Volume 91, Issue 14

Friday, September 19, 1997



Joint venture for legal usage

By Sara Marett
Gazette Staff

All aboard! Destination: legalization.

The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws has introduced the first-ever Can-Abyss-Train aimed at raising awareness and support for the illegal drug.

The train will be on-line starting next week at www.can-abyss-train.com and will consist of a variety of cars representing a cross-section of sponsors, said Mike Lowcock, an organizer of the event.

"The diversity of the cars on the train provide an electronic visualization of a wide demographic show of support for different reasons," Lowcock said, adding examples of the cars include a medical car with doctors supporting the cause, a law car boasting names of lawyers and a media car.

"We are trying to demonstrate that it is not just rock 'n' roll people supporting the drug but people from all areas, even a church," he said.

He explained the mission statement behind the foundation is not to promote recreational use of the drug but rather to legalize it for reasons surrounding environmental, social and medicinal grounds.

Sponsors will advertise their name or logo as a link on the Internet site, Lowcock said. Toronto area campus radio stations have been quick to hop aboard the media train and lend their names to the cause.

Angelina Vaz, station manager for CHRY at York University, said she was very willing to support the foundation. "We felt as a campus radio station it was our responsibility to be supportive of community actions leading to progressive social change," she said.

Vaz said she felt the issues surrounding the attempt to legalize marijuana are complicated, but that is not a reason to ignore the issue as a whole. "It's an easy way out, to just say it's too complicated," she said, referring to attempts to produce research into the medicinal properties of the drug.

Although the actual train is virtual, there are a series of concerts scheduled in conjunction with the event.

The first concert was held last night at the Comfort Zone in Toronto and will continue every Thursday night for the next 13 weeks at various Toronto venues. Proceeds will go towards the NORML foundation, Lowcock said.

"We wanted to get behind them because we think it is a huge social issue," said Elaine Banks, director of advertising and promotions at CIUT at the University of Toronto, adding advertisements will run on their station for the ongoing concerts.

Mario Circelli, manager of CHRW at Western, said he has not been approached by the NORML foundation asking for his support. He said he would have to know more about the organization before lending support.

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Copyright The Gazette 1997