Extravaganja Draws A Crowd

Extravaganja Draws A Crowd
Posted by FoM on May 06, 2000 at 11:51:55 PT
Million Marijuana March Report
Source: Daily Hampshire Gazette 
The pro-marijuana rally Saturday on the town common was sun-drenched and peaceful, with only three people in the crowd of about 1,000 arrested for possession of the drug. But in a major effort Friday and Saturday nights to enforce alcohol laws, police made 26 arrests and laid the groundwork for criminal complaints against 24 others. 
In addition, officers responded to 23 noise complaints, mostly loud parties at numerous locations. At Saturday afternoon's Extravaganja, a succession of speakers urged legalization of marijuana, interspersed with bands sending the same message while getting the crowd dancing to their music. Ann Awad, the newest member of the Amherst Select Board, mentioned her support for last month's referendum urging decriminalization of marijuana. Activist Isaac Ben-Ezra said he, too, voted for the referendum, but told the crowd too many of them were smoking cigarettes, a known health hazard. He urged support for keeping restaurants and bars tobacco-free. Carla Howell, Libertarian Party candidate for U.S. Senate, called the war on marijuana "a no-win, immoral war," then urged people to sign her nomination papers. There was none of the anti-police rhetoric evident at previous years' rallies. "If you do chose to puff down today, please keep it discreet," announced master of ceremonies Mycho Jellison of the Cannabis Reform Coalition. "We don't want to have any confrontations with the police, who are here today." Members of the coalition, a student organization at the University of Massachusetts, had worked with police beforehand to ensure a peaceful demonstration. For the first time about 20 young people wearing bright yellow T-shirts printed with "Extravaganja 2000, Cannabis Reform Coalition - security" were on hand to monitor the crowd. They and Jellison urged people to pick up their litter, leaving the common clean at the end of the day. Four mounted officers from the town and the UMass police departments rode around the perimeter while officers in plain clothes mingled with the crowd. Between 2:45 and 3:15 p.m. they arrested Thomas P. Brewer, 19, of Monroe, Conn., and Kevin M. Burns, 20, of Cambridge, both UMass students, and Shawn C. Mullen, 17, of Agawam, and charged each with possession of a class D substance, marijuana. Others appeared to be smoking marijuana, especially after 4 p.m., but no one else was arrested. "I think that the cooperation between the organizers and the police was a big factor in making everything go as well as it did," Police Chief Charles Scherpa said Sunday. The rally was not the only thing on the agenda for Scherpa's department this weekend. With the weather getting warmer and the end of classes just two weeks away at UMass and Amherst and Hampshire colleges, the police anticipated active partying. Two dozen officers were on duty Friday night and about 20 on Saturday night, nearly triple the usual number. Some watched package stores, bars and known outdoor gathering spots for underage people trying to buy liquor or carrying it around. They made many of the weekend's arrests, on charges that included underage possession of alcohol, transporting alcohol while under the legal age, using false identification to purchase alcohol, and carrying open containers. Other officers followed cars carrying beer kegs from package stores to residences, where they checked to see whether the kegs had been registered in advance, as required, with the police department. Four men living on Triangle Street and at three different Main Street residences each were issued $200 tickets for not registering. All those kegs were confiscated. Published: May 6, 2000 2000 Daily Hampshire Gazette Related Articles & Web Sites:MASSCANN Reform Coalition (in Germam) --USA: --Int. and at: and at: and at: *MMM. Millennium Marijuana March Message Board.*MMM 1999 rally reports for cities worldwide: Cannabis Campaigners on the March Protest in Capital Pushes Pot Law Marijuana March Day Has Arrived
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Comment #2 posted by MMMM on May 06, 2000 at 17:07:37 PT
I recently heard that pot was less than a misdemeanor in N.Y. What's the real scoop?
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on May 06, 2000 at 12:03:08 PT
News from the Big Apple
Posted by Teacher on May 06, 2000 at 15:36:27 ET"They are busting people like crazy in NYC hear live reports on" 
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