I got to the Bayside Grange at about 1:00 and there were only 20 or so people around, so I decided to run into Arcata and grab a meatball sandwich at “The Hole in the Wall.” I got back to the Bayside Grange at 1:30 and it was starting to fill up so I parked in a nearby space and ate my sandwich.
Before the meeting started I got a good seat with my back to the wall (on the left side of the room). I saw a few people I knew, and met Kym Kemp aka Redheaded Blackbelt, a Humboldt blogger (briefly) as she was preparing to get the show on the road.
A friend of mine, Tony (who owns the Humboldt Cooperative) in Arcata, sat down next to me and we talked for a bit. Then the parade of speakers began.
At one point, I had to get up, as my back was killing me, and I went to the rear of the room by a table that was set up by NORML. I lurked in the doorway for another hour. During this time I surveyed the room, checking out the audience, and tried to hear everything the speakers were saying (I barely made out what Hank Sims, the Town Dandy, was saying. He has a soft voice, but a sharp pen. I like his writing style (even though I don’t always agree with him).
I had no problem hearing Kevin Hoover, which is really weird because the last time we talked during a lunch in 2006(!) I was promoting the first Stand Down for veterans in Humboldt County – now an annual event – and I had trouble hearing him speak from across the table.
In fairness, I have an updated hearing aide now (actually a pair) that probably accounts for hearing him well today. I heard Kym fairly well, although at times she backed away from the mike and i couldn’t hear her. Supervisor Mark Lovelace, being a politician, was easy to hear. As a matter of fact, I would have turned down my hearing aide if it were possible.
It’s been a while since I went out to a public meeting. Crowds cause my PTSD to flair up after a while, and I get paranoid. That’s just part of my reality. I stayed as long as I was comfortable. That translated to shortly after 4:00 P.M.
My impressions….hmmmmm…hard to say. I saw a very diverse group of people getting along real well. People were respectful of one another. That’s something which always impresses me when it happens in crowds. There was a lot of people there, and if I had to guess, it would be around 140. All in one room qualifies as a crowd in my world.
I sensed a certain excitement among some people, who cheered over things said like “We (Humboldt County) should be able to sell wholesale outside the state.” Just guessing, but this came from the grower contingent somewhere from the right side of the room. It was fun guessing who the growers were. None of the ones I know were there.
I can’t summarize the meeting because I didn’t stay until the end – slated for 6;00 P.M. My last impression was kinda like watching the Berlin Wall fall. It happened in inclements. The audience had an expectancy of a new world, where weed wasn’t going to be demonized anymore. Where weed was going to get the respect it deserved and be legally available to all.
An interesting day and another baby step towards a better world where weed benefits us all.