Waco activists threatened with arrest during marijuana rally
Supporters of reforming marijuana laws rallied in Waco on Saturday however they had to cut it short due to threats of arrests.
The group, NORML of Waco, gathered on a public sidewalk at the corner of a busy intersection in town, however the owner of the parking lot which is adjacent to that sidewalk was not happy to see what the non-profit organization was doing. After just over two and a half hours, Waco Police Department arrived and notified the group that the owner of the parking lot wanted them arrested for trespassing if they step off the sidewalk or park any vehicles in what amounts to a massive strip mall parking area.
“They allow other groups to use their parking lot, but all we’re doing is using the sidewalk while parking here. There is ample parking and we weren’t causing any problems. Why is it that they want to discriminate against our particular organization,” say’s Clif Deuvall, the group’s Executive Director.
Most recently a rally was held for open carry proponents, and they rallied inside the parking lot for Westview shopping center, which is located off the corner of Valley Mills Dr. and Waco Dr.
Stephen Carter, who serves as Deputy Director of the organization, said that it is absurd that the owner would try to have people arrested simply for stepping foot into the parking lot just because they don’t agree with the group’s message, however he stated that the group respects property rights.
“The supervising officer who arrived was very friendly and professional. He explained to us what was going on and helped ensure that we got any vehicles moved out of the parking lot and let everyone know that they would be forced to arrest anyone who steps off the sidewalk. He was supportive of what we were doing though. However given that we only had about 20 minutes left in our rally, we made the decision to go ahead and cut it short to ensure there were no problems.”
Overall the day was very positive as about 30 people showed up to take part in the rally. Many people driving by honked in support and several asked for more information. A local TV news station came out and interviewed the group, and the story carried as the lead on both the 6 o’clock and 10 o’clock news.