Global Marijuana March

05/07/07 Mitch E. Perry
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In over 200 cities across the globe on Saturday, marijuana enthusiasts took to the streets, proclaiming their love for and the decriminalization of the weed, in what was called the 2007 Global Marijuana March.In Tampa, about a dozen such advocates took to holding signs in front of the Drug Enforcement Agency’s local office, on Westshore Boulevard across the street from the Westshore MallSt. Petersburg activist Mike Fox held up a sign that listed  fatality statistics due to tobacco, alcohol, and pharmaceutical drugs.   It compared those to those killed annually by marijuana, which according to Fox, was Zero.   But he admits that the war on drugs is has not slowed down much of late (roll tape#1 o.q.”no time for the issue”)Fox said he did say Ohio Congessman Dennis Kucinich was a notable exception.  On his website, the Democratic candidate for President endorses the de-criminalization of marijuana.Standing next to Fox along Westshore Boulevard was Patrick McGwire.  He said he felt no hesitancy in appearing at a rally celebrating illegal substances   (roll tape#2 o.q.”could benefit from this”)McGuire spoke as held up his sign which read, “I’m a Stoner, and I vote”.  He said he yearned for a more liberal culture that would not castigate people like himself for indulging in pot (roll tape#3 o.q.”.”you know what I’m saying?”)One place where pot advocates have been successful political is in allowing the use of marijuana for those with a medical condition, where it has been determined to provide relief for those in pain.Last month, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson signed into law making his state the 12th in the country to authorize the use of cannabis for Medical patients.But interestingly, Florida is not one of those states, and there is no movement to make it the next place to legalize medicinal pot.Event organizer Anthony Lorenzo said there was signficant interest for such a  ballot initiative  several years ago that was led by noted harm reduction advocates George Soros and Peter Lewis, but when that campaign died out, so did any such momentum(roll tape#4 o.q.”I really don’t know why”)Hemp is a natural fiber product of the cannabis plant, and its usages have been promoted for years by marijuana advocates.  A new talking point is environmental.  Advocates say it can be used can be used as a form of cellulosic ethanol.  Again, Anthony Lorenzo (roll tape#5 o.q.”whatsoever”)But other demonstrators didn’t seem that interested in the plant’s potential impact on reducing the impact on global warming.  Such as Tampa resident Xavier, who asks why if the plant is god-given, why it’s not legal (roll tape#6 o.q.”in every single way”) Similar rallies were held around the country on Saturday, including in Israeli, Japan, and Australia.     Hemp can be used for cellulosic ethanol He held up a sign  that read, “I’m a Stoner and I vote”Hemp is at least four times richer in biomass/cellulose potential than its nearest rivals: cornstalks, sugarcane, kenaf, trees, etc.Hemp produces the most biomass of any crop, which is why it is the natural choice for an energy crop. Hemp converts the sun's energy into cellulose faster than any other plant, through photosynthesis. Hemp can produce 10 tons of biomass per acre every four months. Enough energy could be produced on 6% of the land in the U.S. to provide enough energy for our entire country (cars, heat homes, electricity, industry) -- and we use 25% of the world's energy.To put which in perspective, right now we pay farmers not to grow on 6% (around 90 million acres) of the farming land, while another 500 million acres of marginal farmland lies fallow. This land could be used to grow hemp as an energy crop 

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