This past Saturday, dozens gathered in Bushnell Park outside the Connecticut State Capitol to call for the legalization of marijuana. The event, sponsored by HempCT, was held in conjunction with the Global Marijuana March.
The event in Hartford came only weeks after a bill to legalize marijuana in Connecticut died in the Judiciary Committee due to a lack of support among politicians.
Among the attendees were several groups selling products, offering services and soliciting for participation.
One such person was Eli Ouellette, a native of the Connecticut shoreline, representing Curved Papers, Inc. Overall, Ouellette seemed optimistic about the prospect of cannabis becoming legal in the Nutmeg State.
"We're moving in the right direction," Ouellette said. "It's just a matter of getting the right people in office and making sure we all get out and vote. That's what's important, really."
Another attendee was Mike Falade of Bulldozer Health, Inc., a nonprofit organization whose mission, according to the company website, "is to educate people about all available healthcare options, improve access to alternative health care, and inspire them to achieve optimal health by healing the body, teaching it to heal itself, and by accomplishing wellness."
"We help raise money for lower-income families to help afford some of the costs of alternative healthcare," Falade said. "Whether it's attaining access to their cannabis cards, we also get people access to acupuncturist yoga. It's not the traditional pharmaceutical course of treatment, so generally it's not covered by insurance."
The event also had many speakers, one of whom was Mike DeRosa, co-chair of the Connecticut Green Party. During his speech, DeRosa railed against soaring education costs.
"We also believe that education should be free," DeRosa said. "We shouldn't be putting huge loans on our students, because what we've created in the United States is a debt colony of student loans managed by the one percent."
There were many musicians at the event as well -- including by the bands Friends of a Feather, Not Here and Shakedown.
Another musician was local Connecticut hip-hop artist Tha Red Baron. Through his music -- including the song "Take Your Medicine" -- Tha Red Baron talks about his own medicinal use of cannabis. Although he uses the plant for pain relief, Tha Red Baron seemed frustrated at Connecticut politicians for not supporting legalization.
"They don't smoke weed, so it doesn't matter to them," Tha Red Baron said.
Whether or not Connecticut politicians ever gain the courage to finally legalize marijuana -- as a Quinnipiac poll stated was the popular opinion years ago -- remains to be seen. One thing is certain, however: these pro-cannabis activists and organizations aren't going anywhere.