Hemp Fans Urge Freedom for the Fettered Weed 

Hemp Fans Urge Freedom for the Fettered Weed 
Posted by FoM on May 07, 2000 at 16:17:25 PT
Marijuana rally draws crowd at U.N. Peace Plaza 
Source: San Francisco Examiner
Urged on by the slogans "Hemp, hemp - hooray!" "We toke and we vote," a mellow crowd of some 250 cannabis advocates turned out Saturday afternoon for San Francisco's Millennium Marijuana march. The rally, held at United Nations Peace Plaza, featured 24 speakers advocating equal rights for pot smokers, and a mini-mall of informational tables offering books,"enhanced" brownies - even the latest technology in pipe design. 
"Ain't nothing like this in Henderson, Ky.," noted Alan Buzzard, 30, of Oakland as he strolled with the throngs at the plaza. A refugee from Kentucky, Buzzard is a staunch advocate of legalizing marijuana use. A welder by trade, he suffers from arthritis. His symptoms are greatly relieved, he said, by smoking pot. "It helps relieve the pain so I can still work," Buzzard said. "You know, we shouldn't have to do this, hold a rally. If I can go buy a fifth of whiskey, I should be able to smoke a joint." He had plenty of agreement in the crowd, as evidenced by the wafts of cannabis smoke drifting overhead. Taking a hit from his ceramic pipe, Dale Coverdell, a 23-year-old homeless man, said he smokes because he has migraines and lower back pain. "It helps me," Coverdell said. "I'm not going to stop. It's my life. It's my medicine." Saturday's event was part of global demonstrations that took place in 100 other cities, including New York, Los Angeles, London and Amsterdam. "It brings attention to the fact that marijuana is medicine. Don't believe the propaganda put out by the federal government," said David Ford of Sonoma, author of the recent book "Marijuana: Not Guilty As Charged." Calling continued prosecution of pot users "uncool," Julia Carter of the Drug Peace Campaign said, "Now, as we enter the new millennium, which is bringing with it a new age of prosperity, spirituality and peace, it is increasingly clear that the drug war is blatantly passť." The campaign, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, or NORML, and other organizers of the event see San Francisco on the cutting edge of changing policies over medicinal marijuana. Statewide, marijuana advocates are fighting AB2295, the so-called "Smoke A Joint, Lose your License" proposal that would require a six-month driver's license suspension for any drug offense. Drug prosecutions have put 400,000 offenders in federal prisons, according to Families Against Mandatory Minimums, which opposes mandatory sentences in drug cases. "We are your daughters and sons, your sisters and parents . . . we are not criminals," Mikki Norris, of Human Rights and the Drug War, told the cheering crowd. Entrepreneurs at the rally did a brisk business. Mark McCoy, of VripTech International, was besieged by potential customers fascinated by his state-of-the-art high performance water pipe that utilizes vaporization. He calls it "hot gas extraction aromatherapy." If the audience was mellow, there was reason for it, said Ford, who was there hawking his book. "Pot is crowd control," he said. "Look at Woodstock. There was only one fist fight and that was because 99 percent of the crowd was smoking grass." Two people were arrested at Saturday's event: One started a fight and another persisted in interrupting rally speakers, according to San Francisco police Officer Tony Flores. Otherwise, he said, "Things have been peaceful." Despite the pungent odor of pot, officers seemed not to notice. Flores, who was also smoking - he opted for a cigar - said, "We're just out here making sure everybody's First Amendment rights are protected and that everyone has a good time." By Annie Nakao of The Examiner StaffPublished: May 7, 2000©2000 San Francisco Examiner  Page C1 Related Articles & Web Sites:Drug Peace Campaign Against Mandatory Minimums NORML Rights & The Drug War Arrested In Pot-March Bust March Unites Advocates 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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