Well the state of America is pretty f’d right now.
I’m not talking about what’s going down in Washington, I’m talking about how you can legally purchase weed in one state and be arrested and charged with a felony from that same weed in another.
It’s now well understood that the criminalization of marijuana and the overall ‘war on drugs’ in America was enacted solely to stop people who would vote against Republicans from, uh, voting. This isn’t a theory. This was admitted by one of Richard ‘war on drugs’ Nixon’s top aides, John Ehrlichman:
“The Nixon White House had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or be black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin. And then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.” – John Ehrlichman, Richard Nixon’s domestic policy advisor
So if you can’t convince them to vote for you, you might as well just stop them from voting. Cool.
There is no reason marijuana should be illegal.
It has caused zero deaths. It’s no more of a gateway drug to harder narcotics than alcohol is a gateway to rape. It is not physically addictive. There is no marijuana epidemic in America. There IS an opioid epidemic. Which many people are dying from. But the old rich white men who currently run our country (i.e. Sessions, McConnell, Pence, Ryan, Priebus, Hatch, Cornyn and, yes, Trump) are more content at throwing hippies and minorities in jail for a few joints than attempting to help the crumbling communities because of opioid addiction oftentimes stemming from addiction to legally prescribed pain killers and other narcotics. Which oftentimes were prescribed for veterans suffering from PTSD and other ailments from battle. A fucking disgrace. This is the current reality of America.
Let me make something super clear. Everyone smokes pot. Liberals, conservatives, hippies, business people, black people, white people, brown people, Latinos, Asian-Americans, Jews, Christians, Muslims. Everyone. If I learned nothing more from attending the Kid Rock’s Chillin’ the Most cruise, it’s that Trump voters love to get high. That was one huge thing we had in common. What a better way to bridge the political divide than sharing a joint.
Want to fix America? Start with getting everyone stoned.
That’s a damn fine start. People don’t get into bar fights high. They get into sing-a-longs.
Well, if you thought that cops were looking the other way because so many states have legalized marijuana, you’d be wrong – at least in Texas. They are still actively throwing people in jail and charging them with felonies for tiny amounts of weed.
That’s exactly what happened to Adam Weiner of Low Cut Connie.
I first discovered Low Cut Connie when they demolished the Echo in Los Angeles a couple years back. I was brought by a friend from Philly where these guys are legends. It felt like I was watching a ballsier Jerry Lee Lewis in Adam Weiner as he jumped on his piano bench and twisted his tux pant covered hips and white socks while pounding out heavy blues rock. These guys are true rock and rollers. Completely DIYers. They made history when President Obama included their song “Boozophilia” in his Spotify playlist. Adam also famously turned down an audition-free, guaranteed spot on The Voice and all but told the producers to go fuck themselves.
Well, on their latest tour, apparently they had not heard of the infamous “Checkpoint of the stars” in the town of Sierra Blanca, Texas, population 553 (no I did not forget a comma).
Sierra Blanca police have famously busted Willie Nelson, Snoop Dogg. Nelly and Fiona Apple for pot as their tour busses hit the city’s highway checkpoint.
Just two years ago NPR reported that this town’s Sheriff Arvin West claimed he was done jailing people caught at the checkpoint for small amounts of marijuana. Well, the town must have been hurting for cash again because that’s exactly what happened to Adam.
I’ll let him tell his story because it is pretty epic:
“We were at the end of a 4 and a half week tour heading to the last show in Fort Worth TX.
We had already driven 9000 miles zig zigging around the country. Playing rock n roll to all our gleeful maniac fans. Our bass player and his girlfriend got robbed in San Francisco. There were some other typical minor dramas and wild maneuvers during the tour, but all-in-all we were headed down the homestretch pretty well intact. The shows had been fantastic with many sold-out, sweat-drenched nights behind us. There was a rosy glow about our putrid tour van as we headed back East.
We had played a festival in Denver and had a day off there. In order to detangle my mind and body while ironing my tuxedo pants and watching Pam Grier movies, I purchased some honey-coated weed edibles and a tiny bit of THC salve – like a little chapstick container that you rub on your aching muscles after jumping off of too many piano benches.
Both of these items were purchased legally in a gleaming hi-tech dispensary.
Past El Paso, TX we reached a check point on the highway in a town called Sierra Blanca. I hadn’t gotten the memo that this town is famous for profiling bands and throwing them in jail over tiny amounts of marijuana. Most of the cars and trucks going through the checkpoint were being waved through with little or no conversation.
But when they saw us, they immediately pulled us over and asked that we all get out of the van. They brought out a drug dog and the little guy must have sneezed or wiggled his nose and the next thing they ask us to go inside the station and they tell us they are going to search every nook and cranny of our vehicle – a process that took close to two hours.
They found my little weed candies and called the notorious local sheriff to get down here and get these Philadelphia rock n rollers to jail.
Amazingly, they let our bass-player go with a small citation. Despite the fact that he had a ton of loose bud weed on him. Even though the amount was tiny, the fact that I had these items containing THC meant a felony charge and jail time in the Hudspeth County Jail. Do some research and you’ll find plenty about this particular town. And their reputation for correctly identifying musicians and pinning their balls to the wall on drug charges.
The next 15 hours are kind of a delirious blur. But they involved hand-cuffs. A series of holding cells, a bowl of mush, fingerprints, mug shots, and ton of shivering and pacing. I actually did a bunch of Bikram yoga poses in the cell at around 4am just to stay sane and keep the blood flowing in that environment. Some of the officers were nice. Some were not so nice. But once they all heard who we were they Googled “Low Cut Connie” and got very excited. They were particularly impressed that I had written a song on Barack Obama’s Spotify Playlist and met him at the White House. They printed out pictures of the band and had me sign them.
The sheriff started talking to me about potentially doing a concert for them in that town, which apparently is what he got Willie Nelson to agree to.
The cops were sort of bummed that we had not heard about them and the sheriff ahead of time. Eventually, when our tour manager (also imprisoned with me) was able to get a phone call to our lawyer in Philly, the process of setting bail and getting a bailbondsman (actually a bailbondswoman) to come spring us out of the pokey began. When the bail bonds lady came she described picking up Fiona Apple from this same cell. And painted a picture of a local economy that benefits greatly from the musicians that roll through town and get busted.
And so at 1pm I was released, 20 hours after initially getting stopped. The jail was freezing and walking out into the 100 degree heat clutching my felony indictment paperwork was pretty shocking. We drove 7 hours straight to Fort Worth. I threw on my tux pants and assumed the position on my piano bench. I hadn’t slept in over 40 hours, but I didn’t wanna leave those fans hanging. They were restless and sweaty and waiting for their slice of rock n roll. It was a great show.”