The grand ganja get-together
Flash, Jill Gordon, and George Bailey of the Drug War Vigil Group arrived early for the second annual Cannabis Culture Toker’s Bowl and helped Pot-TV tech, Kyle, set up for the Film Fest in the basement of the New Amsterdam Caf?.
Marc Emery’s beautiful, efficient executive assistant, Michelle, was handling all the arrangements. She got them registered with their pictures taken for their judges passes and promised them bowls once the guests and staff had received theirs. There was a buffet table set with sandwiches, donuts, pastries, fruit salads, muffins, cold drinks, and hot coffee.
Security was only allowing small groups of registrants to enter at a time and the BC Marijuana Party Head Quarters was packed. Jill and John had to go out to get extension cords and power bars and when they returned they found they could not re-enter until they could track down Marc Emery himself, who was milling about the crowd sharing his bong.
Outside, having a smoke, one of the first people they met was Loretta from Alabama. She heads up the Alabama Marijuana party and is president of the US Marijuana party. She told us that after she had come out in the media with her openness that she smoked marijuana, the police harassed her and raided her home, and social services threatened to take her children. She is fighting it in court and not only intends to win but to, “Sue their asses,” before she is through.
Next they ran into Pharmer Tom, who has grown for the BC Compassion Club. He was sharing his potent oil butter. Once back downstairs more cannabis celebrities could be found. Steve and Michelle Kubby introduced Flash to the owner of Advanced Nutrients, and showed him the beautiful bushy plant he had grown with his products and with his helpful advice in the cloning stage.
Out back in the graffiti painted patio area Flash met the owner of Legends Seeds who was promoting the Sativa Sistas Sanctuary, a bed and breakfast that also takes care of your seed orders. He also gave his wife Jill a tin with a sample of true Moroccan seeds.
Bubbleman had set up a display area and was demonstrating the Volcano ($1000), an innovative vaporizer that fills a plastic bag with vapors from your pot and provides a vapor toke like no other. One old guy, who due to asthma cannot smoke using conventional methods, swooned from his hit and then swore by it.
Dondi provided patrons with the opportunity to puff the bubble hash product through an ice-cooled bong. CiCi the tap-dancing chef was on hand exchanging recipe tips between tokes. Flash let her know some of her recipes were making it into the compassion club newsletter. She gave him permission to use whatever ones he wanted.
Marijuana man was busy giving out growing tips and sampling the strains. He had picked a winner for his growing contest although there were only two entries. One greenthumb had won his pass to the Toker’s Bowl and when Flash got a chance to meet him the prizewinner said he couldn’t believe his luck.
Renee Boje had brought baby Shiva and her husband, author and producer of Pot-TV, Chris Bennett. Each took turns teaching the adorable child to walk and even Marc Emery took a turn helping him get mobile.
The CEO of Randy’s wired papers made rounds handing out free packs. David Malmo Levine thanked Flash and Jill for capturing his CBC interview in reaction to Jean Chretien’s promises of “decriminalization” and his upcoming Supreme Court Challenge on May 6.
Flash couldn’t believe it when he ran into his mentor and hero, Pete Brady, taking photos of Loretta and an ornate glass bong with a king-size nugget in it. Pete accepted an autographed copy of Flash’s BCMP Chronic Chronicles and seemed genuinely interested in Flash’s writings and Jill’s photography. Loretta told Flash he could keep the bud she had used for a prop in her photo shoot, which was just what they needed having not received their bowls of samples yet.
Many of the judges had their bowls, though, and most were generous, rolling some enormous fatties and passing them around like nobody’s business. Eric, the computer graphic designer, was even mixing bubble hash in his. Some of Flash’s internet friends were there: a lady named Moose, Quickie, and others from Pot-TV chat and the forums.
The film fest was running smoothly. George, Jill and Flash took shifts so they could take turns handing out the film ballots and promoting the festival to the judges. Time morphed, it was already 6pm and Michelle was calling everyone for supper upstairs in the New Amsterdam caf?.
Before they went up, Michelle presented them with their bowls. Inside was two-dozen grams of all different strains and marked only by alphabet. (Dutch Treat, Ultimate Indica, Shiskaberry, Great White Shark, Waddi, Blue God, Blueberry, Rene, Honey Pot, Sticky Bud, 5-O, Chronic, Burmese X Fucking Incredible, Thai, Blue Truck, Hashplant, GWS, Mighty Might X Dutch Treat, Sweet Tooth, Purple Skunk, Jamaican Sugar, NL X Blueberry, Champagne.)
In the caf?, the central bar was set up as a serving station with three entrees; spaghetti, roast beef and gravy, and baked BC salmon. Also with the meal were mashed or baked potatoes, two large salads, plus rolls and fresh butter. To the side were cold drinks and hot coffee and a tempting array of pastries and cakes, including apple strudel. To the left a pseudo classical band played soothing gentle music.
Flash and Jill met a white-haired gentleman from Florida who was up on all the Pot-TV news and discussions. He thrilled them both by recognizing them from “Flash and Jill’s Newshawks.”
Ken Hayes from San Francisco, who is fighting extradition to the states for his work with medical patients, had been invited to the bowl and helped himself to the feast. Flash was sure to give him a hug and a pat on the back for all his efforts for the movement.
Back downstairs with their plates, Dana Larsen and Christina joined them to chow down. Marc Emery remarked that the food must be good because everyone eating had gone silent.
Dana agreed to come visit Pot-TV chat, which Flash helps host, soon after this May 6 challenge is passed and internet relay chat with his fans. He may even try it on a monthly basis. It’s great now that the chat community is growing. Flash was also able to press the Kubbys into an agreement to come chat a designated time in a few weeks.
The videos resumed and some pretty important people saw them. Maxwell Becket, Lance Lasheras, Jennifer Pickford, and Chris Iverson’s films were well received.
Flash and Jill smoked samples “P” and “Q” and let Loretta pick out any gram she wanted from their bowl in gratitude for her kindness earlier. She said whatever she had left over she would probably give away anyhow as there’s no way she could bring anything back to DEA-land.
There were two other ladies who were from Northern Alabama who were even worried about getting Steve Kubby’s book, Why Marijuana should be Legal, across the border. Around 10:30 pm, Michelle pulled the plug. And, because Jill had been cleaning up all along, it didn’t take long to shut the film fest room down and shush the few stragglers to the main area, where first a harpist, then louder and louder bands had been playing all night as the party continued.
One poor fellow stood leaning against the wall apparently sleeping or half sleeping as he tried to focus. Others seemed still well ensconced with bowls and rolling utensils around them vigorously evaluating their bowls.
Flash and Jill were lucky enough to get a ride from Travis, visiting from Alberta. Knowing the neighborhood as rough, Flash was worried when Travis couldn’t find his car in the parking garage but was blown away when Travis, who installs security devices, used a homing device to set off his cars alarm on the level beneath them so they could find it. Nobody had been drinking and they had a safe ride home and another good session to follow.
Land tours and medieval munching
Some of the Toker’s Bowl participants got up early enough to take the bus tour of Vancouver with Reverend Herb who while quoting biblical scripture that endorses the use of the “holy herb” took them on a two-hour tour of many fine beaches and locations where they could smoke up. The film room opened at noon so Flash, Jill and George of the drug war vigil group played the last of the 30 entries and took advantage of the refreshment table set out again as it had the day before with sandwiches, and pastries and donuts fresh fruit and hot and cold beverages.
Mik, who had entered the StickyBud, showed up with his pockets jammed with homemade hash and gave Flash a Tupperware container of trim to help him wean off cigarettes. The afternoon went quickly, many joints being passed around and Bubbleman and Dondi kept busy providing vaporizer and bubble hash tokes to the company.
The BCMP HQ was closed down early to give the judges time to get dressed in their costumes, most of which bought at Cabbages and Kinx, and get ready for the Medieval themed dinner at a heritage building that was originally built as a police station.
Flash and Jill killed time by giving the president and CEO of Randy’s papers and Trav from Calgary a tour of Stanley Park in Trav’s car where they took some photos and smoked some jays at a hollow tree.
When they arrived at the heritage hall the security guards were in medieval cloaks and, inside, the tables had been decorated with flowers and silk tapestries. Marc Emery wore a royal crown on his head and said, “It’s good to be king,” as he greeted the guests accompanied by a princess in white.
Fortunetellers, tarot card readers and magicians entertained the guests at their tables and performers on stilts wowed the crowd by dancing around high above their heads.
International cannabis correspondent Pete Brady took the best-costumed guests outside to take their pictures. The Kubbys hammed it up in their formal ware for him and Trav, dressed as a jester, got to pose with the queen of hearts and the king. Marijuana Man and his wife were photographed in their medieval garb and Renee Boje, Chris Bennett and baby Shiva Sun looked classic in their costumes.
Serving wenches brought out tray after tray of tapas, starting with tiny quiches, then other finger foods including garlic honey chicken wings sprinkled with nutritious hemp seed, tiny BBQ ribs, smoked salmon and cream cheese and veggies and dip. No matter where they mingled in the room, or even outside for a cig, trays of munchies were available. Marc, enjoying himself too much to make a long speech, welcomed the guests and thanked Michelle for organizing the event. The music was provided by a ten piece Celtic band and played all night till well past 11.
Trays of cannabis cakes and cookies were brought out for dessert as well as regular desserts and gummie worms. Nobody had stayed at their table, the judges mingled at each others tables, some sharing tokes and stories with each other and others dancing and swaying to the music.
Outside the door having a cigarette, Flash felt a pull on his arm -“Do you have a pass?” It was Queens Council John Conroy himself tugging on Flash’s sleeve.
“Do you have a pass?” The doorman repeated to the Supreme Court lawyer.
“Oh my God! Do you not know who this is? It’s John Conroy! He’s going to Supreme Court for us!”
“Ok, I don’t get paid to know who everyone is, just to enforce the guest list.”
Once inside Flash wished him the best of luck in Ottawa on May 6 with the Caine/Clay/Levine case.
David Levine had left his latest pamphlet around which Conroy checked out. It outlines the constitutional challenge and arguments and evidence presented on www.johnconroy.com and he seemed pleased with it.
When the evening was over everyone helped break down the tables and chairs and clean up. Marijuana man, his wife and CiCi the tap dancing chef invited them back to their Hospitality room at the Chateau Granville. But, Flash and Jill were too burnt and instead gratefully accepted a ride home with Trav and brought along Eric, who was staying with his buddy at the Back Packers Inn. We had a small afterparty with Bud and HeyDan who are medical users from Seattle who they know from irc chat. There was no getting to bed early for anyone as Jill rolled one of her famous tulip joints, and there was a big day to get through the next day.
Global march for marijuana
Saturday the weather had turned gray and rainy, but Flash and Jill met George down at the BCMP where everyone was bright and cheery and brunch was laid out as usual. Some had gone on the morning tour with Rev. Herb and were just returning. Others were attending the 3rd Annual Gardening & Hydroponic Expo and came back with armfuls of free samples and information.
The Film Fest wrapped up at 1 pm and it was nearing time to meet at the art gallery on Howe for the www.cure-not-wars.com May 3 global march for cannabis liberation. Already crowds of happy hempsters were beginning to arrive and Jill from the compassion club was distributing colorful banners while others had brought placards and homemade signs. There was a guy with a sign, “Phat Joints and Cookies here” selling them for five dollars each. Some police were on the periphery of the crowd but kept their distance and seemed to dissipate more as the numbers of the crowd increased.
David Malmo Levine arrived with Pot-TV techie Kyle in tow and an entourage of others, climbed atop one of the stone lions on the steps of the historic gallery and addressed the crowd through a loud speaker he had affixed to his belt until a sound system could be put in place for the band. David gave the usual safety speech and advised hugging and not letting go if anyone is arrested for any peaceful, harmless activity like smoking or selling pot.
David explained that he would be going to the Supreme Court May 6 to defend the rights of all growers, sellers and possessors of cannabis. For, although not all growing, selling and use of cannabis is harmless, all “proper and responsible” growing, selling and use is. David distributed among the crowd his latest pamphlet on the Supreme Court challenge, and, although the rain had started to fall, a crew managed to get the tents up, generator started and the band set up while in the meantime the marching carnival band kept up the people’s spirits.
David rallied the crowd with chants of, “Go Away DEA!” Marc Emery did a CBC interview and Flash did a brief City TV interview where he held up a gram and said he wondered if Premier Gordon Campbell’s popularity would have increased as much if he had been caught in Hawaii smoking some of this and driving instead of drinking and driving. Would he have driven as recklessly; Cannabis being slightly less dangerous to drive on than caffeine.
This time they did not march to the American Embassy, but the crowd marched down Howe a few blocks to the provincial courthouse. Usually cars are not even allowed to honk when passing through the echoing chamber between the courthouse buildings but the crowd whooped and wailed and made as much noise as they could. There they stopped, between the two buildings and David resumed his speech to an attentive crowd over his loud speaker, warning them not to settle for mere decriminalization before handing off the mike to Marc Emery, wearing his 420 Canucks jersey, who gave a history of just how long the Liberals have been making empty promises.
The march grew louder and happier as it continued around the block, down Georgia, back to the art gallery steps where the music had already begun and more people had gathered. The BC compassion club society and the sunshine coast compassion clubs both sold tickets on ounces of medicinal grade herb. Marc Emery milled about the crowd placing in people’s palms one-gram samples left over from the Toker’s Bowl. The band kept up a reggae beat and played their own rendition of Sweet Leaf until 4:20 when David began the contests. He gave out joints for the best posters and signs, and stoner joke and made the draw for the ounces. David got everyone to sit on the ground and handed out bags full of pre-rolled joints, some even rolled Kubby-size, and encouraged everyone to pass them around which they did.
The “best party ever”
Before long you could find yourself doing the walrus with two joints at once to knaw on. They couldn’t stay much longer than that for the evening Toker’s Bowl boat cruise was to begin at 6 pm. It was supposed to start at 6pm, that is, but there was a delay. It seems a visiting American soft drug tourist and his wife who were attending the bowl had just finished smoking a joint in their car in West Vancouver and stopped at a gas station, when the West Van police pulled up next to them.
The officer said he smelled pot and asked them what they had. The tourist showed him the couple joints and roach he had in his cigarettes and the cop took that as probable cause to search the vehicle and subsequently came up with their two bowls and itinerary. The cops became fascinated by the itinerary of the Toker’s Bowl and wanted to know more about this boat trip. They kept the two in an office 6 hours until it had sailed so they could not warn anyone.
In the meantime police showed up at the dock and warned the captain and crew that if they did not search the passengers for narcotics and prevent them from smoking on board that they would surely have their liquor license taken away.
These stipulations outraged Chris Bennett when he heard them and Michelle got on her cell phone in a hurry – She had paid plenty for this cruise. The captain agreed to not search anyone boarding but to only allow medicinal patients to toke on the outside upper decks, and for cannabis desserts to be served. This seemed adequate enough for Marc Emery, Marijuana Man and Dana Larsen to go, and the dinner was already paid for so over half of the 200 Toker’s Bowl judges went on the cruise. Eventually, everyone was on the top deck toking. The police chose to carry on their intimidation by following the vessel and when bolder guests started rolling joints in the dining room the Captains paranoia returned and the vessel was turned around early.
Flash and Jill agreed to help CiCi, Michelle and Chris Bennett put on the, “best party ever,” and helped set up back at the BCMP. Mega gourmet pizzas were ordered and the New Amsterdam Staff employed to bring on more hot and cold beverages. Bubbleman was called in with his vaporizer and someone got a hold of the rapper, Dame Lee, who was in town from the states, to come and perform. Two giant jars of bud were brought out and George, Flash and KGBud were put to work rolling joints and distributing them to the guests as quickly and efficiently as possible. Nobody there seemed very disappointed to miss the cruise, some guests thinking they had made the best choice to stay by far. Chris even set up the film room again for those who wanted to chill there. Candles were found and Dame Lee captivated his audience with his slick style and quick rhymes, it was very “real.”
The people from the cruise returned. Two police cars had met them when their ship had docked, but they were not harassed further and returned in good spirits and ready to party as the BCMP HQ filled up. They even brought the band with them and Bill Smalls and his Tall Brothers jazz band played such early pot tunes like, “That funny reefer man.”
Dana Larsen sat with Flash and Jill for a while and listened to Trav’s story. It seems, the same time as the march, his remote locator didn’t work for his car. The parking lot attendant said police had impounded it and he couldn’t even phone about it until they were answering on Monday. He had no idea why it was impounded and he had no warrant. He’d thought about just going back to his aunt’s in Surrey, who was going to be furious, and skipping the rest of the bowl, but Flash and Jill had convinced him to stay overnight in the city with them so he could go to the final day of Judging. He wondered if this was further harassment from police or if, like Marc thought, it was probably nothing so sinister.
As the liberation of the herb gets closer, the old regime seems to try to instill itself harder. Just like when prohibition was to be repealed and police smashed up more stills and cracked down harder than ever.
Cannabis contests and psychedelic rock
The sun peeked through the clouds on Sunday, the final day of the Toker’s Bowl. Participants got to sleep in a bit before meeting at the secret location of the luxurious restaurant where the final day of judging was to take place at 1pm.
Flash, Jill and Trav got a ride there from Pharmer Tom, arrived for 2pm, and found the whole restaurant as spacious and well laid out. It was packed to near standing room only. This time the food was laid out on a buffet table – a huge pile of mid-eastern rice and trays of chicken kabobs, baskets of pita bread and two kinds of hummus. Boris, leader of the federal Marijuana party, was filling his plate having recently quit cigarettes. The tables had ashtrays, but their was a special area with brass coffee tables and cushioned benches for cigarette smokers where the lady from green harvest was handing out hash from her “hasholator.”
Luckily George had saved them a few chairs at his table and they could hear the floor show. Michelle got on the mike and welcomed and thanked everyone, including Marc Emery, the patron of the rebellious arts. Dana Larsen reminded the mostly everyone that the laws were not all that much different in Canada than in the U.S, and with organizing and a strong core group of people, they could pull something like this off in their own towns and cities. Marc called for applause for Michelle. One father from the states had brought his son for his 17th birthday and they were applauded as well.
Between sets of familiar classic rock tunes by the tie-dyed shirted band, Michelle hosted the contests for t-shirts and other prizes. The women fared almost as well as the men in the joint-rolling competition and were certainly the most popular. The bong competition was more competitive with some pretty big bruisers taking place including one of the security guards. Eric and Kgbud ended in a three-way tie much of it being judged on style and composure. The judge’s ballots were all counted and calculated and soon it was time for Marc to announce the winners.
First place this year was awarded to Bubbleman for Rene, which had come in second place last year. This year’s second place winner was Great White Shark; third place was Blueberry and fourth went to reliable Hash Plant. Sticky Bud and Pharmer Tom’s Waddy (originally called Waddi) placed in the top 10.
The band played on and there was dancing till well past eight. Flash dropped by Marc’s table to thank him for the bowls and inviting them. Marc complemented Flash on his writing on the forums and encouraged him to do more, as well as promised next year they would have the drug war vigil video contest again. The winners this year were to be announced later in the week when all the online votes and Toker’s Bowl participants votes can be tabulated. Michelle dropped by Flash’s table as they were getting their coats to go. She thanked Jill personally for her help with the bowl and presented her with a lovely basket of candles and bath stuff from the body shop. Trav got his car back from police intact on Monday. It had been broken into and they had protected it. The participants exchanged emails and good-byes and it was generally agreed that this had been the best Cannabis Culture Toker’s Bowl ever.