DCMJ March of the Clones

Mike Fluggenock’s photo.

That’s my favorite sign from Saturday’s March of the Clones protest, but the level of art production that went into this thing was really astounding, most especially the Carbonite version of artist Mike Flugennock’s Obama.

You can find more on DCMJ’s Twitter feed, if you’re so inclined. I really should have taken more pictures, but I was swept up into the whole thing. Literally.

We met up at Dupont Circle, maybe thirty folks in all.  Adam Eidinger spoke with infectious enthusiasm about how our own struggle was reflected in the Star Wars mythos.  A brief open mic commenced.  My eye caught a young woman taking notes around the edge of the group, and sidled up alongside.

“What’cha writing?”

“I’m working on an independent journalism project for a private think tank,” she says.  A good guy, we’ll call him Javier, because that’s a slick damn name.

Masculine, but without any rough edges or ever using a feminine vowel (don’t ask me what that means right now, it just sounds right, go with it).

So, better idea, we’re going to call me Javier instead.  No, that’ll be confusing.  Ok, Javier, who is not me, is a guy that’s usually around at these events, and he comes over and offers me a much, much needed dab, as I had left the house without my wax pen.

“Neat,” I say.

After much effort and successive application of Charm spells (rolling 20s, baby!), I ascertain her purpose is to study why people with substance abuse issues believe themselves to not be addicts.  She pulls a Switzerland impression when I ask her personal views, well done.

I explain that the reason she would think we are addicts is because of a systematic propaganda machine that has turned a medicine used for centuries into a criminal offense so they can peddle their ineffective, truly addictive pills to the American people instead and, oh yeah, lock up minorities to grease the gears of a new slave paradigm called the US Prison-Industrial Complex.

Or, I try to.  I had just taken a dab, so it was considerably less eloquent than that.  Plus, her question turns up unsettling feelings, so I took my leave of the fair maiden.

I do my best, and have all the evidence and science to back me up a brand-new wind-up robot boy could want, but it’s hard to shake the core programming sometimes.  Y’know what I mean?

Shit, this is good weed.  Anyway.

The march to the White House got underway and much as last time, the wagon blared music (a Star Wars score/techno mash-up, naturally) and we did our best to freak out the squares along the way.

It was the middle of the day, and despite the thick blanket of gray clouds o’er head, there were plenty of folks on the streets, most revealing their kind disposition to the cause with subtle smiles and nods.

No shame, though, from the awesome young lady who stuck her head out the window and yelled “YEAH WEED!  I LOVE WEED!” at our procession from the backseat of a traffic-stopped car.  High-five!

Halfway there, Adam asks if I want to pull the sound-wagon.  Hell, yes, I do. I take the handle gladly, but with some trepidation.  I’ve never pulled a heavy cart over sidewalks in the middle of a march before, with live foot traffic interfering.  I fretted over the idea I might run some poor pedestrian over, or cause the load to tip.

Perhaps that’s why he offered it to me. Nerves kept me sharp, focused, and my partner in the back compensated unerringly for my constant adjustments as I learned to drive live, on stage.  Whenever I had space to maneuver easily, I exulted in the honor, silently beaming at passersby.

We arrived to find many, many more of our compatriots were waiting for us.  They were an encouraging sight.  Our destination reached, we parked the sound-wagon in front of Obama’s place and wasted no time in pleading our cause to the President, beginning with Adam, then yielding to other speakers.

I didn’t say anything- note to my near-future self, always prepare remarks for protests!  Even if it’s short.  Hey, GT, you don’t know who won the Super Bowl this year, do you?  Ok, ok, nevermind.  I won’t muck about with your precious “continuum” or whatever, McFly.

Outside of the usual suspects teaching school, like Nikolas Schiller’s historical insights and DC Scroger’s urging that we produce, not consume. We don’t agree on that, by the way, due to my safety and environmental concerns, not to mention the continued illegal federal status of cannabis- but I respect his mission and I feel that the results of both his and mine are beneficial to the city.

His is certainly more popular!  See, I get the vibe from some (definitely not all) growers that anyone who doesn’t grow is a sucker, a mark, a customer.

But here’s the flip, fellas- stories about growers being held up, crops, equipment stolen are not uncommon.  Frankly, that’s on the positive side of the range of possibilities stemming from a home invasion.

So, “everyone grows” doesn’t really work unless the price of cannabis drops to the point that it’s not worth the potential payday for criminals, i.e., Every-Damn-One Grows.  So my own vision is different.

When making decisions, I calculate the range of possible outcomes.  From there, I assess risk.  Let’s put it in concrete terms.  If I give you a glass of super-scienced vitamin water and you drink it, you’ll not go hungry for six months, but there’s a one percent chance your entire family will be shot execution-style at a family picnic by a pissed off Mexican drug cartel, would you drink it?

Would you drink it again in six months?  Would you offer it to your grandmother, or the parents of a child with special needs?  The link above is, admittedly, worst-case.

There are many, many other unpalatable options and potential downsides to keeping and maintaining thousands of dollars in federally illegal medicine in your home that have nothing to do with violence.

I believe what we need is safe, affordable, reliable, easy access to this medicine for each and every American if they so desire it, which means dispensaries.  In turn, that means the legitimate cannabis ventures desperately need access to critical banking services ASA-freakin-P, man, so they aren’t double-stuffed ATMs. You know what I mean, but you probably shouldn’t Google that.

I do think people should be allowed to grow if they so choose.  This is ‘merica, dammit.  Grow away, it’s just a plant!  I don’t think it’s OK for cannabis to be tightly controlled by a few oligarchs, as Ohio tried, like we have in DC now, and like Maryland is setting themselves up for.

I don’t want a future of $400+ ounces, $150/gram concentrates, et cetera. I want a strong, vibrant cannabis industry here on the East Coast like they have out West.  But I digress.

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There was touching testimony from Ricardo Rivera, whose child suffers from severe epilepsy, but who is a criminal for providing his daughter with the cannabis oil that has reduced her seizures 95%!

Please check out his story on Instagram, #TuffysFight.  A righteous dude in a marijuana leaf-adorned cape and gator-skin cowboy hat rocked the microphone for a hot minute. Rachel Ramone from MassCann (the Massachusetts chapter of NORML) told a sorrowful tale about the loss of family bonds cannabis patients experience because of the incorrect legal status of this medicine.

The clear highlight for me was when a group of pretty young white girls, tourists, I expect, approached and a blonde walked boldly up to Javier and, as though she couldn’t believe what she was doing, asked if he knew where to get oil.

Good eye, lady. I was too embarrassed to offer my own card, furthermore, she didn’t ask me. GT is an unavowed mercenary on his own quest for redemption, folks, a No-One’s Knight.  Freelancing comes with some perks, but I’ve got to tread carefully in this feudal DC cannabis society.

Inconveniently for them, minutes later and mere inches away, an amazing young woman I admire caught fire as she spoke passionately about what this unjust Drug War has done to the black community.

As she went Super-Saiyan on the mike, I admit a small amount of pity for the tourists as I began ticking off the moments until they came to a consensus that the moment had arrived where they wouldn’t look racist to walk away from the uncomfortable ear-bashing.

It did not take long, friends.

Another uncomfortable moment came and passed as Secret Service K9 officers made their way through our crowd.  We already had marijuana plants in our hands, but it’s 2016, and that was obviously not what they were concerned about.

4:20 came, and while I’m sure there are satellite images available to prove who partook (if not, then what are our tax dollars going for?), I’m equally sure that it would cost thousands of government dollars to access them and is not worth anyone’s time, so I shall plead the Fifth.

The protest broke up not long after.  I walked back with the group, which occasionally lost members like a comet entering the atmosphere, but left to eat alone when Mediterranean was suggested as I’ve got a weird eating disorder called ARFID.  I’ll get into it some other time.

My back was killing me by the time I got home after all the walking, standing, and cart-yanking.  It still bothered me after I took a nice, long nap, so I applied some of the Pharmer Miller topical cream their collective had graciously provided me to review.

Minutes later, the remaining tension had eased, and in fact, felt better than usual.  Definitely something that bears further experimentation!  It was a good thing, too, because I had double-booked gigs.

I showed up to the Midnight Edibles Brunch hosted by TTC Green and Kayaman Premium Edibles fashionably late, around 1am.  The crowd was light at The River Lounge, which is ideal for your friendly, neighborhood misanthrope, and I took time to explore the many areas of the exceptionally large venue.

In one section, the DJ spun pop and rap. People gathered around Kayaman’s hoppin’ edible station for a bevy of canna-cookin’.  But the balcony!  Oh my stars and garters, let me tell you about the balcony.  It is on the Southwest riverfront.  Repeat, it’s on the freakin’ river, y’all!  Oh, man.  The evening was chilly, but I spent nearly all my time there.

You couldn’t convince me to leave.  There were several benches available for folks to sit a spell, and every once in a while, a fish would make a splash, to the crowd’s delight.  And you can smoke out there!  This is my absolute  favorite place now.

Eventually, though, I did go in and claim my free edible and infused lemonade, and by this point, the party had swelled.  I was thrilled to find they had just plain ole’ cornbread, also infused.  They even toasted it for me and it wasn’t like I had a nametag that said “Hi I’m GT the Weird Cannabis Blogger” or anything.  Very kind of them.

I didn’t taste the cannabis until near the last bite, which is my personal preference.  A light cannabis flavor is interesting but it can be a little off-putting when it’s all you can taste.  The lemonade was delicious.  The combo affected me only lightly, producing a calm, open mood, and I even tried my hand at conversation a couple times.  It goes better this time of year, when I remember how much I like football.

That’s not all! Inside, a bar serves wine, class, but I had neglected to bring any cash. I decide to venture upstairs and am delighted to find the Eddie Murphy/Dan Akroyd comedy classic Trading Places playing on the projector, with tons of seating gathered for those who’d prefer to chill over the mingling downstairs.

Beyond that, a more exclusive balcony, albeit no smoking. The only thing this place could use is a dab bar.  It’s so awesome, though, with such breath-taking midnight views, I don’t even sweat that.  I am very much looking forward to the next event at The River Lounge.  I’ll be the guy standing off by himself, smoking and staring out at the Anacostia.