Of Bongs and Bongos

Of Bongs and Bongos
Posted by CN Staff on April 24, 2008 at 05:26:48 PT
By Stephanie Haller and Chris Hoff
Source: Lumberjack
California -- The smell is not as strong as one might have imagined walking onto the grass at Redwood Park on April 20. The vibrations from the drum circle leave more of an impression on your body then the scent of marijuana smoke. Laughter mixes with the occasional cough or two and the smell of patchouli travels through the crowd from a handful of incense sticks shoved into the ground.On April 20, an estimated 2,500 to 2,700 people made their way to Redwood Park in Arcata. The event has taken place in the park by tradition, but has never been officially sanctioned by the city.
Known to some as 'Pot Smokers' Day' or simply "420," April 20 is marked by celebrations across the country as thousands of people join together at 4:20 p.m. to smoke marijuana. While some came out to smoke in defiance of anti-marijuana laws, others had different reasons behind their visit to Redwood Park.Freshwater resident Kristyl Mentink came out for the environment and the music. "It's a lot of smoking, a lot of friendly people, and a lot of getting down," Mentink said.Glenn Smith made the trip to Redwood Park from Redding. This was his first year at the gathering. "It's ironic that it's not okay to celebrate medicine," Smith said. He thought there were "too many cops" present.Arcata resident Chris Robbins didn't mind the presence of the police at the park. "It's probably a good thing." Robbins said. "There's a lot of kids here."At least six uniformed police officers spent the afternoon patrolling the park, handing out tickets for illegal possession, issuing permit warnings to vendors and checking for "215" cards. California Proposition 215 and California Senate Bill 420 permits cardholders in the State of California to be in possession of marijuana for medical reasons. Arcata Police Captain Tom Chapman said that officers took action against observable violations, based on their training and safety.The Humboldt State University Police Department, Arcata Police Department, and the Humboldt County Sheriff's Department had officers working the event. Chapman said it is normally a peaceful gathering.While no significant incidences occurred at the park, incidences of camping and shoplifting arrests increase in town about four days before and two to three days after the event, depending on weather, said Chapman. While Chapman acknowledged the increase in arrests around April 20, he would not attribute the increase in crime completely to transients. "We get an influx of people in town," Chapman said.A life-long resident of Humboldt County, Jim Leffler is terminally ill. He came out to Redwood Park to see friends and likes the peaceful turnout. "I hope it continues that way," he said.Tom Baughman of Chico echoed the sentiments of Leffler and many others at the event. "It's a friendly environment where people can get along without violence," Baughman said.In a bright orange t-shirt with the words "Las Vegas County Jail" emblazoned on the back, a man who wished to be called Turtle stood back from the drum circle he just left. When asked where he's from, Turtle laughed and smiled. "I live everywhere," he said, motioning toward the trees behind him. His hat featured a collection of pins that he'd been given over the years. Turtle has one piece of advice for future 4/20 gatherers."Enjoy it," Turtle said as he watched the drum circle continue to play without him, bobbing his head in tune with the beat. "It's God's green earth."Source: Lumberjack, The (CA Edu)Author: Stephanie Haller and Chris HoffPublished: April 23, 2008Copyright: 2008 The Lumberjack Contact: thejack humboldt.eduWebsite: -- Cannabis Archives 
Home Comment Email Register Recent Comments Help

Post Comment