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Legalisation Day

I had no idea Toronto legalised weed right before I moved there, it was just one of those happy miracles. Like when your dog shits right down the storm drain. Or when a tramp doesn't make eye contact because she's too sad. I first found out weed was legal in my new country of residence when a pop-up dispensary opened up opposite the hostel I was staying in. Two days later that dispensary got raided by the federal police. And by the time I checked out it was back up and running. This is all because cannabis had been legalised provincially but not federally. Canada wouldn't get to officially celebrate legalisation for another 18 months, despite their growing number of dispensaries. It would be an important moral win but in reality it made fuck all difference - like voting.

When legalisation day finally did come my housemate Keif and I drove into Toronto to partake in the festivities, and hit the 401 highway. We were both a little high but in Canada the designated driver is whoever can handle their shit the best, which is never me. Not entirely comfortable with this, I started drinking. Not many people know this about Canada but their national sport is actually drink driving. Even their favourite coffee chain Tim Hortons is named after a hockey player who died after driving drunk on his way home from a Maple Leafs game, gaining him entry into Canadian Valhalla. It's the original Canadian fairy tale.

Any time you drink enough beers on a car journey, eventually you get the genius idea to fill one back up. I got every single drop into this can but unfortunately for my jeans, two cans came out of me. The car stank but luckily it was my cousins. Keif did well to hold the car relatively steady as I was creating a bit of a distraction. Reality was not our friend when flying high at 100kph while holding a can of volatile hot piss, shooting everywhere like a mentos dropped into a bottle of coke. In the questionable interest of public safety, Keif rolled down my window giving the order. And so with what we'll (I'll) forever tell people was with great shame, we (I) threw out the can of piss. Which at such speeds was nothing short of terrorism with a chemical weapon.

Desperate for fresh air and clean trousers, we pulled off the 401 and stopped at the first clothing store we could find 'Drake's Shop'. I ran inside, covered unambiguously in my own piss. I headed straight over to the trousers and read the price tag, '139 bucks'. In clear deep desperation I ask unashamedly what their cheapest trousers cost. "$139" they fucked me with - no irony, straight fucking face. For a pair of plain tracksuit bottoms. I respond "Not even covered in piss mate" Handed them back and hurried out. Dignity, well certainly not intact but up in the air. Keif who was parked in front of the store had witnessed the whole thing go down. His face was a confusing potion of Canadian shame and English pride, I think. It was difficult to tell behind the tears of laughter. I then ordered him to find me the nearest boozer. And within 5 minutes I was stood in my pants & socks. Holding my trousers under the hand drier.

As it turns out simply adding hot air to piss soaked jeans only exacerbates the rancid smell. So after 5 minutes of making the men's room smell like granddad's living room it was clear I needed to go all in. 'All in' meant giving my piss jeans a soapy bath in the sink. There is absolutely no styling this out. If you're wondering how long it takes to dry a pair of dripping wet jeans under a hand drier - it's 45 minutes. Just long enough for every male punter inside the pub to get a good look at you. My suspicion that word got out was when 2 women "accidentally" walked into the men's. 30 or so incredibly entertained punters later, I walked out to a very generous round of applause. The sort of collective humour that made legalisation day so special. Keif, who had just witnessed this life turning event, fucking wet himself laughing so I told him where to go.

Both largely piss free, it was time to hit the festival taking place at Trinity Bellwoods park. My vision of Legalisation Fest was of stoners hugging doctors in lab coats linked arm-in-arm with soldiers and the mounted police in a huge circle. Everyone singing Good Morning Sunshine while lighting the joint hanging out the mouth of the person to your left - nothing too specific. In reality it was just the stoners who showed up. And instead of Good Morning Sunshine it was banging Jungle music. In place of the Mounties was a 7 foot blunt mascot. But it was the first time I've seen an open space hot-boxed. And still, it was all 100% legal. It was at this point some beady eyed copper walked up to me and said "You can't be doing that." And pointed to the nearest bin. Joint in mouth, I flew on over to throw out my beer. Weed was now more legal than alcohol.

Keif and I (and yes I will continue to spell his name like that) headed over to the Air Canada Centre to catch the opening night of the NBA season. Security was tight and we were asked to empty out our pockets into a bowl I associate with the pick n mix at the corner shop on Bushey Mill Lane (a lovely inclusive reference). Keif unloaded his quarter of cannabis and related paraphernalia into the mixing bowl. The security guard looked down then immediately up to his colleagues for reassurance but none came. Several minutes of serious shrugging went by before the head of security showed up. His name? Barry Noggins, probably. Clearly nobody had trained for this. Barry Noggins, walked up to Keif, opened his mouth and then closed it. I honestly believe what happened here was he was about to ask Keif if the weed was for personal use but took one look at him and decided not to waste his breath. He handed him his quarter of the newly legal substance and said to enjoy the game.

Keif took to his seat and rolled a fatty, much to the disgust of the family next to us. Canadians are deeply law abiding. And their natural detest to a couple of high scumbags strapping up in the seats next to their young children is certainly morally repulsive, but legally they respect it. I wondered if this was a little disrespectful until the national anthem started and everybody stood except for the chap whose lap was occupied with bastardised opportunism. That family would go on to pray for us every night. And within a year their God answered. Keif was kicked out of our home and I was kicked out of the country.

Artwork by Catboy


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