http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/306439

Thousands 'high' on Toronto streets during Global Marijuana March Special

Posted May 7, 2011 by Andrew Moran
In possibly one of the largest marches in Toronto history, thousands of proponents of legalizing marijuana took to the streets of the city of Toronto for the sixth annual Freedom Festival and annual Global Marijuana March.
The legalization of marijuana is a major issue for various demographics, specifically among the youth. For years now, there has been growing support to legalize marijuana as supporters of the movement claim if it is taxed then there could be astronomical amounts of revenue.
According to the latest poll conducted on this topic in the United States, the number of those who want to legalize marijuana has grown from 16 percent in 1990 to about 45 percent in 2011. However, there is still a majority (56 percent) who oppose legalizing the substance.
Torontonians at the Global Marijuana March
Torontonians at the Global Marijuana March
More than 250 cities across the globe took part in the 12th annual Global Marijuana March on Saturday to protest the various marijuana laws. In Toronto, more than 25,000 people gathered at Queen’s Park and marched through the streets of the downtown core, which caused intense traffic congestion along Yonge and Bay Streets and side streets.
The march started from Queen’s Park headed north on Avenue Road to Bloor Street West. The parade proceeded to walk east to Yonge Street and went south to Wellesley Street. The march then headed back to Queen’s Park.
March participants, many carrying marijuana Canadian flags and signs advocating decriminalization, began to get high on the streets and blew marijuana smoke in the air; some in front of police officers.
However, not all cops were lenient. The Jakarta Post reports that officers will arrest protestors that are caught with marijuana during the campaign rally. The nation’s police force urged everyone to conduct themselves in a respectful, peaceful and proper manner.
“But we will arrest those who possess, own, bring, use and or consume marijuana or other forbidden items, such as other psychotropics and narcotics,” said National Police spokesperson Senior Commander Boy Rafli Amar during a press conference Friday.
Saturday’s festivities were held in nearly every major metropolis Athens, Greece to Berlin, Germany to Calgary, Alberta to Lyon, France to Lima, Peru to Tel Aviv, Israel to Tokyo, Japan.
“Every year this event gets bigger and bigger because people are now starting to realize how useless these drug laws are,” said John Davies, a 27-year-old computer science university graduate, during a walk and talk. “What the Freedom Fest and this march do is tell the government that they can’t regulate and monitor behaviour. It’s great to hear about the number of cities that take part in this walk; it’s very important.”
Davies added that as the national debt grows and the country’s financial burdens persist, the government will have no choice but to legalize marijuana. “I know [Prime Minister Stephen] Harper just won a majority, but I do realize that his numbers don’t add and he won’t pay balance the budget, so this is a great alternative to doing so.”
According to a report earlier this year, the Freedom Festival nearly didn’t happen after its even permit was rejected by the city’s park, forestry and recreations department. In the end, though, the festival was saved by actor, comedian and musician, Tommy Chong.
Afro Festival also faced the same rejection from the Toronto department. The festival celebrating African culture is now looking to relocate.
The event concludes Saturday night at Queen’s Park.