3,200 protesters storm courthouse for marijuana reform in Fort Worth
Over 3,200 protesters marched on the courthouse in downtown Fort Worth on Saturday, took it over, and staged a massive protest which included openly smoking large amounts of marijuana as dozens of officers stood and looked on.
This marked the third Global Marijuana March to take place in Fort Worth, growing initially from about 500 people in 2013, to over 2,000 participants in 2014.
Organized by the Dallas/Fort Worth chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, a non-profit group dedicated to reforming marijuana laws in Texas, the event included a diverse lineup of speakers and bands at Hyde Park before Texans from all over the state marched through the streets with a police escort.
The message from each speaker was consistent, “contact your legislators.”
Each speaker hammered the point home that Texas is ready for a change, but that it involved more than just holding a rally; to make more progress, people need to begin calling their representatives while being respectful, being positive messengers for the community while tossing the negative stoner stereotype, and getting out to vote.
Success came despite many obstacles, including a $5,000 price tag for putting on the event, which is significantly more than years past due to a large growth in the number of participants. This prevented the group from putting up billboards and other forms of advertisement.
Organizers measured success in other ways as well.
Speakers from several other organizations came together to promote a common cause, stories of medical perseverance were told, bonds were made, and as usual, no one was arrested or ticketed during the event.
Right as the march to the courthouse was getting ready to begin, the numbers swelled as people began pouring into the area to participate.
Led by Blaze the Tahoe, one of DFW NORML’s marijuana themed vehicles, marchers filled the streets as people looked on in curiosity from the sidewalks. Most people were either supportive or neutral, however one man shouted as marchers went by, telling them they needed to go back to their couches.
At the courthouse, a number of speakers got the crowd worked up, telling personal stories and encouraging people to be active in the political process.
One of those speakers, Barbara Humphries, who has been fighting a very aggressive form of breast cancer, at one point read aloud the phone number of Rep. Abel Herrero, who recently manipulated procedure in the Criminal Jurisprudence Committee in voting down a marijuana penalty reduction bill. The 3-2 vote against came during a time when two other legislators were not available to cast their votes.
She urged everyone to save the phone number and call Rep. Herrero’s office to demand that the bill be voted out of committee.
After an hour of speeches and openly smoking cannabis on the courthouse steps, the group marched back to Hyde Park, capping a record setting day for marijuana activism in Texas.
Participants called the experience “surreal” and “empowering.”
By: Stephen Carter
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