By JOSH ALDRICH
About 100 Red Deerians added their voice of support to the growing world-wide movement for the legalization of marijuana during a rally at City Hall on Sunday.
The rally was held in conjunction with 4/20 celebrations — a day and time set aside by the cannabis community for the consumption of pot.
In recent years, the day has been used to further their push for new legislation.
“It’s a fun day for everyone to celebrate the plant and to get our voices out there and show how many of us support legalization,” said Nicole Raffa, 29, from the Cannabis Community of Red Deer.
Adding to the momentum of the movement were votes to legalize marijuana in Colorado and Washington in 2012.
At the beginning of this year, it became legal to purchase pot in those states. Colorado raked in $2 million in taxes from the first month of sales alone.
In a matter of a five years both states expect draw as much as $2.1 billion in taxes from the industry.
Raffa sees the public becoming more accepting of the narcotic and believes Canada will one day follow the lead of Colorado and Washington.
“It’s hard to say ‘No’ to the evidence and the things going on around the world,” she said.
The rally was as much about getting information out there as it was for uniting their voice.
Raffa had a booth set up with pamphlets and paraphernalia available to those who turned out.
She said stereotypes need to end about users; not everyone is a burnt out stoner, that they are well-functioning, contributing members of society.
“I’ve been at my job for over eight years, I own two vehicles, I own two properties, I go to school full-time online, I’m pretty productive,” said Raffa.
Others at the rally, while all in favour of the legalization of marijuana, were wary of the government gouging the customers to line their coffers.
Scott McDermid points to the peaceful demonstration as a prime example of what it should be like.
During the one-hour rally there was no visible police presence and everything managed to stay peaceful and communal.
“They’re going to tax everything and just about ruin it,” he said. “But I believe that the way it is right now is almost right for what people are doing.”