This past weekend, I shot Laith Al-Saadi and Jimmy Vivino at the Magic Bag and The Fab Faux show in Ann Arbor on Saturday night at Michigan Theatre. Little did I know there would be a lot more in store and the inspiration for today’s blog!
Seems of late, there is an ever-growing conversation happening about legalizing marijuana.
The 43rd annual Hash Bash took place on Saturday, April 4th at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.Thousands gathered for a series of speeches centered on reforming marijuana laws.
The tradition started when cultural activist and Detroit native, John Sinclair was sentenced to 10 years in prison for giving pot to an undercover narcotics agent. These events not only inspired the creation of Ann Arbor’s annual pro-legalization rally and the John Lennon song about him, but benefit concerts performed on behalf of him by Lennon, Stevie Wonder and other musicians in 1971. Three days after the rally, Michigan Supreme Court ruled that the state's marijuana statutes were unconstitutional and Sinclair was released from prison.
I took this from the University of Michigan's web site on the Hash Bash rally… I thought it was so ironic and funny, I wanted to share it…..
WARNING: Beware of police enforcing Michigan's mandatory seat belt law, especially on State
It is OK to do any illegal drugs, just don't forget to……..wear your seatbelt! LOL
I can attest that everyone was on foot that day! You cannot make this up!
Whether you agree or disagree it doesn’t matter. As a photographer, you are not only a witness to what is happening around you, but it is your responsibility to be informed and ask thought provoking questions to others, but more importantly to yourself!
With all this flurry of activity in the streets, it got me to thinking where I stood on decriminalizing marijuana? Should marijuana be used solely for medicinal purposes? Would teens have more access and then abuse it? Is marijuana really a gateway to harder drugs? I just wasn’t sure.
Engaged in a conversation with an ER nurse later that day, she offered me her perspective. She said with over 30 years of experience, she has never seen anyone come in who has overdosed on marijuana. As a matter of fact, she said some of the most horrific poisonings are more from alcohol abuse, than from cocaine or heroine combined.
Like any controversial topic, you can argue both sides, so I did a little more research before I could make an informed decision and came across an article written by, Dr. Sanjay Gupta.
In 2009, Dr. Gupta wrote an article for TIME magazine, titled, "Why I would Vote No on Pot.
Since then, he has done extensive research to counter that opinion and even apologized for his role in contributing to the medical community for systematically misleading the public for nearly 70 years in the United States.
Through his studies and research, he believes pot doesn't have a high potential for abuse and there are very legitimate medical applications.
Dr. Gupta says he had a knee jerk reaction of lumping it with high-visibility malingerers, just looking to get high. He goes on to say he mistakenly believed and trusted that the Drug Enforcement Agency listed marijuana as a schedule 1 substance because of some sound scientific proof, but there really wasn’t.
Dr. Gupta estimates that marijuana leads to dependence in around 9 to 10% of its adult users, as opposed to 20% for cocaine and around 25% of heroin. The worst is tobacco, where the number is closer to 30% of smokers, many of whom go on to die because of their addiction. Like the nurse I spoke with, Dr. Gupta also said witnessing someone who is withdrawing from alcohol is extremely difficult.
Although 9-10% may be lower than other, “harder” drugs, but isn't it all relative?
There is clear evidence that in some people marijuana use can lead to withdrawal symptoms, including insomnia, anxiety and nausea. . It has been proven that young, developing brains are likely more susceptible to cause harm to their brain cells. Some recent studies suggest that regular use in teenage years leads to a permanent decrease in IQ. Other research hints at a possible heightened risk of developing psychosis.
The doctor goes on to say that if there is an urge to smoke pot, then they should do it in their mid-20’s when brains are more fully developed. The doctor lost me at mid-20’s. LOL. If someone is a pot smoker, chances are they aren’t going to “pick up this habit” in their mid-20’s recreationally. This is something teenagers would have likely experimented with early on and whether it became part of their lives at that point as adults is another question….
You might be wondering…Ok, Ok….so Kim, what is your stance now after all this and……
AND I will tell you, I am still not sure. If a cancer patient or a person who suffers from seizures finds even the smallest relief, how can I not support it. IF however, teenagers will think this is a free pass to get high that is another story.
OK, enough of this political chit chat! Now to some fun stuff!
When Laith Al-Saadi performed at the Magic Bag on Friday, he laid it down with some intense and defining solos. Each chord and soulful melody performed seemed to be played with such purpose and precision, that even a non-musician like me recognized the strength of this man's gift. The songs completely enveloped you, whether you realized it or not. Some of my favorite songs Laith wrote off his recent album, Real, were Gone and Last time You’ll See Me Cry. Moving, deeply poetic and hauntingly beautiful.
Switching gears a little bit to Saturday night, where The Fab Faux performed all the songs from Revolver at the Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor. Released in 1966, “Revolver” was No. 1 on the Billboard chart for six weeks, and has since been ranked No. 3 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.
The five-member band, performed with a horn section (the Hogshead Horns) and a string section (the Creme Tangerine Strings) so they could try and recreate the sound to be as close to the way they were recorded. Something really cool I found out, was that the Beatles never performed this album live. The last songs they performed were from Rubber Soul, “Nowhere Man, If I Needed Someone and Paperback Writer, which was a single that was recorded during the Revolver sessions.
Jimmy Vivino says, “standard operating procedure in the UK at the time was to release a single (Paperback Writer/Rain) and not include those tracks on the album (Revolver).
They played all three of those songs on August 29, 1966 at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, their final concert (if you don't include the rooftop Let It Be session).”
Check out some of the pictures from a fun-filled weekend!