Wednesday, April 23, 2008

420 Vancouver Style!

4/20/2008 marked the one year anniversary of the the dismissal of marijuana charges against me in Tallapoosa Co. Being such an important anniversary, because it is so rare to win a court case like mine in Alabama, my great friend and mentor Marc Emery, Canada's 'Prince of Pot' invited me up to Vancouver, BC, Canada on an all expenses paid trip to celebrate in sublime style. It was the first time I have seen Marc in three years and if he is extradited to the US to stand charges on selling seeds FROM CANADA then it may have been the last time I will ever see him. I can't stand to even contemplate that horrific potential reality.

Marc Emery & Loretta Nall Vancouver 4/20/2008

Marc is the person most responsible for my activism in Alabama and the US. I met him in 2002 on the Cannabis Culture Forums and first visited him in September of 2002. Coincidentally, that is also the same month that the US DEA began their investigation of his seed selling business in Vancouver. He had been open about it for as long as he had been engaged in the business and even paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in Canadian taxes which he reported as 'revenue from marijuana seed sales'. The Canadians turned a blind eye to it for years but were somehow swayed by the American government to arrest Marc and extradite him to stand trial for selling seeds from Canada. Marc is a Canadian citizen. How is it possible to break US laws when you are not a US citizen, haven't been in the country in years and everything you did was done NOT ON AMERICAN SOIL?

After meeting Marc and spending a weekend in BC with him teaching me about activism I returned to the US. Nine days later the first helicopter raid happened at my home. I guess the US Government thought I'd smuggled a bunch of pot seeds back into the US and had potentially planted my 2 acres in BC Bud. Which was incredibly silly. I fought back by founding the Alabama Marijuana Party and writing my first letter to the editor and promptly being arrested and jailed for it six days later.

Through all of the court battles, DHR battles, school battles and everything that came along with my nearly 5 year war to get the case dismissed Marc Emery was right by my side. He hired me to be the anchor for Pot TV News, as a freelance journalist for Cannabis Culture Magazine and sent me all over the US and to Colombia, South America to learn and teach about the awful consequences and utter failure of the drug war. He also sent me to various places in Canada including Ottawa, Niagara Falls and many trips to Vancouver. He paid me well, paid for surgery for my daughter, denied me nothing, enriched me with his knowledge, has always said I am his #1 student and protege and has always treated me pretty much like a queen.

Marc spent his money on activism all across the world, developing and cultivating people like me on nearly every continent. That is why the US Government wanted him arrested. Not for selling seeds....but for sowing the seeds of freedom and drug sanity all across the globe. That was by far the most dangerous thing about Marc Emery as far as the US Government was concerned. Former DEA head Karen Tandy even admitted it in this 2005 news release regarding Marc's arrest.

What a nightmare to think that someone as good as Marc could be caged in the US for the rest of his life. Wow...what happened to my country?

Back to the trip.

My personal stash

A closer look. YUMMY!!

Throwing a massive civil disobedience party for 10,000 + people is no easy task. All in all around 7 pounds of fine BC Bud were rolled over the course of three days by many, many volunteers. I spent two days rolling for hours on end. It was grand fun. On 4/20 at 4:20 pm I threw them out to the crowd and was captured on Canadian National TV doing so. I should have a copy of the video later today.

The above photo is what is called 'budder' or 'butter'. It is a VERY VERY STRONG concentration of THC and is derived from hash oil. You can smoke it in a pipe, on a hot knife, the head of a pin or smear it on your rolling paper for a super tasty joint. I took one hit of butter while I was in BC. It's quite a bit too strong for yours truly.

Butter on a rolling paper

So, that's what they mean by BC logging industry?

BCMP staff surveying the fruits of their labor

HAPPY 420!!! The following photos were taken on 4/20/2008 at the Vancouver Art Gallery. There were at least 10,000 people there throughout the day. The thicker the smoke gets in the air the closer you know it is to 4:20

Whats a Pot Party without a beach ball?

Nicole, a BCMP staffer and wonderful companion to me during this trip. Her husband Jacob was also great!
Now, that's a weird lookin' dude. I have no doubt he could land the leading role in any Satanic movie. He wasn't a bad dancer though.

Guess what time it is?

It was really amazing to see a crowd that large engaged in peaceful massive civil disobedience. Nice to know that freedom does still exist somewhere in North America. We used to do things like that in the US, but sadly most folks have succumbed to the fear instilled by the US government. It is quite a powerful and wonderful feeling to be part of like minded group of people so huge that even if the cops wanted to do something they would be far, far outnumbered.

In a crowd exceeding 10,000 people there was only one incident requiring police and medics and it was some stupid guy who got so drunk (he brought his alcohol with him...none was sold at the event) that he crashed face first into the concrete. There were no arrests related to the marijuana being smoked very openly at the rally. The police even helped us out when the crowd swelled so large that two major downtown streets had to be closed off. They directed traffic and ensured the safety of everyone there. It was nice to see them do their job. I wish our cops would take a page from their book.

A little bit on the actual traveling part of the trip to and from Vancouver.

While I love to go to Canada and see Marc and my other friends I hate the travel part, because it requires the crossing of borders. Being who I am I'm usually stopped going into Canada or coming back into the US or both. I am subjected to repeated questioning about what I was doing in Canada, who I saw, what I do in the US, why have I been to Colombia. The list goes on and on and on. On more than one occasion I have only very narrowly escaped the latex glove treatment. No kidding.

On my first trip to Canada I was held six hours in Canadian Customs because they thought I was bringing pot to Canada from Alabama. Yeah...that's hysterical...I know!! Finally I told them that folks like me didn't come to Canada to bring them our pot...we came to smoke theirs! I believe it was that statement that finally convinced them that I was not, in fact, hiding Mexican ditch weed seeds up my butt.

I have been detained, made to miss flights and even had my computer seized by US Customs crossing back into the US from Canada in 2004. They copied the hard drive. Without a warrant.

So, when I travel it requires that I repeat a mantra over and over about staying calm, that I psyche myself up for the almost inevitable interrogation on either side of the border or both. You can't lose your temper with the border guards. I mean, you can you know...but it isn't advisable. Trust me on that one!

Of course, after ten hours of hurtling through the air in a cramped metal tube, smelling the gagging smell of baby shit which keeps recirculating through the vents (somebody always gotta change that baby about five minutes into a 7 hour flight you know?), humping it through airports where your disembark point is the absolute furtherest away from your connecting flight point all combined with a massive nicotine fit, anyone's temper would be hard to keep in check...but you have to.

So, fully psyched and ready for hours of endless bullshit from Canadian Customs I got off the plane in Vancouver and, to my absolute astonishment, breezed through Customs in about 2 minutes. That made me real, real happy!

I expected trouble coming back into the US. I figured all of my clothing would trigger the ion machines at the airport, or that US Customs would look at me like I was a terrorist once they scanned the bar code on my passport, cuz that's what they usually do. Hell, I didn't even take my laptop with me to Canada on this trip because I didn't want it copied again. But, once again, to my utter astonishment I was allowed to pass through unmolested by some self-righteous prick in a government uniform. HALLELUJAH thought I...I'm home free.

But, I oughta know better than that by now. A friend of mine drove me home from the airport and they were kind enough to provide me with some much needed medication for my arthritic back on the way. Only a few minutes after everything was disposed of we came over the bridge on 280 into Harpersville and were confronted by many police cars with their lights flashing blocking traffic up ahead. Now, this was close to 2 A.M. this morning. There were also wreckers waiting along with the cop cars. Why there were cops and wreckers on 280 stopping traffic at 2 A.M. I haven't a clue.

My friend Marc had autographed a Cannabis Culture magazine for my friend and I had taken it out and laid it on the seat so I wouldn't forget to give it to my friend. As soon as I saw the lights ahead I hid it. Now, as it turns out, my friend has not been living in the state long and has a tag from out of state. That tag is expired. They have been trying for months to get all of the necessary paperwork from their former state of residence so that this state can issue a tag. But every time they have been to get the tag this state always informs them of a new something that they need. My friend relays all of this to me as we get closer to the cops.

I thought (while trying to suppress some wild, maniacal laughter that had started to bubble up), "Now that's just fucking perfect! I make it all the way into Canada without being raped by Customs, while there I engaged in mass civil disobedience and was even on National TV handing out all those joints I helped roll, and I made it back into the US without being raped by Customs only to be popped by Officer Jim Bob Earl Jones of the Harpersville, Alabama Police Department on HWY 280 at 2 o'clock in the morning. Goddamn that's just my luck! FUCK!"

Not that we had anything to fear, there was nothing illegal in the car. But my clothing would have been enough to set a dog off had one been out there. The magazine would have suddenly turned into grounds for a search, and I don't even want to think about what the officer would have made of the pictures on my camera. I was just really tired and Officer Jim Bob Earl Jones was about the last fucking thing I wanted to deal with at the moment. He would have asked a lot of questions that I didn't feel like answering.

However, despite the expired tag and despite the fact that the insurance card was also out of date by a few months the cop miraculously believed my friends story and after issuing only a verbal warning to 'get that stuff taken care of' he sent us on our merry way. WHEW!

That's three for three in less than a week for me coming out unscathed when encountering law enforcement officers. I think I'll take a break for a bit until my luck builds back up cuz I know this can't last.



Anonymous said...

I'm amazed you can write a cogent story of your trip so soon after that long flight, Loretta, but it was wonderful seeing you. The Global (national) TV News coverage of you tossing out dozens of joints ought to make 'em nervous in the halls of power in Bama! That is being forwarded to you shortly.

Love you, #1!

Christie O'Brien said...

Awesome trip...can't believe we missed it! So glad you had fun :)

Don said...

Welcome home! It sounds as if you enjoyed your trip (<<< trip has multiple meanings). I enjoyed reading about it and viewing your pics, especially the first one.

Unknown said...

I wish my wife and I could have been there. That looked like it was a blast. We just had a couple of friends over, smoked some weed and played Guitar Hero III. While it was fun, you definately were at the bigger party! LOL

BTW, nice stash!

Loretta Nall said...

Marc, to me the trip isn't complete without the written story afterwards. I think it might even be fair to say that I like to travel more because it gives me something to write about than for the act of traveling itself.

I really enjoyed seeing you. Wish there had been more time to just catch up and visit with you. Thank you for a wonderful time in a beautiful place with someone who is at the top of the list of superb human beings. After six years with you in my life you continue to wow me and make me realize how fortunate I am to be someone that you care about.

Love you too Commander,

Anonymous said...

Loretta, it was a pleasure and honour to meet you! What a whirlwind trip, and such a crazy time we all had. We're still recovering from 420! By the way, your photos are fantastic and your story hilarious, and so engaging, as usual! :)

Anonymous said...

WOW! you are one lucky dog. one day i'll go and do that. you are a leader in my book. keep up the good fight and enjoy life along the way.