Pubdate: Sat, 21 Apr 2007
Source: Winnipeg Free Press (CN MB)
Copyright: 2007 Winnipeg Free Press
Author: Nick Martin


Tokers Suck It Up At Yearly Pot Fest

THERE'S something happening here.

What it is, ain't exactly clear.

But there was haze drifting over the sprawling lawn of the 
legislative building Friday afternoon, where upwards of 3,000 mainly 
young people were kind of strolling, kind of sitting, kind of 
chilling, passing stuff around and sharing nicely.

The haze had the not unpleasant smell of the demon weed, marijuana.

"A lot of people are here to get high. It's like a protest," said 
Alexis, part of a University of Manitoba group that came uptown for 
the annual show of support for the legalization of marijuana.

"There's nothing wrong with it," said Brad, her U of M buddy. "We're 
not out of control."

"Just a bunch of people chilling out and smoking pot," said another 
student. "Everybody calls me hippie."

Said Alexis: "Bring on the stereotypes."

Derik Parent held up a huge Canadian flag, with a marijuana leaf 
replacing the maple leaf. He and pal Scott Atkinson were swaying a little.

"We used to skip high school in Flin Flon on 4/20," Parent said.

Demonstrating for legalization on April 20, with everyone lighting up 
at 4:20 p.m., has become a counter-culture event that dates back to 
California high school students getting together at 4:20 p.m. each 
day to toke up.

Atkinson thought the crowd was maybe "200 people... .300... 
(giggle)... 400... ," then he just kind of looked and looked.

Parent reckoned it was more like a few thousand.

Atkinson looked again. "Oh (bleep), yeah," he agreed.

Atkinson was asked how much he had smoked.

"I don't even know," he said after a pause to gather his thoughts.

"We want to legalize weed because it will lower crime. The cops can 
focus on the real criminals," said a man called John, after exhaling 
with great satisfaction.

Half a dozen legislative building security staff stood by watching. 
They politely informed people they could not enter the building.

Insp. Steve Pilote said the Winnipeg Police Service may have had some 
foot patrols in the area, but the police usually leave participants 
in the annual demonstration alone.

"It's usually a calm affair," Pilote said.
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