Thousands on hand for annual Extravaganja in Amherst - KCTV5

Thousands on hand for annual Extravaganja in Amherst

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AMHERST, MA (WSHM) -

For the 23rd year in a row, thousands turned out to show their support for the legalization of marijuana.

College students and many others took part in Saturday's Extravaganja festival, which is put on each year by the University of Massachusetts Cannabis Reform Coalition (CRC).

It is a day filled with music and speakers who want to get their message out.

Unlike last month's Blarney Blowout, which resulted in the arrest of nearly two dozen UMass students, organizers said it comes down to working with law enforcement.

"We get permission to do this," said Delaney Ratner, treasurer of the CRC. "We work with them and meet with them more than once a year. It's more amicable. But the fact that the whole Blarney thing and the consumption of alcohol is legal and this technically isn't kind of perplexes me and always has."

The big push at Saturday's event was the goal for federal legalization of marijuana.

Organizers are hopeful to have a question on the ballot in 2016.

They said they understand that not all parts of the country may be as liberal as Massachusetts.

One of Saturday's guest speakers said for them, it's all about getting younger people active.

"Mostly, I'll be talking about joining into the electoral process, making sure you're registered to vote, making sure you actually get out there and vote," said Terry Franklin, board member of Bay State Repeal, a group pushing to repeal the prohibition of marijuana. "In 2014, this year, we're going to have a number of local, public policy referendums, non-binding referendums all over the state, in a lot of different communities."

While attendance figures have not been released, last year's Extravaganja event drew approximately 6,000 people to Amherst.

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