Toronto Freedom Festival-May 1st, 2010

April 30, 2010 – GLOBAL MARIJUANA MARCH – On May 1 (not April 20th, as many assume), potheads around the city will unite for the flagship event of Toronto Freedom Festival: the Global Marijuana March (GMM). Although these marches take place in 200 cities worldwide, Toronto’s edition is the largest of its kind. The event is sponsored by Cannabis As Living Medicine (C.A.L.M.), which provided safe access to the drug for Canadians with significant medical need until it closed after a controversial raid by Toronto Police in March. Prior to this, C.A.L.M. was the oldest and largest compassion organization. As a result, according to the GMM website, 2,500 people are now without access to their medicine.

The march, now in its 12th year, is a peaceful one. The route goes north from Queen’s Park to Bloor. It will then turn east onto Yonge Street, south to Wellesley and back west towards Queen’s Park for the 420 Countdown, which features DJ Muggs of Cypress Hill on the main stage. If you miss him then, catch him at the after-party at the Great Hall at midnight. The event will be grand-marshalled by Marc Emery. The march will also serve to raise awareness and support for preventing his extradition to the US for the drug distribution charge to which he’s already pleaded guilty.

People are expected to congregate around noon in Queen’s Park to get ready for the 2pm march. Last year over 20,000 people participated.

The Toronto Freedom Festival’s Speaker’s Stage starts May 1 with a talk on Alternative Medicine from 12:30 to 2pm. Among the speakers is the young visionary, Darren Austin Hall, a practitioner of traditional Chinese medicine who aims to spread the core ideas about physical health and the inner world of psyche and spirit. Patrick Moughenda Mikala, a Shaman (healer) for over 25 years, uses ancient traditional African spiritual practices and specializes in the use of various plants and herbs to heal problems ranging from addiction issues to psychological traumas. Accompanying him is Julia Malone, an architectural designer and currently the director of the Iboga House, one of Mikala’s centres located in Costa Rica. Also speaking will be activist Marc-Boris Saint-Maurice, founder of the Bloc Pot, a provincial political party in Quebec that aims for the decriminalization and legalization of marijuana; Alison Myrden from the group Law Enforcement Against Prohibition; and Marco Renda, the editor-in-chief of Treating Yourself – The Alternative Medicine, a medical marijuana forum online.

Following the talks on alternative medicine will be a Poetry Slam, which happens in two parts from 2 to 3pm and from 5:45 to 6:30pm. At 4:30pm the event will also feature The Conspiracy Culture Hour whose speakers include Richard Syrett, the host and creator of “The Conspiracy Show,” a weekly hour-long radio show. Slated to be a TV series, the show delves into conspiracy theories, paranormal events, unexplained mysteries, secret archaeology and suppressed science. Joining him will be Nelson Thall, a.k.a. “Lenny Bloom,” one of the first Canadian investigators involved in the JFK assassination, along with investigative journalist Dan Dicks and documentary filmmaker Bryan Law.

“Prince of Pot” Marc Emery, Canada’s most notable cannabis advocate, will speak at the session along with Ron Marzel, a lawyer for C.A.L.M. who is committed to providing access and education on all aspects of the provision of cannabis to those with medical need. » VEENA SUNDERAM

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