The subject of marijuana referendum is more controversial than ever due in large part to the recent legalization in Colorado. As a first-year college student and dedicated reporter, it was my civic and professional duty to attend and document this year’s annual marijuana march. Held in the heart of downtown Toronto, the marijuana march is essentially a giant smorgasbord of every pothead, activist and Torontonian who happened to walk through Queen’s Park that day and get a contact high. The march is one step closer to the goal that every attendee hopes Canada will put into play- the legalization of marijuana.
Nowhere To Go
The slow-paced march and rally for marijuana referendum has had it’s share of obstacles in the past couple years. The lack of funding and constant struggle to retain permits for the yearly event has resulted in severe cutbacks, most notably being the lack of washrooms. If the situation was reversed and it was 20,000 alcoholics gathered in a park for two hours with no washrooms, that park would become the world’s largest toilet. Although public urination has never been an issue at the marijuana-based event, complaints have been made in the past that because of the gathering, the park had been soiled with garbage and the grass was ruined; but I imagine the same or greater amount of damage would occur from simply having a concert take place, or a protest of any other nature. The opportunity for funding and simple accommodations like accessible washrooms will only increase once legalization occurs.
The morale and general ‘good vibes’ of the day were in high-effect, and every attendee hoping for the legalization of weed had high spirits. One of the most beautiful and rewarding aspects of this year’s gathering was the amount of children and families that were present. The demographic of pot smokers is changing, and seeing families at the march really showed that. It’s normal to see a predominantly older crowd or businessmen at the march, but it was incredibly humbling to see entire families who had come out to show support. Not only are 20 something year olds pushing the process of legalizing weed, but now families, moms, dads and even grandparents too. There was also a substantial amount of vendors at the park this year, both inside and out. Last year’s event barely had any food trucks outside of the park except for one hot dog vendor who made record-breaking sales; whereas this year had at least several vendors who were parked along the outside streets. The vendors that could be found within the park were not of the deep-fried variety, just the fried. Vaporizers, edibles, lollipops, scarves and anything else psychedelic was on full-display. One vendor was dressed in a Willy Wonka type suit with a top-hat selling vaporizers out of a wheelchair, and one group of women known as the Ganja Girls were selling medicinal cookies and eventually danced on the float which led the parade.
The biggest ‘buzzkill ‘of the day wasn’t the fact that 20,000 people literally did not have a pot to piss in, but the arrival and wrath of the coldest and most unforgiving woman in the world; Mother Nature. The march began at around two o’clock, and almost immediately as the thousands of people began pouring out into the streets of Toronto, it appeared the clouds decided they wanted to pour too. Even as the rain progressed and got colder, the crowd continued to march with the parade and the spirit of the event was still ‘high’. Thousands of people were frustrated, cold and bumping into strangers; and every one still had a smile on their face. In fact, it made the crowd more empowered and united. Yes, it was raining. Yes, it was cold. But no one was exiting, no one was turning around and no one was fighting. It could rain, it could thunder, but it would not stop us.
Legalizing Weed Debate
“We shouldn’t have to be here. None of us should have to be here,” said one of the advocates leading the march. He continued to shout out positive messages from the float, saying pot day should be every day for those who need it to live comfortably, to enjoy or to simply function. Not only would legalizing weed help people who recreationally smoke it, but especially those who need it for medical reasons. With every word he spoke, the crowd grew louder and more determined. There was a notable and wonderful sense of unity and spirituality right up until the end of the protest which is what makes the marijuana march such a rewarding experience. Whether you smoke pot, know someone who uses it medicinally or just believe in the economic benefit of marijuana legalization; the marijuana march accepts advocates who wish to come out and march for the legalization of weed and support the movement of the drug against war.
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