Check out the third installment of this incredible three-part series, brought to you by our good friends at MagicalButter.com. Start off with the first chapter right HERE and then the second chapter here.
Cannaball Run, Part 3: Yes, Virginia, There is a Plant—A Cause
The Cannaball Run continued into the beautiful hills of Virginia, one of the original hemp colonies, as the leaves began to change and the weather turned a little cooler. The MagicalButter team decided to stay at the Darden Inn on the campus of the University of Virginia (UVA). The first college in our country to be built without religious influence, UVA was founded by U.S. president and renowned hemp farmer Thomas Jefferson, with the goal of encouraging free thought and intellectual prosperity. And it is magnificent: The New York Times in 1895 described the design as “the most ambitious and monumental architectural project conceived in this century.” Our convoy parked our branded brigade of graphically bud-friendly vehicles in the oversize lot, leaving our phone number displayed on the dashboard in case of any issues with parking.
We enjoyed our first night’s stay on campus and took a walk about on The Lawn, a vast, terraced, grassy court at the historic center of the academic community. It was a snapshot of the collegiate experience, vibrant and full of life. The next morning we were awakened bright and early by a phone call from the Transportation Authority of UVA. The gentleman on the other end was very upset at the sight of our colorful cannabis-themed promotional vehicles on the property. I assured him we would have the vehicles moved immediately. Since that wasn’t soon enough, they decided to cancel our event for that Sunday evening—we had planned to host the after-screening party for The Scientist at the UVA business center. Crowds of students were taking selfies in front of our vehicles, apparently indicating a mix of emotions on campus. We next took a trip in the controversial orange MagicalButter limo to Thomas Jefferson’s house, Monticello, a glorious place to call home. An interesting fact the tour revealed was that Jefferson’s many talents, accomplishments, and interests included horticulture. He was prolific, growing over 330 varieties of vegetables and 170 different fruits, as well as a great variety of medicinal herbs and industrial hemp.
Here we have good news and other news. The good news is, yes, hemp is Cannabis sativa, growing it was something all the presidents were doing back then, and there is evidence of plants being separated based on their sex. The other news is, despite popular folklore, the guys on the $1 and $2 bills sexed their hemp plants not to get more females with thickly resinous, sticky buds, but because the males made stronger fiber and the females generated the seeds needed for the next crop of hemp—which in some Virginia counties was legal tender for paying taxes. (But today, we’re more civilized; bringing more than five pounds of the evil tax payment plant into Virginia can get you up to 40 years in prison and a $1,000,000.00 fine. That’s right, a million dollars AND half a lifetime in prison…for a raw material that’s been used to make those paper dollars and prison clothes—and Thomas Jefferson’s masterpiece, the Declaration of Independence. Irony is cool and all, but… we’d rather have the legal hemp, thanks.)
Jefferson was on top of his game. Documenting the weather patterns. Buying everything west of the Mississippi for $15 million. Carefully editing the Bible using a razor blade. He even had a copy machine, the original polygraph, an elaborate contraption with a second quill hooked up to his pen that would duplicate words onto a second piece of paper as he wrote. In 1804 Jefferson called it “the finest invention of the present age”.
The Virginia Film Festival was an amazing event. When the groundbreaking documentary The Scientist was shown, we had the unexpected honor of a live Skype call with the scientist himself: Raphael Mechoulam, Ph.D., world-renowned as the “grandfather of cannabis”. He has been researching the plant and its biochemistry for over 50 years and is responsible for the discovery of CBD, THC, anandamide (cannabis made by the body itself), our internal cannabis receptors, and the endocannabinoid system shared by all mammals. He recently celebrated his 85th birthday and is still hungry for knowledge, constantly researching and experimenting with cannabis and its various compounds. As uplifting and inspiring as the film detailing his achievements was, it was disturbing to find out that the chief global proponent of militant cannaphobia—the U.S. federal government—was the very entity funding Dr. Mechoulam’s research, that for a long period of time he was receiving all the cannabis for his experiments from government growers at the University of Mississippi. It makes no logical sense, in light of our current knowledge of cannabis and CBD as nothing short of a medical miracle, that we choose to ignore this live-saving information instead of acting on it. Well, the government has acted on it. They’ve patented cannabis for medical use, while flatly insisting it has no medical use. You start to wonder, What is going on here?
Then you just keep wondering.
The film festival took place at the Main Street Mall in Charlottesville, a beautiful setting with street musicians and artists providing brilliant cultural decoration. This time the Audi A8 pace car with the gorgeous graphics of nextCANNABIS, Inc. took the front and center position at the old Metropolitan Hall, greeting visitors where we hosted a successful after-party reception. We invited attendees of the film premiere to come and enjoy cocktails and hors d’oeuvres and find out more about the film. We also were fortunate to meet via Skype the director of the film, Zach Klein, a tireless advocate for improving lives through medical cannabis. Al Byrne and Mary Lynn Mathre, RN, MSN, co-founders of Patients Out of Time, spoke to the crowd about their national non-profit charity, which is devoted to educating health care professionals and the general public in the therapeutic uses of cannabis, and helped answer questions for the veterans. Overall the event was a tremendous success; and at MagicalButter.com we also celebrated our three-year anniversary on November 7th. We sincerely appreciate all our fans. Cheers to Goodness!™
Military March on Washington
As the convoy pushed northward, bound for the nation’s capital, the Cannaball Run was met by thousands of veterans arriving in remembrance of Veterans’ Day. We set up base camp at McPherson Square Park, directly across the street from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs building. It was a powerful location symbolically and physically, as we had loudspeakers pointed toward the building with veterans telling their story in hopes of catching someone’s ear. It was truly amazing as we all came together to set up our tents and also activities for the public, including basketball, horseshoes, and bean-bag toss. Licensed professionals gave therapeutic massages using natural hemp creams and lotions. Several local businesses donated food and coffee for the two days leading up to Veterans’ Day. Takoma Wellness Center sent over some delicious late-night pizzas. That was a thoughtful and very much appreciated surprise.
Inhabiting the park was part of the D.C. homeless population, many of whom are veterans or family members of vets. We welcomed them into our camp and shared food, stories, and brotherhood. They were all very friendly and made us feel welcome, too.
On Veterans’ Day morning, the mood was subdued as we remembered those lost in wars and those lost on our shores—many to their own hand. We discussed the problem of doctors routinely overmedicating our veterans. Thousands of ex-military members are receiving taxpayer-funded, gradual chemical lobotomies, and it must stop. We lose more veterans at home to suicide and overdose in a single year than fell in battle in the entire 10 years of the Iraq War. That is a chilling statistic that paints a vivid and grotesque picture.
The somberness was lifted by our excitement at discovering that the day before, the Senate had passed a bill allowing veterans in 23 states access to medical cannabis without the loss of their VA benefits! This is a triumph of common sense over politics and ignorance with far-reaching implications. The proposed law also allows VA doctors for the first time to freely discuss safe, natural cannabis medicine with patients seeking to get away from drugs that many find ineffective, mind-numbing, addictive, and literally life-robbing. (Unfortunately, both of those provisions were cut out of the final bill that passed on December 16, 2015.)
As we began our march from the park to the White House, we were led by Sgt. José Martinez. A wounded warrior missing both legs and one arm, José boldly marched to the steps of the VA headquarters building, where we all stopped for a moment to give several veterans the opportunity to share their message through a loudspeaker. We then continued our march toward the White House, laden with empty pill bottles from all over the country, pill bottles bearing the names of veterans who had been lost.
When we arrived at the White House, the Secret Service was present in force. Undeterred, the vets spoke calmly, peacefully, deliberately, but with passion. They called on the president, the Congress, and whoever would see and hear them as they proclaimed that they can no longer tolerate being overmedicated; that as federal patients they require federal access to cannabis medication; and they demand the right to private discussion of their medical options, just between them and their doctor, without fear of arrest or discrimination. Then, in a grand gesture of solidarity at the climax of our march on Washington, we poured out our hundreds of empty pill bottles at the gates of the White House. Then we laid red, white, and blue carnations atop the “pill pile”—flowers over pills—symbolizing the eventual triumph of natural cannabis over addictive narcotics for America’s veterans with war trauma. It was a beautiful and emotional moment that brought many to tears. Afterward, we devoted the time necessary to, as they say in the service, “police the area,” picking up every last bottle and flower, to make sure we left the scene as it was when we arrived.
The Cannaball Run was a great success! We made it all the way across the country and saw a change in policy effected. We made a huge statement and hopefully motivated some legislators to change their thinking and accept the tidal wave of new science showing the effectiveness of medical cannabis for pain and PTS. This was a richly rewarding experience for all involved. Especially considering that we are a nation at war, the journey was powerfully symbolic of a bright hope for a future where those in government, fortunate to possess the power that We the People have given them in our Constitution, will be more empathetic toward those who pledge their lives to defend it.