Last week, DRCNet wrote about the numerous Million Marijuana Marches worldwide (http://www.drcnet.org/wol/236.html#mmm), led by a loose coalition with Dana Beal of Cures Not Wars (http://www.cures-not-wars.org) at its head.
After publication of the article, Beal expressed dismay about one paragraph in the article and asked for a chance to clarify his remarks.
The paragraph in question read: "We don't have to go to their conferences," said Beal, who was visibly absent from last month's NORML conference in San Francisco. "If we are not welcome, we have our own international forum and movement. National NORML didn't even put us on their web site. I don't have time for those people."
While DRCNet stands by the accuracy of those remarks, we are happy to provide readers with Beal's response. It follows below:
"In your next to the last paragraph, you take a bit of liberty with the order in which I said things. At the beginning of the interview I APOLOGIZED for not going to the conference in San Francisco, but I explained that we were still adding cities at that point -- a process that requires someone be here to respond to e-mails right away, which I could not do if I was out of town for the four or five days it takes to really go to the west coast.
"For the record, I like going to NORML conferences. Even if our tendency is never prominent in the program, all my friends are there and I can get a fair amount done. (In fact, last year I went to the last day-and-a-half, and would have done so again this year, if it had been sensibly held in Washington, DC.)
"The remark about the NORML website was meant merely as an offhand illustration of the way in which the whole conference was not set up to showcase the Million Marijuana March 2002, making my presence there a lot less effective than staying at work right here.
"But you put my reaction to the "anti's" who simply abhor public marches and rallies FIRST, when in fact it was in response to the LAST question you asked, which came later in the interview, and was in no way meant to reflect on NORML as a whole, but only to say that if I was actually too busy to attend the conference, nothing would be gained by revisiting disputes of 10 years ago (and more).
"Far better to go out and recruit a hundred new cities than to infight.
"The idea that there is some kind of anti-NORML bias in the Million Marijuana March Coalition is patently ridiculous. Look at who's putting on the marches. It's all local NORML chapters! And National NORML propaganda is being distributed at them. If someone at the National Office or on the NORML Board really has such a big problem with public rallies and marches, all you can say is that I'm helping them out in spite of themselves.
"But I am concerned that highlighting a supposed dispute about public demonstrations (which I'm not even sure is really the issue) will only make good local organizers feel conflicted to the extent that they drop out before they can march again next year.
"We already have 106 cities signed up for the May 3, 2003 Global Cannabis March. We can easily make that 300. If everyone pitches in, we can make it 900, and finally mobilize a couple of million people worldwide."