Actually, I was a “train wreck” at a NORML meeting this evening. Okay, so I will tell you about it . . .
I am a member of L.E.A.P., Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. L.E.A.P. is an organization made up of Law Enforcement, Corrections, Judges, Attorneys and others that think that there has to be a better way to deal with drugs than the War On Drugs. L.E.A.P. members do not condone the use of drugs but believe our history of dealing with drug offenders has provided no benefit to our society, but has actually caused more harm than good. There simply has to be a different way to deal with this issue.
Anyway, on to my story. I left San Leandro, CA heading to Sacramento, CA at around 4:30 PM this afternoon. Normally the trip can be made in less than 2 hours. At 6:30 PM I was less than halfway to Sacramento. I was scheduled to speak at 7:00 PM. One of those Highway signs that tells you how long it will take you to get from where you are to a destination said that it would take me 57 minutes to get from where I was in Richmond to Fairfield. Sacramento is another 30 minutes easy after Fairfield. Thus it looked like it would take me at least until 8:00 PM to get to the meeting. So, I called in to my LEAP Supervisor and explained the situation. We agreed that it would likely not work out going to the meeting and I should turn around and return home. He called the NORML folks to let them know of my inability to make it on time.
While he was making the phone calls, I switched sides of the freeway to the much faster side and started on my way back home. Right before I reached Powell Street – Emeryville which was where the most severe traffic congestion was, I get a phone call from my LEAP Supervisor, “They want you to still come to the meeting. They have the room until 9:00 PM and they want you to attend.” You know, I am one of those kind of men that just do not mind “going above and beyond” because by the time I made it to Sacramento it was 8:15 PM. Yes, it really did take me almost 4 hours to go from San Leandro to Sacramento, a one way trip of 93 miles. What complicated this situation the most was my dedication to not violating provisions of the California Vehicle Code.
Upon arrival, I was a wreck. I had not had anything to eat or drink or a bathroom break in over four hours. I figured I would just give a fast overview of my LEAP presentation, so I grabbed my “cheat sheet” notes and headed into the meeting. The meeting was held at a Coffee Shop that was part of a Hotel so I was not sure if the meeting was in the coffee shop or a hotel room. Just as I called my LEAP Supervisor to ask I ran across the President of the local NORML Chapter. He is a very likeable fella and we stood outside on the sidewalk and chatted for a few minutes before going inside.
Upon going inside the coffee shop we went to the rear dining room area where the meeting was being held. I was introduced and promptly pulled my notes from my suit jacket and realized that I had the wrong papers in my hand. I did not have the notes, but a complaint against a car dealership that screwed me over. I had to excuse myself for a couple minutes to return to my car to get my notes. I returned and tried to give my presentation again. There was no podium, no microphone, no center stage. And to make it worse, due to ventilation noise, I could not be heard from one end of the room to the other. “That’s it, I am toast!”
I did my best to give a very quick presentation. I tried to touch on the key points of my information and answer as many questions as I could, but it was a “train-wreck.” All of the NORML people were very polite and said I did a fine job, but it was a “TRAIN-WRECK’ no matter how polite they were. But under the circumstances . . . I believe I am okay with that. I met some very interesting people and had some very enlightening conversation and I even may have met some new friends. The one thing I did succeed in, was meeting some people that were very knowledgeable about marijuana and the efforts to legalize/regulate its use.
NORML has been around for over 44 years and they know more about marijuana than just about anybody. NORML is on the front lines trying to change laws and see regulation issues are responded to accordingly. Those of you interested in anything marijuana might want to consider joining your local NORML Chapter. just Google “NORML” if you are interested.