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  • Rovers Scooter Club Celebrates 10 Years

    Rovers Scooter Club, a local gang dedicated to celebrating and riding motor scooters, will be celebrating its 10 year anniversary this week with a very special ride. Motor City Shakedown, the annual birthday party for the club, will commence this Friday, August 1 at New Way Bar. DJ Grover from Cincinnati will be spinning northern soul, reggae, and ska, according to club member Michael Palazzola. Saturday will feature a ride from Ferndale to Detroit, starting at noon at M-Brew. Palazzola says this is where most bikes will congregate before taking the ride to the city and folks will be prepping by getting some grub starting at 10 a.m.  Detroit’s Tangent Gallery will host the after party,  a special event that will feature performances by several bands as well as Satori Circus. That portion of the event will commence at 8 p.m. with performances starting at 9 p.m. It’s free to riders, but the public is welcome to join the party with the mere cost of a door charge. Come midnight, the club will raffle off a vintage Lambretta LI 150. Sunday morning will end the weekend of festivities, with brunch taking place at the Bosco in Ferndale.   

    The post Rovers Scooter Club Celebrates 10 Years appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Lessenberry on the battle to ban the Metro Times

    Turns out, our very own Jack Lessenberry knows the Grosse Pointer seeking to ban the MT: Ten years or so ago, a woman named Andrea Lavigne sat in on some media survey classes I was teaching at Wayne State University. She was in her late 30s or early 40s, and seemed to be searching for answers. She wanted to know how the media work, and told me she was a Maoist. This fascinated me, because I thought authentic Maoists were almost as rare as passenger pigeons. Chairman Mao, we now know, starved to death and slaughtered tens of millions of his own citizens, and kept China economically and intellectually backward. Intrigued, I got together one night before class with her and another Maoist, to find out what they were all about. Alas, they spouted a form of primitive, grade-school Marxism. They seemed to have very little historical knowledge of Communism or what it had actually been like. Yes. A Maoist. Read the full story at Michigan Radio here.

    The post Lessenberry on the battle to ban the Metro Times appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Detroit residents sue incinerator owner over ‘noxious odors and contaminants’

    A class-action lawsuit has been filed against the owner of Detroit’s municipal solid waste incinerator Monday, accusing the company of nuisance and gross negligence violations According to the complaint filed by Detroit-based Liddle & Dubin P.C., “On occasions too numerous to list, Plaintiffs’ property including Plaintiffs’ neighborhood, residences and yards were physically invaded by noxious odors and contaminants … As a direct and proximate result of the Defendant’s’ negligence in operating and/or maintaining the facility, Plaintiffs’ property has been invaded by noxious odors.” The eight-page complaint charges that local property values have dropped due to the incinerator’s presence, “and has interfered with Plaintiffs’ use and enjoyment of their property.” The lawsuit, filed in Wayne County Circuit Court, seeks a financial award in excess of $25,000 and all costs and attorney fees related to the case. In an email, a spokesperson for the company says, “Detroit Renewable Power is reviewing the complaint filed today,” but declined further comment. The suit comes weeks after a Metro Times’ cover story earlier this month found a growing number of odor complaints from nearby residents since Detroit Renewable Power LLC (DRP) took control of the facility in 2010. The investigation found a spike in citations from the Michigan Department […]

    The post Detroit residents sue incinerator owner over ‘noxious odors and contaminants’ appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Winners announced for the ‘High Times’ Medical Cannabis Cup

    The High Times Medical Cannabis Cup is more than just a celebration — although with the recent shift in attitudes toward marijuana legalization, there certainly is much to celebrate.  HT‘s Danny Danko described it as “just like any other harvest festival or a county fair where people bring their best produce, their best pigs and horses and cows, and they compete with each other for bragging rights, basically.” Here are a list of winners from this year’s Cannabis Cup, who did indeed walk home with some well-deserved bragging rights — if anyone knows their marijuana it’s High Times: Indica 1ST - Oasis Medical Seeds - Paris OG 2ND - Herbal Solutions - Alien Dawg F2 3RD - Herban Legendz, LLC - Grape OX Sativa 1ST - Arborside Compassion - CATFISH 2ND - Organibliss - Ghost Train Haze #1 3RD - We Grow Education and Collective Centers - MelonGum Hybrid 1ST - Herbal Solutions - Gorilla Glue 2ND - Pure West Compassion Club - Death Star 3RD - Kushman Veganics for Buds & Roses - Veganic Candyland Concentrate 1ST - Mr. B’s Extracts - Raskal’s Lemon 2ND - 710 Savant - Kosher Kush Dewaxed 3RD - Oasis Medical / Vader Extracts / Dab Vader - Candy Jack Shatter Non-Solvent Hash 1ST - NLG - Jedi Kush Ice Wax 2ND - Arborside Compassion - HeadCandy Kush Hash 3RD - New World Seeds Resource […]

    The post Winners announced for the ‘High Times’ Medical Cannabis Cup appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Satanists Leverage Hobby Lobby Ruling In Support of Pro­Choice Initiative

    So is the title of the press release we received this morning from The Satanic Temple. You may recall our interview with Doug Mesner from earlier this year. The Satanic Temple is, perhaps, best known for trying to build a child-friendly monument to satan in OKC: How Mesner and TST are rocking the Hobby Lobby ruling is interesting: The Satanic Temple Leverages Hobby Lobby Ruling to Claim Exemption From State Mandated ProLife Materials Reads the next line of the press release. And then their website: A number of states require that abortion providers give information to patients that maybe inaccurate or misleading. Demands that members of the Satanic Temple, or those who share our beliefs, be subjected against our will to anything but the best scientific understanding are a violation of our religious beliefs. Thanks to rulings such as Hobby Lobby, we can take a stand against these practices. Mesner points out how the Hobby Lobby ruling bolsters their position: While we feel we have a strong case for an exemption regardless of the Hobby Lobby ruling, the Supreme Court has decided that religious beliefs are so sacrosanct that they can even trump scientific fact. This was made clear when […]

    The post Satanists Leverage Hobby Lobby Ruling In Support of Pro­Choice Initiative appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • 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.



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Higher Ground

War-on-drugs vets

Ex-prisoners critique the 'correctional economy'

Legalized medical marijuana has helped remove the looming physical and mental presence of the narcotics police from our lives for the first time since we started smoking weed. If we have a patient ID card, we're protected from arrest and imprisonment for our daily smoking activities, and we can replenish our supplies from our licensed caregivers without fear of intervention by the police on either end of the transaction.

This breakthrough in the criminally elongated War on Drugs is a great thing for those of us with physical or mental ailments for which we've sought treatment from our physicians and ended up as certified medical marihuana patients.

But it does nothing for the millions of Americans who enjoy marijuana or other criminal substances on a recreational basis but suffer arrest, prosecution, jailing, drug testing, job loss, mandatory treatment programming, draconian probation or parole supervision, and other chilling punishments simply because they like to get high.

When I did my time for marijuana offenses some 40 years ago, the police forces were just beginning to find us as ugly blips on their cultural radar screens, and there weren't very many of us in confinement.

I served six months in the old Detroit House of Correction in 1966 for possession of less than an ounce of weed, and then two-and-a-half years of a 9-1/2- to 10 year-sentence in Jackson and Marquette as a maximum security prisoner of the state of Michigan for the crime of giving two joints to an undercover policewoman from the Detroit Narcotics Squad.

Since the reviled Richard M. Nixon administration seized on the recreational drug issue in a big way and triggered the War on Drugs against an innocent and helpless populace involved in mental and sensual stimulation of various sorts, prosecution of this vicious campaign has stimulated the growth of a vast police state mechanism of almost unbelievable proportions.

"The United States jails, imprisons and correctionally monitors (supervision, probation, parole) more people than any other nation in the world," Charles Shaw asserts in his new online memoir Exile Nation: Drugs, Prisons, Politics & Spirituality, "around six million, or one out of every 50 Americans. Most are for nonviolent drug offenses.

"This 'correctional economy' which comprises the police, courts and prisons, accounts for millions of jobs and billions of dollars. At the same time, state budgets are so overwhelmed they can't afford to hold all the prisoners they have jammed into their systems like animals on a factory farm [while] marijuana is the No. 1 cash crop in America."

I met Charles Shaw in London this past week, when I attended his lecture about the War on Drugs at the Hub in Kings Cross. He was showing footage of his interviews with a wide variety of recreational drug users and victims of the drug wars that he's recorded for his current film project, Unheard Voices.

Shaw is a fellow ex-convict and a close friend of my pal Dimitri Mugianis, the ex-dope fiend and former Detroiter who cleaned up his habit with the help of iboga and has since dedicated himself to treating addicted persons all over the Western world as an underground iboga healer. Both have turned their bitter experiences with the culture of addiction and the minions of drug law enforcement into inspiration for their committed activism on behalf of the people's side of the War on Drugs.

Charles and Dimitri met when Shaw was filming his two-part documentary The Iboga Insurrection (Parts 1 & 2), which "delves into the history and typology of the ibogaine underground, with evangelizing addicts and lay-providers, activists, medical researchers and shamans."

Shaw's credentials are stunning. He serves as editor for the openDemocracy Drug Policy Forum and the Dictionary of Ethical Politics, both collaborative projects of Resurgence, openDemocracy, and the Tedworth Charitible Trust. He's written for everybody from Alternet and Alternative Press Review to the Huffington Post and the New York Times; he's the founder and publisher of Newtopia and former head writer for the nationally syndicated radio show Reality Checks.

Shaw's new book, Exile Nation, now appearing serially on the Reality Sandwich website throughout 2010 ( is a memoir of his life as a writer, addict, activist, prisoner and spiritual seeker — as he puts it, "a mosaic of his descent into shadow, his personal reckoning, and the long slow crawl back out to reclaim his life, heal the past, and start over."

This guy knows the issue from the inside, and has a lot to teach the casual bystanders of the War on Drugs, whose support must be enlisted in order to bring this dreadful episode in our national history to a shuddering conclusion. I saw him win over an audience of normal citizens of the United Kingdom, who were visibly shocked by the images confronting them on the screen.

A native of Chicago, Shaw spent the first few years of the century as a radical journalist, political activist and habitual drug user in Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Boston and San Francisco, before he was arrested, tried and sentenced to a one-year prison sentence for possession of 14 capsules of MDMA.

He did his time for the Illinois Department of Corrections in the Cook County Jail in Chicago, Stateville prison in Joliet, and the East Moline Correctional Center, and then — "released from prison, unable to find meaningful work, and alienated from nearly everyone in his life" — Shaw backslid into a state of suicidal depression before what he calls his "rebirth and spiritual awakening" led him into "meaningful work, shamanic medicines, love and community."

There's an addendum to the book titled "The Secret History of the War on Drugs" that will open the eyes of even the best-informed student of this historical monstrosity. Shaw examines the global drug trade and the war on drugs "as a means of foreign policy, covert operation, domestic policy and social control. Highlights include the role of U.S. intelligence services in the drug trade and in the psychedelic community, the connection between drug laws and racism, and how crack and heroin were intentionally used to destroy the African-American community."

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