A medical marijuana rally is scheduled for today at 5 p.m in Redding, California. The rally was organized by James Benno via Facebook. “I’ve got 3,000 people who follow my page. We’ll see how many show up,” Benno told the Record Searchlight in Redding, “This is not an issue that can be settled behind closed doors, this already has been settled at the local level.” Usually a medical marijuana rally is straight forward, with dispensary owners and medical marijuana patients standing side by side. When medical marijuana dispensary raids are occurring, the e-mail alerts I get are often from the dispensary owners themselves.
However, that doesn’t seem to be the case with today’s rally. “I don’t want to be a rude winner,” said Hillary Criner, who owns the Family Tree Care Center dispensary, one of the plaintiffs that legally challenged the city’s ban. “This was a big win. But we need to be graceful. What I want is to work with the city.”
Another dispensary disagreed. Natalie Fuellenbach, a spokeswoman for Herbs & Edibles, told the Record Searchlight that, “The patients just want to be heard. They want to be recognized. This is their way of saying, ‘We are here. Recognize us. We’ve won the battle, not the war.” I would have to agree in part with both dispensaries. This is certainly going to affect medical marijuana patients, and they have every right to stand up for themselves. I would never ever tell someone that they shouldn’t invoke their First Amendment right. However, I do think that there needs to be a balance. Nothing confirms medical marijuana opponent’s claims more than a ragged looking group of overzealous protesters.
What do TWB readers think? Do medical marijuana protests help or hurt the cause? Do you think that this whole thing is overblown, and that all protests are effective? Or maybe you think that there should be no protests at all, and that there is a more proper way to handle things. If so, what are they? I personally feel that protesting outside of a City Hall is a very appropriate venue for loud protesting, but others might not be so much.
I have heard some horror stories of apparently good willed marijuana activists showing up at court proceedings and turning it into a zoo. I’m not sure that’s the best venue for a loud protest, but would be all for peaceful protesters sitting in on court to show their support. I guess what I’m saying is, in my opinion, there needs to be balance. People need to really consider if their actions are helping the cause, or if they are just hurting it by acting the fool. I’m not saying that is the case in Redding, but more of a general statement over all.