BRANTFORD – On April 20th roughly 300 people gathered at Victoria Park to support Brantford Cannabis Club, who was hosting their 2nd annual 4-20 rally to push for the legalization of marijuana.
The Brantford Cannabis Club was founded in October 2013 by Mickie Dinsmore. He was apprehensive that a rally or a cannabis club would not be well received in Brantford. But he decided to try anyway and was met with both community support and legal obstacles.
“The city can’t work with us,” said Dinsmore. “They can’t give us a permit, but they haven’t interfered with anything today. They (the police) are keeping us safe. There are some people who don’t like what we are doing though. We appreciate the support we are getting from our members and the general public. I was hesitant to start a club in Brantford, I’m amazed at the amount of support we are getting.”
Police officers present at the event kept their distance, remained in their vehicles just alongside the park.
The event began with guest speakers, followed by socializing, giveaways, information and resource sharing, as well as a canned food drive.
The featured speakers were: Marc Laferriere (Federal NDP Candidate for Brantford-Brant), Randy Roberts from the Self Help Addiction Resource Centre (SHARC), Rob Ferguson (Libertarian Party Candidate for Brantford-Brant), Kevin Brandt (seeking nomination for the Green Party in Brantford), and Danielle Takacs (member of the Liberal Party).
Many different artists, businesses, and entrepreneurs donated items for the public giveaway. Crazy Bills donated a large amount of t-shirts, pipes, stickers, bongs, and other products. Other contributors were made by Mawlife clothing company, Cannabis Culture, The Grain by Shane, Where Heads Meet, Narnia Studios, The RNP Room in London, Bud Buddy, Vapour Central, Custom Colours, MJ Cremes, Melon Heads, Rockey Joy Knight, Flower Punk, and Singing Canary.
The crowd was filled with people of all ages – not all marijuana users. Brantford resident Diane Kusch does not smoke, but had this to say about why she stopped into the park in support of legalization. “I think they should legalize it (marijuana), because the kids are getting it off the streets anyway. They are going to get it, so why not make sure it’s clean and free of street-drugs and chemical additives. I have a disability. I suffer from arthritis. But I actually don’t smoke it anymore. I also believe that if the government makes money from regulating alcohol and cigarettes, then marijuana should be included.”
An Onkwehon:we woman from the Tuscarora Turtle clan stopped in the park with her mother. They preferred to remain anonymous, but said, “I’m here in support of legalization and to celebrate cannabis culture and other benefits of hemp. I smoke once in a while for pain and relaxation. I believe legalization would be good for people so they can safely purchase weed and so it is accessible to those that need it, but then they (the government) would tax it.” Her mother added, “It would also be helpful in making it less accessible to minors, but taxing it may be a problem. I use it to help control my pain and arthritis problems. I have been in 3 car accidents in my life time and use it as a medicine.”
A main event coordinator of the 420 rally, Brittini Mitchell, reinforced 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.”