ACTIVIST SPREADS HIS MESSAGE
When he thinks of how his forefathers took bullets for our freedoms, Neil Magnuson can't believe what a slap in the face it must be for those soldiers today.
"Freedom to obey is not what they went to war to take bullets for," said the 50-year-old activist from Vancouver, who is currently in Vernon.
Magnuson stands behind and speaks for a number of issues, but there is one issue which he feels strongest about. One which inspired him to quit his job three years ago and travel the country spreading his message.
That message is freedom - hence the name of the second annual Freedom Tour.
The journey for justice, which began in Victoria, has Magnuson rollerblading 12,000 miles to Ottawa, where his journey culminates on Remembrance Day.
Many commuters may spot the activist rolling along highways and downtown streets, sporting a Canadian cannabis flag on the end of a hockey stick.
In his commute across the country, he is followed by many and receives a wealth of support.
"There's always people with me. There's quite a crew that hands me off from town to town."
Wherever his supporters are, Magnuson stops to visit and participate in local rallies and events.
One such event has brought him to Vernon for the second year in a row - - the Peace and Awareness Rally at Polson Park Monday from noon to dusk. Magnuson is a guest speaker of the event, and he will be bring awareness about the the rights and freedoms he believes Canadians are losing.
The prime topic that Magnuson focuses on, in all of his campaigning, is drug prohibition.
"As soon as you start prohibition, the use and abuse increases, so it does the exact opposite of what they ( enforcement ) are trying to do," said Magnuson, who uses marijuana for back pain and depression.
"I think if they prohibited marshmallows, marshmallows would be on streets corners at exorbitant prices."
He sees prohibition as a loss of a freedom to use something that can provide so many benefits, not just medicinally, but in the case of hemp seed, nutritionally.
"The vast majority are simply using, not abusing it."
He points to how it is legal to smoke cancer-causing cigarettes, take mind-altering prescription drugs and drink alcohol with all the effects it has on society.
"We live in a world full of substances that could hurt people.
"Yet, we're arresting more people in Canada for cannabis offences than anything else. We're charging people with intending to ingest something to make them feel better."
He says there is logic to prohibition, which he encourages more people to follow.
"It doesn't make any sense until you follow the dollar figures.
"This is all extremely disrespectful and unfair and all coming down from the federal government of Canada."
As he spreads his message, Magnuson is seeing more and more people add their support, even if it's just by listening to him and getting informed.
It is this growing support that is helping in raising awareness and keeping Freedom Tour growing to hopefully turn into a Celebration of Freedom Tour.
"There's no stopping it now."
"We're never going to stop the corporate influence but for anybody who wants to be able to opt out, to eat locally, to take herbs, etc., they need to be able to do that."