About 20,000 marchers smoke up for freer pot laws
Some 20,000 marijuana advocates blew smoke on the lawn of Queen's Park and puffed away as they marched the streets of Toronto on Saturday.
The participants, taking part in the ninth annual Global Marijuana March being held in 232 cities, rallied to promote the legalization of pot in Canada.
Police watched the peaceful event, whose parade marshal was Marc Emery, the British Columbia resident nicknamed Canada's "Prince of Pot."
"It's incredible that 20,000 people are meeting only 100 yards from the legislature to demand that marijuana be legalized, to celebrate our culture and to defy the law with almost open sanction of the entire City of Toronto," he said.
Emery is in trouble with United States law enforcement agencies for selling marijuana seeds over the Internet. He faces extradition to stand trial on a number of criminal matters.
Toronto's rally almost doubled in size this year, as about 12,000 residents openly smoked up during last year's event.
"This is obviously its largest," said organizer Neev Tapiro.
Tapiro said the movement for freer marijuana laws has support in high places.
"One of the positive lights is Senator Larry Campbell, who's a wonderful, intelligent advocate of legalization," Tapiro said.
Organizers said the annual event in Canada continues to grow because the majority of Canadians believe pot laws should be relaxed.
Pot walk participants also spread the message that the demonized marijuana plant can do much more than just get people high.
"I have arthritis so it alleviates the pain," said one man named Dennis. "I don't get (the pain) very often because (the marijuana is) better than ordinary medication they prescribe."
With a report from CTV's Alex Mihailovich