State Capitol Protest Calls for Legalization of Marijuana

About 125 people from across Arizona gathered in front of the State Capitol on Monday morning to protest current marijuana laws and call for its legalization.

The protest organized by the advocacy group Safer Arizona was one of many planned for the first day of the 2015 Legislative session.

Demonstrators in coordinated garb held signs with phrases such as “Free the leaf,” “Marijuana is safer than alcohol” and “The war on drugs is a war on U$.” The signs reflected the issues on which the protesters focused throughout the event, including the felony status and fees that come with marijuana possession and its possible use in aiding veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, among other health conditions.

Founder of Safer Arizona, Dennis Bohlke, 60, said the group plans to protest on the first day of the legislative agenda every year until it achieves success.

“This is our one event that we think everybody should show up at that wants to see any efforts at all,” Bohlke said.

The protesters circulated two petitions at the event: one to legalize marijuana and one to end the penalties for possession. The current penalties for illegal marijuana possession are a fine of $750 and up to nearly 4 years in prison, while the sale of marijuana could result in up to 12½ years in prison.

– Read the entire article at The Arizona Republic.