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  • Reports from the ‘High Times’ Medical Marijuana Cup in Clio

    On Saturday we set out to check out the High Times Medical Marijuana Cup in Clio, Mich. — High Times did hold a Cannabis Cup in the Motor City back in 2011, but Detroit police flexing their muscles and making arrests at that event may have been to blame, at least partially, for the choice of a new host city. The event was held this year at the Auto City Speedway, (also known as “B.F.E.” to Detroiters). Nevertheless, the prospect of stopping at the Torch for the best burger in the Genessee County was compelling — and anyway, this was the Cannabis Cup we were talking about. Was it really going to be “work?” It turned out, just a little bit. An inexplicable lack of an on-site ATM meant hiking quite a ways up the road to the nearest gas station, and then waiting for an attendant to restock the ATM with cash. We spoke with plenty of Cannabis Cup attendees at the gas station — everybody knows that the local gas station is a stoner’s best-friend. The two-day festival, for which one-day tickets were sold for $40, was divided into two sections — a general area and a medicating […]

    The post Reports from the ‘High Times’ Medical Marijuana Cup in Clio appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • ICYMI: Forbes rates Detroit #9 on its “America’s Most Creative Cities” list

    Yes, it’s true. Forbes says Detroit is one of America’s most creative cities: “We ranked these places based on four metrics: activity per capita on project-funding platforms Kickstarter and Indiegogo and music sites Bandcamp and ReverbNation. The goal was to capture organic creativity, since many artistic and musical types have “day jobs” outside of creative pursuits.” The Forbes list sandwiches #9 Detroit between #8 Seattle and #10 Oakland, Calif. If you are watching the art and culture explosion happening right now in Detroit, you probably think we should rank higher than #2 Boston and #1 San Francisco, if only for the fact that it’s actually affordable to create here and there is space for everyone to be creative. But hey, those metrics weren’t part of the equation. And there’s always next year.

    The post ICYMI: Forbes rates Detroit #9 on its “America’s Most Creative Cities” list appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Food trucks go to the dogs

    Today, starting at 10am, Milo’s Kitchen Treat Truck will be swinging by the  Cherry Hill Village at Preservation Park on  N. Roosevelt St. in Canton. They’ll be serving the pups (“gour-mutts,” as Milo’s calls them) treats and the dog parents the opportunity of “family portraits.” Milo’s is on a cross-country food truck trip, promoting their “grilled burger bites” and “chicken meatballs” to pup parents from L.A. to NYC, with stops in between, including Chicago, Detroit, Pittsburgh, the Carolinas, and Arkansas. But watch out! Milo’s Kitchen Treat Truck markets “real chicken and beef home-style dog treats” that are are “wholesome” and “authentic” without “artificial flavors or colors-made right here in the USA.” Authentic, processed food that is. Remember what George Carlin said about “home-style”? Their treats are also packed with soy, TVP, wheat flour, tapioca, rice, and sugar–fillers that make the meat go far and aren’t the best for your pup. They’re also packed with preservatives, like sodium erythorbate, nitrates, BHA, sodium tripolyphosphate, and potassium sorbate. Small amounts are probably ok, and no doubt the pup will love it, the same way it’s easy for humans to love carb- and sugar- laden, processed and preserved, treats.  

    The post Food trucks go to the dogs appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Former Tigers Dave Rozema and Ike Blessitt to honor Mark “The Bird” Fidrych

    Coming up on August 16, former Detroit Tigers Dave Rozema and Ike Blessitt will team up with the Navin Field Grounds Crew and Metro Times‘ own Dave Mesrey to honor legend Mark “The Bird” Fidrych. The festivities, known as the annual “Bird Bash,” will be held at the infamous Nemo’s Bar & Grill, and will benefit The Bird’s favorite charity, the Wertz Warriors, and also the Mark Fidrych Foundation. For more information, check out their website or Facebook page.

    The post Former Tigers Dave Rozema and Ike Blessitt to honor Mark “The Bird” Fidrych appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • First Little League game at Navin Field today

    Today Navin Field (the Old Tiger Stadium) hosts its first Little League game on a new field made just to host the youngsters! Here’s a photo of the game happening right now, courtesy Tom Derry and Metro Times‘ copy editor extraordinaire, Dave Mesrey: Stop by the site (corner of Michigan and Trumbull) today to watch history in the making!

    The post First Little League game at Navin Field today appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Twerk du Soleil shakes up Detroit

    Former American Idol contestant Vonzell Solomon weighs in on twerking, natural hair & CEO status. In 2005, recording artist Vonzell “Baby V” Solomon embarked on a journey that changed her life. At the age of 20, Vonzell made it to the top three on American Idol before she was eliminated. But that was not the beginning nor the end of her journey to stardom. Vonzell is one of more than two dozen artists on tour with YouTube sensation Todrick Hall, who is a former Idol contestant as well. Todrick gained notoriety for his fast food drive-thru songs and also for producing parody videos  —  based on popular Broadway musicals and songs. His tour, uniquely entitled Twerk Du Soleil (translation: twerk of the sun), is a combination of his popular YouTube spoofs. Both Vonzell and her ratchet alter ego,Boonquisha Jenkins, made an appearance in Twerk Du Soleil,which stopped in Detroit July 23 at Saint Andrews Hall. Boonquisha opened the show by facilitating a twerking competition among the audience. Next, Vonzell made a reappearance singing a fan favorite – Whitney Houston’s “I Have Nothing.” Later, Boonquisha came on stage screaming “It’s so cold in the D! You gotta be from the D to […]

    The post Twerk du Soleil shakes up Detroit appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

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Higher Ground

Read the news ... oh, boy

Still shrill: Opponents of pot as histrionic as ever.

I said goodbye to Amsterdam after a long and productive winter spent living and working in the bosom of my extended family at Radio Free Amsterdam, serving as poet in residence at the 420 Café and daily enjoying the freedom to smoke marijuana at will whether one is sick or not.

Arriving at the London St. Pancras train station, I caught the Piccadilly tube to my modest quarters at the Headpress bunker in Wood Green and picked up a copy of the Evening Standard on the way, only to find a full-blown revival of the Reefer Madness approach on the front page of the Health & Beauty section from a writer named Sophie Goodchild: "OUT OF THEIR MINDS: THE TRUTH ABOUT TEENS, CANNABIS AND PSYCHOSIS."

"The award-winning foreign correspondent Patrick Cockburn describes how his son Henry turned from talented artist to disheveled wreck," Sophie reports.

"'He stopped shaving or washing his hair and went barefoot, so his feet became septic. He also soiled his jeans more than once.'

"Author Julie Myerson also knows how excessive cannabis use can threaten to wreck families," Sophie goes on. "Her son Jake became hooked on the potent 'skunk' form of cannabis and Myerson was forced to throw him out of the family home in south London."

Harry Anslinger must be dancing in his grave to hear this drivel. A sidebar titled "CANNABIS: THE LOWS" proclaims "You may have a problem if you answer 'yes' to any of the following:

1) Do you ever get high alone?" Every day, lady, every day!

5) "When your stash is nearly empty, do you feel anxious or worried about how to get more?" Every time, lady, every time — unless I'm in Amsterdam, where they always have exactly what you want at the hash counter, any time you want it. No anxiety there! And in Michigan now, only when one's caregiver hasn't arrived by the appointed hour or it's after closing at the compassionate care center.

Me, I'm addicted to newspapers, and I follow the global cannabis news pretty closely, but it's been quite a while since this particular tack has been taken. Generally marijuana seems to be considered basically harmless and is grudgingly conceded even to have positive medicinal properties, but it gets you high and there's supposedly something fundamentally wrong with that.

Bang! The woodwork squeaks and out come all the freaks of law enforcement to terrorize and abuse the smoking population for several generations, in ways and with means way too vast to enumerate here. Plus which, as they say, there's the "preaching to the choir" factor where the speaker keeps saying the same things over and over again and everyone says "amen" and outside the church the sinners and the greedheads and the money-changers just keep on stepping.

My problem is that the more I think about it the madder I get. Despite the reams of righteous information and reasonable argument against the idiotic War on Drugs and the insufferable ignorance and brutality with which it is waged, hundreds of thousands of marijuana smokers continue to be victimized and persecuted by its relentless minions, dragged through the courts and jails and "treatment programs," imprisoned, stripped of their rights, and treated like vicious criminals.

But in the end it's all about getting high — and what's wrong with that? They get high and we don't put them in prison. You can't even read the Metro Times online without a bunch of vodka all up in your face, but you have to worry about getting searched and arrested every time you leave the pad because you've got a couple of joints in your pocket? Or be getting high and listening to some records and the storm troopers come busting into your house like you had John Dillinger in there with you?

Like Richard Pryor said, "How long? How long must this bullshit go on?" And I guess the answer is, as long as we let them get away with it. It's a big job to end the War on Drugs, because even though it's been well-established that the emperor is completely bereft of clothing, he still has his Army and Navy and Marine Corps and their local equivalents, his legions of prison guards and employees, his endless ranks of lawyers and court personnel to churn the reeking cauldron of "justice" — or to cite the late brother Pryor again, "just us."

If you want a perfect example of what this mess is really about, look no further than to the immediate north of Detroit, where the law enforcement establishment of Oakland County and several of its communities continue to punish marijuana smokers — even state-sanctioned medical marijuana patients and their licensed suppliers ("caregivers") — as if the state's marijuana laws had not actually been severely altered by the action of a majority of its voters.

But the nature of the law doesn't really bother the forces of enforcement as long as they can get away with their devilishment and keep raking in the proceeds from the state Legislature and the county commissioners and the searches and seizures and confiscations that are their rewards for trying to keep us from getting high or simply taking our medicine.


Books:
I read in AlterNet of a pair of books that bear on our subject, however tangentially. This first is by a guy I knew back in the day, when he was attending the University of Michigan, Daniel Okrent, who's gone on to wide journalistic acclaim. Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition (Scribner) deals with the period "when booze was banned but pot was not" and is instructive for its study of an illegal substance and the culture that grew out of it, and also for pointing out that alcohol prohibition lasted only 12 years while ours has been going on eight or nine times longer than even the War in Afghanistan.

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