Pot Smokers Celebrate Holiday Their Own Way

Pot Smokers Celebrate Holiday Their Own Way
Posted by CN Staff on July 02, 2004 at 08:08:21 PT
By David Harrison
Source: Halifax Herald 
Debbie Stultz-Giffin isn't the stereotypical marijuana user you often see in the movies or on television. The 46-year-old mother of four and chairwoman of Maritimers Unite For Medical Marijuana has multiple sclerosis. She sat in a wheelchair at Dartmouth Commons on Canada Day handing out information on medical marijuana and on Hemp Fest, a rock concert her organization is holding at the end of the month to promote medical marijuana.
"I just hope it will heighten awareness about how miserably the government is treating its sick citizens in this country," she said. Ms. Stultz-Giffin was one of many marijuana users and promoters to light up at the 9th annual Cannabis Day. People of all ages, races and genders soaked up the sun while smoking pot on lawn chairs, picnic blankets or simply laid out on the cool grass in the shade. Many gathered in small groups sharing a joint and some a cold beer, while others strummed guitars or beat on bongo drums. Josh Doyle, 20, from Dartmouth sat in the hot sun sweating and playing his guitar, but he wasn't smoking. "I'm here for the atmosphere," he said. "If this were a bar or there was lots of alcohol there would probably be fights and bitter feelings. Marijuana doesn't do that." Mr. Doyle said even though he wasn't smoking he didn't have a problem with those who did. "It's not that bad. It's made out to be something that is big and bad, but I've never seen marijuana hurt anybody." Attending Cannabis Day for the first time were 24-year-old Elizabeth and Amber. They both said they also liked the "peaceful feeling" that the event seemed to have. "Everyone just sits down and relaxes and has a good time," Elizabeth said. "I think it should be decriminalized," added Amber. "Maybe even regulate it and all the tax dollars could go to fund our health-care system." Legalization was a belief that seemed to be shared by almost everyone relaxing at the Commons yesterday. Brian, 19, said that if something like alcohol is perfectly legal, then marijuana, which many people consider to be less dangerous than alcohol, should be legal as well. "It doesn't make sense when alcohol is legal and (marijuana's) not. The negative effects of alcohol are so much worse." Ms. Stultz-Giffin said that marijuana has a stigma attached to it that alcohol doesn't which makes it hard not only for people who smoke marijuana illegally, but also for people like herself who have had it prescribed legally. She said that 400,000 Canadians use marijuana as part of their treatment for some kind of illness, but only about 100,000 are legally entitled to use it. "A lot of people are forced to the black market or do without because they can't afford it." Ms. Stultz-Giffin said that the government should make marijuana more accessible to those who need it for medicinal purposes and help to set up "compassion clubs," which are basically clinics for people who use medical marijuana. John Cook is a director of Cannabis Buyers' Clubs of Canada in Halifax, a compassion club. He helps people who use medical marijuana to get the most out of it by helping them find which kind and which dosage works best for them. "I promote the safeness of the herb, why it's illegal and the foolishness of that, especially from the medical issue." Mr. Cook said his club has about 60 members that range in age from 22 to 82. He said events like Cannabis Day are important to spread awareness about how marijuana can be a benefit to society, medically and economically. "Hopefully it heightens awareness that we're not bad people and we're no more harmful then anyone else given the chance to show it." Note: Marijuana user with MS spreads word about medicinal use of drug.Source: Halifax Herald (CN NS)Author: David HarrisonPublished: Friday, July 2, 2004Copyright: 2004 The Halifax Herald LimitedContact: letters herald.ns.caWebsite: Articles & Web Site:Cannabis News Canadian Links Festival Aims To Heighten Awareness Up a Joint for Cannabian Day All Pot Smokers Mellow on Cannabis Day -- Canada Archives
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on July 02, 2004 at 09:34:22 PT
I hope you have a Happy 4th of July too!
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Comment #1 posted by sukoi on July 02, 2004 at 09:14:57 PT
A little satire:
The Drug Czar Blog John Ashcroft as “Spy-der Man” a happy 4th of July! 
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