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Pro-Marijuana Rally Attracts Bus Loads Of Supporters

Jim Finnel

Fallen Cannabis Warrior & Ex News Moderator
They came, they saw, they toked.

Pot smokers arrived by the bus load for Saturday's annual Highway 420 pro-marijuana rally and for once they didn't have to think twice about lighting up in public.

Despite an abundance of doobies, hash pipes and bongs, the police opted to look the other way.

"At the end of the day, it's not our job to rush in and create chaos," said one Niagara Regional Police officer observing the rally in his cruiser.

It's likely the only day of the year pot smokers can spark up in public without fear of arrests, as hundreds gathered near the intersection of Highway 420 and Victoria Avenue before marching down Clifton Hill to chill out at Queen Victoria Park.

At exactly 4:20 p. m., much of the crowd lit up their stash at once while chanting "Free the Weed!" and lashing out against a proposed new Conservative bill.

The bill would impose mandatory jail sentences to anyone caught growing marijuana plants for the purpose of trafficking.

Under Bill C-15, it would be six months in jail for 200 plants or fewer. Between 201 and 500 plants would warrant a year behind bars.

The bill is being pushed by Niagara Falls MP and Canadian Justice Minister Rob Nicholson, who wasn't Mr. Popularity Saturday.

"He's probably a good guy, but he has bad policies," said Toronto's Marko Ivancicevic, one of several speakers at the rally. "Eventually, ( pot ) is going to be legal and people will realize they wasted a hundred years and billions of dollars fighting it."

It wasn't just reefer madness for Marge Groenendyk, who attended pot rallies in Edmonton before moving to Brighton earlier this year. She's prescribed medical marijuana for her degenerative arthritis, but she feels it benefits her mind as well.

"It's stress relief, not just medical relief."

She started as a recreational user as way to deal with years of abuse from an alcoholic husband. Since then, she has grown angry at laws she feels target a harmless lifestyle.

"We're here to educate," she says. "It needs to be out there ... the lies and all the things the government is saying."

Proud toker Rob Neron, of Hearst, is down to half a lung thanks to Hodgkin's Disease. He admits it's "not easy" making the trip to Niagara Falls every April, but the cause is worth the discomfort.

"It's very dear to me," he says. "It's to educate people and it's non-violent."

The march down Victoria Avenue drew plenty of stares, including one from a bemused priest.

Along Clifton Hill, tourists stopped and asked what the fuss was about.

"Best party of my life!" yelped one toker to a bystander.

Kingston's Terry Sauve didn't mind the blunt brigade as they passed by his kids. It's all part of their education, he says.

"They learn about it in school ... at some point, they'll make their own choice."

Son Cale wasn't a fan, however: "They smelled."

News Hawk: User: 420 MAGAZINE ® - Medical Marijuana Publication & Social Networking
Source: Sudbury Star (CN ON)
Copyright: 2009 Osprey Media
Contact: Letter To The Editor - The Sudbury Star - Ontario, CA
Website: The Sudbury Star - Ontario, CA
Author: John Law
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