Mason Tvert on marijuana protest at Aurora mall: Pro-pot, no problems

On Friday, SAFER's Mason Tvert announced that he would lead a march at Town Center of Aurora to protest the treatment of John Gailey a week earlier.

Back then, Gailey was cited for trespassing and banned from the mall for a year because he wore a "Yes We Cannabis" T-shirt, and refused to remove it.

Approximately thirty marchers participated in the event, and none of them were hassled by mall security -- which is the way it should be, Tvert says.

"The mall was very hands off, and didn't stop a single person wearing a marijuana T-shirt," Tvert notes. "And we hope they'll continue that policy in the future."

The group entered the mall together but soon scattered. In Tvert's words, "Everyone just went off about their business."

He hung around for about 45 minutes or so and was heartened by comments from store workers. "The staff was incredibly supportive," he maintains. "Someone in one of the stores said, 'Did you know someone got thrown out of the mall for wearing a shirt like that?'"

The protest caused no problems or disruptions, which only proves to Tvert how unnecessary its actions against Gailey were.

"If the mall can ignore thirty people wearing T-shirts that say the word 'cannabis' on them, they should have ignored the other one," he allows. "Clearly, they picked on that gentleman that one day, and hopefully refrain from doing so in the future."

After all, he believes there'll be a lot more people wearing T-shirts that display their positions on marijuana issues.

"Marijuana policy reform was the number one issue in the legislature this year," he says. "It's also an issue that's going to be on the Aurora ballot" -- for more about that, click here -- "and its an issue we expect to see on the state ballot in the next couple of years. We don't want to see individuals showing their support being harassed."

Look below to see Channel 4's coverage of the protest. According to Gailey co-counsel Jessica Corry, quoted in another post on this subject, there's one error in the piece. Correspondent Howard Nathan says Aurora police dropped disturbing the peace charges against Gailey in exchange for him being banned from the mall for a year. She says that's untrue.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts