, 'Well, okay, you know, I won't fit in if I do that.' So between the internalized cultural pressure, and the external social pressure, it can be very difficult for someone who has that thought to pursue it. But I think for the most part, Republicans who smoke pot are like most people who smoke pot, which is they just like to eat chips and watch TV and laugh. And that's totally cool. I like that too. But that's not enough. There needs to be a deeper exploration in that.

Kannaboom 22:24

So what you're advocating is to kind of show up as a, as a support person, create a safe space for kind of divergent thoughts, and then maybe even be the catalyst that spurs those thoughts?

Bill Hill 22:35

Very much so, yeah. And I think, yeah, very well said.

Kannaboom 22:40

We all know, Republicans who will, up and down, deny that they have a racist bone in their body. That's not what it's about. It's, you know, fiscal responsibility and blah, blah, blah. But I, you know, what we've seen in the last few years, I think, to a lot of objective observers, would put the lie to that.

Bill Hill 23:00

Totally. I mean, no one wants to say, or very few people want to say 'I'm racist,' right? That's, you can't get that result out of a poll. You know, there will never be a CNN poll that says 95% of white people admit that they're racist, like, that's not going to happen, at least not anytime soon. It'd be really cool if it would. But the thing about cannabis is, it kind of guides you into that revelation, it guides you into that acknowledgement. It opens up your willingness to be honest with yourself. And it helps you think differently about your own experiences and memories. So you may, for example, when you're hanging out and you're good and stoned, think like, 'Wait a minute, that one time when I said that thing to that person was I, you know, it was a black person, was I being they seemed upset, like maybe something I said was wrong.' Or you might think this is a thought that I had because I was very anti affirmative action. This was 20 years ago. I remember thinking, "Wait a minute, wait a minute. Slavery created a deeply unequal social situation. So maybe it is fair to give the descendants of slaves, some compensatory support.' Oh, okay. Now I get it. And nobody telling me that would have ever had that effect. That's the thing. What we don't want people to do is go to their Republican friends and say, 'Hey, man, you should stop being Republicans, smoke this.' That's not gonna work, right. It's much more of letting the cannabis do the work, if that makes sense.

Kannaboom 24:38

Sure, so it's subtle. You're not telling them that of your motive. You're kind of in stealth mode. And I mean, the example you just gave, yeah, if you're high, you might have a glimmer that yeah, this is a multi generational thing that is being worked out. It's a different thought than you might have if you weren't high.

Bill Hill 24:56

Totally. It's it's you know, anyone who smokes knows that when you get high for real, not just when you get like, a little bit, whatever chilled out, but when you when you shift into that other mode of perception, which when it first happens is totally bizarre and it's not what you expected. And it can't really be described to someone who's never done it before. But when you shift into that other worldview, you do see things quite differently. Not literally, I mean, it's not a hallucinogen. But like you're you think about things differently. I will say, though, that we're not, I'm not recommending that anybody be tricked, or that motives be hidden. I would, I would say a little differently. I would say that, if you're reaching out to someone, and inviting them to try cannabis, be honest about the fact that you think they would like this experience, you know, that you think that cannabis, they might like the way cannabis makes them feel they might like the way cannabis makes them think. Because ultimately, if someone tries it and doesn't like it, or they get to that sort of four banana stage, and they're like, ah, and they, they don't like it, and they don't want to do it anymore. That's fine. That's fine. All we're saying is for, you know, for people who understand and appreciate the experience of cannabis, to just make, make it available and have a friendly invitation to your Republican friends, and a lot of Republicans aren't going to want to do it at all, that's fine. A lot of Republicans are going to try it, and it's not really gonna be their thing. That's fine, too. Don't push and don't fight and don't argue. But for those who do like it, and who do have those interesting thoughts, supporting, encouraging, guiding, is really, really, really essential.

Kannaboom 26:44

It's almost like having a guide, a Sherpa along the way. Because, you know, we all know, for some people getting four bananas high is a trigger for anxiety and paranoia. And it's a very, it can be an uncomfortable place, if you're not with a friend.

Bill Hill 27:00

Very true. I went through some pretty serious freak outs, right? And the good news is they wear off. I just posted on Twitter a video the other day of a very nice woman who's in front of a beautiful cornfield or something, and it sort of the video is like, 'So you got too high, you're gonna be fine.' And she kind of talks you through it. And it's important to have somebody like that. Because yeah, it's an unstable situation. It's a creative, unstable situation, but you're introducing something to your brain. That is an accelerant. Right? It's sort of like stepping on the gas. And if you don't steer carefully, you can run off the road. The good news is that nobody dies from pot, and you know, you're not going to do any permanent damage. You're not going to end up like panhandling on the street, like some crazy acid bum, or whatever the stereotype is supposed to be. That doesn't happen. That's the good news. The bad news is that when somebody has a bad experience, and they do happen, if they're alone, or if they're being made fun of that's the other thing, sometimes somebody has a freakout, and their friends are really not nice about it at all, then it's going to really turn them off to the experience. But what's actually I think, very interesting is that those moments of paranoia, or freak outs come from a very important and interesting place. Because what a paranoid freak out really is, at its bottom is the wrong realization that the world is really bad in some way, like the cops are coming. They're not but you suddenly think they are, or everyone hates you. They don't, but you suddenly think that everyone does. And the reason it's scary, the reason you get paranoid and freaked out, is that it seems very real, all of a sudden, that your whole way of seeing the world has now shifted. And it's, it's you're very certain that this is the way the world is, well, I don't think that's good. That's scary and crappy. But what I do think is good, is that it shows that the human mind has the ability to switch its ideas about the way the world works, to switch them very suddenly. And to believe the new worldview very deeply. That can be bad, you can be delusional, right? You know, the cops are not coming, right? But you can be very sure they are, but they're not. But what's interesting is the plasticity, the ability of the human mind to change the way it sees the world. That is the very thing that allows you to stop being a Republican. And that's what allows you to change the way you see the world. And so it's a very fertile, potentially good thing, but you have to be, you know, you have to work through the scary stuff.

Kannaboom 29:45

This is why Nixon hated cannabis.

Bill Hill 29:48

That's, I mean, that's one of the reasons I wouldn't be shocked if in the 50s, you know, he puffed on the devil's lettuce and was like, 'Oh, I don't like this at all.'

Kannaboom 29:56

Kind of a classic scenario with Republicanism is when it happens to a Republican, they can change their mind. For instance, Dick Cheney, very anti gay for decades, and then his daughter comes out and he flips. In that way, maybe cannabis can be a life changer. It can, as you've been talking about, open your mind and allow you to see things in a new way.

Bill Hill 30:21

It absolutely can. And I think culturally, that can happen too. Because just like Dick Cheney, you know, the country over the last 15 or 20 years shifted from being very anti marriage equality and seeing gayness as this heinous thing. To most Americans, you know, just saying like, 'Okay, right, like, fine, if you want to get married, great, I acknowledge that gay people are human,' which is absurd that that wasn't there in the first place. There are lots of historical reasons for it, none of them very good at all. But it happened. And I think a lot of it had to do with activists and advocates for marriage equality and and, you know, gender and sexuality rights, working extremely hard. There's a lot of pain and suffering and blood, and lives that were lost over decades and even centuries, to get us to this point. My hope, and I'm confident in this is that we will not have to, you know, we're not having to go through that right now with cannabis. It's getting legalized everywhere, thank goodness. But legalization is just part of the process, the cultural shift that takes place, when people start using it with each other in a deliberate way and sharing it in a deliberate way, like we're talking about that cultural shift, I think will be, you know, it's similar to the cultural shift around gender and sexuality that's happening right now. And I think it's very important

Kannaboom 31:51

To make a bad pun, it's a grassroots movement, it's, um, you know.

Bill Hill 31:55

I like that pun, you can make that point as much as you want.

Kannaboom 31:57

What you are advocating is a one-to-one kind of peer-based movement, where we just talk to each other a little bit more, and with a little more open mindedness. Do you get ridiculed for the idea? I mean, it's, when you talk about it, it's a serious idea, but I know some people would see it as ridiculous.

Bill Hill 32:15

Yeah, there are definitely people who do. And it's kind of a funny idea, right? Like, if you it's kind of weird to be like, 'Oh, you want to change the world, everybody get high.' That's kind of a silly thing to think, at least initially. But you know, sometimes things that seem silly, can also be really useful and can actually work. And so we think that the fact that it is not a huge thing, we're not saying like, we need to change all the laws, or like we need to overthrow the government, it's nothing like that. It's just like you said, literally, all we're saying is reach out to somebody who you think might be interested. Try it with them, be their friend while you're doing it. And if they like it, go for it, man and do it again, and just hang out and be cool. And the reason that I think that's the real, like, the catalyst for change is that fundamentally, the main insight that will help someone stop being a Republican is making a connection with someone else. Republicans are very disconnected from their fellow human beings, as part of that's like part of the Republican identity. In some ways, it's taken to an extreme with something like libertarianism, for example, right? Like, I'm a radical individual, leave me alone, don't touch my stuff. But what we need to do is cooperate. And what we need to do is see that we're all the same, not that we're all profoundly separate. And cannabis can do that. So it's it. It's not a bizarre agenda. It's a very simple thing we're talking about, and it works.

Kannaboom 33:46

It's kind of removing the demonization that we can all go to. We're so polarized right now. Where is the other side? There's not a lot of these conversations happening, right?

Bill Hill 33:58

Yeah, that's another reason why we wanted to start this this year is that seeing how incredibly split the country is, this is really the time to do everything we can to bring people back together. This isn't the only thing smoking out a Republican isn't the only thing that needs to happen to fix America. We're not saying that at all. There's many other things that need to happen economically, in terms of education, in terms of our political leaders not being horrible anymore. And there's a lot of people working on all of that. And it's all very important. But this, like you said, at a very grassroots level, Smoking Out a Republican builds a connection or rebuilds a connection that reminds us that we're all people, we're also all neighbors. We're all Americans. We're all in this together. And without rebuilding those interpersonal connections. Even if we change the laws and everything else. Without those interpersonal connections, there's still going to be a huge gap and a huge problem. If we do rebuild those interpersonal connections to people at a time, right, it doesn't have to be millions of people all at once. It's just me and you, or him and her or her and her, whatever it is. If we rebuild that fabric, then we're really doing the real work to reconnect the country.

Kannaboom 35:18

You've got the grassroots idea. You've got some bumper stickers. What else is happening? Are there chapters or how do you grow this movement?

Bill Hill 35:25

Great question. So right now, our main movement is on Twitter. So we're at Smokeout a Repub1, and we're gathering different groups together. So on the one hand, you've got cannabis activists, and enthusiasts and businesses, then you've got the resistor movement. So this sort of blue wave, Democrat, Biden, Harris people. And then there's also a small but growing community of ex Republicans, former Republicans, and Smoke Out a Republican, the smoke out of Republican presence is really at the intersection of those three things. So we're gathering people, connecting them with each other, and sharing this concept that you and I have been talking about. And it's growing very rapidly, we've more than doubled just in the last month. And we're going to try to keep that going. The blog posts that we're doing at SmokeOutARepublican dot.com are really important, and eventually our hope, my hope is to gather them into a book. That's sort of like a how to handbook. And if you if folks want to go check it out on our website, you know, it's kind of funny, we've got pictures, we've got jokes in there and links to different things. But the message is ultimately, you know, it's a serious one. But we try to make it fun and highly shareable. And so that's the stage right now. In addition to the book, I think what we're eventually going to start doing is smoke sessions. So getting people together on Zoom, or by other sort of digital means to all kind of smoke together, talk and hang out, we're not quite there yet. But I think that's going to start pretty soon. And then hopefully, once COVID is managed, we would love to be, you know, to have people get together and try this in large groups, or even medium sized groups, but again, in a safe way that doesn't spread viruses. So I see it as something that's going to build and build. And we're at an early stage. I mean, we just launched our Smoke Out a Million initiative on January 1, so we're not even a month and a half into it, but it's going great. And we wanted to keep going.

Kannaboom 37:26

That is a big goal, a million. How do you measure your progress on that?

Bill Hill 37:31

That's a good question. So once again, once people are sort of able to do this and get together again in person, we want people to kind of report out and say, you know, 'I here's what I did, I got together with my sister, and you know, she was a Trump voter. But, you know, she said she would try it. And we did it. And she hated it.' So that's a fail. But then somebody else says, 'You know, I did it with my co worker who's always been my friend, and we've never agreed on politics. And you know, we hung out and we had a really good time. And we listened to Pink Floyd. And he was like, wow, I never heard Pink Floyd this way before?' Oh, yeah. Okay, good check, right. It's, it's coming along. So we want people to self report. But honestly, even if, you know, I don't know, if I have plans to track the numbers right now or anything like that. I think it needs to be something that's very organic. But we'll see. We may do a combination of tracking and reporting, and just sort of letting it go out there into the universe and just continuing to pursue it and spread the word as much as we can.

Kannaboom 38:35

Right. I mean, that would take some of the fun out of it. And fun is kind of a part of it. You want people to enjoy this, to laugh, and to kind of get out of themselves for a second.

Bill Hill 38:44

Yeah, exactly. It's a huge part of it. And that's, that's another thing, like, doesn't the Democratic Party, and I vote Democratic, but the Democratic Party has never really been able to figure out like, how do we get people to change their minds to come with us, right? And lecturing people about policy changes, or telling people they're terrible, that's not gonna work. So yeah, smoking weed is fun, or vaping, or eating it or whatever. You know, as long as you do it legally. It's fun. It's cool. It's relaxing. And we're not even talking about the medicinal medical and medicinal applications, which are tremendous, and really good and important. But recreationally and socially, it's just cool. You just, like, hang out and have fun. And so yeah, that's exactly what people should do. And you know, that's your right. It's fun.

Kannaboom 39:33

Just the targeted action of bringing people along, who have you described them, are very disconnected. I mean, we've talked about Republicans as if they have, you know, a psychological affliction that's in that big book. I forgot the name of it.

Bill Hill 39:47

The psychology disorder book. Yeah. DMS or something. Yeah.

Kannaboom 39:50

Yeah, exactly. Do they and is this it's, it's, again, it's a grassroots effort to just try to bring them along, but just the kind of lonely, disconnected people among us who cling to these tribal beliefs — is that Is that a fair way to put it?

Bill Hill 40:03

I don't think it's a psychological problem. Not at all. I think it's a set of ideas that people get taught by their family, by the world around them by their political leaders, that it's rational to believe something you're taught if it's taught in a way that makes sense, right? You're like, 'Okay, well, yeah, fine. Sure. But it's very socially destructive.' And it's personally destructive to me, it's very easy to be filled with hate, and anger, and stress, and anxiety. And loneliness when you're a Republican, because it's a lonely way to see the world doesn't mean your brain is broken. But it does mean that you're missing out on 90% of human experience, because you've been taught that everybody who's not just like you is wrong. So of course, you're going to miss those things. And you're going to feel superior, but very lonely on the top of your mountain of perfection. And again, I used to be a Republican, I know this from firsthand experience, it is a mixture of feeling happy and proud that you're the best in the world, and angry and scared of everyone else. And as a result, very isolated and lonely. That's a shitty way to live. There's a much, much better way. And it's called dropping all those terrible things you've been taught. And being a human. with everybody else. It's really the best way.

Kannaboom 41:27

Let me ask you, what you make of QAnon, is that the logical extension of being angry and scared? I mean, some of these beliefs are just mind blowing. But they've got a foothold.

Bill Hill 41:40

QAnon is possibly the most psychotic, delirious, delusional phenomenon of mass manipulation in American history. I don't know who that person is. It's probably a lot of people. But they're doing unbelievable harm to the country and the world into the minds of the people that they've tricked. And you're right, that the substance of what they're saying is just flabbergastingly insane. But, you know, I think it was Adolf Hitler, who said that people will believe in a big lie, right, more than a small one. That's a terrible paraphrase. But I'm very comfortable misquoting Hitler, because Hitler was the worst person ever. Screw him forever. But, you know, thanks to QAnon, you have a lot of people now getting into Hitler, or whatever, it's, and so it's really, really bad. My personal opinion is that there is a conspiracy in the world, there's one conspiracy, and it's the conspiracy of the rich to keep their money. And it really isn't any more complicated than that. But everything else, Jews and Freemasons, and pedophiles and aliens and whatever, it's all nonsense. I will say this, if, you know, the tendency to believe in a conspiracy theory, I think comes out of a recognition that the world is not, you know, it doesn't work according to the usual story. Everything is not mom and apple pie. Right? The world is a weird messed up place. But that's a very delicate situation for someone to be in, because then somebody like QAnon, or Q or whatever could come along, or other conspiracy theorists and say, 'Yeah, it's not the way you thought it was.' It's these people who write, but it's not. It's not that arcane and complicated. So yeah, I think it's interesting, it's important to think about, to think independently about the way the world works. But if your conclusion leads you to hate and violence, then you've made the wrong decision.

Kannaboom 43:42

Right? It's a narrative and people cling to it. But again, I think it's a genius thing to bring cannabis into that equation and say, let's just talk and have a conversation and maybe we'll reveal that some of this is his folly.

Bill Hill 43:58

That's exactly right.

Kannaboom 43:59

We covered a lot of ground and I feel like we could talk for a long time, because there's so much happening right now. The soul of the Republican Party is up for grabs, you know, somewhere between Liz Cheney and Marjorie Taylor Greene, they're going to decide on the future. Do you have any you don't have a crystal ball? But do you have any inkling as to which way this goes?

Bill Hill 44:20

I think in the near term, the forces of the Marjorie Taylor Greenes of the world are going to continue to fight as hard as they can. They'll pull out all the stops, and they have no compunction. I mean, that's one big difference between Republicans and Democrats is that Republicans politically, you know, elected Republicans have no limits really about what they will do. And I think what, that's what we saw on January 6. So even if Trump gets convicted, or even if Marjorie Taylor Greene gets expelled or Lauren Bobert or Matt Goetz or any of these horrible people, the fight will not be over and the need for resistors and Democratic elected officials and others to continue to hold people accountable to win elections in 2022. As well as at the state and local level, people always forget that like, there are crazy Republicans in state legislatures and governors mansions in city councils, they all need to be voted out as well. The good news is there's a tremendous amount of energy and organization among Democrats and other progressives to boot these people out. And when they're out, they lose their platform. And that's really important because it opens the airwaves, if you will, to people who have a humane and rational message. And the more people hear that the better. So it's a lot, it's gonna be a long fight, as it always has been. And we hope that our little contribution of spreading some love with cannabis can help.

Kannaboom 45:53

Yeah, from a big perspective, it's what you've described as sort of a culture war promulgated by rich people who are protecting their wealth, but there's a lot of misdirection, a lot of smoke and mirrors in through the perversion of our political system, you've got people who have aligned themselves with hate and intolerance. And the way to move off. This is one conversation at a time in a mindful, intentional way.

Bill Hill 46:17

That's exactly right. Bob Dylan said, 'The executioner's face is always well hidden.' And it's a terrible irony that the people who are you know, MAGA supporters and the people that invaded the Capitol, and really, all Republican voters who make less than $100,000 a year, which is a lot of them, are voting against their own self interest. Because if you're not affluent, the Republican Party is not going to do anything for you. Not really, Thomas Frank's book, 'What's the Matter with Kansas' from 15 years ago, or 20 years ago, now is a fantastic read, if people haven't read it, it explains how the Republican Party uses, you know, social issues and identity issues, to trick people basically, into electing officials that are mostly just going to focus on tax cuts and deregulation, and really do nothing to improve the lives of the average working people that voted for them. And that's Looney Tunes. And so the good news is that enjoying cannabis is not a class issue. It's not a race issue. It's not a cultural issue, everybody can enjoy it, and enjoy it together. So hopefully, as this continues to, if not, hopefully, as this continues to spread, as our movement continues to grow, we're gonna see more people waking up to the fact that their own self interest is not served by voting Republican.

Kannaboom 47:43

You might toke up and then go, you know, what, maybe health care for everyone is not such a bad idea.

Bill Hill 47:49

Exactly. Exactly. You know, maybe, you know, maybe it's not right to just like, keep black people trapped in poor neighborhoods and not, you know, and just fill it with police that beat the crap out of them or shoot them for no reason. Hmm, how about I imagine that maybe people who want to come to this country, and work really hard, should be allowed to do that, even if their skin is a different color than mine, or they don't speak English. You know, maybe it's okay for multi billionaires to pay a fraction of a penny on the dollar more, which they don't need and won't miss at all, so that children can have food to eat. Right? Like it's just so obvious. Especially if you're a Christian, by the way, like the generosity and love that underpins Jesus's message, and I was raised a very, very conservative, serious Christian. The love and kindness and cooperation that are at the core of Jesus's message are completely incompatible, completely incompatible with the entire Republican platform. Basically, except for things that allow people religious freedom, which I think is a good idea,

Kannaboom 49:00

And now there is no platform except for whatever Trump thinks.

Bill Hill 49:03

That's right. There's no platform.

Kannaboom 49:06

Yeah, and like you said, there's no bottom there there is, you know, an insurrection is not even close to the bottom.

Bill Hill 49:13

That's very true. And people forget that there's a, you know, we fought a civil war for God's sake. And other countries show, including Germany, in the 1930s. Show, what can happen if you don't take these things seriously, I mean, Hitler attempted a coup putsch right in like 1923, or something that Beer Hall Putsch, and it failed, and he was arrested and imprisoned. And while he was in prison, he wrote 'Mein Kampf,' and then he got out of prison and the rest is literally history. So even if Trump is convicted, whether it's in the Senate or you know, the New York Attorney General gets him or something. There are many other other people, many other people that are willing to take up the mantle and charge forward. And you know, Trump is a Trumpist, he's not a Republican. He's not a neo nazi Germany, maybe but his main thing is that he's for Trump. But in the wings waiting in the wings are really bad people active, enthusiastic neo nazis, and other horrible people that will be very glad to step in, into his shoes and make things even worse. And so yeah, arresting the slide into craziness, pulling as many people out of it as possible now, so that there's always going to be crazy people like that, but isolating them and getting them back out of the spotlight to show just how terrible their views are. That's probably the most important cultural imperative in America right now. And cannabis can help

Kannaboom 50:44

Cannabis can save us. We almost had a moment's respite where we could breathe a sigh of relief that, you know, we were a hair's breadth away from that being our future. And then January 6 happened. We went, well, we're not there yet.

Bill Hill 50:59

We're not there yet. The stress level in my life, certainly. And the folks I know, and I think millions and millions of people, hundreds 100 million people, probably the stress level just declined tremendously. After Biden won the election. I think if Trump had won the election, fair and square or otherwise, this would be a very different situation, a very dark situation for us and for the world and for the future. Right. He's the worst president ever, without a doubt. And January 6, it was a reminder, though, that it's not over. I think you're exactly right. It's encouraging the FBI is chasing those people down. I hope they all go to prison for a long, long time. And the Republican members of Congress that went back to the House and Senate floor that evening, and still voted to overturn the election results, even though they know that it was based on a lie. Because you either know that it's a lie, or you believe it, and I'm not sure which one is worse. But if you're a member of Congress, and you still even after those crazy people were running through the halls, threatening to kill you, you know, because they don't, they don't know who you are. If they see that pin on you, they're not going to go, Oh, that's a Republican. Congresswoman, that's not a Democrat, they're not gonna know, they would have just grabbed you and done God knows what they were a mob with their blood up. to then go and vote with them on their side with Trump is there's not even a good word for it. It's not inexcusable. It's not unacceptable. It's something worse. So hopefully, there will be accountability for those people to

Kannaboom 52:38

it was insane. And you know, a better result might have been if they had smoked some joints and passed them around.

Bill Hill 52:44

You know, we did tweet, I did tweet a picture that morning of January 6th before they invaded the capital, or like, an overhead shot of the crowd with just a big smoke cloud superimposed over them. Chill out, just chill y'all. But again, you know, vaping, a little bit of indica and then drinking a bunch of beer and going out and raising hell, that's not gonna work. Right. It's about getting to four bananas in a peaceful, calm way. So there does. It's not just about, you know, Republicans smoking pot, it's about smoking enough pot in the right circumstances.

Kannaboom 53:23

So I always ask guests, do you have a favorite cannabis product? Do you have a favorite strain for these conversations or a favorite product?

Bill Hill 53:31

Yeah, definitely. So I think indica is not the way to go. It's great for pain management. It's great for relaxation, but for mind opening stuff, and interesting conversations and introspection, which I think is critical here. A sativa, or a hybrid, a sativa-dominant hybrid is going to definitely be the best option. I have a couple of ones that are my personal favorites. Wedding Cake is a great one for this. It's very social if you're with other people, but it's also very expansive and almost philosophical. If you're by yourself. I would not recommend that first time smokers smoke pot by themselves, necessarily. But Wedding Cake is awesome. If you want to really get skedaddled there's a string called Bruce Banner, which if folks remember the Incredible Hulk, that's the guy that becomes the Hulk. Bruce Banner is pretty awesome. White Widow is great. And my personal favorite is Lamb's Bread or Lamb's Breath, which is very mellow and contemplative, but it has a pretty high THC count. So it can it's quite conducive to interesting thoughts. I will say that when I made my transition from being a Republican to not with cannabis, I was smoking like the dirtiest schwag you know, mostly stems and seeds weed available, you know that you would buy in like a crumpled up ziplock bag kind of deal for $20 And that worked just fine. So as long as you're not taking sort of a mind numbing indica with you? It's just a question of pursuing interesting thoughts. Don't shy away from them, even if they're a little frightening. See where they go, because they could take you someplace really interesting.

Kannaboom 55:20

Bill, is there anything we haven't covered that we should?

Bill Hill 55:22

I don't think so. I think if you know, folks want to know more, and they want to visit us at Smoke Out a Repub1 on Twitter or SmokeOutARepublican.com. It's kind of all there. And you mentioned by the way that we have some stickers, we have downloadable images on our website and you can feel free to download the images there for free and use them or to download images that we've tweeted like our fun little elephant with a smoking joint and some other stuff. Those images are not rights-protected right now. Because we want people to use them and have fun with them and share them so please feel free to do that. Eventually we are going to be selling them and so forth. But for now they're free so check it out at SmokeOutARepublican.com and Smoke Out a Repub1. And we will look forward to seeing you guys there.

Kannaboom 56:07

Very cool. We will look for that and will you have merch down the road? What can people wear a Smoker Out A Republican hat or something?

Bill Hill 56:14

Yeah, for sure. We're still working on the best vendor and all that fun stuff. But yeah, definitely

Kannaboom 56:21

Sign me up. I'll wear one of those

Bill Hill 56:22

Right on, I'll send you some free stickers.

Kannaboom 56:24

Absolutely. I'll put one on the truck. Awesome.

Bill Hill 56:27

That's perfect.

Kannaboom 56:28

Thanks, Bill. This is it. This is a great message. It's a message of hope and needed social change. So hopefully we can get this podcast listened to far and wide and help you grow the movement.

Bill Hill 56:39

Right on. I really appreciate it grassroots.

It's all about the grassroots. We could do it as we say, and thanks to Kannaboom man, thank you. I really appreciate the opportunity.

Kannaboom 56:49

You've been listening to the Kannaboom podcast with host Tom Stacey. If you like the show and want to know more, please check us out at Kannaboom with a k.com. And please leave us a review at Apple podcasts or wherever you listen. See you next week.

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