Pot enthusiasts' feet hit the streets downtown at Marijuana March of North Texas
It's already been an eventful 2018 for pot in Texas.
A 12-year-old girl whose family fled North Texas for greater access to medical marijuana in Colorado, and her co-complainants, were heard by a Manhattan judge in their suit against the federal government to change marijuana laws throughout the U.S.
But the folks running the 2018 DFW Marijuana March aren't complacent.
The executive director of the DFW chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, Shaun McAlister, announced the date, time and location of this year's march Friday. It will start at Burnett Park in downtown Fort Worth for the third consecutive year and is scheduled for Saturday, May 12, from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.
The event is free to attend.
"DFW NORML board members met with Fort Worth special events, Fort Worth Police Department, Tarrant County Sheriff's Office, Fort Worth Fire and like always, they expressed interest in working with us," McAlister said during a Facebook Live video. "I can tell they want to work with us on this to ensure safety, and they want to protect our first amendment rights."
The group pushed its march back one week from last year, when it conflicted with both Cinco de Mayo and Mayfest, but still drew at least 1,000, and probably closer to 2,000 participants, to Burnett Park.
On a day like Marijuana March day, protecting the pot advocates' first amendment rights trumps the opportunity for the bicycle police to make small-time drug busts in the park. It's no secret that attendees are smoking at this shin-dig.
McAlister, who has brought previous marches to their climax by lighting a giant blunt on the steps of the Tarrant County Courthouse in hazy triumph before the marchers returned to Burnett Park en masse, threw a special shoutout to Fort Worth police Sgt. Lorne Tracy, who McAlister said has worked with DFW NORML since 2012 or 2013 on striking an agreeable balance between the police presence and the toking advocates.
Tracy told the Star-Telegram at the 2017 Marijuana March: "At a First Amendment gathering like this, we're here to let the group have their voice, and use a bit of discretion. We're not here to look for any illegal activity, such as a small little joint or anything like that. We're here to make sure they're peacefully exercising their First Amendment rights and following the rules."
Last year's march was an all-day blowout. The only thing it didn't have was a halftime. McAlister said that's where this year will be a little different.
"We're not having an eight-hour event — we're having a five-hour event," McAlister said. "Come talk about freedom with me."