The Cannabis Action Network (CAN) -- also known as the legalize pot folks -- have planned a rally from noon to 8 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 11, at the Walt Disney Amphitheater in Lake Eola Park. And they filed a lawsuit against Orlando to get the city to waive its $1,500 rental and insurance fee. "We say free speech is not only for the rich and those that can afford to speak, it's for everybody," network spokesman Kevin Aplin says.
On Tuesday afternoon, the city seemed to be giving in. A letter from City Attorney Scott Gabrielson offered the pot group use of the park, and the space in front of the stage, for free, Aplin says. Some details still had to be worked out, mostly concerning the availability of electricity for amplifiers.
Gabrielson says the city is not backing down but clarifying the situation. It turns out Aplin's group never even needed the permit for which it applied, Gabrielson says. "The rules always said you can show up on a nonexclusive basis. That's fine." Now the only question is, how loud can the band be? "You don't want to be uncooperative," Gabrielson says, "but you don't want to set a bad precedent."
Aplin is hopeful. "This happened in Miami, too," where the group won a similar suit, he says. "At first they say you'll have no event unless you pay. Then as soon as we file a suit they say, ‘Oh, we didn't mean that.'" He notes the group will be in the park, registering voters and soliciting signatures for a "medical marijuana" petition, regardless of the outcome in court.
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