A crowd of marijuana users and supporters spent the day after 4/20 in an appropriate fashion – coming together at this weekend’s Joint Rolling Contest to hear live music, learn about the fight for the legalization of pot, and, well, roll joints.

After the previously scheduled date for the event had to be postponed earlier this year because of rain, the UCSB chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws was finally able to host its third annual Joint Rolling Contest Saturday afternoon at Anisq’ Oyo’ park. A MC, in addition to a large collection of bongs, pipes and even medicinal marijuana were all on site, creating an atmosphere at the park that many attendees said was decidedly “chill.”

Popular pro-marijuana anthems such as “I Got 5 on It” by The Luniz, “Smoke Two Joints” by Sublime and “Weed Song” by Bone Thugs-N-Harmony filled the air – as did smoke from the burning blunts of medicinal and recreational pot users present at Anisq’ Oyo’. Posters bearing slogans such as “Legalize It,” “Hangovers Suck,” and “Get High Tonight” adorned the fence surrounding the perimeter of the park.

According to the event’s organizers, the purpose of the Joint Rolling Contest – aside from offering the public a chance to “chill out” in I.V. on a sunny afternoon – was to raise money and draw attention to the UCSB chapter of NORML’s cause, which is “aiding the struggle for marijuana legalization,” according to the group’s Website, www.normlucsb.org.

The festival featured live music from bay area bands Boombox Orchestra and Ashkon, in addition to an educational lecture from Dr. Bearman, a local physician who said he supports the legalization of marijuana.

Both Dr. Bearman and the bands were well received by the diverse crowd as they voiced their support and justifications for the legalization of the drug.

The event’s main attraction – the Joint Rolling Contest – asked participants to show off their joint and blunt rolling skills in five separate categories: fastest, fattest, primo, freestyle and medical marijuana. This year was the first that the last category was featured at the contest.

Saturday’s event drew a variety of different people to Anisq’ Oyo’ from casual users to die hard marijuana advocates, and everyone in between. However, all attendees seemed to share the same pro-legalization sentiment.

“Our government’s persecution of marijuana should end, it’s pointless, and pot should be legalized,” Josh Madison, a first year SBCC student who attended the event, said.

Third-year business economics major Iona Livingston said she was happy with the turnout of the event.

“I was excited that such a diverse crowd came out to support the cause,” she said. “The event was well put together and it was good to hear so many different viewpoints regarding this issue.”

Christian Digbui, a fifth-year sociology major and NORML member, said the contest received funding from Associated Students. The Orange County chapter of NORML was also present to help with the event and film videos.

Rachel Ceretto, who filmed the event for the Orange County chapter, said she plans on making video clips available to the public online.

“We are using YouTube because mainstream [media outlets] don’t cover events like this,” Ceretto said.

UCSB alumnus David Leibowitz said he is working on an autobiographical documentary of his experiences at UCSB, and may include film segments of the contest in his video. Leibowitz, who earned a BA in biological sciences at UCSB, said he attended the joint rolling contest because he believes the I.V. community has the ability to make an impact on many different aspects of the U.S. legal system.

“[Events like these] are part of the uniqueness Isla Vista has to offer,” he said. “They can make a difference in educating the public about issues like the legalization of marijuana.”

Leibowitz said he believes marijuana should be legal for both recreational and medical purposes.
“I am the bloodline of India and we believe that ganja originates from the heavens. That’s how these meds work and why they can be so useful to us,” Leibowitz said.