‘Yes we cannabis!’

2010-04-21 08:08

Stoked by advancing legalisation efforts, marijuana smokers across

the US lit up in public parks, outside statehouses and in the posh confines of a

Hummer parked outside a pot gardening superstore to observe the movement’s

annual high holiday.

Those who weren’t within whiffing distance of a college campus or a

reggae concert may not have realised yesterday was 4/20, the

celebration-cum-mass civil disobedience derived from “420” – insider shorthand

for cannabis consumption.

Advocates from New Hampshire to California trumpeted marijuana’s

rising commercial and political acceptance while producing collective clouds of

pungent smoke – often under the watchful eyes of law enforcement officers who,

for the most part, let the parties proceed.

A daylong rally in Denver’s Civil Center Park drew thousands of

people, as did the public smoking event that persisted at the University of

Colorado in Boulder despite discouragement from college administrators.

Civil backing

Colorado lawmakers coincidentally marked the day by backing new

regulations for dispensaries selling medical marijuana.

In New Hampshire, about 100 people rallied in the state capital of

Concord on the eve of a Senate vote to decriminalise small amounts of pot.

Some lit up joints as state troopers watched from inside the

Statehouse. Governor John Lynch said he will veto the bill if it reaches


In Juneau, Alaska, about 20 young people, two dogs and a mother

pushing a stroller marched in driving rain, whooping and chanting, “Yes we

cannabis!” – a play on Barack Obama’s campaign slogan. Their route took them

past the state Capitol and City Hall.

In California, where voters in November will consider whether to

tax the sale of marijuana for recreational use, a 3-month-old cultivation

equipment emporium in Oakland got a 24-hour jump start, sponsoring a “420 Eve”

festival on Monday.

Several hundred revellers lined up outside the iGrow shop. Security

guards kept them at bay until 4:20pm, when they could enter a medical marijuana

delivery service raffle to win an oversized joint and a tour of a 16-metre

portable grow room with a starting price of $60 000 (about R442 000).

Increased attention

“I wouldn’t have thought we would be able to consume on site,”

marvelled 19-year-old John Corral of San Jose, after he obtained a wristband

that gave him access to the event’s two “vapor lounges,” the one inside the

Hummer and another inside a companion Range Rover limousine.

Two years ago, before he had a doctor’s recommendation to smoke

pot, Corral commemorated 4/20 on Hippie Hill, the Golden Gate Park promontory

where an earlier generation of pot aficionados made their stand.

Marijuana use – medically and recreationally – is getting more

attention these days, with voters in California and possibly three other states

set to decide whether to legalise use of the drug.

Most Americans still oppose legalising marijuana, but larger

majorities believe pot has medical benefits and the government should allow its

use for that purpose, according to an Associated Press-CNBC poll released


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