What an absolutely wonderfuld day I had yesterday. Not only is this my first visit to the US, but the first to a drug policy conference as well.
This is by far the the event I’ve attended where people were the most forthcoming, open and interested bunch I ever met. “Hi there, how’re you?”, is perhaps the question I’ve heard the most while nice, friendly, smiling people have come up to me and just started up a conversation. Everybody has had some story to tell or a question about my work and my country, Denmark.
This is like a happy version of Luc Besson’s scene in Leon where Gary Oldman tells his colleague to get everyone. “How many?” “EVERYONE!!!!!!” Except it wasn’t armed police being called, but mindful, concerned drug activists. So in the spirit of things I’ve talked to a lot of people too. Among others “our own” Drew who was at the conference with his new organization Christians Against Prohibition.
After attending the MAPS Meet & Greet I bumped into a couple of guys who were among the pioneers of Californian dispensaries and we went to their party upstairs while waiting for a chance to watch the “Busted #2” movie called 10 Rules for Dealing with Police from Flex Your Rights.
I accidentally walked into the Q&A of the previous movie about Hepatitis C. Those are always eye-opening moments. When you realize that there are people out here that are literally fighting for their lives. The hispanic man in the panel had been an addict for many years and as a consequences he’d been in and out of jail constantly and hadn’t received adequate treatment for his condition. It was heart-wrenching. Yet the “Everyone” image got challenged a bit, as one lady asked “what are opiates”? So some newbies were certainly also around, and one of the panelists calmly explained the term to her. As it turns out the movie was Health and Hope by Gretchen Hildebrand.
Flex Your Rights went on with a very lively and animated presentation by executive producer Steven Silveman, so everyone was pretty psyched even before the movie started. Needless to say they’d put together a great movie that would undoubtedly save countless of destroyed lives at the loosing business end of a police encounter.
It was quite something to sit in a dark room with tons of people and chant the magical, life-saving words “I do not c0nsent to a search” and “Am I being detained or am I free to go”. Those words could have savedÂ the life of Rachel Morningstar Hoffman from Tallahasse who got busted last year and was turned into a police agent, something that cost this young woman her life as drug dealers shot her dead.
Whether it be the movie on Hep. C or the 10 Rules one thing struck me above all during the Q&A: how hunted people feel, well, because they are hunted. It always sticks in the back on my mind that absent harm to others no one has the right to use force on anyone.
I also attended “Practice Doing Your Own Television Interviews” and “The Message is the medium: Communication and Outreach Without Borders”. More on those later, but today’s program is sooooo packed.
Many greetings to everyone from a happy conventionist.