Capitol Rally Urges Decriminalization Of Marijuana
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Capitol Rally Urges Decriminalization Of Marijuana
Posted by CN Staff on April 20, 2009 at 17:26:29 PT
By Christine Dempsey, The Hartford Courant 
Source: Hartford Courant
Connecticut -- Holding signs that said "Honk if you love pot" and "No cuffs for cannabis," dozens of spirited demonstrators on the lawn of the state Capitol rallied Monday for a bill seeking to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana.The demonstration was organized by the Connecticut chapter of NORML, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. It was timed to correspond with other events the national group sponsored across the country. April 20 has been a day of pro-pot parties and rallies since the 1970s, when a group of California teens smoked marijuana at 4:20 p.m. each day.
Organizer Dominic Vita of Enfield said he supports the legalization of marijuana. An Iraqi war veteran, Vita has suffered from abdominal and joint pain and food allergies since he returned, he said, and smoking marijuana gives him relief.A bill being considered by the legislature -- which Gov. M. Jodi Rell has pledged to veto -- would make possession of less than half an ounce of marijuana an infraction that could be paid like a speeding ticket. Both the bill's backers, including its sponsor, Senate Majority Leader Martin Looney of New Haven, say if the bill becomes a law, it could save the state more than $11 million."It's a step in the right direction," said Dan Ayers of Newington, who wore a baseball-style cap with drawings of marijuana leaves on it and the word "Amsterdam," where pot-smoking is often tolerated.The demonstrators lining the sidewalk of Capitol Avenue grew in numbers as the afternoon wore on, with more than 40 at 4 p.m. They cheered after every motorist's beep of support. One played a tambourine, some led chants with help from a megaphone.The horn honks came frequently. Blares of support came from the drivers of a tractor-trailer truck, a utility truck and a Connecticut Transit bus.An adolescent on a school bus gave the group the thumbs up, and a Hartford police cruiser briefly blared its siren."Everybody smokes pot," Vita said after the transit bus driver beeped.A few people gave the demonstrators the thumbs down, including a woman driving a car with assistant minority leader legislative plates.The rally got off to a slow start, with only six demonstrators and a dog at 2:30 p.m. It was supposed to start at 2 p.m.Vita had sympathy for an unmotivated acquaintance he talked to on his cellphone."I know, Dude," he said. "Everybody's probably baked by now and too stoned to stand in the rain."Source: Hartford Courant (CT)Author: Christine Dempsey, The Hartford Courant Published: April 20, 2009Copyright: 2009 The Hartford CourantContact: letters courant.comWebsite: -- Cannabis Archives 
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