Initial Reports on the Global Marijuana Marches

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DRCNet bumper sticker on a car at the SF marijuana march I'll be writing this week about the Global Marijuana Marches that were set to take place in 232 cities Saturday. I drove into San Francisco for the event there, and I've gathered some initial reports from around the globe. Look for a full run-down in the Chronicle on Friday. Saturday was glorious in San Francisco, with sunny skies and temperatures in the 70s. San Francisco's version of the global marijuana march, Cannabis Awareness Day, was at City Hall plaza, where rows of vendors and exhibitors bracketed the crowd and local bands blasted rock, surf, pop, and rhythm & blues at the crowd. The San Francisco event was long on music, short on rhetoric—"We've heard all that pot talk before," said one organizer from the stage—and extremely mellow. What pot politics there was came around making too much money off the dispensaries, with some speakers warning that the greedy would be weeded out. Jack Herer held court in one tent as star-struck fans sought autographs and pictures. There was lots of open pot-smoking, and not a policeman in sight all afternoon. It was like a lovely afternoon in the community park. Things weren't so mellow in Eastern Europe. In Sofia, Bulgaria, police dispersed a crowd of about 400 demonstrators, blocking the event from taking place. It was worse in Moscow, Russian police attacked ralliers, arrested 30 and beating others. Some have already been sentenced to jail time. In Prague, by contrast, authorities stood aside as about 1500 held a pot party at Letna Plain. The largest rally reported so far was in Toronto, where "Prince of Pot" Marc Emery led a crowd of about 20,000 in calling for freeing the weed. I haven't heard anything from other European capitals or the big cities of Latin America yet. Meanwhile, down under at the Nimbin Mardi Grass festival in Austalia, police reported more than 100 arrests, 60 of them for marijuana, among the more than 7,000 festival-goers. What does all this mean? What does it accomplish? Look for some rumination on these questions as well as more scene reports on Friday. (Click the "read full post" link or here for more pictures.) Oaksterdam and Measure Z booths booth representing a medical marijuana coop Jack Herer, the "Emperor of Hemp"
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