March for Rights
|March for Rights|
By Robert Christian - Contributing writer SGN
The Seattle Marijuana march, started off with grey skies; and high hopes, with a voice that was heard.
During the march, it was a united voice of those who are either medical marajauna patients, and or those who support the legalization of Marijuana.
The March began on Capitol Hill, and ended up at Westlake Center for a rally where the first speaker was Joana McKee, the co founder of Green Cross in Seattle. Other speakers who joined Joanna on the stage were, Dennis Moyers Advocate, From the Seattle City Counsel Nick Licata and Vivial MCPeak, an organizer with Hemp fest in Seattle. While many people are still being harassed by the police department, DEA, and the like; patients of Medical Marijuana are also at extreme risk of loosing their housing, jobs, and charges filed against them for using and possessing Medical Marijuana.
The March was a good start to gain awareness of the demand, and need to legalize marajauna. Dennis Moyers stated "In light of the increasing number of arrest of legitimate patients ,we have come to realizes that no patient is safe, until we are all safe ". While the march went on in Seattle, they were joined by many others in different cities across America and the world on the same day, holding their own march. From Los Angeles, to New York, Seattle to Miami, London to Sydney people marched to raise a voice, a concern and above all awareness.
The goal from the Seattle march was to put some pressure on lawmakers, where they would pay attention to the growing need, and overwhelming facts that legalizing Marijuana could help millions of people. In Olympia, voices have been heard and lawmakers there have listened to the outcry of these tax paying Americans who support the idea.
Meanwhile, the federal government still has to some degree turned a deaf ear to the need, and any kind of support for these kind of March groups. The voices of these marchers, demonstrators, and speakers is just a small sample of the millions of voices that support legal change for their cause from local city governments, state laws, and federal reconisition and laws providing a safety net , and passing laws making marajauna legal.
Dennis Moyers also stated " Until the federal laws are changed , the federal law enforcement is compelled to go after patients, so we are requesting that the congress change the federal laws", While some cities including Seattle have relaxed the actual criminal prosecution for persons found with marajauna, it still gives the city some leverage in the future. They will either stop making criminals of those who possess marajauna, or keep the relaxed state of local Seattle police officers where it is now. Nonetheless, the federal agencies as the DEA, still can and do raid homes of those with marajauna, for the sole purpose of making a criminal out of those who may depend on it to help with pain and other medical reasons.
The former HUD secretary in Washington DC, Alphonso Jackson stated recently that anyone within the HUD housing authority as clients would loose their subsidies if found to have marajauna in their homes. This kind of statement seems to be the norm, and does show that even from the Federal end of it, their ears have turned to ignore the cause. Marijuana became illegal back in 1936.
" We have helped families keep their homes, we have transformed public housing, we have reduced chronic homelessness, and we have preserved affordable housing and increased minority homeownership," he said. Under the present Federal laws, possession and use of marajauna is illegal and punishable. Many within the march and rally demonstrated that it is time to review the laws, and change them. Hundreads of thousands of people have been put in jail for having marajauna, and using it even with doctors approval. Nonetheless, in Washington state, a physician can not perscribe by law medical marajauna to any patient, but can write a note of approval for that patient to possess it, for their own medical use. However, many physisians do not perscribe this for patients. There are a hand full of physicians that do, and that do support the idea that to make it legal to possess, would surely help some of their patience that could use medical marajauna, which is grown differantly than what you may find on the street corner.
On a side note:
America's first marijuana law was enacted at Jamestown Colony, Virginia in 1619. It was a law "ordering" all farmers to grow Indian hempseed. There were several other "must grow" laws over the next 200 years (you could be jailed for not growing hemp during times of shortage in Virginia between 1763 and 1767), and during most of that time, hemp was legal tender (you could even pay your taxes with hemp -- try that today!) Hemp was such a critical crop for a number of purposes (including essential war requirements - rope, etc.) that the government went out of its way to encourage growth. The United States Census of 1850 counted 8,327 hemp "plantations" (minimum 2,000-acre farm) growing cannabis hemp for cloth, canvas and even the cordage used for baling cotton.