About fifty people gathered in Harrisonburg’s Court Square Saturday afternoon supporting the local chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, or “NORML” for short. As WMRA’s Calvin Pynn reports, organizers were hoping to take advantage of Tuesday’s election.
Three seats are open on Harrisonburg’s City Council. Harrisonburg NORML’s deputy director Scott McLellan said the rally presented an opportunity for people to express their opinions about cannabis, and to discuss what new candidates in office could mean for drug laws.
SCOTT MCLELLAN: What we’re wanting to get out of this is for people to consider their candidate’s positions on cannabis. A lot of the people that oppose cannabis talk about freedom and such. It’s anti-freedom, because it’s not about the drug, it’s about people. If you ask somebody why they oppose it, they don’t tell you about the plant, they tell you about the person who uses it.
Kai Degner, the Democratic challenger in the sixth district, spoke at the rally as well. Degner’s platform advocates hemp farming in Virginia, a staunch contrast to his opponent, incumbent Bob Goodlatte.
KAI DEGNER: That’s how change is gonna happen. We’ve gotta get out and vote on Tuesday, but on Wednesday we’ve gotta pick up the fight on whatever’s left to do. It’s because of the relationships and the confidence that you’re giving the organizers that this change can happen.
As the crowd gathered at Court Square’s fountain, colorful signs went up calling for an end to marijuana prohibition.
The rally then moved around the block as protesters marched downtown with stops at the Rockingham County Jail and the Harrisonburg Free Clinic.
The march was relatively quiet, save for an occasional cowbell, chanting, and honks of support from drivers passing by. Some of the people marching even broke into song as the crowd made their way back to Court Square at the end.