Marijuana March Unites Advocates 

Marijuana March Unites Advocates 
Posted by FoM on May 07, 2000 at 07:01:56 PT
By Thomas Schultz, News-Press Staff Writer
Source: Santa Barbara News-Press 
Demonstration: Advocates of medical, industrial and recreational use join forces. A colorful and noisy collection of medical and recreational pot advocates demonstrated along the downtown waterfront as part of a "Million Marijuana March" planned for 80 cities worldwide Saturday.
Chanting "Hey, hey, DEA, how many homes have you seized today?" and "I toke and I vote" among other slogans, roughly 200 demonstrators marched along Cabrillo Boulevard. Wielding signs and banging drums, they streamed past tourists and cheered as passing motorists repeatedly honked, waved or pumped fists in support.Near the corner of State Street, the activists paused for a minute of silence to remember lives lost in the U.S. government's decades-long war on drugs.In addition, the marchers called for the legalization of industrial hemp, a type of marijuana plant that doesn't cause a high."We have to grow hemp," said Julia Bennett, 61, who lives in Santa Barbara. "We need it desperately."Hemp advocates tout the plant's durability and wide range of industrial uses as a source of fabric fiber, fuel, food, paper -- and as an alternative to forest destruction and pollution from synthetic manufacturing.Medical marijuana activists seek widespread legalization of the substance to ease pain or stimulate appetite in patients who suffer from terminal or chronic ailments such as AIDS, cancer and glaucoma and less critical problems like stress, depression and aches and pains.California voters passed Proposition 215 in 1996 to allow sick patients to obtain marijuana with a doctor's recommendation.Afterward, federal prosecutors closed six cannabis buyers clubs in Northern California, saying marijuana use is still illegal under U.S. law.Marijuana foes say the drug can lead to paranoia, sluggishness and psychological addiction. Long-term, heavy use can cause lung ailments, they say.California lawmakers have avoided the medical marijuana issue, backing away from a proposed statewide cardholder system to allow registered medical marijuana users, providers and growers to avoid arrest.Some local jurisdictions have taken steps toward medical marijuana acceptance.In Mendocino County, the county Health Department issues an ID card that allows patients to possess up to six marijuana plants and two pounds of the drug.In Santa Cruz, a new city ordinance allows people with diseases such as AIDS, cancer and arthritis to legally grow and use pot.Organizers of the local march said that in coming weeks the seven-member Santa Barbara City Council will be asked to consider a similar measure.Reportedly, no date for that hearing has been set, however."We can get it passed," said march co-organizer Phil Sedillos, of the local Cannabis Foundation, which works with other grass-roots groups.He urged supporters to contact Mayor Harriet Miller and other city officials: "Just make those phone calls every day."It seemed that the majority of demonstrators who marched locally Saturday supported eventual legalization of recreational use, too.In addition to slogans aimed at industrial or medical uses, the marchers chanted "I smoke pot and I like it a lot" and "Legalize today, get high tonight," along with similar phrases.The rally started at Cabrillo Boulevard and Castillo Street, and featured speakers, informational booths, a massage tent and local bands at Plaza Del Mar Park.About 500 people attended this portion of the event. Some danced to reggae and folk music.A handful publicly smoked what appeared to be marijuana cigarettes, commonly called "joints."Police reported no arrests in connection with the event.When the march began at midafternoon, the audience thinned as the most hard-core advocates took to the boulevard. By the time the procession reached State Street, the marchers had passed several surprised passersby enjoying the afternoon along the beach.As they gathered near the base of Stearns Wharf to remember drug war casualties, the demonstrators positioned themselves on a grassy zone partly occupied by four members of the visiting Khan family of Los Angeles, who sat in a circle amid nearby palm trees.The family was eating a picnic lunch of sandwiches and drinking sodas as the sun peeked through the cloud cover that had loomed all day."We heard all the honking, but we didn't know what the heck it was," said Tariqcq Khan, 32, a business analyst. "It's kind of interesting. I don't really know much about it, but it's sort of fun to see all the different sorts of people.E-Mail: tschultz Published: May 7, 2000 Copyright 1996 Santa Barbara News-Press Related Articles & Web Sites:Millennium Marijuana March 2000 National Million Marijuana March Call for Legalization of MMJ In Texas Speak Against State's Drug Sentencing Advocate Announce Creation of Federal MJ Party MJ - Medical Pot Sparks Park Rally Draws A Crowd
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Comment #1 posted by Dankhank on May 07, 2000 at 08:54:06 PT:
MMM Dallas
Deeley Plaza in downtown Dallas was the scene of a rallay that also got many honks, waves and yells from passers-by.It was a wonderful day to stand in the wind and sun to tell America what needs to be done.Organized by Rolf Ernst and spouse, other committed individuals and using the talents of a tall man named Rick to speak in the bullhorn, the crowd was noisy, but peaceful as they demanded an end to the drug war.Lovely, hope you all got a chance to participate ... or RAN your own MMM.Peacer and Love to all ........
Hemp n Stuff
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