By Gail Powell / Special to the OB Rag
The ASA Medical Cannabis Rally and March came to life on the beautifully sunny Ocean Beach afternoon of Monday, December 26th. Like just about everything else in our berg, the event was spontaneous, mellow, yet very productive. Despite the hovering presence of “The Man” hanging out across Abbott Street in front of the Ocean Beach Hotel, people were at ease and yet vocal about what they perceive as the wrongs being committed against medicinal marijuana patients and the dispensaries by the feds and various city officials.
As the ASA Facebook event page states:
“the federal government has begun a crackdown on legitimate medical marijuana patients, caregivers, and providers. In San Diego alone as a result of Federal threats, hundreds of safe access locations have been shut down causing legitimate patients to go without their doctor recommended medicine.”
The bold actions of the Ocean Beach social activists got the word out to the community and first up with a Bob Filner for Mayor collared shirt and a confident way with a bullhorn was Democratic congressman and 2012 Mayoral candidate Bob Filner. The long-time San Diego area politician proclaimed his support in two ways for the medical marijuana community.
He stated he was officially a “co-sponsor of H.R. 1983, the “States’ Medical Marijuana Patient Act,” which would remove marijuana from the list of federally prohibited Schedule 1 drugs and provide for immunity for medical-marijuana patients in states where it’s legal,” said City Beat magazine. Citywide, Filner promised, if he is elected Mayor next year, that he will support regulations to allow patients access to their medical marijuana. Not surprisingly, the local candidate’s stump speech was met with much applause and hoorahs.
Also up for some bullhorn action: Vey Linville, a Medical Marijuana Patient; Gretchen Burns Bergman, who as Executive Director of “A New Path” appealed for an end to the War on Drugs; and Steve Greenwald–another Mayoral hopeful and last minute impromptu addition to the speakers list. Finally, and most likely saving the best for last, was erudite Frank Gormlie, the editor and publisher of the OB Rag who pumped up the crowd with his righteous banter and tales of being a longtime local and graduate of Point Loma High School.
The group then moved onto the grassy area for some learning action. Termed “Law on the Beach,” attorney Lance Rogers gave a quick tutorial on San Diego Medical Marijuana History.” The greatest thing about the event: the easy merging of social justice activists with bread-and-butter tourists, visitors, curious locals, surfers, bike-riders and the homeless. The ASA info table got lots of people signing up for the email list and info on how to contact government officials about the issues of medical marijuana. The group of an estimated 50 people grabbed protest signs and went marching up Newport Ave., crossed over on Cable St., and then came back down to the beach on Santa Monica Ave.
The ASA Medical Marijuana Rally & March concluded on a peaceful note. Even the San Diego Police motorcycle officer who came over to ask about the march route and when the group planned to start was cordial and friendly. Ocean Beach was the perfect spot for the ASA to bring the issue of medical marijuana to a public outdoor forum. The vibes were all good, the karma–excellent, and nothing untoward happened to harsh the great buzz of protecting the medicinal “buzz.”