What began in 1999 under the name Million Marijuana March, with events in 30 cities across America, is now, 15 years later, a global initiative for the advocacy of marijuana reform with marches, rallies, and events happening in 160 cities across 35 different countries this Saturday, May 3rd.
These days referred to as the Global Marijuana March (GMM), the multinational event is traditionally held on the first Saturday of each month. New York City, Atlanta, and Boston, along with cities like Toronto and Vancouver in Canada and Mexico City in Mexico, are just a handful of the cities that will be rallying for cannabis on behalf of North America on Saturday. Joining them will be nations from Central America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and more.
In Indonesia alone, an inspiring seven cities will be honoring the Global Marijuana March. Leading advocacy group Lingkar Ganja Nusantara (LGN) put out a press release highlighting the different cities’ planned events for the day where they went hard in favor of cannabis normalization, as they hope the rallies held on the 3rd will actually make a difference in their country’s marijuana laws.
They eloquently lay out the three undeniable benefits of cannabis legalization: medicinal value, agricultural value, and recreational value.
The first two topics are covered brilliantly by the LGN press release, but when they got to the Recreational Value portion of their statement, they took it to a whole new level of awesome.
LGN will firstly clarify our meaning of recreational value. The majority of cannabis users in Indonesia recreationally consume the plant not for the purpose of getting intoxicated or drunk. People consume cannabis for relaxation or self-recreation.
It must be highlighted that these people are citizens of Indonesia who are productive, enrolled in education, employed in various professions, provide for their families, and basically live the lives of any other citizens but somehow face the constant threat of being put behind bars.
They are equal to other citizens who consume coffee to work or rice as a source of energy. These cannabis users do not need medical or social rehabilitation as what the law wrongly assumes. All they need is the comfort of living in their homes, knowing that they are safe and protected as citizens of the nation. This ideal reality is abused by the Narcotics Act which classifies all forms of cannabis use as misuse, without ever mentioning what right-use of cannabis entails.
Damn, that’s good.
In Portland, Oregon, organizers for their own version of the GMM expect thousands of pro-cannabis activists and supporters to fill the streets. They plan to start gathering around 11 a.m. on Saturday at Pioneer Courthouse Square (701 SW 6th Avenue). At noon, they plan to march peacefully in a circuit through downtown Portland, returning to the Square for an afternoon of speeches and socializing.
Like in Indonesia, weed-friendly residents of Portland, Oregon hope that Saturday’s march will mobilize voters, as they try to reform their state’s pot laws after a bad loss on the issue in the 2012 election.
Portland has taken part in the event since its inception in 1999, and as a show of just how far public opinion has swayed on the issue of marijuana, Oregon Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D – OR) has agreed to be this year’s keynote speaker. In a recent interview with the Huffington Post, Rep. Blumenauer was quoted as saying, “I think its game over in less than five years. There’s no question that we’re likely to see another state or two this year legalizing [recreational]use.”
State cannabis reform groups will use Saturday’s rally to gather signatures in hopes of getting a new state amendment on the ballot in November, letting the voters decide if Oregon will become the third state to legalize the recreational use of marijuana for adults.
A local mainstream Portland media outlet lists the march and rally alongside “Free Comic Book Day” and a “Gathering of the Guilds” craft fair without skipping a beat – another sign that cannabis is getting more accepted.
Michael Bachara, the director of the Oregon chapter of NORML and organizer of the Portland march, said “No political movement in America has made it this far without eventually winning, it’s just a matter of time before marijuana prohibition crumbles.”
Or, more poetically put by his Indonesian counterparts, here is a quote from 1962, from the president of LGN at the time, a man named Bung Karno “Don’t inhale knowledge just for the sake of knowledge. Inhale knowledge to fight, fight for your homeland, for your nation, for humanity!”
Take a look at this growing list of cities who have Global Marijuana March events planned for Saturday, May 3rd. If you see one going down nearby, go check it out and make your voice heard in support of cannabis legalization.