Medical Marijuana Supporters To Converge On D.C. July 4
By Steve Elliott
Monday, June 4, 2012
Medical marijuana patients and supporters will converge on Wednesday, July 4, in the nation's capitol for the Rally to Reschedule Marijuana as Medicine and 43rd Annual Smoke-In. Oddly, given the fact that the event continues to be labeled a "Smoke-In" after four decades, attendees are being asked not to smoke cannabis.
The event will begin at noon across from the White House at Lafayette Park (located at 16th Street and H Street). Scheduled to appear are medical marijuana pioneer Dennis Peron, Richard Eastman, Kim Quiggle, John Pylka, Miguel Lopez, Julia (curator of petermcwilliams.org) and Wayward Bill at a rally to educate elected officials and voters, march and demonstrate for First Amendment rights, and the right to choose marijuana as medicine.
Demonstrators will tell President Obama, "Keep your promise," asking him to end the federal raids against state-legalized medical marijuana dispensaries.
The U.S. Marijuana Party, chaired by Wayward Bill, will be holding it's first annual political convention at the Smoke-In.
The demonstration is part of the "Get The Greed Out Of The Weed Tour 2012."
Richard Eastman and Kim Quiggle, organizers of the Tour, said they are excited about the July 4 demonstration. They are currently putting out a call to medical marijuana activists and supporters for the rally in front of the White House.
"The purpose of this rally is to convince President Obama that a lot of us don't have years to wait for medical marijuana to be rescheduled," said organizer and AIDS patient Richard Eastman. "But as I said before, I don't know if I have five more years to fight for this in Congress."
"We're looking forward to having Dennis Peron give the keynote address urging President Obama to reschedule marijuana as medicine," said event coordinator, John Pylka. "The time is now, and we expect several hundred marijuana activists from all over the United States to attend the Rally."
At 3 pm, Miguel Lopez of Denver, organizer of "Denver 4/20," will lead a march of patients and activists from the White House to the the Smoke-In concert site near the Lincoln Memorial.
"People should be engaged directly with people, face to face", Lopez said. "And that's what we will do on July 4th in Washington DC."
The U.S. Marijuana Party will also be gathering for a political convention at the concert site, the Henry Bacon Ball Field (23rd & Constitution Avenue NW).
Well-known activist Julia, curator of the late poet, author and activist Peter McWilliams' tribute site petermcwilliams.org and Peter's Page on Facebook, is also scheduled to speak at the event.
"I am happy and enthusiastic to announce that the US Marijuana Party will be holding it's first ever political convention at this year's 43rd Annual Smoke-In," said Wayward Bill Chengelis, chairman of the US Marijuana Party.
The demonstration concludes with a medical marijuana rights concert on the National Mall featuring artists Unfortunate Sons, Thomas Wynn & the Believers, the I-TERNALS and Bat Man. This free concert will take place during the early evening and concludes with the National Park Service Fireworks display at 9 p.m.
However, on the day America celebrates its freedom, organizers said they expect activists to exercise some self-control and not "Choom" marijuana at the demonstration.
"It is not the goal of this demonstration to engage in civil disobedience by smoking marijuana. " said Smoke-In organizer John Pylka. (Wait, doesn't that mean it's no longer a Smoke-In? Just saying.)
"The Annual Smoke-In has evolved and currently this demonstration is about celebrating what we love about marijuana culture and standing up to the federal government's crackdown on medical marijuana," said Pylka. "I'm so proud to be supporting this event because I know these patients deserve equality and respect in our community."
The Smoke-In, which began in 1970, built on the success of it's early years with the Yippies and Dana Beal, and has become the longest running annual demonstration supporting drug policy reform in the United States.
"The Smoke-In has spirit! It's not just an event, it's a way for people to get connected and celebrate what the marijuana culture has created in our community" Pylka said. "It brought people to the streets, but it also got residents involved in building something positive.
"For many years this demonstration has been a breeding ground for our homegrown cultural movement, and part of that has always been about people here seeing a gap and saying 'We want to bridge that gap, even if we have to make that bridge ourselves' - so that's what the event is really about, tapping into the marijuana movement's spirit and heritage," Pylka said.
For more information, you can contact rally organizer Richard Eastman at (323) 474-4602 or event coordinator John Pylka at (202) 705-8647.tokeofthetown