by Justin Sargent
April 30 2012
On April 20th of 2012, a large group of people rallied together on the lawn and steps of the State House to respectfully and peacefully demonstrate their opposition to prohibition and the war on drugs. Although the crowd that gathered on this date was smaller than in past years, the excitement and energy people were putting into the festivities seemed greater. Around 2pm people started showing up for the Free Concord litter pickup, organized by Garret Ean. Great job with that buddy, it went really well. People wandered the downtown area for about an hour and a half or so, gathering trash and litter before slowly making their way back to the State House for the festivities. It felt really good to be doing something good for the city and the people who live there by cleaning up and beautifying the area. At this point is when more and more people started to slowly trickle in and the independent media started making their presence more felt. We had Rich Paul start the excitement off by educating people on the dangers of the drug war and suggestions on what to do to get more involved or how to make a difference before reciting, “We smoke these in remembrance of lost liberties, and in hopes of a day where the people do not fear the government, because the government fears the people. Smoke ’em if you got ’em.” A few people noticed the time and replied, “but it’s 15 minutes early,” but Rich wasn’t too worried. “I’m just goin’ in early. This way I’ll be more likely to actually get high at 4:20,” he says.
At this point we started our march on the Statehouse and stormed the steps en mass. We had a few people take the bullhorn to make announcements and get publicity for there causes. Anyone was able to walk up and say their piece if they so desired. There were a couple of individuals who decided to protest in there own way by selling the necessities that the smokers sometimes tend to forget to bring for themselves: munchies and water. Chips, cookies, water, and soda; who would think that someone could potentially get in trouble for simply selling some food and water to friends? Luckily these peaceful individuals were left alone to sell the goods they purchased to hungry and thirsty individuals. As 4:20 drew closer and closer more people were lighting up until the magic moment finally came and Rich made his announcement again, “We smoke these in remembrance of lost liberties, and in hopes of a day when the people do not fear the government, because the government fears the people.” You could hear the lighters clicking everywhere as people started lighting all kinds of smoke to pass around and celebrate. Coughing erupted everywhere as many clouds were made, the glorious aroma filled the air, and the angels of heaven descended from the clouds to partake in the goodness. Alright, well maybe that last part isn’t true, but I’m sure they would have if they existed. No arrests were made, or even any contact with law enforcement at all, until we went inside the State House to sing some cannabis-themed carols in the lobby. That was the first contact with law enforcement and it wasn’t even negative. State Police act as security for the State House so they are there on a normal day anyway, the regular security detail to keep the peace. We were asked respectfully to try to keep it down as much as possible and were notified that they closed at 5pm, which was not a problem. We proceeded to sing our carols and be on our way but not before Kelly Voluntaryist was able to receive a hug from law enforcement. As we made our way out of the State House and back to the lawn the festivities started to wind down a bit. A few individuals decided to exercise their right of chalking. Leaving their mark and message for all who cross the path to see, albeit temporary as it is, it will still be there for a while to send its message. People started saying their goodbyes and slowly making their way home as our peaceful rally went up in smoke just like the plant that we were there to support.
Below is video from the rally filmed by Justin Sargent: