Cannabis Canada, spring96 – Dana’s Adventures in Santa Monica
Dana’s Adventures in Santa Monica
Aside from a long walk on the beach I didn’t spend too much time wandering around Santa Monica, but I did manage to be in the right place at the right time on more than one occasion. For instance, along with Chris Conrad (Hemp: Lifeline to the Future), Dale Gereinger (California NORML) and a few others, we discovered that the small restaurant across the street from the hotel had a back room where patrons could do essentially as they wished.
In our case, that included smoking copious amounts of marijuana. I was probably the one with the most experience smoking pot in a public restaurant, (it isn’t too uncommon for the gang here in Vancouver) but the rest of my companions seemed a little taken aback at the situation. Our pleasant surprise didn’t interfere with anyone’s ability to enjoy themselves.
The next night I had dinner with an assortment of eminent freedom fighters at a Chinese restaurant near the hotel. (I was disappointed to discover that out of the thirty of us at dinner, I was the only vegetarian present.) After dinner most of us returned to the restaurant with the “smoking lounge”, and as the pot burned and the liquor flowed I heard an interesting snippet over the buzz of conversation.
Ethan Nadelmann (Lindesmith Center) and Dale Gereinger were discussing Timothy Leary’s 75th birthday party, which they were planning on attending later that evening. I scooted over and invited myself to the party. After a few more spliffs and time spent organizing cars and rides, we were on our way.
Timothy Leary lives in Beverly Hills, and we found his place mostly through following the crowds of people and parked cars that surrounded it. After convincing the enormous bouncer that we were from the DPF conference, and therefore “cool”, we made our way into the home of the man who turned on a nation and turned on his eighth circuit of consciousness.
There was funky music and dancing, a free bar, a big tank of nitrous oxide, and many high, beautiful people enjoying themselves immensly. When we arrived at 11pm I was told that the good doctor had already gone to bed. I was disappointed not to be able to present him with a copy of the magazine, but contented myself with drinking and dancing and mingling with other party goers.
However, just before 4:30am, Rick Doblin (MAPS) signalled to me and some of the others who were talking in the kitchen to come into the study. We entered the room as if it were the inner sanctum of a priest or a magician (which of course it was) and sat on the floor around the man himself.
Timothy Leary was sitting at his desk, listening to poetry read in his honour. Rick Doblin and a friend of Tim’s flipped the pages of a book they had created for him, containing excerpts from his life and work by those whom he had inspired.
Leary chuckled over an essay he had written as editor of his high school newspaper in the late thirties, decrying the fact that the cafeteria was segregated so as to keep the boys and girls apart. His eyes twinkled, his pupils wildly dilated. He said little, mostly nodding his comprehension and chuckling about what was being read to him.
There was about seven of us in the room, sitting respectfully on the floor. Ram Dass dropped in to see what was up, smiled when he saw what was going on, and then slipped out again.
The neighbours called after a half hour or so, requesting that the music be turned down. It was about five in the morning, and we joked that there’s limits even to the Beverly Hills tolerance of Tim’s 75th Birthday Bash.
Shortly thereafter Tim rose and thanked us all for coming. He shook our hands, catching each of us with his bright eyes as we gathered ourselves together. He was worried that his dog was might be overdosing, as it had passed out in the hallway, it’s mouth open in a blissful canine grin. He gave it a pet, and a weak beat of the tail indicated that it was still with us. Tim smiled, rose, and disappeared into his bedroom.
We stumbled out to our cars, headed back to the hotel, prepared for another day at the conference. The good doctor had gone to bed.