The fight to legalize the recreational use of marijuana came to the Minnesota Capitol on Wednesday, as about 200 activists, many passing around joints, called for an end to the pot prohibition.
Advocates for marijuana legalization have rallied on April 20th — otherwise known as 4/20, the unofficial national holiday for marijuana culture — to draw attention to pot laws in the state and nationwide.
Brandan Borgos, president of Sensible Minnesota, a nonprofit advocacy group, called the event partly a celebration and partly a fight for marijuana legalization. The crowd gathered outside the Capitol and then marched — bringing with them the distinct odor of marijuana smoke — to the Christ Lutheran Church, where the activists listened to a group of speakers.
During the march and outside the church, the demonstrators chanted, held up signs and cheered when cars honked their horns in support of the cause — all while openly smoking marijuana in front of police.
Authorities did not intervene, similar to past years.
Minnesota legislators are not likely to consider looser marijuana laws this year, but some are hopeful the state is evolving on the issue.
State Rep. Tina Liebling, DFL-Rochester, said ending prohibition of the drug would do more good than harm.
“We need to be honest about the fact that marijuana can cause some harm,” she said. “But the evidence is pouring in that marijuana presents less harm when it is legalized than when it is criminalize.” adding that it’s on marijuana allies to pressure legislators to loosen the state’s cannabis law.
Christopher Aadland is a University of Minnesota student on assignment for the Star Tribune.