Exciting news for anyone near the Gold Coast this weekend (or even anyone wanting to be near the Gold Coast this weekend, here’s your excuse!), our friends at Free Cannabis Queensland have organised a community picnic for us today at Albert Park in Broadbeach Waters!
The event kicks off at 11:30, going until at least 4:20 pm – there will be live bands, live comedy, heaps of new friends, and of course, lots and lots of love (as it’s probably the only thing that lingers around a Cannabis plant more potently than its stink…).
I caught up briefly with Chris of Free Cannabis Queensland to get the low-down on the event:
HA: First of all, thanks for doing this, and setting up this event! What is Free Cannabis Queensland, and why here?
Chris: We started with Free Cannabis NSW; and so far, we’ve held two of these same events down there. The first picnic was a bit disorganised, but then PR for the People got involved, and we had a huge success with the second. After the last Free Cannabis NSW picnic, I was being contacted by heaps of people on the Gold coast wondering when we’d come up to host an event up there. I mean, if there are people up there willing to come out and support the cause then why the fuck not!
HA: Cool, we’re glad you did!
Chris: So this is the first event for QLD, its going to be a bit of a test, but I’m hoping its going to go well. We’re following a previous model, with bands, etc, because we want the whole public involved. This is for everyone. We don’t want it to just be a ‘smokers’ event because there’s already been to much segregation – we want inclusion – this is an event for anyone who believes we should have the choice. Simple.
HA: Why do you think its important to “come out in public” as a Cannabis user/supporter/enthusiast?
Chris: Well, as I said, there’s been way too much segregation already. We want it to be normalised. We want people who don’t smoke to be within the circle with those that do; so when you’re sitting around having a coffee, one guy pulls out a cigarette, one guy pulls out a joint and no one flinches – it should just be like that, normal.
It’s also about the fact that, in general, as people, we’re not who we really are when we’re out in public. We’re one thing at home, then when we’re something else out there if we feel like we have something to hide; and that’s not fair. Not on ourselves, or, really, on the people we meet; they’re not really meeting us anyway if we’re constantly portraying this lie because we’re worried about what they will think of us. Realistically, we are photo-shopping ourselves every day.
HA: Oh man, I know what you mean – you know, when I’m stoned, its probably the closest thing I’ve found to a “truth serum” if that exists. I feel like those facades become so obvious; and it works the same if I’m the one portraying the lie, or if I’m watching someone else hiding behind their own. I feel like you can’t really bullshit someone who’s stoned.
Chris: Exactly, I feel like I’m more real when I’m stoned. I’m the type of guy that speaks from the heart and just says whatever I’m thinking – my wife calls me out for it all the time – but I think weed has really helped me become that open; I’ve always been pretty outgoing but I think it’s really helped me let go of that shell so I can just genuinely be me.
HA: I couldn’t agree more. That’s why I think it’s so important to be able to have the choice to explore our own consciousness’ as informed adults, with whatever methods we chose. When we understand ourselves, we can finally work to let down that wall which then results in better connections to our own lives, to our value, and to the people around us. That, I believe, is why we exist; to connect and grow.
Chris: For sure. Its about basic freedom and rights. Its about having the choice. That’s why we do this, and why we want people to feel supported in coming together to express who they are.
HA: And what about those who don’t support the idea so much? Do you have any tips or advice for people who are worried about police at the picnic?
Chris: Well, first, as Cannabis activists, we shouldn’t be saying that Cannabis is good for everyone, we’re just saying that everyone should have a choice.
Having said that… if you are charged with possession of under 50g, the police have to offer diversion. That’s if you get caught. Some people at the last picnic were even smoking billies – obviously discreetly and respectfully, but the cops didn’t bother anyone down there. Obviously if you’re blatantly breaking the law, the police will do their job, and we have to respect that.
HA: Yep well that makes sense, and until the people at your picnics are heard all the way up there in Parliament, we’ll have to work with it. I asked the guys at Community Law Resource Association if they could give us a quick breakdown of our legal rights and this is a quick summary of their response:
- If you are not under arrest, nor suspected of having committed a crime, nor being interviewed in their investigation of a crime, you do not have to give them your name or address. If they ask you for these details, and you meet the 3 criteria above, you should only say, “I’m sorry Officer, have I committed a crime?”
- If they say you are suspected of having committed a crime, they must provide you with sufficient grounds for the suspicion.
- The police can only search you if 1) you consent to be searched, or 2) if they have shown you that they have probable cause that you’ve committed a crime.
- Everything that you say can, and will, be held against you in court if you are charged with anything, so remember to be kind, respectful, and remember the first 3 points – if you haven’t committed a crime, and they have no reasonable suspicion that you have, you can politely refuse to engage.*
All that aside, it remind’s me that I had one last question before we go, hypothetically speaking of course, what’s your favourite way to top-up your Cannabinoid deficiencies – vape, edibles, joints, juice?
Chris: Well a year ago, I would have probably said just smoking it any way, but now with all the different products out there, dabs and wax and edibles, it’s a whole different world. My favourite, right now, is mixing oil from the flower with a terpene extract in a vape pen. The flavour is amazing, its un-explainable.
HA: Woah that sounds exciting – I’ll have to hypothetically give it a try when we see each other next! Thanks so much for your time, for organizing the event, and spreading the love to our community!
Thanks again to Chris and Free Cannabis Queensland for setting up this event; hopefully we’ll see you all out there!