Members of NORML, the nation’s largest group that advocates the legalization of marijuana, are peacefully protesting along Greenville Avenue near the Old Town Shopping center.
“All we’re doing is establishing a presence,” said David Sloane, a member of the Dallas-Fort Worth chapter’s board of directors.
Sloane estimated that about 100 members are here at the Dallas St. Patrick’s Parade and Festival.
The group was denied a permit to march in be parade, Sloane said.
“This was going to be the first time, but it didn’t happen,” said Sloane, who said the group has marched in parades all over Texas, including one in Houston in which “we had people cheering us on from all over the place.”
Some group members said they were bemused by a consistent police presence near them.
“It’s only going to get better when they find out how peaceful we are,” said William Jenkins of Fort Worth, the group’s deputy director.
“We’re just out here, being cool.”
Dallas Police Department Detective Jeff Burge watched the group from a shaded seat in the shopping center.
“They’re fine,” said Burge, who works for the department’s Criminal Intelligence division. “They’re just doing their thing.”
Burge said he was on hand to make sure the group was allowed to peaceably assemble.
“Our function is to preserve their First Amendment rights, and to note that the entity they are protesting against has property rights, too.”
Sloane said he was frustrated at being excluded from the parade.
“The thing that disturbs us about being excluded is that people think we advocate breaking the law,” he said. “We do not. We are a legal reform group that’s about making the law, not breaking it.”
You must be logged in to post a comment.