The Brantford Cannabis Club will be hosting the second annual Brantford 4/20 Rally on Monday, April 20, from 1:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. at Victoria Park in Brantford. The rally will feature several additional activities to build upon last year’s successful event. There will a place for information tables, merchandise, and acts such as The Harbour and Chris Strei will be performing. Organizers will also hold a moment of silence for all those who have been victimized by cannabis prohibition – including those who have been needlessly charged or imprisoned for possession, medical users who have faced stigma and those who could have received benefits from cannabis but couldn’t due to the criminalization of the substance in Canada.
The Brantford Cannabis Club will also be collecting cash donations for SHARC (Self-Help Addiction Resource Centre) and food donations for the Brantford Food Bank. Last year’s rally raised nearly 100 pounds of food for the local food bank, and this year the goal is to raise at least 250 pounds. To entice community members, a ticket for a draw will be given to those who donate to SHARC and The Brantford Food Bank.
The Brantford Cannabis Club will be signing up members to take part in continued positive community action to help alleviate the “lazy stoner” stigma that has hounded some cannabis users. In the past year, the BCC has organized several community clean-ups as well as clothing drives for the Out of the Cold Centre and other charitable or environmentally friendly activities.
Event coordinator Brittini Mitchell explained their reasons for the rally. “Until legalization is put place by the government of Canada, we are going to continue to protest for our rights. We believe that adults have the right to govern their own behavior. Cannabis is a harmless plant with many benefits and should be legal.”
Marc Laferriere, Federal NDP Candidate for Brantford-Brant, had this to say: “My reasons for speaking at the upcoming 4/20 event are simple. I believe Canada’s policy on marijuana needs to be modernized and I also believe strongly that the local BCC group does a lot of positive community work that deserves recognition such as food drives, community clean-ups and other activities towards the social good. I believe in immediate decriminalization of possession on the road to legalization. I worry with the Liberal’s sudden about-face platitudes on this issue, what we will see if they come into power would be either no action or action that will serve to disproportionately benefit Big Tobacco.”
Another person on the speakers list is Randy Roberts from the Self Help Addiction Resource Centre (SHARC), a peer-supported organization that helps give a social element to the recovery of addiction. SHARC advocates on behalf of harm reduction and drug reform, maintaining that the war on drugs has been a failure.
Roberts tells us, “The focus has been on punishing the substance users and not treatment, our jails are full of individuals for petty drug crimes. We need more treatment options, not mega jails. We will be attending Brantford’s 4/20 protest to help give a voice to cannabis reform. We will also be there to educate on issues such as addiction and harm reduction, such as the prevention of Hep C and HIV. Our goal is to fight the stigma of substances and their use. We believe every life matters.”
Other speakers include Rob Ferguson (Libertarian Party Candidate for Brantford-Brant), who will be speaking in favour of modernizing Canadian marijuana laws; Kevin Brandt, who is seeking nomination for the Green Party in Brantford; and Danielle Takacs for the Liberal Party. All official candidates have been invited to attend and speak to this issue and all members of the public are encouraged to attend.