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international | rights, freedoms and repression | feature Wednesday May 14, 2008 01:36 by Legalise Cannabis Ireland info at legalisecannabis dot ie
Politicians told loud and clear – cannabis is a health issue,not a criminal one.
Over 1,500 people marched last Saturday demanding that cannabis be legalised in Ireland immediately and that the hypocrisy of cannabis prohibition end in all countries where it is still in place.
The march buildup had been taking place for several months with flyers,informational pamphlets,badges,stickers,posters and tshirts produced to create some momentum for the march day but also to promote the campaign beyond the parameters of the march itself.Three awareness gigs were organised and well attended and the stage was set for the march itself.
Hopes for a continuation of the glorious weather faded somewhat on Saturday morning when the drawing of the curtains revealed a gloomy,overcast day with puddles of water evidencing earlier showers.Minds wandered back to the inaugural march in 2007, which suffered in numbers due to the poor weather that day.
However the rain just about held off and by 2.30pm the preparations were laid and final touches made as the crowds assembled at the Garden of Remembrance. More seasoned marchers could not help but have noticed the livley,colourful and energetic nature of the crowd assembled,helped by the tribal rhytms of a samba band. The contrast with the drab banality of the Mayday parade the previous week could not have been starker.
As the crowd increased so did the impatience and apparent nervousness of the attending Gadai. Having previously consulted fully with the Gardai regarding the details of the day,it appeared they had lost their earlier cordiality as threats were made to the organisers to get on with it “or else”. Ignoring this childish power play we completed the safe set-up of the musical instruments on the back of the truck and off we went to an exhuberant roar.
As the crown moved down the hill to the Ambassador Theatre and the top of O'Connell St chants of “Legalise It!” and “Free the Weed!” rippled through the crowd in chorus as well as the funky jam of the band “Fusion Family” and the exotic percussions of the samba troupe.
As the march danced down O'Connell Street the numbers swelled as passers-by, joined in to show their support.By the time it wound its way around to College Green, the numbers were in excess of 1,500. Grafton St shoppers were bemused as the parade noisily passed. Some suspended their Saturday consuming in favour of satisying their curiosity as to what it was all about.
And they were to find out soon after as the march had soon reached its (supposed!) destination at the gates of Parliament (almost) on Moleswroth St.Speakers form LCI addressed the crowd from the truck and the speeches were interspersed with pro-legalisation ballads.Special attention was drawn by the speakers to several key issues -
Firstly that cannabis use is a health issue and NOT a criminal one
Secondly that the fight for cannabis legalisation is a struggle for civil liberties.
Thirdly that keeping cannabis illegal is the gateway to harder drugs,NOT cannabis itself.
Fourthly that prohibiton puts the supply of cannabis into unscrupulous hands, leading to low quality,dangerously contaminated product,overpricing and cannabis being a facet of gangland activity.
One speaker pointed out that if you can buy alcohol and tobacco in a safe,regulated environment,then why not cannabis,particularly given the fact that the aforementioned legal drugs have been conclusively proven by innumerable studies to be more harmful to health than cannabis.
The hypocrisy is glaring.
Following a few more ballads the march proper dissipated into smaller groups,one such group heading back towards the Garden of Remembrance along the not so traditional route!This group had as its core element the glorious samba band and by the time it was (re)entering College Green it was several hundred strong and full of life. By the time the author caught up with this autonomous remarch it was camped on O'Connell St next to the spire and was providing a vibrant and unique spectacle for the now-weary Henry St shoppers.The impromptu street party continued for approximately twenty minutes (with no interference from the watching Gardai) and then it made its final journey back to the Garden of Remembrance where people relaxed and enjoyed the first sun of the day with a well deserved spliff. A suitable end to a really fabulous day.
Legalise It Now!!!!
Thanks must be expressed to all who came out on the day,the wonderful samba band and the clouds for holdin in their rain!
Video by: Revolt Video Collective
Legalise Cannabis Ireland Links :