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Marchers Press For Legal Marijuana


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Nearly 300 people gathered on Library Mall this weekend for the 2007 Great Midwest Marijuana Harvest Festival and parade to the Capitol.

Harvest Fest has been put on by the Madison chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws for the past 37 years.

"The purpose of the Harvest Festival is to celebrate the harvest of marijuana, to keep lobbying for the legalization of this medically beneficial substance and to keep the tradition of the festival alive," said Gary Stork, director of Madison's chapter of NORML. "This is like a family – you come to the festival year after year and see the same people and get to know them."

The event kicked off Friday night with the fifth annual benefit for "Is My Medicine Legal YET?" – an organization promoting the legalization of medicinal marijuana – at the Cardinal Bar in downtown Madison. The event had blues-roots music by The Whiskey River Band and special guests speaking about the benefit of marijuana for medicinal purposes.

The festivities continued Saturday with speakers and live music from six Wisconsin bands including Logarythm, Pistols at Dawn with Harissimo, Elf Lettuce, Tate and the 008 Band, Baghdad Scuba Review, and Nama Rupa.

Harvest Fest came to a close Sunday with more than 300 people marching to the Capitol to listen to music and hear more speakers.

NORML was founded in 1970 by Keith Stroup, with the goal of removing criminal penalties for the adult use of medical and recreational marijuana. Since then, the group has been lobbying for reform in marijuana laws across the country.

"The organization feels that marijuana should be legal because it is unconstitutional to prohibit the use of a natural substance, and the government should not have the right to tell adults what they should or should not put in their bodies," Stork said. "Also, it provides a safer alternative to alcohol and does not encourage violence the way alcohol does."

While there were many at the festival praising the use of cannabis, there remains strong opposition to the drug, including from some UW students.

"If they were to legalize marijuana, I feel that it would open the door to the legalization of all other drugs, and that would not be good," UW freshman Amber Rassbach said. "There are enough problems with drugs now while they are illegal; if they were to legalize them they would be much more prevalent, and it could lead to more problems with drugs."

News Moderator: CoZmO - 420 MAGAZINE ® - Medical Marijuana Publication & Social Networking
Source: The Badger Herald (Madison, WI)
Author: Carolyn Potts
Contact: editor@badgerherald.com
Copyright: 2007 Badger Herald, Inc.
Website: Marchers press for legal marijuana
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