Marijuana demonstration rolls through Plateau
Director of the Montreal Compassion Centre Marc-Boris St-Maurice stands outside the cannabis club, in Montreal, Thursday, June 03, 2010. (THE CANADIAN PRESS / Graham Hughes)
Published Saturday, May 5, 2012 1:00PM EDT
MONTREAL - Montreal's 14th annual marijuana march gets rolling at 1 p.m. Saturday, as organizers take aim at the burning issue of federal Conservative Party policies that could increase penalties on cannabis lovers.
The demonstration begins at Saint-Louis Square on St. Denis at 1:00 p.m. and continues about 1.5 kilometers to Parc des Ameriques at Rachel and the Main where a jointly-held show takes the stage from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m.
Similar marches are taking place in cities around the world Saturday and while the local version follows the same path as last year's event, the issues at hand are slightly different.
Marc-Boris St-Maurice, who leads the Compassion Club and the Marijuana Foundation, denounced Prime Minister Stephen Harper's mandatory minimum policy for possession of cannabis as a "step backwards."
He said that minimum sentences have not lead to a decrease in marijuana consumption in the United States.
"You can't help people suffering from substance issues by treating them like criminals," he said.
St-Maurice argues for the legalization and regulation of the drug, complete with taxation and labeling, not unlike that which is done for tobacco.
St-Maurice compared the fight for marijuana with gay pride parade, as both marijuana and same sex relationships continue to try to weed out attitudes which consider their customs shameful.
By custom, many demonstrators openly smoke marijuana at the annual sessions.