Pubdate: Wed, 23 Apr 2008
Source: Niagara This Week (CN ON)
Copyright: 2008 Metroland Printing, Publishing and Distributing
Author: Eddie Chau
Bookmark: (Cannabis)
Bookmark: (Decrim/Legalization)


Annual March Almost Didn't Happen This Year

Honking car horns coming from vehicles as they passed a parkette near
Hwy. 420 got a crowd of 200 cheering in solidarity.

With the smell of ganja in the air Sunday, people rallied to show
their support for the legalization of marijuana at the 420 marijuana
march, a peaceful protest aimed at showcasing the need to abolish
marijuana prohibition.

With similar demonstrations in Toronto and Hamilton that same day,
marijuana enthusiasts marched down Victoria Avenue and down Clifton
Hill to Queen Victoria Park with their protest signs and flags held
high ... all while lighting up a joint in the process.

The march's organizer, Marco Renda, said he's been involved with every
march in Niagara Falls since 2003. Renda said this year's march almost
didn't happen but at the last minute he was able to rally the troops
to fight for their cause.

"After reading comments that the march has fizzled out, we worked hard
to keep the issue out there," Renda said. "The message we want to get
out here is that prohibition doesn't work. Smokers aren't the problem,
it's the laws which prevent them from getting it that is."

One of the supporters at the rally was Derek Pedro, who is a legalized
user of marijuana. Suffering from migraine headaches, muscle spasms
and joint pain, Pedro said marijuana has helped reduce his suffering.

"I need to get high to feel medicated," Pedro said. "But everywhere I
go I feel like I need to hide myself to smoke. I feel the public
doesn't understand that there are positives to marijuana use.
Prohibition gives it a bad name."

Alison Myrden, who represents the group, Law Enforcement Against
Prohibition, a non-profit educational group whose mandate is to lower
incidents of death, disease, crime and addiction through ending
prohibition, has suffered from symptoms of chronic Multiple Sclerosis.
The symptoms include extreme facial pain and the need to walk with a

Myrden said marijuana helps get her through the pain and has reduced
the number of painkillers she takes each day.

"Prohibition doesn't work," Myrden said. "If it was legalized, people
wouldn't be looking at the streets to find it. Something has to be
done to change the laws. In my perfect world, all drugs should be legal."
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MAP posted-by: Larry Seguin