I’ve been banned from crossing into the USA since May 2016. So instead, my friend Dixie and I went on a different trip, to BC’s Sunshine Coast. It may not have been the trip we had planned but we still got to have our getaway — and some really rare one-on-one time — doused in a cloud of pot smoke.

See, Dixie and I were connected through Bonerattle Talent and then stayed in touch through the pinup community, where she is a bit of a vintage dynamo. She lives the life and does it well. She shares everything she knows and encourages everyone to participate. She’s a beacon of light in a dark world and we all need more Dixie. Even after being denied entry, probably getting her banned from the States because of my marijuana advocacy, she never once guilted me or let me feel bad about that. A real diamond, and I feel blessed to call her friend. I couldn’t have asked for a better “partner in crime.”

Getting to the Sunshine Coast

Picture this: We finally get released from Border Services. We have both booked time off work, kids, and life. We have money. So instead of going home and pouting about things we couldn’t change, we decide to head up to the Sunshine Coast. She’d never been there, and I had only been once. I really haven’t travelled, guys.

Sunshine Coast guidebooks on the ferry

Ironic Guidebooks

Because we packed to cross the border, we had no weed on us. A quick pitstop at Dixie’s place fixed that really quick and we smoked a nice big fatty. I was pretty beside myself for having been denied such a simple thing as wasting my money in another country. Dixie wasn’t much happier, although she is eternally optimistic about everything. The pot helped us both, I’d say. Most bittersweet joint I’ve ever smoked, as we were really looking forward to stopping at all the recreational pot shops in Washington and Oregon states to see what their distribution model was like.

We pulled ourselves together, and started our journey after booking a couple of nights at the Bella Beach InnThe ferry ride from Gibsons was uneventful. We did regular ferry things, like buy coffees we didn’t actually want and wonder who it is that actually buys that stuff in the gift shop … Turned out that we do: we bought mood rings. Nothing really solidifies a friendship like getting banned from a country together, why not commemorate it?

Getting Stoned on the Sunshine Coast

We got to our motel, which was right on Davis Bay, and were greeted by name as we checked in. We really appreciated the warm welcome since we were still feeling a bit unwanted.

Up in our room, right through our window was the most amazing view. What better time to pick up some munchies and watch the storm roll in? The weather seemed fitting, after the day we had. We were tired, though, so called it a night pretty early after smoking all the weed we could; it felt incredibly right, blazing that hard after our day.

Sunshine Coast hotel view

The hotel room view as a storm rolled in.

Getting Inked on the Sunshine Coast

The next morning we decided to get tattoos to commemorate our Sunshine Coast trip. Six Gill Custom Tattoo was recommended by a friend who used to live there, so we headed over to see if they could fit us in later. Thankfully they could, and we had a great talk with them about getting banned from entering the States. They had a hard time really appreciating why, considering that we didn’t have anything on us.

While we waited for our appointment, we grabbed a bite and did a little touring around town.

Sechelt is a pretty small place and the weather was not fantastic, so we were a bit limited as to what we could do, but it really is quite picturesque. The people are so friendly and the pace was really refreshing. Cue pot smoking, because if there was ever a place that lent itself to blazing, it’s the Sunshine Coast with its beautiful ocean views and lush landscapes.

We stopped to smell the flowers a lot. And bought crystals, because West Coast; we wanted to manifest our own good vibes, dammit.

Sunshine Coast crystals

I can feel those good vibes coming!

When we got back to the tattoo shop, our artist Colin had our stencils ready to go. I jumped up on the table with Dixie by my side while I got my new forever art, and everyone started chatting.

If you have never been in a tattoo shop let me tell you, they can be pretty social environments: you are all sort of locked down in place, so conversation flows pretty easily. We told our tale of being banned from the States more thoroughly. And we heard others’ stories about family members and friends with similar tales of woe about crossing into the USA.

How foolish these laws are, that prevent good people from vacationing in what is essentially their backyard. This wasn’t new, what happened to us. It’s bureaucratic nonsense at its finest, and we are all sitting back watching it happen.


Getting Deep on the Sunshine Coast

Back at the hotel we relaxed for a bit on the front lawn with a couple of ciders and a few joints. We got to talking about what I had been up to in the marijuana community. And why I thought it was important to fight for the right to utilize marijuana. How we need more voices like Dixie’s. We need people with reach and repute who are willing to speak up and say they smoke pot responsibly. That they don’t agree with our current laws.

Canadians are being persecuted for marijuana laws that no one cares about anymore, and nobody wants that.

While we looked out onto Davis Bay, it seemed strange to think that in a country where we fancy ourselves so free, we are dictated to as to how we manage ourselves in regards to a harmless plant. It was a great conversation that I wish I could have with more people without it being discounted as stoner nonsense.

That evening, we headed out to find dinner and beverages (and hopefully a party of sorts) at the Lighthouse Pub. We found the food and drinks, but discovered that there probably wasn’t much more action to be found that night. C’est la vie. At least the view was amazing! 

Getting Home from the Sunshine Coast

Leaving for home in the morning after food at Molly’s Reach, of The Beachcombers fame, I think we were both a bit tired. It can be a bit draining, being treated like a criminal when you do everything in your power to make the world a better place. It was nice to still have gotten away for at least a little bit, but knowing why we were on the Sunshine Coast …  well, it was no Portland.

Dixie and I were lucky. We were lucky that we could walk away from our altercation with US Border Services without any record in our own country. Because not everyone who gets put under the spotlight like we did gets to walk away. They don’t get to take an alternate trip; they have to pay for lawyers, lose time with their families, perhaps even lose contact with their children during divorces, or get fired from their jobs simply because they smoke weed.

If you haven’t already, contact your MP. Let them know that you not only support the legalization of marijuana, but that as of right now it should be decriminalized while we figure out how we are going to legalize. Because it needs to happen now, before more people are unfairly affected by Canadian marijuana laws.

I was happy to get to connect with Dixie in ways that I hadn’t before, though. Plus I got an awesome mood ring. We looked at those rings a lot this trip. Mine glowed just the way it was supposed to the whole time.

Sunshine Coast mood rings