April might have 420, but May is the month of marijuana marches. Since 1999, hundreds and even thousands of people gather on the streets of major cities across the globe to publicly protest current anti-cannabis policies. This year, organizers expected massive turnouts for the events and were not disappointed. Cities were filled, and the sweet scent of civil disobedience wafted through the air. And for the most part, the marches went off without incident.
Around the US
In the United States, marijuana marches took place the first Saturday of May, and in fact, will continue in some states every weekend for the rest of the month. Shaun McAlister, executive director of the Dallas/Fort Worth chapter of NORML spoke on the public display.
“We want to see a change in our laws sooner rather than later. We are through with our tax dollars being wasted on prohibition.”
Across Texas, cities large and small are holding their own rallies throughout the month, finishing with a combined march at the Austin state capitol building on the last weekend.
While Texas is one of a number of states that are still behind the times when it comes to legalization, prohibition states weren’t the only ones to see marches. Oregon, where cannabis has been legal since 2014, still is not the gleaming gem of tolerance and acceptance that its cannabis loving citizens know it can become. Scott Gordon of Oregon NORML spoke of the reasons for marching in a legal state.
“We have nowhere to smoke. We have nowhere to take our medicine in. To let everyone know that we are not done. Just because Oregon legalized in 2014 it doesn’t mean that everything is all gravy.”
In Toronto, over 20,000 people blazed a trail through Queens Park, some even in costumes. Despite legalization being scheduled for 2017, many feel that the wait is unjust, leaving people open to arrest and incarceration for something that should never have been illegal to start with.
“There is more than enough evidence around the world about the medicinal benefits of cannabis.” – Johannes Berkhout, Cape Town
Locally known as dagga, cannabis smoke swirled around over 3,000 protesters in Cape Town South Africa. The country came close to legalization in 2014 when opposition lawmaker Mario Oriani-Ambrosini submitted a draft legislation calling for legalisation, but unfortunately died soon after.
Around the world
The sheer worldwide volume of protesters is staggering. No other legal issue has seen such widespread support in modern history. Each country had marches in several cities, in some cases dozens of cities both large and small. If you felt a rumble last weekend in the earth, it wasn’t an earthquake. It was the beat of millions of feet and millions of hearts crying out against worldwide injustice in hundreds of cities.
Did you march in a local Marijuana March this year? Share your pictures and your experiences with us and each other on social media or in the comments section below.