Marijuana Activists Sense Something In The Air

Marijuana Activists Sense Something In The Air
Posted by CN Staff on April 30, 2008 at 06:49:22 PT
By Dan Harkins
Source: Cleveland Free Times
Ohio -- Intent as ever to shake the Reagan propaganda for good and get people to start calling weed "grass" again, Cleveland's cannabis activists are on the march. Again. For the 10th-annual worldwide Million Marijuana March. After three years sitting out. And no, the grass had nothing to do with it.John Hartman, the longtime de facto leader of the region's cannabis activist community as owner of Lakewood's Cannabis Connection and founder of the Ohio Cannabis Society, died in February after years of intensifying kidney dialysis. A transplant could have saved him, his friends say, but that wasn't happening in today's climate of ignorance and fear.
"He got knocked off the transplant list because he tested positive for pot," says Jerry J., another longtime activist who was on his way to visit Hartman at the nursing home when he learned of his death. "He got the death sentence for pot."Jerry, a NORML activist since the '70s, says a vacuum formed when Hartman fell ill. For three years, the march was set aside. But enough was enough, he says. This march, coinciding with 200 others across the globe that've taken place on the first Saturday in May since 1999, will pay tribute to Hartman and another area activist, Joe Zoretic, who died unexpectedly in the past year. But after a moment of silence, the gathering will assume its traditionally festive air.There's much to be rallying the troops behind. Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA) recently forwarded an amendment proposing the federal decriminalization of marijuana. More than a dozen states have made cannabis legal for medical use in recent years. And even in Ohio, the tide is rising: OSU's student body recently voted in a campus referendum urging school officials to make punishments concerning pot no greater than those concerning booze."It's a protest rally, not a pot party," Jerry says of the march, "but I'm sure there'll be pot smoking. You can't keep these kids under control."Just don't run around acting like marijuana is legal or something ... yet.Organizers of the world march announce that the event will continue its "blending of pot and politics into a political grass leaves movement." In keeping, the local march will start at "high" noon Saturday, May 3 on Public Square (at Superior and Ontario), then chill a bit before traveling to the Justice Center for some peaceable protesting at around 1:30. Afterwards, a party in Huntington Park with music, vendors and crafts.In the past, the march has drawn as many as 1,000 visitors. In 2003, enough people were on hand to encircle the Justice Center - symbolizing, you guessed it, that about 1,000 people can encircle the Justice Center. As is tradition, singer-songwriter Willy Mac, of Columbus, kicks off the march on Public Square. Members of Wish You Were Here, Project Cheese and WBMT perform at the after-party. Prizes will be meted out for the most creative placard and costume, as well as for the best- and fastest-rolled joint. Diedre Zoretic, widow of Joe, is the keynote speaker."You know, this so-called radical underground of hippies is proving with this just how responsible we are in calling for marijuana legalization," says Jim Clevo, another local marijuana activist. "We've shown that we're doing this not as radicals but because we want to protect police and help them concentrate on more important things."Drunk drivers, for instance.Complete Title: Marijuana Activists Sense Something In The Air - Besides SmokeSource: Cleveland Free Times (OH)Author: Dan HarkinsPublished April 30th, 2008 - Vol. 15-Issue 52Copyright: 2008 Cleveland Free Times MediaWebsite: http://www.freetimes.comContact: -- Cannabis Archives
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