- Wednesday, April 18, 2007, noon to 5 p.m.
- Routt County Courthouse, 522 Lincoln Ave., Steamboat Springs
Steamboat Springs Hayden resident Don Nord says being able to smoke marijuana or eat banana bread and oatmeal cookies baked with pot has helped him live a more productive and fulfilling life in light of the myriad of medical conditions he lives with.
Nord, a vocal lobbyist for the legalization of medicinal marijuana and marijuana law reform, will again spread that message Friday afternoon as he hosts the fourth annual Routt County Medical Marijuana Awareness March on the Routt County Courthouse lawn.
"This is a medical marijuana rally I hold every year to meet people interested in getting more information about medical marijuana," he said.
Nord said the event is open to the public, and he encourages people to stop by.
"It's a really peaceful event," he said. "No one is rioting or anything like that. We just like to gather around and speak about medical marijuana. People honk their horns as they drive by us - it's their way of showing support."
Steamboat Springs police Capt. Joel Rae said the annual event has never caused a problem for the city.
Nord has "done it before. We've seen him out there, and everything seems to be organized," he said. "It's the freedom of speech thing, and as long as it isn't impeding the flow of traffic or anything, he has the right to do that."
Nord has been smoking medical marijuana for more than two decades, and he has a state permit to legally grow marijuana in his Hayden home. Nord suffers from ongoing complications from kidney cancer, prostate operations, foot ailments and other medical conditions that require him to use oxygen to breathe.
"Medical marijuana is not for a stubbed toe," he said. "It's more or less for people suffering from cancer, chronic pain, diabetes, AIDS, HIV. It's to help those kinds of people get through the day."
Mason Tvert, executive director of the Colorado-based nonprofit Safer Alternative For Enjoyable Recreation, said the organization is working to change the public's perception of what "4/20" is.
"I don't think there is a misperception of what (Friday) is. People know exactly what it is - it's a bunch of people smoking pot in public," he said. "What we're trying to do is transform that into a public discussion about why marijuana laws need to be reformed and why marijuana isn't a big deal."
Nord has volunteered for SAFER. During the 2006 election, Nord collected thousands of local signatures in support of Amendment 44, which would have legalized possession of less than 1 ounce of marijuana by adults ages 21 and older.
Friday's events are about showing discontent with current marijuana laws, Tvert said. "What we do is try to generate public discussion about the efficacy of prohibition and punishing adults for (marijuana) use. Unfortunately, a lot of people are uncomfortable talking about it in public," Tvert said.
People like Nord are the exception, he said.
"My hope is that people will stop by and get the information they need," Nord said of Friday's march. "The more people I can help or get information to, then I've accomplished something."
A global marijuana march is scheduled for May 4, 5 and 6, Nord said.
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