Beach marchers call for marijuana legalization

by on May 3, 2010 · 18 comments

in Civil Disobedience, Civil Rights, Culture, Economy, Organizing, San Diego


by Dixon Guizot / Exclusive to OB Rag /

About 75 demonstrators calling for the legalization of marijuana marched on the Pacific Beach boardwalk between Crystal Pier and Belmont Park on May 1. Participants spoke on a megaphone and carried signs with messages such as “Respect State Law,” “Prohibition Empowers Drug Lords,” and “Marijuana Is Better Than Alcohol.”

The two-hour march, which began at 11am, was organized by the Southern California chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) and a San Diego marijuana dispensary. SoCal NORML director Craig Beresh led the group in chants encouraging the legalization and taxation of marijuana.

“This is an event we did in 300 cities across the country, to support legalization and safe access for patients,” said Beresh. “That’s what we want to get. Legalization across the United States. Paint the White House green.”

mj-march-may2010-1A clear majority of observers seemed to support the demonstrators, as dozens of passers-by applauded and voiced their support. At one point, a man came out of a boardwalk residence holding a water pipe – more commonly called a bong — and triumphantly displayed it to the marchers, who responded with delight.

During the march, Beresh also called for the passage of HR 3939, the Truth in Trials Act. HR 3939, currently in Congress, would require federal prosecutors to acknowledge state-level medicinal marijuana laws in court when prosecuting marijuana offenders who believed they were operating in accordance with the state laws.

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

lane tobias May 3, 2010 at 2:40 pm

I appreciate and support these efforts. But why choose May Day instead of 4/20 or another day significant to prohibition, rather than a day already recognized as an international day of solidarity for immigrant and workers rights?


Dixon Guizot May 3, 2010 at 3:44 pm

That’s a good question, Lane. I don’t have a definite answer, just a couple notes:

According to Wikipedia, the marijuana march goes down on the first Saturday of May, whereas International Worker’s Day is May 1 every year. So most years, they don’t overlap.

Also, the weed rally started on the first Saturday in May, 1999, while I don’t remember (I could be wrong) International Worker’s Day being observed by many in the US until 2006, with the massive immigration-related demonstrations in some cities. So maybe back in 1999, the first Saturday in May was open.


lane tobias May 3, 2010 at 3:52 pm

that makes sense. i wasnt sure if this was an ongoing thing or just ofr this year – i just noticed that there were something like three big rallies on one day, all of which were important. it brings up that whole conversation about activists with different causes but the same ends, being so divergent in planning that its almost counterproductive. Exhibit A: the two separate movements in the fight to get same-sex marriage back on the ballot. One group wants to get it on there ASAP, the other wait until 2012. It effectively divided a gigantic movement in two.


jim g May 3, 2010 at 7:56 pm

First I heard or saw of this march…..did media cover it ??


Frank Gormlie May 3, 2010 at 9:20 pm

uh … excuse me?


jim g May 3, 2010 at 9:46 pm

Did the media cover it TV news, radio or print coverage ?? Was a media alert sent out ?? I would have tried to get a few photos had I known…..


lane tobias May 4, 2010 at 8:56 am

jim, what do you think the rag is?


Dixon Guizot May 3, 2010 at 9:46 pm

I’m sure jim g meant to say “did media cover it, beyond the bad-ass grassroots media represented by this fine blog??”

The Reader also ran a news item on the marijuana march, but I’m not sure that the Reader reporter participated to the extent I did. I was walking down the boardwalk with the group, shouting out responses to the leader with the megaphone, and giving everyone we passed a good look at my “Prohibition Empowers Drug Lords” sign. Good times.


jettyboy May 3, 2010 at 8:08 pm

Dude, this needed much better outreach before the march. Maybe the person in charge of that “forgot” to get it done huh?
This should be attempted again before the election, with MORE outreach, and a better handle on the scheduling.


PSD May 3, 2010 at 9:11 pm

Definitely need a ramp-up of demonstrations and public outreach in the coming months…


Dixon Guizot May 3, 2010 at 9:48 pm

SoCal NORML put out a press release prior to the event, and publicized it heavily via FaceBook. And a heads-up went out here on the Rag, too.

But clearly word did not get to enough folks. As events heat up in the months leading up to November’s vote, let’s try to get more of us in the loop.


Gary Gilmore May 3, 2010 at 9:45 pm

I agree with jim g, jettyboy and PSD. If word can go out to Craig Beresh to alert us to the next demonstration I think OB could bring an “added dimension” to the effectiveness of his efforts. Plus…. It could be a whole lotta fun.


Dixon Guizot May 4, 2010 at 9:40 am

Agreed on all points, Gary. And I should mention that the San Diego chapter of NORML is holding its monthly meeting this Saturday at 10am at the World Beat Center.


Sen Si May 3, 2010 at 11:35 pm

I’m I the only one that has somewhat of a problem with the 14 year old kid in the front of the march holding the sign in the photo above?


PSD May 4, 2010 at 9:29 am

You’ve got a confirmation on the age?

I don’t have a problem with teenagers being politically active – though now that I’m not a teen anymore I probably would have a problem with them actually partaking in a controlled substance until they were 18. I wouldn’t bring my six year-old to something like this, but I’d hope that by the time she’s 9 or 10 she’ll want to come along to watch people gather to advocate for whatever the issue of the day may be a few years from now, because that’s about when my dad started taking me to rallies and demonstrations…


Frank Gormlie May 4, 2010 at 9:40 am

I don’t see anyone actually puffing, so what’s da problemo?


Weedlover714 May 5, 2010 at 3:29 pm

of course the media covered it! it’s right here on the site isn’t it?


derek folley May 9, 2010 at 9:52 am

I am running for Governor of California as an Independent Candidate. I am employed by the County of Los Angeles. Do you have any contacts such “Pot Clinics” that I contact here in Los Angeles? I want to legalize marijuana in the state of California.


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