Monday February 18, 2019
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Portland's 19th Global Cannabis March a Big SuccessBonnie King Salem-News.com Cannabis De-Classified
All the ruckus was hundreds of happy Oregon cannabis activists showing strength in numbers.
(PORTLAND, Ore.) - (EDITOR: Our apologies for the delayed Publication)
The festivities began at high noon in Portland's living room. The sun shined brightly, kicking off the day with amazing positive Oregon energy. There was excitement in the air!
The lineup of bands, speakers and vendors with hemp-related items and info kept the Square filled with intrigued newcomers to the cannabis world and many more well-versed users of the herb.
Three years ago, on Global Cannabis Day 2015, one of cannabis's greatest warriors for truth, Dr. Phillip Leveque, passed away.
As a professor for the University of London, he taught doctors at the first hospital in Sierre Leone, and worked throughout Uganda and Tanzania, then University of Iowa, before returning to his homeland.
Dr. Leveque ("Doc") could have done anything, gone anywhere, but after 22 years of an illustrious, colorful career, he came back to Oregon. He was a fighter, and he came home to fight for us. He was an instrumental force in helping get the medical marijuana law passed in 1998, which went into effect in 1999.
He worked for Veterans, helping assure they got the medical attention they needed. He helped Vets and others get off hard drugs by giving them access to medicinal marijuana. He worked with Paul Stanford in establishing the first clinic in Oregon, THCF (The Hemp & Cannabis Foundation) and appeared on the show "Cannabis Common Sense" hundreds of times.
Dr. Leveque served as an expert witness and testified in over 400 court cases throughout the United States, with an 80% win success rate. His input in our fight for cannabis freedom was priceless.
Over time, Doc had garnered an impressive list of 5,000 patients, 500 of them Veterans, when the Oregon Medical Board deemed him a risk to our state and took away his right to practice medicine. The Oregonian newspaper even named him "The Most Dangerous Man in Oregon". This was a blow to the whole community, creating an immediate need of new doctors for thousands of patients left hanging.
Doc was very sympathetic to this problem and did his best to assist the transition. He could no longer sign OMMP applications, but he never stopped sharing, teaching, speaking, sowing the seeds of truth about cannabis.
He changed lives. He saved lives. We are indebted to him.
The stage is therefore called the "Phillip Leveque Memorial Stage" for all Portland Global Cannabis event celebrations to come.
Come Here and Learn SomethingAs one would see from the vendors in the Square, there is a lot more to the cannabis movement than getting high legally. That's just a drop in the bucket.
"Hemp can also be used for many things good to save the environment and make products," said Kathy Rankin, cannabis activist. Indeed, hemp has been used for over 5,000 years for everything from food to oil to medicine to clothing.
Ben Christenson with Oregon Hemp Works has seen the movement grow and evolve throughout the years.
"We have a lot of new people asking questions while they shop. It's a great chance to share facts, and hopefully get them even more interested in the hemp industry."
Christenson's shop is a popular destination for return eventgoers, as his line of top quality hempwear, home made soaps and variety of related items is always a nice surprise.
All the vendors were terrific resources of information, and encourage newcomers to learn about the medicinal value, get grow advice, join groups and find their own voice.
The cannabis community is a tight-knit crowd, but it is large, and has open arms.
Over 200 people marched together from Pioneer Courthouse Square, led by Parents for Pot, all the way down to the waterfront where even more people joined the march. The Cinco de Mayo celebration was taking place at this same time, so the march got a lot of attention from the thousands lined up on Front Street.
Michael "Aiko" Bachara is the organizer of this successful event. A humble director, he is a tenacious force behind the movement, and somehow is capable of bringing the best out in everyone else, with kindness and a welcome smile. It's contagious.
The police even had good attitudes, smiling and directing traffic to ensure a safe passage through the hazardous downtown streets. The official number of marchers was given by the Portland Police at 200 people, which is 50 over the amount mandated as the minimum in order to have a march next year.
The Good Fight is Still Being Fought
Today, fewer and fewer people are being arrested for cannabis crimes, especially in states (like Oregon) that have voted in medical/recreational marijuana. The fight is not won yet.
Many people across our country are spending (or have already spent) their entire lives behind bars for some very petty pot crimes. That money-maker for local law enforcement needs to stop, and those that have been released need to have their records expunged.
Activists strongly support their right to use recreational cannabis in public, just as wine drinkers do. It's not asking too much. Pointing out "Legal but not Equal" as a truth in this matter, they are fighting for legal clubs for 21+ to enjoy cannabis behind closed doors, and also closed outdoor tents for festival settings, just like beer drinkers have at nearly every "family" event in Oregon.
We have a long way to go. Those naysayers with little or no real knowledge of the benefits of cannabis properties will forever argue that it is simply a vice and leads to a dark future. I disagree. The dark future only existed in a police state where using the medicinal herb was demonized. Our society is progressing beyond that archaic line of thought, and facts speak for themselves.
Next, and soon, we need to De-Schedule on the federal level. Not reschedule, DE-schedule. Then and only then will we be able to grow freely.
This is why we march. This is why we won't stop marching, not until every one imprisoned is released from their cages and the plant no longer is bound by irrational regulation.
Cannabis Saves Lives.
Kathy Rankin contributed to this article.
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