Pubdate: Sat,  6 May 2000
Source: Redding Record Searchlight (CA)
Copyright: 2000 Redding Record Searchlight - E.W. Scripps
Contact:  PO Box 492397, Redding, CA 96049-2397
Website: http://www.redding.com/
Forum: http://www.redding.com/disc2_frm.htm
Author:  Maline Hazle
Note: Maline Hazle can be reached at 225-8266 or at PARADE PUSHES POT LAW

Crowd wants authorities to honor Proposition 215

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.
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