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Canada’s Marijuana Legalization — The Mad Dash of The Mad Ones

October 17th, 2018 · 13 Comments · Real-life Adventure Tales, Weird Things About Me

The Mad Dash of The Mad Ones


Me and my bright ideas.  Of COURSE there’s going to be throngs of people in downtown Toronto, Canada’s biggest city, celebrating the Midnight Moment marijuana becomes legal nationwide.  Banners, signs, speakers, bands, drum circles, wandering guitars, “high” fives all around like when we won the hockey Gold Medal in the Olympics — in fact, we’ll go back to that Dundas Square / Times Square where we shut down the whole center of the city that Olympic day! 

Rustle up friends for the historic Moment — have Prankster PattyCake drive in from St. Catherines by the border, Hummer in from Winnipeg, Mac T from my distant ’70s Winnipeg past now somewhere out East, every other person I know in the Tea Dot — but only a handful step up and step out — and we agree to meet at the Imperial Pub right next to Times Square / Dundas Square, arriving at 10:30 for The Midnight Moment — only . . . there’s no one there! . . .  . . . . . . WE’RE the party.  Doh!

What a disaster!  Reminds me the moment I chronicle in the opening of my new book (On The Road with Cassadys) where I pictured massive crowds outside Kerouac’s building in Manhattan on the 50th anniversary of him starting to write the On The Road scroll . . . only to find absolutely No One There when I arrived that night.  And now here I am in the blistering cold of an October temperature drop night on the cement of an abandoned post-apocalyptic deserted windswept moonscape in vacant desolate Toronto.  Nuthin.  Nobody.

I find my friends in the downstairs (not even cool upstairs Library) of the Imperial Pub who have now ordered dinner and the whole night is lost.

But not giving up — there’s gotta be my peeps SOMEwhere in this town on this night at this moment — so about 11:15 I leave my krewe at a table full of red wine and warm food and start power-walking to nearby Nathan Phillips Square where there’s the big lit-up TORONTO sign and where I’ve seen the past 420 protest parties on the evening news . . . but tonight there’s even less people there than when I brought girlfriend Sky & stage partner George to this exact same time last year — and there’s absolutely NOTHING happening — EVEN LESS PEOPLE there!  Holy crap!  Complete disaster!  A handful of tourists, and three teenagers smokin a joint!

Keep burning burning burning calories as I keep power-walking down Queen Street to the Friendly Stranger pot store head shop where I’d read somewhere THAT’s where they were having a countdown party . . . until I get there and the entire street is shut down!  But not shut down like a street party — shut down like it’s the middle of the night on a Tuesday, which it is!

I call back to the Imperial dinner krewe.  We gotta make the dash to The Mod Club — the only place we’ve found that’s having ANYthing.  I want an outside street party — but some party’s better than no party.  Tell them to call a Lyft — have Hummer meet me at my car near Massey Hall — it’s 11:27 and we’ve got a major relocation happening! 

Power-walk back to the dicy dark Bond Street — car still safe, Hummer nearby — jump in — we gotta get to Little Italy in the West End in minutes.  Pull onto Dundas right behind a cop — go to hang a right onto Yonge Street but notice at the last split second a “No Turns” sign — almost got pulled over breaking the law right in a cop’s rearview mirror!  Follow him one more block — Bay Street — home of Hugh Reilly’s That Channel who we almost met up with — north to College — hang a left — PattyCake told me the address — 722 College — Hummer looks at the numbers — “172” — “Oh shit” — it’s 22 minutes to midnight by old-school rotary clock in the Blue Bomber’s dashboard — one lane traffic’s a crawl — sprinting through yellow lights, just-turned red lights, any lights, GO!  Hummer’s calling out addresses — 224 — 346 — 412 — 16 minutes to midnight — 570 — 642 — 12 minutes to midnight, I’m tapping the clock so we both register how it’s clicking away — then BOOM! around a slight corner and there’s the news crews!  Vans & satellite trucks CP24 — CTV — CBC — Global — huge mob clustered at the Mod Club — fly into the packed grocery store parking lot across the street — cop cars patrolling it — find the last spot there is — hop out — no time for smuggling beers — just grab some paper & pen in case brilliance strikes — power-walk through parking lot — some petit pretty babe smiles and says of me to Hummer with a laugh, “He’s gotta get in there before midnight.”  🙂 Cross the street — there’s our friend Lawrence McT being interviewed on camera after telling us he didn’t trust cameras being everywhere capturing our lives like some Big Brother nightmare — but there he is — all 50-something years of him saying to the broadcast cameras of the world that going forward the persecutions of all who have come before will end and from this day forward these unjust laws will no longer imprison the innocent — and we collectively hustle up the wheelchair ramp entrance where the big burley guard says, “Tickets please.”

Wait — what?

No way.  “Tickets please.  You gotta have a ticket.”

“Wait — I heard this was free.”

“It is.  But you have have to have a ticket or an email confirmation.”

“How do we get one of those.”

“You can’t now.  That ended two days ago.  It’s a free event, but it’s ticketed, and its sold out.”

“But we gotta get in there.”

“Well, you can’t without a ticket.”

Nooooo.  PattyCake chimes in, “Who can we talk to?”  And he points silently to some doorman with a clipboard.

Up the ramp — “Hi!  Hey!  How can we get into this thing?”

“You can’t if you aren’t on this list.  We’re sold out and the place is packed.”

“But it didn’t say anything about needing a ticket and we came all this way,” as the petit girl from the parking lot whisks past us with her wristband already.

Clipboardman says “No No No,” but PattyCake keeps asking him questions and not moving, the two of us immovably right in his face, until finally . . .  “Lemme see what I can do,” and he goes inside, and at least for a moment there’s hope.

Until he comes back out and shakes his head and says, “No, it’s packed, there’s nothing I can do.”

And I tell him we’re all from out of town and we’ve come just to be here.  “I’m from New York, she’s from St. Catherines, he’s from Winnipeg . . .” and PattyCake tells me later my face is a dripping candid canvas of disappointment atop my head-to-toe colorful tie-dyed attire thanks to my colorful girlfriend a world away in non-legal America.  I ask about people who didn’t show up for their reservations, and PattyCake asks about who else we could ask, until the guy finally says, “Lemme ask my boss,” and goes back inside again.  And of course it’s what?  One minute to midnight?  Already past midnight?  Who knows.  We’ve missed it.  There’s no watch.  No time.  Looking at the bleak street-front pavement of nothingness Toronto.  Cars and idiots and cold and old tumbleweed newspapers blowing through ghost-town streets you want no part of.  And the security guys have been trying to kick us off the front stoop the whole time we’ve been there.  And one of them comes back out from inside, “No, you can’t come in.  You gotta go.”  And I’m thinking, the clipboard guy only said he was checking with his boss just to get away from us so security could clear the deck, and it’s mean and it’s cold and the guards are big and the building’s a bank vault with no slippery side doors, and the night’s a disaster.

And then, behind the big mean security guard blockers, the little clipboard man fragilely appears again, meekly behind them, looking at me between big black coats — and then subtly with his one free hand held low, turns it palm up, and motions silently with his fingers towards him to come!  BOOM!

Ushered through the door!  All five of us!  Into the dark packed club . . . just as a giant three-foot Christmas tree of a marijuana bud is lowered from the middle of the ceiling and the band on stage (called Dwayne Gretzky!) is riffin on the powers of the plant and then begin a “Ten, nine, eight . . .” countdown to the Midnight Moment of legalization when explosions of glossy sparkling confetti go off and sprinkle the room in a shimmering shower that we made it inside for by one freakin’ minute!

It may not have been The Golden Goal celebration of the Olympic triumph — but Canada just pulled off something of even greater global impact with this national moment!

This was one small toke for man — but it was one giant puff for mankind.



Post show joy —

In the new haze with the CN Tower lit in green behind us  🙂


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Here’s where you can get another great real-life Adventure Tale — The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Jack Kerouac.

Or here’s more Adventures of discovery in the sometimes drug world — How The Beats Begat The Pranksters.

Or here’s a bunch of different interviews and press and such.

Or here’s a bunch of live videos of various shows.  😉

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

by Brian Hassett  —   —

Or here’s my Facebook account if you wanna join in there —


13 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Sky Lyons // Oct 17, 2018 at 12:10 PM

    What a night!

  • 2 Brian Humniski // Oct 17, 2018 at 1:29 PM

    Yes we dashed and won.
    Brian gets things done.

    This is great. Now I don’t have to tell the story a hundred times. 🙂

  • 3 Brian // Oct 17, 2018 at 2:11 PM

    Exactly! I even said that in the recent radio interview with Mike Flynn in Lowell — that was one of the main reasons I kept writing over the years — so I wouldn’t have to keep telling the same stories over and over again. 😉

    Oh wait — here’s the interview —

  • 4 Gubba // Oct 17, 2018 at 2:55 PM

    An’ me, I nearly got busted
    An’ wouldn’t it be my luck
    To get caught without a ticket
    And be discovered beneath a truck!

  • 5 Megan Van Sinderen // Oct 17, 2018 at 3:08 PM

    Good job!!!! Sounds like an adventure was had by all!!!!

  • 6 Guylaine Knupp // Oct 17, 2018 at 4:22 PM

    Grate! … i could picture myself there with you’s guys!

  • 7 Joe Myles // Oct 17, 2018 at 5:40 PM


  • 8 Rich Huarte // Oct 17, 2018 at 5:56 PM

    A great fun vicarious worldwide 420 @ midnight! Thank you Canada for your adult behavior.

  • 9 Albert Kaufman // Oct 17, 2018 at 10:56 PM

    Fun story!

  • 10 Don Groble // Oct 18, 2018 at 1:13 AM

    O O O Canada!

  • 11 Jennifer Martin // Oct 18, 2018 at 10:18 AM

    Awesome!!!!! Well done!! 🙂

  • 12 Ted Heine // Oct 19, 2018 at 3:51 AM

    Congratulations Canada! I am happy for you all.

  • 13 Jeanne Masanz // Oct 19, 2018 at 9:25 AM

    Love it!! 😀 🙂 🙂

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