After two years of displaying a giant joint in the Temple Terrace annual fourth of July parade, the local authorities have stepped in and attempted to block political statements at their parade.
The Central Florida chapter of NORML (Nat. Org. for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) have proudly featured a giant fake marijuana joint on their float. The joint actually smokes, too! That didn’t sit well with the city council and this year the took action to try an eliminate the objectionable display of the first amendment.
The council revised the application for participants in the parade and it now requires the floats to ”represent and support a patriotic theme which relates to American independence and the spirit of the Fourth of July.”
With a large group of Floridians supporting medical marijuana legalization in the 2016 election—a 71% victory for Amendment 2—there is little support for such pathetic attempts at censorship. A Tampabay.com editorial opined:
If the City Council thought it could snuff out the smoking cannabis float by cooking up a bunch of patriotic verbiage, it would seem Christopher Cano, executive director of the Central Florida Chapter of NORML, is one step ahead of the paper pushers.
Cano told the Tampa Bay Times’ Philip Morgan his group’s float this year will celebrate the theme of a 1942 World War II 14-minute patriotic film, Hemp for Victory, which was produced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture praising hemp farmers for creating strong ropes from the stalks of marijuana plants to assist the troops — possibly in more ways than one.
And this is the slippery slope one confronts when attempting to suppress a viewpoint. After all the parade also has included all manner of politicians, businesses and other groups advocating a self-serving message under the guise of an American.
Who can argue against the patriotic nature of the “Hemp For Victory” effort during World War II that called upon American farmers to “sacrifice” for the nation and grow the indispensable hemp plant, which was federally illegal at the time but given a temporary exemption during the war due to the need for hemp fiber by the military. No doubt they will find a way, and there may not be a giant joint in the parade, but I can see a giant cannabis leaf towering over the crowd!
Image from CFL NORML Pictaram.