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Free the Weed 93 - by John Sinclair

Interview conducted with John Sinclair at a rehab center in Detroit. John was recovering from a fall on October 10th, 2018 and was unable to finish his monthly column, so Jerome Poyton, Kira Horner and myself, Ben Horner, made a visit to make sure the column continued uninterrupted after seven years in the MMM Report.

Q. How do you feel about Prop One? 

A. I don’t like it very much, but I hope it passes because it’s a step forward. It’s a flim flam, I felt like these guys came in on a white horse to they were going to make up for the incompetence of Michigan Legalize. But as soon they handed into the petitions they changed the name to Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol. That very cheesed me off. That’s the last thing in the world I want. The clear line you draw from marijuana and alcohol, the closer you are to the truth.  Marijuana has nothing to do with alcohol. The other thing is MMP was corrupt and pussy grabbing, and now they have no money to finish the campaign. This is just my personal belief, as the guy that started legalization in Michigan my thoughts carry a curtain weight.

Q. How long have you been working on Legalizing Cannabis? 

A. Since January 1965, when I started Lemar. I got a flier in the mail from Edward Sanders and Allen Ginsberg in New York. It said, “Legalize Marijuana, Lemar!” So I thought what a great idea, so I started the Detroit Chapter. I typed up a flyer and ran off some flyers on the mammographic machine. We held the first meeting of Lemar in Detroit. We had no organization, we had no idea what we where doing, but it was a great idea.

Norml grew out of organization called Amorphia, Blair Newman and my dear friend Dr. Michal Aldrich aka Dr. Dope. Aldrich got his PhD from New York University, and started the first marijuana publication. Some how he stumbled on the Detroit Artist Workshop and me. Blair Newman new how to organize shit, and the two of them for Amorphia and their slogan was “Free Legal marijuana in your Backyard.” Their brilliance and downfall where in the same bag, because they wanted to create a marijuana orientated  product which they could sell to finance the political struggled to legalize. They form Acapulco gold rolling papers. Aldrich and me where tight. They organized the first California legalization initiative and I was invited out to speak. It was then that I met Keith Stroop, when he was starting Norml. Which we thought was square., because who wants to be normal.

Amorphia had it in their mind to develop a hemp paper, and they spent about three years working in Spain, which was they only people developing rolling papers at the time. Well by the time they had, all the money was gone. The first shipment was came, hundreds of boxes of papers, to a bonded warehouse in San Francisco. They couldn’t get them out because they had no money, so they went down and turned everything over to Keith Stroop and Norml.

From there I got in with Keith and barnstormed around California, Arizona and New Mexico, speaking and advocating. In those days this was really far out, because nobody did this. The only other person doing this sort of thing Gingsberg, Aldrich, Sanders and me was a lawyer in California. He developed a legal brief that became a guiding document for me and many others.

That flier I got from Ginsberg was the beginning. It was for a demonstration in New York.

Allen Ginsberg holding a sign that reads: “Pot is a Reality Kick”. Maybe from Dec. 27, 1964.

Q. What about Canada?

A. It makes me feel good, because in those days Canada was like 50 years behind. You now Canada bared me, from entry into their country because of a marijuana conviction.  I hate Canada. In 1974 we made the terrific mistake of responding to the City of Ann Arbor banning the Ann Arbor Blues and Jazz festival after two years. We got an offer from St. Clair College in Windsor to do it there, and like idiots we accepted. That ended that period of organization, because the RCMP. I was banned from my own concert. They where walking out into the crowd in the amphitheater arresting people. The RCMP where backstage, harassing BB King, Cecile Taylor and the rest of the artists.

Q. What’s next? 

A. I’m taking it one step at a time. I have no faith in anything after that last election. They are maniacs. I thought we where going to have Hilary, but know we have these clowns.

Q. How do you vote?

A. Right now I’m not walking yet. If I can be there on November 6th, I would like to vote in person. But I will probably cast an absentee voting. There is no irony in that. Voting is voting and I always vote.

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