Pubdate: Sun, 05 May 2013
Source: Ft. Worth Star-Telegram (TX)
Copyright: 2013 Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Author: Susan McFarland


FORT WORTH - In what was perhaps the largest legalize marijuana 
demonstration in Fort Worth, more than 200 activists marched through 
downtown Saturday with the noticeable aroma of cannabis lingering 
behind as they passed.

Organizers said several hundred more had turned out last year for a 
similar march in Dallas, which had provided police security.

But there was no particular Fort Worth police presence as 
demonstrators, carried signs, some openly toking on pipes and 
chanting, "Le-gal-ize! Le-gal-ize!"

One person dressed as a marijuana plant and several played 
instruments while a march organizer drove a recycled police car with 
flashing green lights and covered with logos of the Dallas/Fort Worth 
chapter of NORML, the national group to reform cannabis laws.

"We want the Metroplex to know the movement is strong here," said 
Shaun McAlister, executive director of DFW NORML, which promoted the 
event. "A lot of people overlook the DFW area as being friendly to 
the cause. A lot of people have no idea that we have a NORML chapter."

"Not only do Texans deserve legal marijuana, just like Colorado and 
Washington, Texas patients deserve medical marijuana just as much as 
the other nineteen states with medical marijuana," said McAlister, 
28, an Arlington videographer.

One of the marchers, Mike Farner, 53, of Springtown, wore pink 
overalls and carried a burlap "marijuana" sack filled with crumpled 
newspaper. He said his medical use of marijuana helped him through 
treatment for throat cancer. Then he corrected himself, saying it was glaucoma.

Michael Burns, 30, of Mansfield, said he marched because he believes 
that people have been misled for "years and years" about the effects 
of marijuana.

"It's more about the uses of it, not the fact that it's a drug," he said.

Fort Worth attorney David Sloane, a NORML spokesman, predicted that 
Texas likely will be among the last states to legalize marijuana even 
though legislators are holding discussions about decriminalization.

But Sloane said events such as the march on Saturday confirm how 
strong the movement is both locally and worldwide.

"It lets the powers that be see that we're here and not afraid to 
step out in the street and discuss this with them," he said.

The march was peaceful, with no known arrests and only a few bicycle 
police in sight.

Two opera goers, Rick and Marianne Williamson of Fort Worth, ran into 
the group while trying to get a quick dinner before the performance.

"The funny thing is, we were just talking about this whole thing, the 
legalization of it," Rick Williamson said. "And why not? I've never 
been in a bar and seen someone stoned on marijuana have a fight. 
They're mellow; that's probably what we need a little more of around here."

Marianne Williamson called alcohol a "far worse epidemic" in the 
country. "People drink alcohol, it's broadly accepted. I don't think 
there is a big difference between the two."
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