Plant the date: The sixth annual Milwaukee Marijuana March assembles at 2 p.m. May 7 at Kilbourn Park, 2300 N. Bremen St.
A Facebook event page indicated nearly 700 marchers plan to attend the event hosted by Legalize Wisconsin and the Wisconsin chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.
Participants plan to gather in the park at 2 p.m. and march at 4 p.m. Before the march, state Rep. Melissa Sargent, a legislative leader in the effort to decriminalize and legalize marijuana, will address the crowd. Medical marijuana patient Trevor James Sand and daughter Erica also are set to make comments.
The event commemorates Global Marijuana March Day.
Action comes earlier in Madison, where the fourth annual Madison 420 Festival takes place at 4:20 p.m. on April 22 at the Brinklounge, 701 E. Washington Ave.
Madison NORML and Madison Hempfest present the celebration, featuring The Grasshoppers jamrock band, The Northern Pines Band, Nuggernaut, The Material Boys, Mudroom, Bathtub Spring, The Lower 5th, Gin Mill Hollow, The Woods, Gary David and the Enthusiasts, Deteourious, Flowpoetry and Mission, a Jerry Garcia tribute band.
The event is a benefit for the Madison chapter of NORML.
Both events have at least a bit to celebrate. For instance, Democratic lawmakers in Wisconsin pitched multiple reform bills in the 2015–16 session, including a legalization measure authored by Sargent and decriminalization legislation introduced by state Rep. Mandela Barnes and Sen. Chris Larson — all Democrats.
To date, marijuana reform in Wisconsin has taken place mostly at the local level, with cities such as Madison and Milwaukee relaxing penalties for people found in possession of small amounts of pot.
Twenty states have enacted laws to stop jailing people for possession of small amounts of marijuana.
Also, voters in the District of Columbia and four states — Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington — have approved taking marijuana production and sales off the criminal market and instead regulating and taxing the production and retailing of pot. However, marijuana remains illegal under federal law.
A national Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll released March 25 found about 61 percent of those surveyed support legalizing marijuana. Most said they wanted to limit legalization to medical use or place restrictions on the amounts that can be purchased for recreational use.