Drastic changes coming to Dallas Marijuana March
If you attended the Dallas Marijuana March last year, you noticed quite a few exceptional things. This year things will be different.
Around 2,000 people attended the festival style event in October 2014 at Dallas City Hall. There were booths, vendors, live music, and a large lineup of speakers, all before they poured through the streets with a police escort to reach Dealey Plaza where a rally was held.
There was also a lot of toking up going on in public, so much that officers were caught off-guard.
No one was ticketed or arrested at the event, however officers did at times approach people and make confiscations. One officer we spoke with said that if people got too bold, or if the smoke started to go near children, that he would have to take action.
This year, those who openly consume marijuana may find themselves being ticketed, and the group who puts on the event, DFW NORML, has said that they’re letting people know that such bold acts are not acceptable, and will be posting signs to let people know that. They’ll also have volunteers walking the perimeter to help remind people of this.
“The police have been very respectful and great to work with, and we know they have to do their jobs, so we need to be respectful and mindful of that,” says Shaun McAlister, the group’s executive director. He also says this event is not about smoking weed publicly, but sending out a message, and getting serious about changing cannabis laws Texas.
While a ticket won’t involve an arrest, it will still involve full prosecution just as if a person had been arrested. In accordance with Texas law, possession of less than two ounces can net a person up to 180 days in jail, a $2,000 fine, and loss of driver’s license.
Also different this year are the booths and vendors. There will not be any.
The non-profit organization says this is due to feet dragging by an employee at the Parks and Recreation Department in Dallas. “This woman initially dragged her feet for weeks before finally telling us that another department was in charge of issuing the permit. Then when we talked with the correct people, all sorts of new requirements and fees were found,” McAlister states.
“So this will now be a first amendment event, and we don’t need permission to assemble and air our grievances” he added.
Booths and vendors will now be setting up at an after-party located at Bryan St. Tavern.
Attendees will still be treated to a lineup of speakers, both before the march begins, and once it arrives in Dealey Plaza. Police will also again be escorting the group through the streets, and this year’s route will only be about a half of a mile.
The meeting place for the beginning of the march will be revealed in the coming weeks, however it will take place on Saturday, Oct. 17 beginning at 3:00 p.m., and wrap up around 6:00.