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From The Old Settlers website:Last year we had a GREAT event and we are planing on an even better one this year!!! The entertainment is geared around the music of the 80’s. The parade theme is “The History of Rock -N- Roll” so as you can see we have changed things up a bit! Check out the site and see for yourself what awesome things we have in store for you. Bring the family, grab your friends and come on down. We look forward to seeing all of you downtown.

Unless you’re a proponent of cannabis legalization. Taken directly from the head of JoCoNORML’s Facebook status post:

Jenni Norton- ‎14 yr old was detained at Old Settlers for preaching about legalization, we were then made to stop giving out medical marijuana info or we would be detained and the libertarian parties booth would be removed. Stay tuned for full press release. Hell will be raised.

Background. Old Settlers is a county fair type event that is actually bigger than the county fair. It is held yearly in Olathe, Kansas. There are merchants, a parade, an ice cream social. In short, good old fashioned American fun.

Unfortunately, the American spirit stopped short of the First Amendment, tonight. Us at the newly forming Johnson County NORML, had recently teamed up with Libertarian Party of Kansas to co-occupy a booth.(Since one of the planks in the Libertarian Party’s beliefs is the end of the drug war.) Jenni Norton went out there to hand out literature and educate the some 40,000 people who were expected to attend. (Myself among them. To attend. Not be educated.) We also hoped to swell our membership ranks and sell a few buttons. Instead…

An officer of the law informed Jenni that she’d have to stop handing out MMJ fliers. “I was handing out a new flier I just made with the new logo, as well as Hempfest and Cannabis Revival fliers, [and selling] buttons,” Ms. Norton said.

From Old Settlers website:19. Vendors will not be allowed to sell or display items that are deemed by the Old Settler Committee as OBSCENE, CONTROVERSIAL, DANGEROUS OR ILLEGAL. Items expressly prohibited
for sale or display include, but are not limited to: throwing stars, switchblades, spring-powered knives, num-chucks, butterfly knives, water weenies, explosive devices of any types, drug paraphernalia & Laser pointers, guns or items that a projectile can be fired. The Olathe Police Department will provide necessary guidelines. ALL BOOTHS MUST BE IN GOOD TASTE and in good general condition.

Where in that is the problem? Marijuana is not obscene, obviously. It is a plant. As we’ve established, time after time, marijuana is safe. No problem there. While cannabis is illegal, the advocacy for reform is not (theoretically). I still don’t see a problem. As for controversial? Well, 75% of Americans are okay with medicalization at least, with the numbers for full legalization at over 50%. This has gone from being controversial to being a viable political issue which demands the same rights as any politician or party campaigning at Old Settlers.

Norton: “They really just told us that if we didn’t stop handing out the information that we would be detained and the Libertarian Party booth would be removed for the rest of the fair.”

You can find the full press release here. From the press release, Olathe, KS September 9th, 2010 – Johnson County Police and the Old Settlers Grounds Chairman attempted to censor Free Speech of multiple and those associated with the Libertarian Party for promoting legalization.

While promoting the Libertarian Party, whom are known for being opposed to drug prohibition, the booth was handing out information about Medical Marijuana, and why it should be legalized.

One Fourteen year old, then inspired by our publicity, started “preaching” about why medical marijuana should be legalized, and was later found to be apparently a “threat” to the fair and was detained by Olathe Police.

Afterwards, when the Grounds Chairman A.J. Lang found out that the Libertarian Parties booth was promoting and handing out information on medical marijuana, the two men at the booth, Jeff C. and Kyle N., were threatened by A.J. Lang and Olathe P.D., that if they did not cease giving out medical marijuana information, that they would be detained, and the L.P.’s booth would be removed for the rest of the fair.

We are Organizing a protest for September the 11, 2010 at 2PM. I highly encourage all the locals to make our presence known and our voices heard.

There will be a follow up story.

Legalize it!
-PT

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