The global coronavirus pandemic has lead to a lot of panic buying. Depending on where you live, you’ve probably been asked to self-isolate or shelter in place for weeks or months now. Even though that much time has passed, there’s still a lot of panic buying going on. We’ve been in quarantine where I live for a full month now and there’s still no toilet paper on the shelves.
There are some explanations for the panic buying. A lot of it has to do with the comfort that having control over your situation brings, this is known as your locus of control. Because of the scarcity of essential items, one man has been stepping up to help, offering free toilet paper, bottled water, hand sanitizer, and yeah, free weed.
When the crisis hit and panic buying began, Manchester, UK-based music producer and activist OUTLAW decided to take action. He unfurled a banner that reads “Free Isolation Essentials: Toilet Roll, Sanitiser, Bottled Water, Grinders, Bud,” attached it to his van, and began slowly driving around, blasting Bobby McFerrin’s song “Don’t Worry” and handing out free marijuana and other essential items to people in need.
OUTLAW has a history of this kind of activism. In the summer of 2019, he gave out small bags of free marijuana to anyone passing by him in the Piccadilly Gardens area of Manchester in an attempt to right what he believes are wrongs forced upon people by the government. In December of 2019, OUTLAW was arrested for handing out Christmas cards full of cash to homeless people.
“I just put it on my Instagram, asking, ‘Does anyone need anything?’ he told interviewer Simon Doherty. “And got f**king loads of requests suggesting vulnerable people. So we had all their postcodes in a map and we went around seeing all them. On the way, people spot me and know that we give out weed – so I had some bud there if anyone wanted any.”
The weed was the easy part, he had plenty of that laying around after the cancellation of his “4/20 Smoke Tour.” But the other essentials were more difficult to come by.
“We tried going around the supermarkets, but nobody would give us any,” he told VICE. “I tried for about three hours online – people were charging mad prices or deliveries weren’t coming for weeks.”
But then, a lucky break: “I found a warehouse in Ireland and managed to sort it all.”
And since then, he’s visited about 100 different locations handing out necessities and a little weed to take the edge off. He says they get a lot of laughter and support. “We try to cheer them up.”
Some have been reporting that this is an expensive endeavor, but OUTLAW pushes back, saying that the weed, which he grows himself, is only as expensive as the seeds. Everything else, he’s funding himself.
“No one is funding this apart from me,” says OUTLAW. “Even with the bud, I only had ten ounces before this was started. All the grows I’ve got were ready for my Smoke tour in July – cropped, dried, everything ready for July. But this has come out of the blue, so we’ve just got to do what we do.”
Doherty asked if OUTLAW had run into any issues with local authorities, and he laughed the question off. “Yeah, yeah, loads of times,” he says.
“It’s like a cat and mouse type of thing. We’re not doing anything that’s harming anyone, though, and that’s key – that’s the main thing that they focus on.”
OUTLAW feels as though the government isn’t really doing the best they can to handle this pandemic, but wishes them the best nonetheless.
“I feel sorry for Boris Johnson if he’s got [coronavirus] properly and everything is true about that.”
He added: “Hopefully he’ll recover, but with an understanding of what other people need when they are in times of need.”
As a side note, Boris Johnson was released from the ICU and is expected to recover from the virus. Maybe this experience will change his perspective on things?
Here are some more stories of people just trying to pitch in during this pandemic:
Zookeepers Self-Isolate In A UK Wildlife Park For 3 Months To Take Care Of Animals
College Student Creates See-Through Mask For Deaf And Hearing Impaired
Alabama Man Who Mows Lawns for the Elderly Now Delivers Free Meals and Supplies to People Who Can’t Leave Their Homes
Teen Creates Website For He And His Friends To Deliver Groceries To Seniors
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