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Demonstration in Washington, D.C. to Raise Awareness of Medicinal Marijuana

February 2000

The Millennium Medical Marijuana March on Saturday April 29, in Washington, D.C., is a chance for everyone to show support and raise awareness for medicinal use of marijuana.

"The purpose of the Millennium Medical Marijuana March is to get the attention of Congress and to get them to reschedule medical marijuana for medical use," says Richard Eastman, co-creator of the event. "If enough people show up, Congress will have to take notice, and expedite an initiative to make marijuana available for medical use."

The free event will include the march and a rally before and after the march. The first rally begins at noon at Lafayette Park. California District Attorney Terence Hallinan and other politicians, law enforcement officials, doctors and medical patients have been invited to speak.

The March will start at 3 p.m. at Lafayette Park. For those who cannot walk the mile-and-a-half route, a shuttle will be provided. Necessary accommodations such as toilets and a first aid station will also be available to marchers. Eastman says that the National Park Service has been very cooperative with the organizers to make sure everything goes smoothly.

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The second rally will be held at Henry Bacon Ball Field. In addition to speakers, there will also be entertainment which will be announced soon.

According to Eastman, a presidential election year is the perfect time to hold the march because it may force all of the presidential candidates to make statements on their stand concerning medical marijuana use. Eastman believes that the candidate who supports marijuana for medical use will be the one who will be elected president in November. Vice President Al Gore has been challenged to attend the march.

Even though marijuana is legal for medicinal purposes in California because of Proposition 215, which passed in 1996, federal law still outweighs state law. This means the federal government has the power to undermine any state-passed initiatives. According to Eastman, this is why it is important to work to change the laws at a federal level; and why he wants to raise consciousness to a national level. "A lot of us patients who use marijuana for medical purposes don't have five, ten or twenty years for the government to keep researching and to approve marijuana for our use," says Eastman. "They need to take the research we already have and let marijuana be available for compassionate use now."

Wayne Turner of ACT UP in Washington, D.C., is working to recruit volunteers to find housing with local churches for low-income marchers. Eastman himself is relying on donations to put on and attend the march, and says he knows many people who use marijuana for medicinal use are disabled and have few resources. He suggests they look for sponsors to help them attend the march. He is trying to raise $20,000 to put on the march, mostly from Californians.

People planning to attend the march should make travel and hotel accommodation plans as early as possible. The Millennium Medical Marijuana March is the day before the Millennium March on Washington for Equality, which is expected to bring many gays and lesbians to Washington.

Eastman hopes the march will also serve to encourage patients to write their representatives and candidates about the issue.

For more information about the march, contact Richard Eastman at (310) 453-2700 or at www.santamonica215.com.


This article has been reprinted at The Body with the permission of AIDS Project Los Angeles (APLA).


  
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This article was provided by AIDS Project Los Angeles. It is a part of the publication Positive Living.
 
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