Pubdate: Mon, 20 Apr 2015
Source: Tribune, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2015, Osprey Media Group Inc.
Author: Alison Langley
Page: A5


Demonstrators call for legalization of marijuana

Spirits were high Saturday as more than 100 people chanted "Free the
Weed" as they marched from Highway 420 to the Niagara Parkway in
Niagara Falls.

The 12th annual 420 Rally was held to raise awareness, to call for the
repeal of the prohibition of marijuana and to educate people about the
plant, said Mike Bostma.

"That's it. It's simply a plant that grows in the ground," he said
after the large crowd gathered on a grassy area along the parkway,
opposite the American Falls.

Johannes Chapman said it's time for the Canadian government to
"decriminalize"marijuana and that people shouldn't be ashamed to light

"I encourage everyone to be open about it," he said. "Don't hide it.
Talk to people about it. Answer questions. Share knowledge."

Studies indicate marijuana can provide relief for a variety of
ailments including chronic pain, nausea and seizures.

Jen, a St. Catharines woman who did not want her last name used, said
she's been battling multiple sclerosis for nearly 15 years. She said
marijuana provides relief from symptoms such as muscle stiffness and

"I don't know how I'd function without it," she said.

Chapman encouraged the crowd to make their voices count during the
next federal election if they want to effect change.

"Not voting is a statement, yes, but it's also an inaction. Voting is
doing something as there are no other mechanisms we have right now."

Typically, organizers arrange a public smoke-out to coincide with
April 20, the fourth month of the year and 20th day of the month.

As April 20 falls on a Monday, this year's pro-marijuana walk was
held two days early.

Several teenage participants said a Saturday event was better as it
meant they didn't have to skip school to attend.
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