Pubdate: Mon, 21 Apr 2014
Source: Toronto Sun (CN ON)
Copyright: 2014 Canoe Limited Partnership
Author: Kevin Connor
Page: 8
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Popular)


Thousands Toke Up a Storm in Pro-Pot Rally at Yonge-Dundas Square

Thousands of marijuana activists gave new meaning to "Easter grass" on Sunday.

Yonge-Dundas Square was the smoky site for Toronto's eighth annual 
4/20 demonstration, a global event pushing for the legalization of pot.

In Canada, groups in Toronto, Ottawa, Winnipeg, Calgary and Halifax 
all took a hit from a joint at 4:20 p.m. in their times zones to show 
solidarity for the April 20th pro-pot rallies.

"I'm optimistic marijuana will be legal in my lifetime. People said 
it wouldn't, but things are moving forward in places," Toronto 4/20 
organizer Chris Goodwin said, pointing to the fact that pot was 
recently legalized in Colorado and Washington state.

"We started out with a dozen people and now we get thousands of 
people who are motivated for meaningful change."

Some critics of marijuana say it is a gateway drug that is as 
dangerous as heroin.

"There is no scientific evidence that it is a gateway drug," fellow 
organizer Matt Mernagh said. "The dealer is the gateway. The illegal 
market dealer doesn't check ID and young kids can get it."

Although federal Justice Minister Peter MacKay has said no to 
legalization, the 4/20 group is pleased that Liberal Leader Justin 
Trudeau is in favour of ending the pot prohibition and that former 
Ontario health minister George Smitherman has applied for a licence 
to become a medical marijuana producer.

"I think it is awesome when politicians get on board and I think it 
is all because of these rallies," Mernagh said.

And what would a pro-pot rally be without some political jokes, with 
Mayor Rob Ford being the butt of a one or two.

"When he is running from the drug cops, it's just Etobicoke's version 
of Baywatch," one comedian said on the main stage.

Upwards of 50 Toronto Police officers were on hand to monitor the 
rally. One sergeant said they were keeping to the sidewalk perimeter 
to avoid second-hand smoke.

Organizers said 1,200 free joints were handed out, and baked goods 
were also on hand. Attendees were warned to pace themselves as it 
would be unclear how potent a brownie or cookie could be and it was 
going to be a long rally.
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