It was nice to put down my “legalize marijuana” sign and rest my feet after walking nearly a hundred miles this year in marijuana picket lines; and join my fellow marijuana activists in enjoying a beer and, of course, a joint. I was one of a dozen NJ marijuana activists present that night and, like being part of a tightly-knit family, we found ourselves a little spot away from everyone else and set up camp there for the night.
I arrived at the Underground Arts around 10 at night. I immediately ran into NJ weekly demonstrators Amanda Panda, Jo Anne Zito, Cindy and Bob Ruggiero, and Claudia Litost. As I made my way into the bar I ran into Mr. Lefty Grimes, who was just on his way out. Just before entering the building, I heard NJ Weedman’s voice, and when I turned around I saw the Weedmobile driving down the road, as Weedman spoke through his PA system. I almost forgot I was in Philadelphia.
Inside I ran into numerous activists that I met for the first time this year. I briefly spoke with Vanessa Maria of East Coast Cannabis Coalition and who also helped sponsor the Poe-bation Roast that night. Only two weeks earlier I met Vanessa at a Delaware-NORML rally. I then saw several Delaware-NORML members who I also recently met. Both Vanessa and Delaware-NORML members were very supportive of a wide coalition of marijuana organizations, and I hope to work with them in doing so in the near-future. I also briefly spoke with well-known marijuana activist Richard Dyott, who I also met for the first time in Delaware. I would have preferred to have longer conversations with all these people, but the music was too loud to do so.
After being in the bar for too long, and having too many conversations with people on where we could smoke and where we could get bud, I decided to get some air outside. When I stepped out of the building I saw the Weedmobile parked directly across the street in the parking lot. Having spent the last year smoking in, planning protests in, and hanging out in the Weedmobile, I made my way over. When I opened up the back door, and after clearing the smoke from my face, I realized where the NJ activists had been all night. I climbed into the Weedmobile without any thought, joined the passing circle, and was given several edibles. For the next hour I hung out in and around the Weedmobile with Weedman, Jeremy Santos, Cindy, Bob, Claudia, Jo Anne and others.
It was nearly 2 in the morning when I went back to the bar, which was now closed. I waited outside for some of the people I drove with there. My friend Mike, who was very drunk, stood next to me as he pleased the food truck driver to throw some free bread his way. This actually worked, and while we all ate bread, he continued to speak with the food truck driver. As the crowd began to die down I saw N.A. Poe leave the bar and walk toward our direction. I stopped him and shook hands with him, but I was too tired to even explain to him who I was or talk about future demonstration. After I shook his hand, Poe was asked by the second employee in the food truck to take some pictures in front of the truck as a way to gain some publicity. Poe kindly accepted to take some pictures in front of the truck, despite how late it was. I could not help cracking up, however, when Poe posed for the pictures in front of the truck. Only a foot away from the star marijuana activist posing for pictures was my friend Mike, who not only didn’t know who he was standing next to, but he didn’t even realize he was in every picture taken of Poe in front of the truck. When I mentioned all of this to Mike the next day, he wasn’t able to recall the incident, and he still doesn’t know who Poe is.