The folks that brought you those "Free Marijuana" posters along the Burke-Gilman Trail, and more recently the tongue-in-cheek The New Jim Crow book club created for Mayor Mike McGinn, City Attorney Pete Holmes, Police Chief John Diaz, and U.S. District Attorney Jenny Durkan, are at it again.
It's a little bit crazy and a little bit brilliant, as has become the Responsible Marijuana Project's M.O.
While Smith describes the effort as ostensibly more serious than the Responsible Marijuana Project's previous endeavors, even at its most out-there everything the group does is drawn from the core belief that marijuana laws are a racist creation and marijuana prohibition should be halted immediately - two very non-crazy ideals .
"We're looking for champions," says Smith of his Responsible Marijuana Project, which now, in addition to his leadership, boasts two paid canvassers and a handful of volunteers. "We want people to step up like they've never stepped up before."
"We like to get people to think and laugh at the same time," Smith continues, "but this campaign is nothing but seriousness. We're not going to be joking around with this one."
As has become par for the course with the Responsible Marijuana Project's operations, Smith is maintaining a fair amount of secrecy around the exact details of Operation Green Light - whether entirely for dramatic effect, or because some of these details have yet to be completely hashed out. Certainties of the project at this point seem to include the aforementioned postering and chalking - scheduled to start today - in addition to planned costumed and scripted performances around Seattle, and good ol' fashioned door-to-door canvassing.
It's all very grassroots, so to speak.
The Responsible Marijuana Project has also requested face-to-face time with the City of Seattle and the Seattle Police Department, citing the first of the SPD 20/20 plan's stated goals to "Modernize Public Demonstration Management" by meeting with groups planing large scale or ongoing protests. So far, no such sit-down has been scheduled.
As mentioned, the point of all this, according to Smith, is to highlight racist aspects of our nation's marijuana laws, and the way these laws are used to discriminate against communities of color. The disproportionate rate of which men of color have been arrested because of marijuana prohibition is weighty evidence in favor of this argument.
However, a critical eye will point out that many of the frequent targets of the Responsible Marijuana Project's actions - like Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn and City Attorney Pete Holmes - have publicly supported the decriminalization of marijuana and acknowledged the disproportionate rate in which current marijuana laws impact communities of color (as representatives for both eagerly pointed out the last time I wrote about the Responsible Marijuana Project).
That said, Smith isn't satisfied - which is the driving factor in his group's continued activism.
"The fact of the matter is we have so many politicians, even here in Seattle, that just don't want to talk about these issues," says Smith. "It doesn't really seem like anyone else is willing to question them on it."
"Everyone admits that these laws have failed, but they're not changing it," Smith continues. "We don't' really think Pete Holmes and Mike McGinn are true champions for marijuana legalization. I feel very strongly that [McGinn] could be doing a lot more on this. The same with Pete Holmes."
Whether you believe McGinn and Holmes could be doing more to end marijuana prohibition or not (and it's a debatable contention), it's hard to argue with the heart that's driving the Responsible Marijuana Project's mission, and the group's most recent undertaking, Operation Green Light.
So how long will it all last?
"This campaign expects to last until marijuana prohibition ends nationwide," Smith tells me.
So it could be a while?
"It could be a while," says Smith.