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March for marijuana rights
March for marijuana rights
by Robert Christian - Special to the SGN

The Seattle Marijuana March started off on May 3 with grey skies and high hopes, and with a voice that was heard. It was the united voice of those who are either medical marijuana patients 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, Nick Licata from the Seattle City Counsel, and Vivial McPeak, an organizer with Hempfest 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 losing their housing and jobs, and having 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 marijuana. 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, it was joined by many others in different cities across America, and the world. 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 so 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 taxpaying 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 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 recognition and laws providing a safety net, and passing laws making marijuana 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 marijuana, it still gives the city some leverage in the future. They will either stop making criminals of those who possess marijuana, 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 marijuana 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 lose their subsidies if found to have marijuana in their homes. This kind of statement seems to be the norm, and shows that the cause is being ignored, even from the Federal end of things.

Marijuana became illegal back in 1936.

Under the present Federal laws, possession and use of marijuana is illegal and punishable. Many participants in the march and rally demonstrated that it is time to review the laws and change them.

Hundreds of thousands of people have been put in jail for having marijuana and using it, even with doctor's approval. Nonetheless, in Washington state, a physician can not, by law, prescribe medical marijuana to any patient, but can write a note of approval for that patient to possess it for their own medical use. However, many physicians do not prescribe this for patients. There are a handful of physicians who do, and who do support the idea that to make it legal to possess would surely help some of their patients who could use medical marijuana, which is grown differently than what you may find on the streetcorner.

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