A small group of medicinal marijuana supporters made their way to Crystal Pier in Pacific Beach on May 7 for the 11 a.m. start of a march in support of their cause.
"This is a grom surf contest, not a weed march," was the response heard from a surfer's mother who was on the sand watching her son in the competition. "Try the tent south of the pier." Those who did so found volunteers with the PB Town Council who were conducting a beach cleanup.
After being asked a few times about the pot march, a town-council member jokingly commented, "Oh, yeah, a lot of smokers were going to do the march, but they forgot." He took on a more serious tone when following up with, "I have nothing against [marijuana]; I think they should let it grow on the sides of the freeways so everyone can get it for free."
Shortly after his comment, the sound of a bullhorn-amplified voice rang through the air at a level several decibels higher than the chatter of bikes, skateboards, and waves. It originated from a man standing at the pier.
"Global marijuana march, right here," bellowed Craig Beresh, president of the California Cannabis Coalition. "Stop the San Diego ban on medicinal marijuana!" For the next 30 minutes, Beresh invited all those passing on the boardwalk to join the march, adding, "This global marijuana march is being done right now in 300 cities simultaneously — stand up for your rights!"
A group of 21 supporters walked to the Mission Beach lifeguard tower and back as Beresh beckoned for passersby to join. Several people joined for a few blocks before dropping out, and many more came out of their homes and up from the beach to watch, photograph, and cheer on the marchers.
Available for signing was a referendum petition to eliminate the city's recent medical marijuana ordinances that regulate San Diego's 160 dispensaries.
The age range of the marchers ran from 18 to about 70, including a couple with their baby in a stroller and an elderly woman in a wheelchair. A popular chant heard by many was, "What do we want?" "Marijuana!" "When do we want it?" "Now!"
Anthony Gardner, a bicyclist who joined the march after riding by, commented, "If the Taliban were [marijuana] smokers, they wouldn't be terrorists."