It was a perfect winter day In Vansterdam. The cold rain was pouring down in buckets so even the Canadian Geese in Stanley Park and the ducks sought shelter.
Statistically, for some primal hunter and gatherer reason, people tend to drive faster and more recklessly in the rain as if they are trying not to get wet. So, jay walking across from Hamilton to B.C.M.P. HQ on West Hastings was even more hazardous than usual.
Glad that the cops weren’t ticketing for jay walking then shaking us down for dime bags like they do the youth on Granville Street. Not here. Not on this block at least.
“People don’t say to themselves… ‘Oh, I’m going to stop oppressing you today,'” Marc Scott Emery said in his coming home speech from Saskatoon jail.
If it weren’t for Mayor Tom Campbell sending his city police to scrum with the dirty hippies who were smoking grass and sellin’ ‘shrooms under the tables in various bars around gas town. After, they had sent in their ratty narcs to sniff out the action. Vancouver police had reigned terror down from horseback and billy club till woman and children screamed and the Georgia Straight and one brave Councilman, who up until the “Police riot” had been enjoying the festivities, reported the atrocities to the world.
There had to be the horrific raids on Hemp BC and courageous acts of Gandhi and Martin Luther King like civil disobedience by Marc Emery, David Malmo Levine and all involved, as it’s been journalized in the pages of archived Cannabis Canada and Cannabis Culture editions.
The soil had to be broken and the partnerships, relationships, and networks grown. The Jamaicans have a saying:
“Teach one dog a trick and he will teach it to nine other dogs.”
The most important thing you can do to further the cause of legalization, or for that matter the repeal of all forms of oppressive prohibition, is to educate yourself. Not just in the ‘pro’ arguments but the ‘cons’ as well.
Marching into B.C.M.P. with a nod to the always dazzling bookshop girls it was good to see Loretta on the bench next to Marijuana Man’s seed desk and better yet to get a generous hug from her.
Encircling her waist, after not having seen her since the second Toker’s Bowl, couldn’t help but notice, and even remark that: it was noticeable that she had lost significant weight and apparently in “All the Right places.”
She confessed that since taking on so many responsibilities and since I last laid eyes on her; she had indeed lost no less than one hundred pounds but did not attribute it to extensive discipline and hard hours of exercise although her complexion glowed.
Rather, she chalked it up to long hours where constant energy is necessary and inadequate nutrition. More due to the constraints of her budget and schedule then neglect.
Loretta Nall was brought in to confer with that; media dubbed, “Prince of Pot;” Patron of the Rebellious Arts; Marc Scott Emery, a stalwart Libertarian who believes, in addition to liaise faire economics, most Especially in Individual Freedom and Personal Liberty. Especially liberty over that we Choose to put in, or do with, our Own Body, our most Basic Liberty.
The Volcano turkey bag was puffy and kept being returned to our little circle around the coffee table centered by an over sized candy dish full of chocolates, toffees and Bubblisious gums. There to make everyday feel like Halloweed for Stoners buying seeds with the munchies, or dry mouth, bad.
Juice at the New Amsterdam Caf? and a ciggy- butt was in order, something to enliven the palate.
Introducing Loretta to the pregnant blossoming staff girl behind the counter at New Amsterdam Cafe wasn’t necessary as she recognized her immediately, and charged half price for the drinks.
The woman was surprised and delighted to hear that it was only now recognizable that she was prego at all! This had gone entirely missed! (At least, by my glossy but usually observant eye).
Loretta was gifted a good size nugg of some of that really good world class, award winning, bud from ‘Jordan of the Islands’ and dropped it on the table allowing it to be rolled up in short measure as they set off for the glassed in smoking area. Used until 4:20pm when smoking bi-law inspectors are hopefully fighting traffic to get back to their wives in the ‘burbs.
Loretta took a good draw or two but wasn’t all that interested gesturing to go ahead and share it with the regulars like Synn; the French guy; and the rest. An astonished tourist or two shared their jays, as well.
Background… Background: Many Canadians, like me, are afflicted with a syndrome where they tend to ignore news or information coming out of United States. For one, they know from experience, a lot of it, like on Fox especially, is a lot of hype and brouhaha designed to sway opinion and another thing it’s depressing as hell.
It’s also fun to remain na?ve:
“Who’s your President? Bush … I thought it was Clinton? Pity… Hard to understand your system? … We have a Prime Minister… Is Arnold your Governor General or is that a movie??”
I knew a bit about my butt smoking buddy’s history but was hazy as a summer’s day in Alabama on most of it. As far as I understood this nice lady had huge cajones.
When she first came to visit Marc Emery in Vancouver she never had been arrested before in her life. She and her family lived a very quiet life with very little socializing. They were basically just regular country people living in a trailer, with cats, kids and chickens.
Shortly after she came back from Canada, having told the authorities she’d been to visit Emery ,this particular helicopter seemed to be very interested in her particular piece of property and continued to circle her home above tree level for over an hour!
She knew that the chopper was looking for marijuana plants. Loretta became very upset at this invasion of her privacy. She was not growing marijuana and they should have just moved on!
It was then she decided to film the chopper with her video camera. She had filmed for about 5 minutes and then went back inside.
No sooner had she set the camera down when four large black dodge pick-ups with tinted windows and trailers with ATV in tow descended upon her property.
Around 15 armed men piled out of these trucks and started looking around. These men were not wearing uniforms and were not identifiable at law enforcement officers. She ran outside and demanded to know what was going on.
She managed to scare them off her property and prevent them from conducting an illegal search with her video camera.
She wrote a letter to the Birmingham News which was printed on November 7, 2002 as follows:
“Across the nation, marijuana consumers are joining forces and coming out of the ‘cannabis closet.’ And what do you know? As it turns out, we do not all fit the stereotypical stoner-without-a-clue image of pot smokers that has long been portrayed by the media.
People who admit to using marijuana include former presidents, mayors, teachers, lawyers, doctors, police, judges, celebrities, business owners, suburban housewives and most likely your next-door neighbor.
We are not criminals who rob, steal or otherwise cause harm to the fabric of society, and it is time to stop treating us as if we were.
It is time to demand an end to cannabis prohibition and the harsh drug laws that do more harm to society than the drug itself will ever do. It is time for change.”
— Loretta Nall Alexander City
Then, on November 13, 2002 five police cars lined her driveway. After an intense search Eric McCain came back and stated that they had found marijuana: an envelope addressed to Loretta with a plastic bag inside with what looked to be A SEED, A STEM, AND A CHARRED PAPER.
It took her over 9 months to get a copy of the affidavit. Officer Fred White said to her “Regardless of how you feel, marijuana is illegal in the state of Alabama.” To which she responded “Freeing a slave was once illegal in Alabama, but that did not make it right.” Officer White walked away from her at that point.
Eric McCain told Loretta that the grounds for the search warrant were based on an anonymous phone call. She replied that the Supreme Court had ruled that to be unconstitutional and not grounds for a search. He then stated that it depends on who it was that had called. She commented “Oh, so it wasn’t anonymous?” The workers from D.H.R. came outside and said that they had to take their children to someone else’s house or they would take them away.
Loretta was taken to the Tallapoosa County Sheriffs Dept, was finger printed, had a mug shot taken, stripped searched and basically humiliated. She was allowed a phone call to arrange for bail. Gaining her release took over 9 hours. Her husband had called on numerous occasions and was told she wasn’t there, that it was a felony charge and she could not get out and various other things, to delay her release. Finally around 1 am her husband showed up and she was allowed to go free on a signature bond.
This was Loretta’s “Baptism of Fire” and now Alabama and the rest of the U. S. of A. has to contend with Loretta’s ‘Hell Fire’ now as President of the www.USMJPARTY.Com.
Loretta is on the speakers list of every Cannabis legalization rally across the country and hop scotches the Nation. She is not always even well received and on some nights on the road she is in shoddy accommodation, lonely as hell yet others fraught with joy and swept up in adulation from those that appreciate her dedication and home spun words of wisdom.
“Why Alabama and Why that dirt water town ” Incredulously I asked. “Why not move here to Canada or even better Holland?
Nope, Loretta would have none of it. Determined to ‘bloom where she is planted,’ “Alabama Needs it the Most” she insisted. “The school boards never had a pot smoking atheist to deal with before!” she scoffed.
The D.H.R. has stopped interviewing her children. They no longer try to get her daughter, then 5, or her boy now 12 to say “Mommy’s got plants hangin’ upside down.” They know better than talk to ‘men in black.’
“But …There are no atheists in fox holes” I pressed … ” You strike me as a ‘spiritual person.’ Do you consider yourself a ‘True Atheist’ or is it that you’re surrounded by Christian Fundamentalism… Do you not feel that you have a certain ‘calling,’ or ‘Tao,’ your following?”
Loretta felt that for sure; that everyday she made small decisions, took baby steps, towards the goal. That there was a call to Destiny, although determined by her own decisions that she was achieving through her sacrifices and work.
After our cigs out front, Marc could be found drying off on the sofa at Marijuana Man’s seed desk. Loretta snuggled up next to him and I popped downstairs to retrieve his Canuuks Bong II.
Marc had picked up a copy of a very amusing book that he had commissioned by, now well known author, Brian Preston entitled” Pot Planet” or “Adventures in Global Marijuana Culture.”
There was warmth and cozy feeling that ensued after I had brought Mr. Emery peppermint tea, Loretta her earl Grey and myself a nice latte. Glad my mom had me carrying tea trays to the roomers at age five. I did not spill a drop. The rain still came down. Few seed customers approached, it was peaceful and quiet as Marc read the funnier bits out loud.
Brian begins his sojourn in British Columbia where he goes to be a “marijuana judge at Cannabis Culture magazine’s first ever Cannabis Culture Cup, a forerunner to the www.tokersbowl.com.” a grass-judging get-together — kind of like a wine tasting, but smokier and with much better names. Burgundy, Cabernet and Chenin blanc are fine as far they go, but they can hardly compete with “Shishkaberry,” “Bubbleberry,” “Sweet Skunk,” “Purple Hempstar,” “Chocolate Thai,” “Highland Oaxaca Gold,” “Northern Lights” and “Texada Time Warp.”
But Short’s chart isn’t as helpful to Preston as a tip from Marc Emery “If you want to score anywhere in Asia, just find a place where they’re playing Bob Marley music.” who also gives him the $40,000 to make the journey before Preston is to depart for Nepal.
Listening to Marc read the passages M.J. man too laughing along to the familiar parties described; I blushed in embarrassment, the descriptions so perky and adept like:
“Smoke a sativa and go for a swim and you’re likely to feel yourself to be a water sprite, splashing on the diamond surface. Smoke an indica, and you’ll feel yourself a shark, with an urge to hold long breaths and descend to the murky depths..”.. Were so much better than the best writing I could ever do.
Carol Gwilt was not available for Loretta to interview until next day nor was Kirk Tousaw who was due to arrive that evening at 7PM and dine with the two doobie demagogues. The ‘ringer’ was being brought in from Michigan for his superior skills in Communications. He will be doing hopefully even a better job than Mathew Johnson full filed in preparing Candidates for their public forums and interviews and coordinating communications at BC Marijuana Party headquarters. Press releases will be prepared everyday and on every occasion where our opinions are being sought by the media we will be there.
It wasn’t until next day I got to sit down, after Loretta’s taping, with Kirk, Jude Renaud of Educators for Sensible Drug Policy, Marc and Chris Bennett. They sat on the red couches in the basement studio. Before them on the table some scruffy, maybe sativa looking, bud shocked purple by the cold in a large mason jar which they seemed rather keen on ignoring.
I got to share some of my Grand Forks hard pressed water hash from the BC Compassion Club (www.thecompassionclub.org) with them over Marc’s faint objection to keep it for home. A small chunk made it around clearly twice, until they had all floated off in various directions before the second bowl was loaded, forcing my hand to smoke it with the Pot T.V. crew, Ian and Chris only.
Light weights in the toking department, or not, it is obvious B.C.M.P. headquarters is gearing up for provincial elections here in Vansterdam. Be Prepared:
When your Aunt Betsy says its ‘Addictive’ and a ‘Gateway Drug’ you don’t want to be knocked on your ass by her arguments. Educate yourself to know ‘drugs’ are not the problem but, ‘people’s relationships with drugs’ are what’s important.
Know that prohibition itself, with it’s built in injustices, brings on all the problems associated with ‘Drug use’ and ‘misuse.’
A good place to start your research, outside the archives of www.pot-tv.net and www.cannabisculture.com of course is www.marijuananews.com to see Richard Cowan’s: “Frequently Asked Questions” and even better his: “Frequently UnAsked Questions.”
The letters to the Editors on www.mapinc.org are always excellent to peruse as well to hempucate yourself and others.