These days barely a week goes by without a march, rally or protest of some kind. On Saturday, it’s the cannabis supporters who are taking their issues for a walk.
The Southeastern Wisconsin NORML – or National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws – is organizing the eighth annual Cannabis March, which starts at MacArthur Square at 1 p.m. and ends at the Milwaukee County Courthouse. The route is a little more than 1½ miles.
“The goal is to show how much widespread support there is for legalizing marijuana,” said Eric Marsch, the executive director of the Milwaukee-area NORML.
Marsch cited a Marquette University Law School Poll from July 2016, which showed that 59% of Wisconsin voters agreed that marijuana “should be fully legalized and regulated like alcohol.”
“There’s no way in Wisconsin to force the state to enact a law, unlike California or Colorado,” he said. “We have to elect a governor or legislators who will propose the law.”
In California and Colorado, marijuana was legalized through a ballot measure, rather than a law written by state legislators.
Four speakers will talk before the march at 12:30 p.m., and six gubernatorial candidates will introduce themselves and show support for legalizing marijuana. A DJ will play reggae music (obviously), and people will be able to make signs before the march.
“We’re only giving the candidates 60 seconds to talk, like an elevator speech,” Marsch said.
Previously, the march has drawn up to 1,500 participants. They usually march through Riverwest. Marsch said, “Riverwest is the most supportive place in Milwaukee. We had a great loop. And it was fun having all the cars around honking, but we wanted to switch it up and make it more symbolic.”
“We’re hoping for a couple thousand. I feel like we’ve promoted it pretty well. In the past, we’ve had 1,500. It depends on the weather and there’s a lot happening,” said Marsch.
The Southeastern Wisconsin NORML chapter is one of three in the state. Its mission is to educate people on the benefits of cannabis, advocate for changing the laws, and work to expunge the records of people who have been harmed by prohibition.
Naturally, there’s an afterparty. It’s at Studio 200 in Walker’s Point at 8 p.m.