We've been to many marches for the legalization of marijuana. Usually, these marches have no higher purpose than to advocate for the use of marijuana, but there's a rally set for Saturday at Heritage Square Park with a very specific purpose: to advocate for and educate people on the merits of Arizona's Proposition 203, which would legalize medical marijuana for qualified patients. That said, and despite the efforts of the event coordinators, it could easily turn into a typical march.
Here are a few things you might see if you show up this weekend:
Cops: Cops are always present at large public gatherings, presumably to keep the peace. And they are always, without exception, present at pot rallies - and not all of them are in uniform, either. Keep this in mind before blazing up next to a stranger in khakis, even if he's wearing a brand new Cheech & Chong shirt and cheering for the cause.Pot smoking:
Yes, we've seen people boldly smoking joints at these rallies. At the2008 Phoenix Global Marijuana March
at Steele Indian School Park, we saw a woman smoking weed with small children clinging to her legs. This is a very bad idea for everyone involved. The fact that someone thinks peopleshould
be able to smoke pot in public does not make it any less illegal, and only reinforces stereotypes of the irresponsible stoner.
Tie-Dye: It's inevitable. There will always be a group of hippie-types sporting rainbow-splattered tie-dye shirts and reeking of patchouli.
Dancing Bears and "Steal Your Face" Skulls: Blame the Grateful Dead. This band's artwork, most notably the red, white, and blue skull with a lightning bolt through it ("Steal Your Face") and colorful, dancing koala bears have become stoner symbols.
Pot Leaves: They will be on T-shirts, stickers, buttons, balloons, signs, bandannas, shorts, pipes, wallets, and just about anything else you can imagine.
Yes, you might run into a few of the above on Saturday, but for the most part, this event is shaping up to be more of an intellectual exercise than a smokey street parade. Here are a few things you're guaranteed to see addition to (or hopefully instead of) the things listed above.
Live music: Local artists Kindread, Valley Love, Diabolical Sound Platoon, and M.O.U. will be performing reggae and hip-hop.
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Speakers: Representatives from Accessible Arizona, Phoenix NORML, the Green Party, and medical marijuana patients will espouse the merits of Prop 203.
The differences between Prop 203 and medical marijuana initiatives in other states: Speakers will focus on four things that make Arizona's Prop 203 different from propositions passed in other states: A limit on the number of dispensaries (123 statewide); a limit on the amount of marijuana patients may receive (two and a half ounces every 14 days); a statewide database of patients (accessible only to law enforcement, the Arizona Department of Health and Human Services, and dispensary owners); and a regulation that forbids patients from growing their own weed within 25 miles of a dispensary.
Free BBQ: Need we say more?
The "Yes on Prop 203" Rally takes place at 1 p.m. Saturday, September 25, at Heritage Square Park, 115 N. 6th Street. Visit www.hazenation.com for more information.