RELEASE: MASS CANN Sues Boston for Third Time Over Food Vending at the Freedom Rally

MASS CANN filed yesterday for an injunction to prevent the city of
Boston from denying MASS CANN the right to manage food vending at their 19th Annual Freedom Rally on Boston Common scheduled for Noon on Saturday, September 20. A hearing will be held on Thursday, September 18, at Suffolk Superior Court, room 1008 at 2:00pm.

The permit sent to MASS CANN on August 1, 2008, stipulated, “Vendor food carts are prohibited unless the Boys and Girls Clubs of Boston are providing the food vending services…”In 1997 and 1998, MASS CANN won injunctive relief against the city over similar food vending issues. The city’s unconstitutional attempt to suppress MASS CANN’s constitutional freedoms resulted in an awarded of $31,935 in attorney’s fees and costs.

As in 1997 and 1998, conditions on the permit aim to deny MASS CANN donations from food vendors in order to stop funding of the Freedom Rally.

In granting the 1997 injunction Judge John Cratsley wrote of, “The tortured history of MASS CANN’s efforts to obtain their permit,” and the “tortured history” of 1997, it seems, is still being written today. Bill Downing of Reading, president of MASS CANN told us, “We hope the court will tell the city they can’t stop people from peacefully demonstrating on America’s first public grounds, Boston Common, for unconstitutional reasons. The city is insulting the superior court, for a third time, by forcing the court to instruct the city on the basics of constitutional law.”

“Whether or not the Court grants us the relief we request the Freedom Rally WILL HAPPEN THIS SATURDAY, but I can’t predict the future beyond that,” said MASS CANN co-founder and treasurer Steve Epstein of Georgetown. On March 20, 2008, the Boston Globe reported that Antonia Pollak, Boston parks and recreation commissioner doesn’t want the Boston Common to play host to large-scale events that draw tens of thousands of people claiming such events stress the lawn.“The claim events on the Parade Ground stresses the lawn are preposterous”, added Mr. Epstein, “I completely agree with the sentiments expressed by Chuck Rossina in a letter published in the Boston Globe on March 31, 2008, particularly that, “If greener grass is what the city wants, they can achieve that by not allowing dogs to urinate on the grounds. Boston Parks Department maintenance people have told anyone who asks that dog urine, not peaceable assemblies, is what damages the grass most.””

MASS CANN’s attorney, John Swomley, said, “I’ve heard that a definition of insanity is when you do the same thing over and over and expect a different result each time.”

Massachusetts Cannabis Reform CoalitionNORML
A State Affiliate of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws
Proud Sponsor of Freedom Rally XIX, Sept. 20, 2008 on the Boston Common

P.O. Box 0266, Georgetown, MA 01833-0366
781-944-2266 –

“We shall by and by want a world of hemp more for our own consumption.”
John Adams as Humphrey Ploughjogger, 1763