Pubdate: Mon, 21 Apr 2014
Source: Expositor, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2014 Brantford Expositor
Author: Vincent Ball


Brantford's First 420 Freedom Rally Attracts Crowd To Victoria

We have jobs, we're involved in our community, we want to make it a
better place to live. We're not just a bunch of lazy stoners." Mike
Dinsmore, Brantford Cannabis Club

The city's first 420 Freedom Rally in support of the legalization of
marijuana was a pretty mellow affair.

A couple of hundred mostly young people gathered in Victoria Park on
Sunday afternoon to openly smoke pot, extol the virtues of the plant
and enjoy each other's company.

"It's great that we have so many people here to educate people and
change their perception of those who use marijuana," said Mike
Dinsmore, founder of the Brantford Cannabis Club.

"I think it's important for people to realize that we're just like
everyone else.

"We have jobs, we're involved in our community, we want to make it a
better place to live. We're not just a bunch of lazy stoners."

The Brantford Cannabis Club began less than a year ago and has more
than 300 members, who are also involved in other community activities,
such as cleaning up the Grand River, said Dinsmore.

Organizers had tried to get a permit from the city for Sunday's event
and were given an application form. However, no permit was issued when
city hall officials learned that a group light-up was planned for 4:
20 p. m.

Calling the city's decision unfortunate, Dinsmore said that it doesn't
take away from the message organizers were trying to deliver. He said
he hopes city officials will change their mind for next year's event.

He decided to help organize a rally in Brantford following the success
of a rally at Kitchener city hall last year that attracted hundreds of

Sunday's rally included a few vendors selling marijuana paraphernalia
and T- shirts. Similar rallies were held in communities across Canada.
Within the drug culture, "4/ 20" is synonymous with marijuana.

The Brantford rally included a moment of silence for those who had
suffered because of marijuana laws.

Dinsmore said he agrees with those who say teens shouldn't smoke
marijuana because their brains, like their bodies, aren't yet fully
developed. He said he started using marijuana in his 20s.

"Young people should learn how to deal with life's problems before
using it," said Dinsmore, adding that 21 or 22 would be about the
right age for someone to start using marijuana.

Educating people is a big part of what the Brantford Cannabis Club
wants to do, he said.

Dinsmore said young people are far more likely to listen to someone
like him than they are someone who is older and in some position of
authority. As part of that education, people need to recognize the
medical benefits of marijuana, he said.

There was no visible police presence at the rally. No one was arrested
in connection with the rally, a Brantford police spokesman said. 
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