Pubdate: Wed, 25 Apr 2007
Source: Niagara This Week (CN ON)
Copyright: 2007 Metroland Printing, Publishing and Distributing
Author: Eddie Chau
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)


NIAGARA FALLS - "We're here. We're high. Get used to it."

That was the chant echoed by about 100 people who walked along the
Victoria Avenue and down Clifton Hill to Queen Victoria Park -- all
while lighting up a doobie.

Marijuana supporters from all over Niagara came out to show their
support at the Out Yourself Smoke Out march, a peaceful cannabis
protest aimed at showcasing how impractical it is to enforce the
country's marijuana laws.

With demonstrations in Toronto, Hamilton, and Ottawa on April 20 -- or
420 to ganja lovers -- the goal of the march is to call for the
legalization of marijuana through the creation of the Cannabis Control
Board of Ontario (CCBO), said local march organizer Matt Mernagh.

"With the CCBO we can regulate the use of marijuana," Mernagh said.
"It should be like alcohol is now. Cannabis should be taxed, regulated
and sold at licensed cannabis establishments. This will teach people
to use it responsibly if controlled. We have strict control on
alcohol, why not marijuana?"

Mernagh said with the legalizing and regulation of marijuana, there
will be an elimination of drug dealers and growing operations. He said
people can grow pot plants in privately owned greenhouses, which would
eliminate crime because it'll be readily available.

For Mary, who did not want her last name used, marijuana has been a
great pain reliever after being diagnosed with severe multiple
sclerosis two years ago. She said the medication used to treat her MS
side effects is too expensive and is not covered by health plans.

"Marijuana would be more affordable to those on fixed or lower
incomes," Mary said. "Legalizing it would be a great benefit for those
who need it for medicinal purposes."

This was the first Out Yourself Smoke Out for Bonnie, who was
diagnosed with colon cancer at age 36. She said her body could not
tolerate other pain medication and that only marijuana could soothe
the pain.

"I'm new at this rally, but I'm here to show support," said Bonnie,
who also did not want her last name printed.

With escort from Niagara Regional Police, the march made its way down
Clifton Hill to Queen Victoria Park before congregating at the
bandshell. Mernagh said it was great to have the police around and for
the Niagara Parks Commission to allow use of the bandshell.

"The march grew as we walked down Clifton Hill," he said.

"People joined in while we walked to show solidarity for a cause they
believed in."
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MAP posted-by: Derek