Sunday, April 20, 2003


So, I'm back. I won't bore you with the details of my unexpected hiatus, life happens, and it's a good day to feel good.

I like that it's 4:20, Easter and Passover all at once. Everyone has a reason to celebrate.

If you're not familiar with 4:20 check:

4/20 an underground marijuana holiday: 4/20/03

4/20 an underground marijuana holiday
By KRISTEN RASMUSSEN, Standard-Times correspondent

The bouncer smiled knowingly as Joe and Pete walked past the stool he occupied just a few feet from the front door of the bar.
"You going out for a joint?" the bouncer asked. Joe and Pete nodded.
The two men, who asked that their real names not be used, smoke marijuana regularly, they said. Forty-year-old Joe has been doing so for more than 15 years.
But today -- the 20th day of the fourth month -- is a special day.
Internationally, it's become known as the "universal smoke day," and even the occasional weed smoker will light up to commemorate its underground culture.

The origin of the "holiday" is the subject of various myths.


PS: I opened my Community Chalkboard today and as my holiday gift offer Part II of Kiss the Sky for your 4:20 pleasure.


12 April 2003 – 9:55 pm. The night flight at April’s party. April is an artist with a kick ass apartment and her guest list is always eclectic.

I meet some of the departing early crowd on the landing where the nude painting of our hostess, one of three by famous local artists, hangs. They eye the balloon but ask no questions, so I don’t explain and keep climbing. I survey the remaining guests from the top of the stairs and immediately scratch the flight time. This place won’t be ripe for another 3 hours. I tie my balloon to a chair and join the throng around the bar. There’s a refrigerated drawer big enough to hold a bin of open ice and 5 bags in abeyance.

It’s an interesting crowd, the food is ridiculously good (it’s a seafood theme) and I invented a most amusing billiard game with Hayes, but ultimately I’m drawn to the two Waynes. They both look to be old guard Happy Valley, obviously the best of friends and are so opposite. One was kind of inscrutable. He could have been anything from a street person to an eccentric millionaire. The other looked like a lawyer that didn’t need the money and stopped practicing law. I joined them.

Mysterious Wayne had commanded the chair where the floating globe strained at its confines. We briefly exchanged the customary small talk when suddenly he looked me straight in the eye and summed up my current life situation in four sentences. I was dumbfounded.

“How did you know that?” I sputtered. He held my gaze in an iron grip; he said nothing and the answer broke over me without words, like a flood of light. I flashed back to other parties where I had done the same thing to strangers and I suddenly understood why those people looked so scared. It was disconcerting to have someone tell you things about yourself that they shouldn’t know. The difference is that with me it happened as a result of circumstance and my frame of mind. It was kind of involuntary. It felt like he was actually reading me at will. I had met a real empath.

He continues to detail my present dilemmas. He tells me things I can't admit to myself but know to be true. I lose track of time. I’m fascinated; transfixed really, so much so that I don’t even notice the crowd has not only changed but also doubled. Someone taps me on the shoulder to hand me a joint. I finally break his gaze and look around. Flight time. This crowd, I need to get up on the roof before they get too trashed and fall off. I reluctantly make my excuses and finally remember to check the access.

There’s a set of stairs and a funky ladder at opposite angles between the main living area and the billiard room. The stairs are solid and end at a door. The ladder is built of two trees with graduated slats in between so that it rises to a point at the top of the skylight. I ask April which one goes to roof, hoping I’m wrong. I’m not.

I climb the ladder, it feels sturdier than it looks but by the time I get to the top I can only rest my arms over the edge of the steel framing of the skylight and only have room for one foot on the ladder. I’m certain I could haul myself up there. I can see the stars and the moon swelling its belly towards full and I can imagine the launch. I hang there for a long minute.

I take one step down and look around. The room is dead silent. Everyone is looking up at me. It’s a really tall ceiling, I think maybe close to 30 feet. Most of them knew about the launch and were sizing up the ladder. There was a lot of doubt in those faces. I could see visions of broken bodies lying in shards of wooden splinters in their eyes. No way were they going to make that climb. The roof was out. I fight the urge to jump up for a moment, just to feel the wind, and descend to announce my verdict to palpable relief. The frozen silence melts into party noise again. I start working on plan B and jump back into the mix.

I have the seeds and the tissue in my pocket. I was thinking people would sign their initials on the paper before we sent it. I write 'seeds of peace' in the middle and make the elvish rune for G underneath to stand for grace and garden and good luck. I give it to Joe first. He drove up to the Eagles earlier that day, just as the first balloon went off. He was sorry he missed it. I thought he would just initial it and pass it on but instead he wrote a heartfelt message to marijuana consumers everywhere that took up the whole paper. I attach it to the balloon as is. This time it looks like an angel holding the world on her shoulders, but it is a burden of hope and it seems to rest lightly.

The party rocked on and I really tried to get the room involved in the launch. I talk it up through endless rounds of crustaceans, it would have made a fine ceremony to have everyone stand in the middle of Main Street and watch it go. There was certainly no traffic at that hour and we had a very fancy camera. The original plan was to photograph the event and post it on indymedia, but the temperament of the room changes with the color of the drugs. This party was going to last far longer than I would.

I had lost my window of opportunity and I find myself at the door with the Waynes. We make our way down the stairs with my rescued balloon in tow. I ask them to help me and we stop in the center of the street. I never did figure who the other Wayne really was, we had barely exchanged four sentences all night. Mysterious Wayne stands facing me, holding the balloon close between us and the other Wayne stands to my side, at least four feet away, gingerly holding the end of the ribbon.

I say, “This is all I ask, please wish that marijuana prohibition ends in my lifetime.”

Wayne looks up at the balloon and closes his eyes. I look at Wayne and we all wish together. Truthfully I’m not sure the other one really wished, but I can practically see the energy pouring out of Wayne into the balloon. He opens his eyes and I hand him the scissors, with a blessing like that - this is his flight. The three of us watch the balloon take off straight towards the moon. Maybe it was the blessing, or the light, or maybe it was the marijuana, but I swear - the balloon glowed - it sparkled like a star and the paper angel had spread her wings and they were rimmed with fire. We stood in silence for what felt like a long time before the light winked out in the celestial ink. I cut the ribbon in half and gave it to Wayne. He said he would put it around his Buddha.

I declined a ride but accepted Wayne’s card and tucked it into my pocket without looking at it. I checked my watch as I made my way down the street - 3:33am. Hard to say if I had launched in solidarity with Vienna, nonetheless I felt satisfied with the effort. This moment had been powerful and properly reverent, all it had lacked really was a hymn. Something flashed for an instant in the sky. I like to think it was the balloon. I hummed John Lennon’s song, Imagine, the rest of the way home.

…above us only sky.
Imagine all the people,
Living life in peace…

LA STone

Monday, April 14, 2003


Despite some initial problems, the balloon launch turned out to be a resounding success. At 3:00 I had my doubts. The backyard was a sea of mud, I had received phone calls from my original attendees, pleading family issues –(sounding quite credible with screaming infants in the background)- and I was fresh out of the shower and still hadn’t figured out where to get latex balloons. You can only get Mylar downtown and they don’t fly nearly as well.

In discussing it with friends the night before, and taking the time zone into consideration, we had agreed there was a considerable window of time to launch without losing the element of releasing in solidarity with the folks in Vienna. We scheduled one for a downtown rooftop at 10:00, so I persevere in the search. I strike pay dirt at Party World, latex balloons imprinted with a world map. Inflated it becomes a huge floating globe. I buy two.

I prepare my first balloon passengers. I write “seeds of peace” and draw protective runes on the white square of tissue paper that will carry the seeds. The symbolism has become important to me. I have probably about 100 seeds and viability is certainly an issue. I found a bit of paper in the bottom of the container that said, 1/1/99. They were in a round blue tin with PANAMA boldly emblazoned in red across a map of the country, with an over wing airplane flying out of the graphic. I found it in the bottom of my underwear drawer a couple of weeks ago. I figure it was probably from that really good batch of Northern Lights…

I pour half in the center and gathering up the corner, attach it to the bottom of the balloon. It looks like a tropical flower with the excess paper ruffled out. By 6:30 I’m thinking I should have a launch before dark. By our calculations, (and no one checked) the march would be just about starting in an hour or so. I wanted to hit the right time zone to add to the synergy of the action and the night launch was scheduled for April’s party. I needed a back up flight and since a symbolic act needs witnesses, I take my balloon to the street and start looking for some.

I wave to the person who stopped at the crosswalk to let me pass. I realize it’s my old lover and his buddy. I consider for a moment just hopping into the back seat of the car and saying, “Quick, take me to the meadows. I have to launch this balloon”. They’re fun boys and would have appreciated the moment but I decide it would become too complicated and keep walking.

I run into Darren on the sidewalk. He has never done an illegal drug in his life yet we’re good friends. I ask him if he wants to participate. He laughs and hugs me, but backs away from the balloon, looking at the fluttering tissue paper as if I were holding a cobra, and declines. I press on to the Eagles club and here I find my participants.

My shuffleboard buddies are there. I explain to them, and in fact to the entire bar, what I’m doing and ask them to come outside. At 7:37, there were seven of us holding the string of this balloon on the sidewalk in front of the club. Two of them are in their 70s, WWII vets. Two are Viet Nam vets, a Navy guy and a Marine. The president of the Ladies Auxiliary and a young Hispanic guy that recently joined, rounds out the group.

Ziggy asks, “So what are we supposed to do”?

“Hold the ribbon and make a wish for me and for 1,000 balloons in Vienna” I reply.

“Okay. 1, 2, 3 - everybody. Please wish for marijuana to be legalized in my lifetime,” I say, and I cut the ribbon.

We cheered as the balloon shot like a rocket on a southwest trajectory. I was the last one back inside, staying until I saw the cloud cover pucker up its lips and swallow it whole. It was a fine moment with just the right amount of ceremony and an act of genuine friendship.

It would take a long time to explain how the biggest left wing liberal, pot smoking, peace symbol wearing hippie in town could end up as a cherished member of this aerie - the most conservative, my country love it or leave it, place in town. The old guard here are salt of the earth cranky Yankees, but they have come to enjoy my company all the same, as I have theirs. They care nothing about anti-prohibition. They care about me and in that moment, it felt like wishes could still come true.

Sunday, April 06, 2003


I'm still a little weirded out by the dreams last night. I don't often go back into the same one after waking up. It was eerie to be in the same place, with the same people and still be looking for that plane ticket. I was ripping my luggage apart.... nonetheless, I recalled I was also dreaming about the balloon launch.

The alternative conference in Vienna will be having their mass balloon launch at 3:00 on Saturday. I dreamt that I attached tissue paper packets to the balloons because I could not get the seeds to stay inside, which I believe is a more effective way of delivering the seeds to actual germination. I'm planning to have a small launch here in my backyard. If you're in Noho, stop by and send some seeds of peace into the universe.

Full itinerary at link:

u-n-o : Draft Programme: Alternative Summit on Drugs : utopische nonprohibitionistische organisation

12 April 15.00: Demonstration
Demonstration from the Vienna University to the UN Centre in Vienna (about 3 hours walk, over the Danube bridge where thousands of balloons with seeds will be launched), with sound systems, street theatre, products exposition, leaflets on cannabis paper, quick test on xtc, drugs folklore items. The character will be absolutely non-violent.

peace unites,
LA Stone

"Life is something that happens when you can't get to sleep."
Fran Lebowitz


I've been trying to avoid the OIF war but this article underscores what I mean about the necessity to end the WOD within the US. It is clear that The Bush Administration has lost it's collective mind and is intoxicated on it's own power.

Changing the UN conventions will not be enough but it does occur to me that the silver lining of this disastrous foreign policy is that Bush has pissed the international community off enough that they will change the conventions just to spite him.

Living in hope,
LA Stone

href=",6903,930794,00.html">The Observer | International | US begins the process of 'regime change'

Pentagon officials told The Observer that the administration is determined to impose the Rumsfeld plan and sees no use for a UN role, describing the international body as 'irrelevant'.


Woke up in foul mood. The sun is finally out but it's 17 degrees out there with the wind chill factor. My upstairs neighbors moved out this weekend and apparently broke the float on their toilet on the way out, so my water pressure is screwed up. I had the same dream twice last night, I was trying to get to Vienna and I couldn't find my ticket so the cab driver left and I missed the plane.

Then I just found this in my in-box. Once again I owe thanks to Preston Peet for changing my temperament. Life is not a joke, but it's still funny.

Don't forget to laugh,

LA Stone

{From the Marines at MATCA]

The Pope is visiting DC and President Bush takes him out for an afternoon on the Potomac . . . sailing on the presidential yacht, the Sequoia. They're admiring the sights when, all of a sudden, the Pope's hat (zucchetto) blows off his head and out into the water. The Secret Service guys start to launch a boat, but Bush waves them off, saying "Wait, wait. I'll take care of this. Don't worry."

Bush then steps off the yacht onto the surface of the water and walks out to the Holy Father's little hat, bends over and picks it up, then walks back to the yacht and climbs aboard. He hands the hat to the Pope amid stunned silence.

The next morning, the Washington Post carries a story, with front-page photos, of the event. The banner headline is: "Bush Can't Swim.


I've been researching today. I'm thinking of ways to focus my own energy and that of the greater anti-prohibition movement. I'm convinced that the key is public education on the actual costs of the drug war and jury nullification. It just needs the right PR. However, as usual, my head is about to explode with information and I still have more questions than answers.

I cruised a lot of *drug* sites when I was promoting Marco's UN appeal and what I see right now is a fractured landscape of great information. There's a lot of competition for funding among the major advocacy groups. The NGO's cooperate well on an international level but nationally they don't present a united presence.

I think it's admirable to get together to change the UN Conventions but the WOD is not going to end until we change the political climate in the US. We need to counter the disinformation more directly. We need to educate the non-consumer about the benefits of anti-prohibition and also create an environment where the real smokers can be safe to come out of the shadows and declare for the cause.

I'm convinced marijuana is the vehicle for the change. Respectable people smoke pot. I smoked a joint at Christmastime with a business owner, a lawyer and a courthouse officer. We were sitting in a very expensive car on a main street during a blizzard. I brought the joint at their request but they won't sign the petitions because it's not respectable to admit it. Not to mention the looming danger of forfeiture.

In any event, not having come up with a brilliant idea to solve the problem, I've been cruising some odd sites. I usually find this oversized format irritating but I found it interesting enough to take a look and obsure enough to pass on.

Global Initiatives for your Liberty, Pleasure, Health and Safety - Another Mild Green Initiative


I found this on the mild green site. He may be more well known, but he was new to me. I had this thought that the Libertarians could be a help with the jury nullification problem.


Today, the criminal justice system no longer supports the concept of enforcing personal responsibility for violent conduct. Instead, it supports the excuse-making industry made up of counselors, drug rehab centers, half-way houses, and the like. Cops know that most criminals blame someone or something else for their own actions: mothers, fathers, wives, girlfriends, the police, drugs and alcohol. Surprisingly, the criminal justice system buys into these excuses and fails to punish people for their criminal behavior.

Let people put whatever they want into their bodies. But demand that any aberrant conduct that hurts or endangers others be judged harshly.

peace unites,
LA Stone

Thursday, April 03, 2003


I'm home sick today and as it happens, they are refinishing the floors in the upstairs apartment so I can't sleep or just lie there and watch mindless TV. I'm huddled in front of the computer practicing cyber-activism instead. The RAVE Act is a serious assault on our civil liberties under the banner of the WOD. It's coming up for a vote. I urge all of you to contact your own representatives.

Stop the Madness,
LA Stone

To the Editor:

While your attention is occupied by the new reality show – Operation Iraqi Freedom – your elected representatives are considering legislation that will further erode our civil liberties here at home. Your right to enjoy live music, dance, sing and run a business is under attack.

In the House of Representatives, HR 718 (the RAVE Act) and Section 305 of HR 834 (the CLEAN-UP Act) will make it possible for promoters of music events and venue owners to be prosecuted for the drug use of patrons. Under the RAVE Act club owners could also have their legally obtained assets seized for the same reason.

In the Senate, S 226 (the Illicit Drugs Anti-Proliferation Act) also enacts these penalties and expands them to include landlords, hotel managers and even private property owners. You could be sentenced to 20 years in jail under this statute if someone is caught using drugs at your dinner party.

I urge you to contact Congressman Richard Neal, Congressman John Olver, Senator Edward Kennedy and Senator John Kerry and ask them to oppose this ill-conceived legislation.

Wednesday, April 02, 2003


I was just thinking that I had become distracted by the media assault on the Iraqi war again when for some reason, I went back to this newsIetter. I KNOW I did not sign up for this newsletter, but here I find the best right wing piece I've read on the Columbian WOD. Go figure.

peace unites,
LA Stone

SojoNet: Faith, Politics, and Culture


This appeared on the front page of my local paper today.

(AP) For days prior to the offensive, both the Baghdad division and the Republican Guard had been pounded by air strikes and artillery barrages. US officials said the bombardment reduced the strength of both divisions by more than 50%. (That means dead Iraqis right?)

"They're in serious trouble, and they remain in contact now with the most powerful force on Earth," said Brig. Gen. Vincent Brooks of the remaining Iraqi units. ( Is that God or Bush?)

sigh of disbelief,

LA Stone


I have never understood the concept and I don't know how I got on this mailing list, but this is the most eloquent quote on the subject I have ever seen. I've been trying to put my turmoil about this war into words and this arrives unexpectly in my inbox and just about sums it up.

peace unites,

LA Stone

Oh Lord our God, help us to tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to drown the thunder of guns with the shrieks of their wounded, writhing in pain; help us to lay waste their humble homes with a hurricane of fire; us to turn them out roofless with their little children to wander unfriended the wastes of their desolated land.... We ask it, in the sprit of love, of Him Who is the Source of Love."

- Mark Twain, after viewing a pre-emptive war in the Philippines a century ago. Cited in the March 30, 2003, New York Times magazine.


After that dismal April Fool's Day, I woke up to find a good joke that changed my mood even though the weather remains vile.

Thanks Preston. Front Page:


April Fool’s Day. The calendar says it’s spring and I saw crocuses blooming in front of the bank at noon. By 3:00 it was snowing and it’s freezing here tonight. I was pelted with tiny stinging ice balls on the way home from work. I was not amused.

There was one bright spot however. I found news of a little justice in the War on Drugs in my inbox. Particularly timely in the context of the Supreme Court reviewing the racial quota college admissions case today:

Dear Friend,

We have wonderful news from Tulia, Texas, where dozens of African
American residents were arrested, prosecuted and incarcerated for
drug law violations -- all on the word one undercover agent, Tom
Coleman. Today, Dallas Judge Steve Chapman recommended that a higher
court grant new trials to everyone convicted as a result of the
sting. Both sides stipulated that Coleman was "not a credible witness
under oath," Judge Chapman told the Associated Press. While the
outcome of any new trials cannot be predicted with assurance, without
Coleman's testimony the state is left with little or no corroborating
evidence in all cases.

For in-depth information and updates about the Tulia cases, please

Drug Policy Alliance: Tulia

What happened in Tulia is particularly shocking in its starkness,
scale and notoriety. Unfortunately, though, it is just one of the
countless injustices in a war on drugs that disproportionately
targets people of color while wasting millions of taxpayer dollars.
In Tulia and around the country, many individual activists, family
members, lawyers and advocacy organizations have worked tirelessly
for the freedom of the wrongly accused. The William Moses Kunstler
Fund for Racial Justice, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and the
American Civil Liberties Union, in particular, were pivotal in
leading the legal effort and expanding public pressure. Without their
commitment and expertise today's victory would not have been

The Drug Policy Alliance helped initiate and support this coalition.
We also made sure the media and the public stayed focused on the
unfolding scandal. Alliance staff spoke in Tulia and around the
country; distributed and publicized a compelling video made by the
Kunstler Fund; and was in frequent contact with reporters and
columnists at The New York Times and other media outlets, resulting
in numerous high-profile stories. Last September we held the first
national conference on race and the war on drugs, Breaking in the
Chains: People of Color and the War on Drugs, at which the Tulia case
was highlighted in the context of the nationwide movement for drug
policy reform. Many family members and activists from Tulia attended
the conference, participating in panels, press conferences and other
outreach efforts.

To view the Kunstler Fund video, "Tulia, Texas: Scenes from the Drug
War" visit:

Your ongoing support, both financial and otherwise, has been critical
to our effort. You share in this victory.

Very truly yours,

Ethan Nadelmann


Sometimes the system works.

peace unites,

LA Stone