Pubdate: Sun, 06 May 2001
Source: Winnipeg Sun (CN MB)
Copyright: 2001 Canoe Limited Partnership
Author: Tammy Marlowe


Pot Smokers Rally For Legalization

Smokers of the ganja, unite!

Yesterday afternoon, close to 200 people sat cross-legged in small groups 
on the grounds of the Manitoba Legislature, happily smoking weed and 
vivaciously debating the ills of a system which doesn't allow this sort of 
thing to take place every day.

"It doesn't make a lot of sense to me that, in Canada, it's OK if you want 
to drink yourself into a stupor every night, and it's OK if you want to 
drink yourself into a rage every night -- but you can't sit in your own 
back yard and smoke a joint," said a 49-year-old woman who didn't want to 
be named out of concern for her job.

"You don't read about people smoking a joint and beating their wife." The 
4th annual "Parasites of Prohibition" rally brought together Winnipeggers 
of different backgrounds in support of the decriminalization of marijuana 
for purposes of pain and stress relief.

While some people smoked up in the sunshine, others bounced around hacky 
sacks or listened to longtime activist Chris Buors appealing through a 
microphone for solidarity and action.

Prairie Dawn, a 27-year-old herbalist, and her four-year-old daughter 
Lavender sunk a sign into the soil of a Legislature grounds flower garden 
which read, "God made marijuana, God made me, God bless marijuana, God 
bless me! Free the weed!"

Although governments in a few other countries such The Netherlands and 
Jamaica have embraced the weed, Dawn said she thinks it's going to take a 
lot more to convince the Western World of its healing powers.

"This society is still run by the white, upper-middle class," said Dawn. 
"They're not familiar with marijuana as a social drug, so they're afraid of 
it. I don't think there's anything wrong with people using one of the most 
powerful medicines there are."


Benn Epe, 32, pointed out that after more than an hour, none of the people 
in attendance had become rowdy -- a good example of what he believes to be 
one of the drug's strongest elements.

"We have a society where we have all of these other freedoms," Epe said. 
"As long as you're not hurting anybody ..."

Some passersby were a bit put off by the gathering as they walked their 
dogs or enjoyed the sunny weather nearby.

One man, arriving with a wedding party to take photographs inside the 
Legislative Building, walked up the grand outdoor staircase and quietly 
responded to a little girl's question about who all the people on the grass 
were. "They're freaks."
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