Monday, June 27, 2011

Misses and Mrs. High Times

Michelle Aldrich Accepting Her Award
(PHOTO: Diane Fornbacher)

Women were well represented this weekend at the High Times medical cannabis cup in San Francisco. Held on the weekend of the Gay Pride parade, the festivities kicked off with a party thrown by the NORML Women's Alliance at Pier 5 legal offices in the celebratory city. The group had a booth at the event and reported great interest among attendees in gathering the women together on this issue.

Miss High Times, a woman chosen yearly to be the ambassadress of ganga at events including the Cannabis Cup in Amsterdam, gave a nod to her fellow females as she took the stage on Sunday night at the awards ceremony that wrapped up the event. Clazina Rose Van Andel and 2007 Miss High Times Sarah Newton both encouraged young women to enter the contest which "changed their lives."

Debby Goldsberry, the founder of the Cannabis Action Network who has been one of the leaders of the medical marijuana movement, acknowledged her fellow female indica judges, among them a filmmaker and an accountant. "We're all been touched by the war on cannabis, and we're sick of it," she said.

A High-light of the evening was the presentation of the second annual Lester Grinspoon award for Lifetime Achievement to the stellar Cannabis Cup-ple Michael and Michelle Aldrich, celebrating their 40th year in activism. Coining the term "Cannabis Cup-ple" was High Times Medical Marijuana editor David Bienenstock, who gave a deserved shout out to his "beautiful fiancee" Elise for her help with the well attended event.

The Aldriches were long involved with the FitzHugh Ludlow museum, the largest collection ever assembled of drug-related material from around the world. Michael Aldrich wrote the first doctorial dissertation ever on the history of cannabis in 1970. He hipped Jack Herer to hemp and co-founded Amorphia, the first cannabis law reform organization in California, in 1972. That group backed the first Prop. 19 in 1972 and has morphed into California NORML.

Michelle Aldrich (pictured) co-founded the San Antonio free clinic and the National Free Clinic Council. She was vice president for drug education at Amorphia and a US Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse researcher. She served on the Drug Abuse Advisory Board for the City and County of San Francisco, and is currently a member of the San Francisco Medical Cannabis Task Force. She is a board member of California NORML and Patients Out of Time, among many other affiliations.

Aldrich glittered in a black gown when she thanked High Times for the honor. "I look and see all the friends I have here, especially the women," she said. "The women have changed this movement. The women are going to make this happen." She encouraged activists to get to know their elected officials. "That's how I got to meet Harvey Milk," she said, speaking of the SF gay rights activist. "That's how I got to meet Jerry Brown, Barbara Boxer...go straight to the community, get involved in democratic politics." She ended her speech, as is her custom, with, "What we want is free, legal backyard marijuana!"

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