Marijuana Legalization Promoted

Discussion in 'Marijuana News' started by Superjoint, May 29, 2002.

  1. By Terri Pederson and Citizen Staff
    Source: Daily Citizen

    A handful of speakers presented reasons for legalizing marijuana during Weedstock Monday afternoon in Beaver Dam. Democratic Governor candidate Ed Thompson and Bernie Delsey, a candidate for the 43rd district state assembly seat both talked in favor of legalizing marijuana.
    "I'm a strong proponent in legalizing medical marijuana," Thompson said. Linda Radloff of Beaver Dam attended the event and agreed with Thompson.

    "I'm a nurse, and I like the idea of medical marijuana," Radloff said. "I've worked with AIDS and cancer patients. They need relief, and it is terrible to think of them as being criminals."

    Thompson said there are other reasons for legalizing marijuana.

    "After five years of working in federal prisons I know non-violent people do not belong locked up with violent people," Thompson said.

    Although he does not personally use alcohol or any other illegal drugs, Thompson said he believes marijuana should be legalized and regulated like alcohol and tobacco are. He stressed that he was not advocating selling any form of drugs to children. In fact, he said it may lead to those under age to have less of an opportunity to get the drugs.

    "Gangsters don't have a problem selling drugs to our children," he said.

    Delsey agrees that legalization is the way to go. He said it would help law enforcement to focus on more violent crimes such as rapists and child molesters.

    "Last week Dionne Warwick was taken away for pot in a lipstick dispenser," Delsey said. "What kind of threat is Dionne Warwick to us?"

    Organizer Ben Masel shared concerns that having marijuana as an illegal drug has caused more problems then it is worth.

    "There are victims on both sides of the war, and no one is winning," Masel said, about the war on drugs. For 65 years, the drug has been prohibited, but that has not made it unavailable. However, it has made the drug less regulated."

    Related Article:

    Weedstock Sees Less Support Than Expected

    Police presence may have caused many to avoid the gathering

    Weedstock 2002 saw no arrests but very little support as well.

    "There weren't any arrests," Beaver Dam Police Chief Gary Cox said. "It was good. A very peaceful day."

    The largest amount of people at the event at one time was about 200 people, and by the end at 6 p.m. only a handful of people were still in attendance. The majority of people who attended the rally stayed around the band shell area, where speakers and bands were heard, while the rest of the park was open for others to enjoy.

    Several children, in the play area of the park, played without paying attention to the rally.

    The city staffed extra police for the park during the day, which made many of those in attendance questioning about the presence of the police force.

    "It's a little ridiculous," said Alexis Noles, who traveled more than 90 minutes to come to the event. "If you remove the police, how many people do you actually have left. There is about one cop for every ten people here."

    Noles said the strong police presence may have stopped many from coming to the event.

    "We had a normal police presence considering the amount of people that the organizer had estimated," Mayor Tom Olson said.

    The organizer Ben Masel had told the city of Beaver Dam that there would be at least 450 people in attendance, and the city had learned from other reports that there may be about 2,500 people at the event, Olson said.

    The Dodge County Sheriff's Department staffed a communications truck set up at city hall and the auxiliary police was on hand in the park with the full-time officers.

    "I give the sheriff and police chief a lot of credit for respecting views they may not agree with," Masel said.

    Press corps from Milwaukee, Madison and as far away as La Crosse descended on the park at the noon kick-off as attendees trickled in.

    Masel opened Weedstock by reminding the handful of early attendees that it was illegal to smoke marijuana in the park and to "keep it clean."

    Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Ed Thompson, Green Party candidate for State Assembly Bernie Dalsey and Democratic candidate for attorney general Joel Winnig followed Masel with speeches.

    A.E. Hausman poetry was read and acoustic guitarists played Bob Dylan songs while booths advertised tarot readings and sold incense.

    A single set-up tent sold t-shirts with slogans like "Thank you for pot smoking" and book titles that included "Marijuana Myths, Marijuana Facts" and "Pass the Test: an Employee Guide to Drug Testing."

    Bottled water was also sold beside hemp seed and hemp flower brownies.

    "The only high you get from them is from good nutrition," said Karen Thomas, an organizer of the event for more than a decade.

    Masel said he did not see the day as a loss.

    "I'm happy about the impact," Masel said. "The turnout is only part of the impact. There was more local folks, since it was in town and not on a farm."

    The annual festival, which supports the legalization of marijuana, had previously been a weekend event held on farm land.

    Masel said since many of the people that organized the event had other commitments and since it was only a six hour event, they had known it would be smaller than in the past. They had, also, started advertising later than they had in the past.

    "The success was that we were able to hold the event more than the amount of people at one time," Masel said.

    A lot of the past supporters may have had other things they wanted to do, Masel said.

    "There are people that are more interested in partying, and those more interested in the point," he said. "Since it's Memorial Day, some are more interested in camping for three days."

    Weedstock has moved around the state, so it may not be held in Beaver Dam next year. Masel said he is unsure of what changes will be made for next year.

    Tim Cigelske contributed to this story.

    Newshawk: Is My Medicine Legal --
    Source: Daily Citizen (WI)
    Author: Terri Pederson and Citizen Staff
    Published: May 28, 2002
    Copyright: 2002 Conley Publishing Group, Ltd.

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  2. Another Baby step in the right direction!! It's Great that a few political candidates are advocating Herb legalization FINALLY!!

    Thanks SJ, for posting so many interesting articles!!
  3. The sad thing is, no one (voting Americans) seems to be getting behind these canidates. Our voice is not being projected loud enough for the stiffs in Washington to hear us. :)

    *When did we stop teaching our children to think, and start teaching them what to think?* (quote from cartoon in local paper)

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