Home»Events»First timers and a chill atmosphere at DFW NORML’s 2013 Halloween Party and Poker Tournament

First timers and a chill atmosphere at DFW NORML’s 2013 Halloween Party and Poker Tournament

DFW NORML Halloween 2013
Over 240 people turned out for DFW NORML’s 2013 Halloween party and poker tournament, including many who were attending a cannabis-related event for the first time. Photo Credit: DFW NORML

It’s a whole new world; at least we’re working towards one here in Texas. If DFW NORML’s poker tournament and Halloween party this past weekend is any indication, and it is, we’re in for something special.

willienelsonThe culture in Texas has long supported marijuana use, even if it hasn’t exactly been open about the matter. How long has Willie Nelson been doing his song and dance in this state and people love him? Everyone knows he loves his weed, but they don’t talk much about it. This is changing though, of course the new poll which came out a few weeks ago showing 58% of voters in Texas supporting legalization is only helping to speed things up and bring it all out into the open.

We have a thriving cannabis movement all across the state. Existing organizations are being revitalized and new ones have been popping up, most recently in Lubbock and El Paso; thanks to Texas NORML‘s outreach efforts and dedicated individuals wanting to do something positive in their own neck of the woods.

Something extra special is happening up in the Dallas/Fort Worth area though. The time to strike is hot and the DFW NORML group is proving they are one of the leaders in cannabis reform; an organization to take notice in and model after.

DFW NORML Executive Director Shaun McAlister showing off one of the tournament prizes.
DFW NORML Executive Director Shaun McAlister showing off one of the tournament prizes.

This is all largely due to the new style of leadership in their area. People who have stepped up and recognize not just the dedication and creative effort it takes to maintain an effective effort, but that it also takes an open mind and ear to ensure that everyone is able to contribute in their own way. As the saying goes, it takes a village, and by giving everyone some ownership of this endeavor, they have been churning out some great events with excellent results; most notably the Texas Regional NORML Conference from earlier this year.

Always wanting to do something new, finding that spark which brings more people out to participate in ways previously unimagined, the group decided on throwing a Toker Poker Tournament to kick off their Halloween party at Froggy’s Boat House in Fort Worth on Saturday, Nov. 2.

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For $25, people got to battle it out with other players from all around the area for some choice toker-friendly prizes in a Texas Hold’em Tournament. In all, there were 40 participants.

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The hands started being dealt at 4:20 p.m. and it all came down to Brad Northerner and Peter Holland who were evenly matched after a tough fought final table of nine finalists. By about 10:30 that night, Brad took first place in a friendly all-in.

Final Tournament Results:
1st Brad Northerner
2nd Peter Holland
3rd James Nelson
4th Blue Staples
5th Trevor Talbert
6th Aaron Bickel
8th Olin Williford

From left to right:
From left to right: Peter Holland, Brad Northerner, and James Nelson.

Everyone was relaxed and there was good sportsmanship throughout, with people clapping as each person was eliminated from the final table. There were no major issues with the way the tournament was conducted and everyone was pretty happy with the way things went.

As the poker tournament was winding down, the Halloween party was just getting started as more than 240 people showed up for a good time.

DSC_0974Costumes were abundant and Star Wars definitely seemed to be the theme this year as we saw a Jedi, Sith, Leia, Lando, and even a fully done up Darth Vader, helmet included. There were plenty of others as well including Popeye, a guy dressed like a pot leaf who tends to wear the costume to most events, a DFW NORML lighter, Ace Ventura, Jesus, and much more.

One who stood out though was Captain Cannabis, who interestingly enough, was attending his very first marijuana related event ever along with his wife.

Captain Cannabis and his wife attending their first cannabis-related event.
Captain Cannabis and his wife attending their first cannabis-related event.

The couple lives near the Oklahoma-Texas border and made the long drive down to the area after learning about the event on Facebook. He said that he’s always been big into the cannabis movement but with having to work so often, it’s always seemed to be really hard to find the time to participate. He was done making excuses though and decided to make the trek.

He wasn’t disappointed either, and when asked if it was everything that he thought it would be and if it met his expectations, he very happily stated yes and that it was awesome. He wasn’t bashful about saying he has high standards and expected a lot from the event. DFW NORML now counts him among their membership.

Captain Cannabis wasn’t the only first timer at the party either, there were many more who were getting to experience their first taste of an atmosphere and culture that few Texans have really gotten to thoroughly enjoy.

DSC_0959One DFW NORML member said that he invited over 25 of his friends out to the party, and while only one of them came with him, a buddy who had just gotten out of the Marine Corp, the guy was ecstatic about deciding to make it out to his first cannabis related event.

He termed it as an enlightening experience and stated he felt a new sense of freedom as he was able to openly talk with other people about the plant without any sense of hesitation felt in usual public gatherings.

Asked why he had never done anything like this before, he stated that he had absolutely no excuse for not doing so, but that he was glad to have finally made it out to the first of many events to come. He too became a member of DFW NORML that evening.

As a veteran he was interested in the medicinal uses of cannabis and wanted to help other veterans gain knowledge on the issue. There are many veterans in general involved with the non-profit organization, including the director of the loosely affiliated University of North Texas NORML, who helped with organizing a BBQ at the Dallas Veteran’s Affairs Hospital earlier this year.

DFW NORML Secretary Loretta Labrada and UNT Director Tristan Tucker as Kenny Powers.
DFW NORML Secretary Loretta Labrada and UNT NORML Director Tristan Tucker as Kenny Powers.

What is an organization without its volunteers?

In order to be effective at doing anything, there must be a core group of volunteers to work the tables and do a myriad of other things. People believe in DFW NORML and dedicate their time to ensuring their efforts are a success.

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Speaking with two table volunteers that evening, one who is a regular at many events, the other volunteering for his very first time, they both loved what they were doing and enjoyed every bit of it. They stated that were not only just dedicating their time to helping DFW NORML, but helping society in general and everyone affected by the prohibition of a plant which is non-toxic and has many great benefits to offer.

DSC_0941For the first time volunteer, he said it was just time to step up and start doing something about it, that everyone has their own bit to contribute to the whole. He encourages anyone thinking about helping out to jump in and do it, adding that the volunteer coordinator will find a way for anyone interested to contribute in a positive, meaningful way.

Also tabling at the event was the Cash Hyde Foundation, an organization working to raise awareness of the benefits of medical marijuana for children as well as a documentary which touches on the subject called American Drug War 2: Cannabis Destiny.

Interested in glassblowing? They had that too as Glassblowers Anonymous was on hand to demonstrate various techniques and make custom items for people. We’re not talking about just pipes here either, but also pendants and other cool stuff.

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Zorn has been doing glassblowing for 13 years and estimates he has made upwards of 25,000 pipes. He works with Glassblowers Anonymous.

As one of the glassblowers worked with glass and flame, he explained the intricacies of what he was doing and the processes of what needed to be done for each stage of work. Having been doing this gig for 13 years, you could see the skill that went into his work.

DFW NORML Volunteer Coordinator Ashley Ikner gets her glassblowing on!
DFW NORML Volunteer Coordinator Ashley Ikner gets her glassblowing on!

His biggest project to date was a massive chandelier, and while he makes a number of items, the majority of his work is in crafting pipes. He estimates that he’s hand crafted about 25,000 pipes so far.

DSC_1009Live bands were present as well, with a mix of genres including:

The Sunshine Band – Rock / Folk
http://www.reverbnation.com/sunshineemery

Jolley Good Fellows – Rock / Folk / Country
https://www.facebook.com/matthew.jolley.jolleygoodfellows

Mount Olympus – Hip Hop / Rap / R&B
http://www.reverbnation.com/mountolympustexas

Pistol Packin’ Mama – Rock / Country / Soul
http://www.reverbnation.com/pistolpackinmamappm

It was quality music through and through, no filler at all.

Overall it was a great event that made many fond memories for a lot of people. With such a laid back atmosphere it couldn’t get much better, but rest assured they’ll find a way to make next year’s event bigger and better, much due in part to a willingness to listen to everyone’s ideas and thoughts on how this year’s event turned out.

Texas Cannabis Report is extremely happy to have sponsored and covered this event, and we look forward to many more.

Check out the pictures below. For more pictures from the party, visit DFW NORML’s photo album and Like their Facebook page. Also check out their website at www.dfwnorml.org.

Sponsors for the event:
– King of Quality
– Hempy’s Emporium SMOKE SHOP
– Busch Ruotolo & Simpson, LLP
– Signs Now – Mid Cities
– UNT NORML
– Doobi.us
– Texas Cannabis Report
– Cash Hyde Foundation
– Cannabis Energy Drink-Texas Region
– iamshaun.com
– Groovy Goods
– Mary Jane Smokewear
– Glassblowers Anonymous
– Toker Poker
– Magic Flight Launch Box
– Steve Perry Productions
– Modified Models
– Johnny’s Star Pipes

By: Stephen Carter
Contact Stephen via email at TXCann@gmail.com

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Stephen Carter

Stephen Carter is a 30 year old journalist and information technology specialist living in Waco, Texas. He has been working with the cannabis movement since 2009. He founded Texas Cannabis Report in 2013 to bring Texans accurate cannabis related news.

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