A Happening in Boston
By Jim Fowler
The local news media sources in Boston, in both print and television worlds, appear to be avoiding the reporting of the fact that with well over 60,000 people in one area for two purposes, smoking up and listening to a free concert event and several key note speakers talk about legalizing marijuana in Massachusetts for medicinal purposes and recreational use alike, and there were ZERO arrests and ZERO incidents reportable.
In fact, the only thing that the media can associate is of course negative in the respect that after a young man passed out on a train platform and had to be rescued after falling down onto the tracks, he may have stated that he was coming from the Freedom Rally. What the reports fail to mention is that he may have fallen out due to health issues or dehydration. The reports I read were void of any such information. Total propaganda if you ask me.
The event that I travelled 5 hours across three states to attend was simply the best Boston Freedom Rally I have ever attended, BAR NONE! This was the third year that MassCann/NORML opted to have dual stages. The sec- ond stage, affectionately known as the “Stingray” stage after its sponsor, Stingray Body Art and Piercing, had several thousand more people around it than last year, and the crowd seemed to stay in that spot all day.
The day started off great, the sun was shining
temperatures were mild. It felt to me as if spring were in the air and not fall. I noticed that everyone was especial- ly spry. There was an exceptional air of happiness every- where. Immediately upon arriving at Boston Common and parking my vehicle, I walked to the MassCann tent to greet my friend Steve Epstein, one of MassCann’s founding fathers. Even Steve had an unusual air of spring happiness about him. I paid my yearly dues to the organ- ization and received voting rights at their bi-monthly meetings as well as a trick new freedom rally tee shirt made from pure hemp. What a total bargain for $30.00. MassCann is the Massachusetts Affiliated branch of NORML. This year’s rally was their 22cnd. Here here for 22 more.
The next order of business for the day was to locate Mike “Cann” Crawford, the president of MassCann, to get my VIP passes for the event from him. Mike is simply one of the best men I know of and I thank god that he is my friend. He hooked me right up with the credentials I needed to get some rather awesome crowd shots at 4:20 taken from the main stage showing the crowd with a rather thick green cloud hanging lazily over their heads much like a droopy eyelid would over a stoned eye. It was awesome. Mike is actually a widely heralded activist and extreme Medical Marijuana supporter, whose words and views can be digested on his blog site at http://www.mikecann.net.
The rally officially kicked off as usual at “high” noon. It got off to a grand start. The people started to pile in as the bands played and key note speakers addressed the crowds with their words of support in the repeal of the prohibition of God’s sacred herb, as well as heralding its many medicinal uses. This year’s band lineup included many of Boston’s finest acts from all genres. Some of the more notable ones were Boston’s own D.J. Slim, Termanology, Prospect Hill, Planetoid, and the headlin- ing act, Tree. Tree is fronted by Dave Tree, a loyal MassCann board member, who used to be one of Boston’s most listened to radio personalities on the now defunct WBCN. Rumor has it that this band actually came out of a self-imposed exile to headline at this event and one other show that night, before returning once again to that self-imposed exile to God knows where. I know their performance was absolutely the rawest per- formance of the day, and it definitely left me wanting to see and hear more from them. As many well-known per- formers as there were, there was an equal amount of high profile key note speakers. But, in my estimation, the best key note speaker was Maine State Representative Diane Russell. Maybe I’m just partial to her because we are both “Mainahs”, but her speech seemed simply brilliant. She spoke about a bill that she introduced into legislature in Maine that was the state’s first ever legalization bill. I remember going to the state house to testify before the committee on the bill. It was a great experience.
After many hours of testimo- ny and argument one way and another amongst the committee members, her bill ended up failing by a narrow margin. Our nation needs more patriots just like her if we are to win this war on drugs.
As I walked the grounds of Boston Common throughout the day I noticed that the crowds were happy, extremely happy. I saw people aiding very obviously handicapped people out of true compas- sion. I witnessed well over 60,000 people come together in one area and show more love, respect, and compassion for their fellow man than all of our governments combined! This event was as close to Nirvana as a person can get.
It may be due, partially, to the fact that there were no unruly police officers videotaping the crowds like there were in years past. Gone were the multitudes of uniformed police officers that walked the Common watching all while seemingly keeping the peace. Gone were the plain clothed officers that usually score one or two arrests by going places and demanding things of those suspected of selling God’s herb other than what Massachusetts laws allow. And best of all, since all of the officers were somewhere else, gone were the usual civil tickets given out for minor possession, and more importantly, gone were any and all arrests resulting from sales or any other offense!
This truly was an event to remember. My hat is off to Steve Epstein, Mike “Cann” Crawford, Bill Downing, and all of the board of directors at MassCann for a job well done. I commend and applaud you for your hard work and diligence not only in executing this event, but for your continued hard work on making the marijuana laws of this nation just a little more bearable.