Pubdate: Mon, 22 Sep 2008
Source: Daily Free Press (Boston U, MA Edu)
Copyright: 2008 Back Bay Publishing, Inc.
Author: Jennifer Eng


Two Activists Arrested At Marijuana Decriminalization Demonstration

Thousands of marijuana enthusiasts gathered at Boston  Common Saturday
afternoon for the 19th annual Freedom  Rally to celebrate marijuana
and raise awareness about  "Question 2" on the November election ballots.

If passed, "Question 2" would decriminalize the  possession of less
than one ounce of marijuana for  individuals over 18 years of age,
decreasing the  maximum fine for possession from $500 to $100 and
eliminating jail time altogether. Individuals under the  age of 18
must complete a drug awareness program and  provide community service
along with the fine.

The rally included performances from nearly a dozen  musical acts and
guest speakers, and was sponsored by  the Massachusetts Cannabis
Reform Coalition and the  Massachusetts chapter of the National
Organization for  the Reform of Marijuana Laws. Event organizers
expected  30,000 to 40,000 people to support the rally in the  Common,
NORML Executive Director Allen St. Pierre said.

St. Pierre also said he expected between 50 and 100  individuals to be
arrested for marijuana possession and  other offenses.

"The Boston police are quite adversarial to this  event," he

Boston Police Sgt. William Ridge said a number of  people under the
age of 18 had been arrested and  projected that there would be more.

BPD spokesman Eddy Crispin said two individuals were  arrested at the
rally and 72 were given a court  summons.

NORML founder Keith Stroup said the burgeoning number  of marijuana
users aged 55 and older will help pass the  initiative due to their
higher voter turnout rates. In  order for the initiative to pass,
Question 2 needs to  get 51 percent. Stroup said he expected voter
turnout  to be around 60 percent.

"It's time for this country to move on from this  issue," Stroup

Christine Black, the 17-year-old granddaughter of  Grammas for Ganja
Executive Director Jeanne "Magic"  Ferguson, spoke to the crowd about
her support for the  decriminalization of marijuana after seeing
friends  being arrested as juveniles for the non-violent crime  of
marijuana possession and "throwing their lives away"  because of it.
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