This is the third year in a row I've attended the Global Marijuana March. I wanted to go for many years before but had too many other things on the go and lived too far to just "pop in" like I did today. However marching for the legalization of pot is important for many reasons so I made the effort today.
I myself did not partake of the Herb as I had driven to the subway to save time since I'm trying to get a mountain of work done today. But I felt it my duty to show solidarity just the same by marching...er...shuffling.
Although the Gathering started at "high noon" at Queen's Park, I didn't go until around 1:30 since the march started at two. Even at 1:30, there were hundreds of people sitting around the park, smoking bongs, pipes, joints, eating brownies and so on. Hundreds of people arrived every minute. I went down to Tim Horton's to get a donut and coffee and got back just after the march started.
For the past two years, the City of Toronto has refused to issue permits for the Freedom Festival to run at the same time as the Global Marijuana March. This is vastly disappointing and short-sighted. People come from all over North America to march on this day in Toronto. This is an opportunity for local artists to sell their wares, food vendors to make a fortune from thousands of people with the munchies, and for people to sell weird and wonderful art. I myself would get a booth to sell tarot readings and trinkets if the price for a permit was reasonable. I used to do that in Port Credit for various events and festivals. There are rare city events someone like me can participate in because we're fringe. It would give artists and food trucks a rare opportunity to earn a bit of extra cash to pay our rent.
The Freedom Festival is a tourist opportunity that the City of Toronto should be exploring not shutting down. In these horrific economic times (how long have I been looking for work in my field with my great credentials...?) this provides a great opportunity to create jobs for everyone: porta-parties, food trucks, artists, cops, security, musicians, psychics, dancers, people who are in charge of renting out stages and tents, and so on.
The same people who are already there anyways would be able to spend money and move the economy forward for a day instead of McDonalds and Tim Hortons getting all the money yet again.
City of Toronto, you need to get it together!
Back to my report:
As always, there were hundreds of cops everywhere. In the park, on the streets, every few feet of the parade route. (See how vender permits would have helped to pay for all those cops?)
Maybe I'm just getting old and coupled with the fact I've not had a date in the three years since I left my husband, I thought there was a plethora of handsome cops with very nice legs. Most bicycle cops wear shorts. You can make out the Mounties, not in shorts, on the horses in this lower picture. I should have brought a better camera instead of my cell phone.
The cops were laughing and joking with all of the stoners. It was a lovely day of stoners and cops co-mingling, like that magical time at Sarstock many years ago where pot was legal for ONE DAY before they took it away again.
There's always "that earnest stoner" who starts yapping with a cop and the poor cop just had to nod and smile at his babblings. I saw that a few times on the parade route. It's always high-larious to see, once you get to my age because it's always the same: the pothead is so sure he's changing the cop's mind-set, man. Relax. Mellow out, dude. And the cop just laughs.
There were a couple more moments and musings worth sharing.
1. We were all walking along and people smoking a bong beside me were commenting on how slow we were all walking. I said "There's more shuffling at the pot march than at the Zombie Walk." They all thought that was funny.
2. People were trying to "make noise" such as yelling and chanting. Another dude beside me, holding a huge bong, said plaintively, "We can't yell anymore, our lungs have collapsed." I had to laugh at that.
3. The mass I was in was turning down the last street of the parade. Everyone was having a "quiet moment" as anyone who smokes pot understands the "Phases of Being High" and shuffling along. Suddenly, the sound of glass shattering pierces the air, like the beginning of that Billy Joel album. Giant sorrowful waves of "AWWWW" and "DUUUUUDE" ripple through the air as the crowd shuffles by poor bong dropper picking up the pieces.
Everyone livened up again, clutching their own bongs tighter, chanting and "wooing" and shuffled further along where Herb was waving at people passing his truck near the end of the route. Another glass shattered. Again waves of "Awww" and "Sucks to be YOU" rippled along the peaceful protesters.
4. Maybe I'm old and lazy. I don't know. I've never seen so many bongs in my life. Thousands of bongs. Last year wasn't like that. There were bongs but maybe a couple of hundred. This was amazing. Some were huge, like a saxophone. It was so cool to see thousands of people and bongs on blankets, sorting their weed, dogs playing, kids tossing hake sacs and drumming. A few ukuleles were busted out. Mascots and pot cosplay people danced through the park before and after the march.
However, I can't imagine having to carry that bong around everywhere I go, especially if I was high or drunk. And since it's actually not legal to smoke pot in Toronto yet although you can buy bongs, you're a target when it's not pot march day. Aren't you?
I don't have the energy to deal with caring for a big glass water-filled fragile container reeking of an illegal substance everywhere I go. Of course, I rarely carry a purse too for that matter. I hate carrying stuff around. I understand you get more high from a bong but it seems like a lot of work and that's just too high for me.
My point is though, that it must be a new generational thing, all these people carrying bongs in the parade, smoking the bongs down the street. Back in my day, we smoked joints. Smoking in the park must have been nice to do for bong users. Although the day started off cool and rainy, by parade time it was hot and sunny in parts. I noted that many of the bong blanket people were still there at the end of the parade. Many times, people just stay in the park, and I mean hundreds of people, and don't march at all.
5. If you're going to carry a bong around, you should do what I saw some people did to carry their bongs. They created "bong carriers." These were like slings designed for their bongs, in the vein of a front baby carrier. Great too for smoking since no one will drop the bong and smash it in mid-toke.
6. Why on earth would you even ATTEMPT to drive up Yonge Street when there's a pot march of several thousand stoners shambling along the street?
The Bong Mascot is pictured above.
It was a lovely day. A good bit of exercise, all that slow-mo shuffling!
You should come to the next GMM! It's a great day to see a lot of people being mellow and happy.