Participants press for federal legalization of marijuana at the National Cannabis Festival on April 20, 2019. (Photo by Chester Simpson)
“To me, pot is just fun. And I’m glad to see the rest of the country is coming around to my way of seeing things,” Keith Richards said in interview in Rolling Stone magazine Sept. 3, 2015. Keith would have enjoyed the National Cannabis Festival at RFK Stadium on April 20.
I didn’t have so much fun when I was arrested for marijuana possession in 1972.
I remember like it was yesterday, being pulled over to the side of the road, seeing cops with guns drawn running towards my car, and I was pinching myself hoping it was all a bad dream.
I was yanked out of my car along with my friends, and asked “Where’s the pot?”
I replied, “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” as they searched in my trunk, around the engine and inside my vehicle. Then, they searched me and found one joint in my shirt pocket. The policeman said, “I have enough to bust your ass!” and I grabbed one end of the joint and ripped half of it away from him. Two other policemen came running over, thinking I was fighting back and proceeded to beat the hell out of me. Breaking my nose, blacking my eyes and put three pairs of handcuffs on me and throwing me into a cop car.
My parents had no idea that I had been smoking marijuana and came down to the police station to retrieve me. They arrived panicked, and wondered how much weed I had in my car? I told them it was less then a joint. My Dad seeing my battered face for the first time said, “What happened to your face?”
He couldn’t understand why the police would beat me up so badly over one joint.
I was 19 in 1972, and I had to serve three weekends in jail for half a joint of cannabis. The outcome was I lost my job, I lost my drivers license for six months, and I was on probation for one year. It was no fun getting in fights in jail and watching the inmates smoke pot in the cells.
Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don’t stand in the doorway
Don’t block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There’s a battle outside
And it is ragin’.
It’ll soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin’.
— Bob Dylan
The 4th Annual Festival was held at RFK Stadium in DC on April 20, 2019, and it was well attended by over 20,000 people. As I walked in, it was a nice welcome to smell the sweet air floating around the festival grounds, with smiles on everyone’s faces. I’m so glad times are changing!
The National Cannabis Festival was founded in early 2015 by a small group of cannabis enthusiasts to celebrate marijuana legalization in DC and across the nation. They created a festival recognizing the spirit of the cannabis movement and the non-profit groups that have fought for so long to end marijuana prohibition. Visit the festival’s website for more information.
Exhibitors and vendors setup in tents offered advice, services, demonstrations, panel discussions, bongs, pipes, t-shirts, and sorted paraphernalia. They where there to educate and inform the public on how to stop all cannabis arrests and prosecutions, support pro-pot lawmakers, and fight for legalization.
Plenty of food trucks with long lines, helped people who had the munchies.
What a great experience on a beautiful day. Here are some pictures of the National Cannabis Festival on April 20 at RFK Stadium.