Before the 1988 GMC Thomas Built school bus was dubbed the "Cannabus" and made over with its marijuana-themed paint job, it was a red ski resort shuttle bus until two guys from North Carolina bought the bus in 2012 and set out on the "Green Bus Tour for Marijuana Legalization." The pair toured the East Coast for approximately nine weeks before certain events kept them from continuing, and the CannaBus went up for sale on eBay.
"Myself and friends of mine had been following the Cannabus' tour and were excited about all they were doing," Stacey Theis tells CelebStoner. "When the bus went up for sale, we were all bummed that their tour was ending so soon after beginning. A couple days after the bus went on eBay, two of my friends came over to my house, handed me a stack of money and said, 'We sold our Suburban so you can get the Cannabus. We don't think it should go to anyone else.'"
Theis' journey as a marijuana activist began when she attended Oaksterdam University in 2011. After finishing OU, Theis, along with her cousin Jake and friend Ricky, who has MS, started CannaSense "because the public deserved to know the truth about this plant, prohibition and what we can do about it," she says.
When she was just 17, Theis' uncle, Gary Shepherd - a Vietnam Vet who received the Purple Heart for injuries sustained during his service - was a pot farmer in Kentucky. "Uncle Gary came home broken and wounded from the war," she explains. "After years of fighting himself, alcohol and VA prescribed pills, he began growing cannabis in his garden alongside other herbs and veggies. He got off alcohol and the pills, and started living again. He and his wife Mary Jane, who had my baby cousin Jacob, had a home on my family's farm."
On Aug. 8, 1993, Kentucky State Police raided the property. "They filled my crippled uncle with bullets in front of Jacob," she recalls sadly. "Mary Jane was grazed in the head with a bullet during the murder and four-year-old Jacob had his parents' blood all over him."
At the time, High Times reported about Shepherd's death: "When a Kentucky drug task force came to uproot his plants in August 1993, pot-grower and Vietnam vet Gary Shepherd told them, 'You will have to kill me first,' took out his rifle and sat down on his front porch. That evening he was shot dead in front of his infant son. Despite the fact that Shepherd never fired a shot and his family was pleading with authorities for negotiations, state police sharpshooters appeared from the brush without warning and opened fire when he refused to drop his rifle."
Theis has dedicated her life to avenge her uncle's death by doing her to part to end pot prohibition. That's where the Cannabus comes in. Theis regularly trucks to marijuana events in the Midwest, such as the Cannastock Festival n Berea, Kentucky in July.
To keep the bus on the road, Theis has sold off everything she owns and has set up a Paypal account (firstname.lastname@example.org) for donations. Being a 1988 model, the bus has had its share of issues, such as losing the drive shaft and U-joint while rolling down the highway, plus various engine problems, flat tires and required maintenance.
"It's all been working out one way or another," Theis says. "I now call it God's bus and continue to say we will get where the universe wants the bus to be. That has seemed to be the case, with money, breakdowns, folks we meet or detours we make this entire tour."