Marijuana Rally Speakers Demand Decriminalization

  Marijuana Rally Speakers Demand Decriminalization

Posted by CN Staff on October 02, 2005 at 23:01:50 PT
By Andrew Geisthardt 
Source: Daily Cardinal 

Wisconsin -- Harvest Fest 2005 celebrated its 35th year in Madison this weekend, attracting activists and pot smokers from as far away as California.Kicking off the festivities with a Friday-night fund-raiser hosted by the Cardinal Bar, festival attendees were treated to a host of bluegrass, jam and rock music Saturday and Sunday on Library Mall. Prominent speakers such as Keith Stroup, founder and former head of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, also bolstered support.
Vendors selling everything from folk art and t-shirts to glass pipes and jewelry descended on the Square, joining booths set up for interest groups such as the American Cannabis Society and Is My Medicine Legal Yet. Events on Sunday culminated in a parade up State Street to the Capitol. More than 100 people, many lighting up pipes and joints, marched up State Street to cries of "Hey hey, ho ho, the drug war has got to go!" Saturday's highlight featured Stroup speaking on issues of personal freedom and pot smoking. The founder of America's pro-marijuana lobby in Washington D.C., Stroup wasted no time as he took the stage. "I smoke pot and I like it a lot," he said.Raising issues such as the cost of law enforcement resources devoted to marijuana crimes and imprisonment of otherwise upstanding citizens, Stroup's oration lent credibility and seriousness to the issue of repealing marijuana prohibition in the United States."We've got to find a way to convert public support to public policy," Stroup said, discussing the mission he began in 1970 when he founded NORML. "Think of the potential political power we have if we simply learn to use it."The festival's relaxed atmosphere attracted many students and adults. Jeff Baren with the Cannabis Society of America described his first year at Harvest Fest as "fantabulous."UW-Madison sophomore Jeff Mann said, "It's a great festival, I donated some money and heard some good music, it's totally awesome." This weekend's events coincide with a new Medical Marijuana Bill recently introduced by State Rep. Mark Pocan (D). The bill is set to be introduced in November, but this weekend's event raised hopes of early support. Wrapping up his speech, Stroup stressed the festival's theme, "Stay high, come out of the closet, speak out, get involved politically and let's finally legalize marijuana in America. There's nothing wrong with smoking pot." Source: Daily Cardinal (WI Edu)Author: Andrew GeisthardtPublished: Monday, October 3, 2005 Copyright: 2005 The Daily Cardinal Contact: letters dailycardinal.comWebsite: Articles & Web Sites:NORML My Medicine Legal Yet? Marijuana Advocates Rally in Madison With... Gary Storck -- Cannabis Archives 

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Comment #2 posted by runderwo on October 03, 2005 at 17:55:59 PT
I think Stroup may be trying to be that leader. He certainly has the dedication, and I'm sure it would be quite cathartic for him if marijuana prohibition crumbled within his lifetime. He is instantly recognizable as a figurehead of the movement. And I think he is much wiser and temperate now than he was back when he burned some serious bridges for NORML.
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Comment #1 posted by OverwhelmSam on October 03, 2005 at 03:00:29 PT
A Poster Child?
I like the way Stroup declares that there's nothing to be ashamed of if you use marijuana peacefully in your private life. Stroup inspired me to consider something our movement is desperately missing, a charismatic speaker similar to Susan B. Anthony or Martin Luther King to inspire the public and represent us in our fight to change the federal government's marijuana laws. Any nominations?
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