Soon I was sat in the main lecture theatre next to five fellow Dragon pitchers, and then I was up. ’I can’t believe I’m going to say this out loud, in such salubrious surroundings’ I said. Puzzled looks. ‘Everyone’s got their vice, I like getting stoned.’ There was laughter. This put me at ease. I pushed on talking about my plan thus far and that I’d like to try and finish up in the US where, of course, weed is at least part of the way to being legal.
At the end it’s fair to say I was warmly received by the delegates, and I’ll admit that that I did get a bit carried away and couldn’t resist a little air punch (I’ve cringed at that since but it felt good at the time). Then it was over to the Dragons. ‘What is my favourite munchie?’ Dave Cornthwaite asked. ’Porridge’ I replied, deadpan. ‘Had I spoken to Channel 5?’ asked Levison Wood. I’ll admit my immediate reaction was slightly defensive in that I gave him a look suggesting something of an aloof attitude towards Channel 5. Levison if you’re reading this, I apologise. At the time I hadn’t cottoned on to the fact that this is probably right up Channel 5’s street. I am open to offers. (Ha!)
‘Would I be cycling stoned?’ was another light hearted question from one of the Dragons. ‘Where possible’ was my reply. I suspect I’ll be cycling non-stoned for the vast majority of the time as it happens. I’ll be watching the passing plants and bushes like a hawk, though. Antonia Bolingbroke-Kent suggested I contact some of the well known weed-law reform campaign groups, specifically Transform who might be able to give me some publicity. Sound advice.
Shane Winser, the face and embodiment of the RGS (who I’d spent the day warming to as she introduced each new speaker to the stage) offered sobering yet necessary words of caution. ‘Do you have people who care about you?’ She asked, tempering the mood. ‘Yes’ I answered. ‘Then you’d better be careful and think about what you’re doing and how hard it would be for them to lose you to a foreign prison, or worse. Go and have your adventure, but self fund it and be careful.’ Shane’s advice rang true with me. Staying safe is high on my list of priorities. (No pun intended).
I’d forgotten that the whole point of Dragon’s Den was to ask for (metaphorical) funding. What I actually got was a heap of real, emotional funding in the form of everyone’s positiveness towards the project. I was (and still am) fuelled by the reception and the open mindedness of everyone who attended the RGS that weekend in November.