Bengaluru: Legendary blues singer, Louis Armstrong is quoted as saying, “It really puzzles me to see marijuana connected with narcotics….dope and all that crap. It’s a thousand times better than whisky – It’s an assistant – a friend.”
And a large number of Bengalureans seem to agree with him. Over a thousand in the city are reportedly lining up to join the Million Marijuana March (MMM), popularly known as the Global Marijuana March held annually on the first Saturday of May, since 1999 in different cities across the world.
A liberal city with a thriving music culture of its own, Bengaluru is readying to hold a Million Marijuana March of its own from Freedom Park to M.G. Road on May 7. Organised by The Hippie Culture, India, the march is being touted as “a collective community effort to legalise the cultivation of cannabis for medicinal and other uses.”
The event has already struck a chord with city youth on social media, where the organisers have declared, “It is time to educate our people to scratch off the taboo and use a wonderful plant for our own and the planet’s growth.”
Posted a supporter in response, “Hope they provide the members with some good weed before starting the march. So it'll be a peaceful one and even if they get arrested, they will just smile and say to cops 'PEACE BRO'. smile emoticon”
“This march is a collective community effort to create awareness about marijuana and is a tribute to mother earth for giving us such a unique plant. People need to understand that marijuana is not only meant for smoking, but has medicinal and industrial uses as well. It has uses in the hospitality and food sectors too," contends Rohi , one of the organisers, revealing “We have already received confirmation from 1, 500 participants and we expect more.”
As for the legal hurdles in organising such a march, the organisers say they are in the process of drafting a letter to seek permission from the BBMP and the local police to hold it. Quoting Article 19 of the Constitution, they assert they like everyone else in the country have a right to freedom of speech and expression.
“Everyone has the right to assemble peaceably and without arms. So there should be no legal issues in organising this march,” they insist. Also called World Cannabis Day, Cannabis Liberation Day, Global Space Odyssey, Ganja Day, J Day, Million Blunts March, and so on, the event sees participants discussing, promoting and educating both consumers and non-consumers alike about the uses of marijuana. That Bengaluru should embrace the event is hardly surprising given that it hosted the first ever conference in India for legalising marijuana last year.