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Parade Pushes Pot Law

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The420Guy

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May 06,00
Crowd Wants Authorities to Honor Proposition 215
Source: Record Searchlight

About 200 medical marijuana users and their
supporters drew cheers and waves, honks and peace
signs from drivers Friday as they demonstrated on
Cypress Avenue for almost an hour before a brief rally on the steps of Redding's new Civic Center.
Toting handmade placards touting Proposition 215, the state's voter-approved Compassionate Use Act, the crowd began assembling before 10 a.m. at South City Park, two blocks south of the Civic Center.
Though a few police officers watched from a distance, and later photographed the crowd, no arrests were made. At one point a teacher at Cypress School, just opposite the entrance to the Civic Center, brought his class outside for an
impromptu civics lesson on freedom of speech.
Dubbed the Millennium Marijuana March, the demonstration echoed worldwide marches and protests Friday and today, said Greg Helm, 45, of Redding, who organized the march along with
his wife, Lonnie, 36. Clad in everything from tie-dye to button-down shirts,demonstrators spent an hour before the march chatting, making
signs and in some cases changing into newly purchased T-shirts with pro-medicinal marijuana slogans. Many participants complained that Shasta and Tehama county police and deputies confiscate their marijuana or arrest them even though they have written doctors' recommendations for its
use. Proposition 215 sets no limits on the number of plants or amount of pot patients can possess, and local guidelines are illegal, the patients said. Before the rally, a police officer stopped by to warn Helm that marchers wouldn't help their cause by toking up in view of the school. None did. Some signs carried messages that were short and to the point – ''No hope with Dr. Pope,'' said one sign emblazoned with a painted marijuana leaf.
The sign was a reference to Shasta County Sheriff Jim Pope, who in January turned over seized marijuana to a federal agent rather than return it to an acquitted medical marijuana patient as a
judge had ordered. Several HIV positive patients hoisted a placard urging ''Don't make PWAs (people with AIDS) POWs of a failed drug war.''
''The laws are so stringent in this area it's very hard for patients,'' said Danielle Kilcup, 21, of Redding, as she hand-lettered a sign reading ''Man can plant the seed and man can water it, but only
God can make it grow.'' Kilcup said she is HIV positive and a devout Christian. She brought her husband and some friends to the march. Waving their signs at cars and chanting a compassionate use slogan, demonstrators were rewarded with honks and some cheers from drivers of everything from trucks to Mercedes. Peace signs, or maybe they were victory signs, flashed. One woman leaving the Civic Center in a Cadillac rolled down her window to wave a ''V'' as her tiny poodle barked over her shoulder. Just before noon the group moved to the steps of Civic Center where they broke into cheers when Redding attorney Eric Berg arrived. Berg defended medicinal marijuana patients Lydia and
Jim Hall of Redding and 49-year-old Richard Levin, a Redding man acquitted on pot charges last year.
''It's really a miracle drug we're talking about here,'' Berg told the crowd. ''People here are no longer criminals.'' Helm said he hopes to organize a bigger march next year.

By Maline Hazle, Record Searchlight
Reporter Maline Hazle can be reached at: 225-8266 or at:
mhazle@redding.com