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Grassroots

  • by Jeff Riedy, Executive Director, Lehigh Valley NORML August 16, 2018

    Greetings from your friends at Lehigh Valley NORML! With Summer rushing by, we just wanted to check in with our supporters. We want to fill you in on recent activities and upcoming meetings, events, and happenings.

    As many of you hopefully already know, we have planned a Rally and Lobby Day in Harrisburg for Monday, September 24, along with our friends at Pittsburgh NORML, Keystone Cannabis Coalition, AND ACLU-PA. The Rally is 10-11 AM, with lobbying to follow. We hope that many of you can find the time to join us. To help bring our friends to the rally, we have priced out a chartered bus with TransBridge, seating 56 people. The bus would leave the Lehigh Valley at 7am from the William Penn Rideshare off Route 33, between Freemansburg Avenue and William Penn Highway. And would bring everybody to Harrisburg and then back home around 6pm.

    If we fill the bus (56 person capacity), it would cost $25pp at full price. HOWEVER, Lehigh Valley NORML IS PAYING HALF THE COST OF THE BUS, and may have a benefactor to help with the other half. So, with our contribution, a full bus will cost each rider $12.50 ($14pp w/ 50 riders to $20pp w/ 35 riders), but you’ll have to be one of the first to register for the bus. We expect a few backouts and will accept about 100 registrants, BUT only 56 seats will be available (unless we find benefactors to cover a second bus). We will call in chronological order to reserve your spot on the bus. There are already a few people pre-registered. Don’t hesitate, as we’ll need to confirm riders by the end of the month, with payment in full. We are allowing our mailing list advanced notice, but by week’s end we will reveal the remaining inexpensive seats to all on Facebook.

    **We cannot smoke on the bus, but we’re working on a cool after-party when we return! Please CLICK HERE to reserve your seat!**

    LOBBYING? We’ll be lobbying in Harrisburg after the Rally. Soon we’ll be setting up a scheduler to help organize lobbying appointments for those who want to press their legislators.

    UPCOMING FESTIVALS… We want to remind everybody that we’ll have a booth at Pride in the Park this coming Sunday, August 19, noon-6pm. Because of recent rains, the festival is at Allentown’s Jewish Community Center, at 22nd and Tilghman Sts.. We also plan to table ArtsFest again this year, September 28-30, at Allentown’s Cedar Beach Park.

    PETITIONING EASTON is still in our mind. We hope to start organizing people, petitions, and clipboards for Downtown Easton in the coming weeks. If you might have some spare time to ask for residents’ signatures on a petition pressing City Council to reconsider Citywide Decrim, drop us a note, please! We hope to make this the start of our Action Committees, to help us coordinate future events and volunteers, as we build our community.

    NEXT MEETING: As August flies by, we’re already planning for our September meeting. We are hosting an all-afternoon family affair, and renting the larger pavilion (closest to street) at Illicks Mill/ Monocacy Park in Bethlehem on Sunday September 16, noon-6pm. There will be a short meeting, and then we’ll just hang, play, commune, drink beers (canned beers allowed), and eat some food. Maybe a POT LUCK (wink)? Bring the kids. Pack a basket!

    Meeting page: http://www.facebook.com/events/2138643323124158/?ti=icl

    WEEDSTOCK, hosted by our friends at Delaware NORML is happening August 24-26. Two days of bands, camping, and fun in the First State! Details can be found here:  http://www.facebook.com/events/181136362592813/?ti=icl

    Finally, we want thank everybody who came out to say hello at the GRATEFUL FOR GREG fundraiser the other week. The incident at Bernville was tragic and still hurts, but we managed to get some media coverage, opening a view to the world. All over TEN PLANTS! Our work is not done, until incidents like this never happen again.

    In the Leaf ?

    Lehigh Valley NORML

    P.S. Here is the Facebook Event page for the Harrisburg Rally. Please RSVP: http://www.facebook.com/events/2081707708735937/?ti=ia

    P.P.S. And please remember that all these programs we run and events we help fund happen only through your kind donations and merchandise purchases. We’ll soon have a revenue site up, but in the meantime DONATE, DONATE, DONATE. Hit us up on PayPal with your donation @ lehighvnorml@gmail.com.

  • by Kevin Mahmalji, NORML Outreach Director August 14, 2018

    Due to growing concerns about the impact America’s opioid crisis is having on his state, Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval along with Governors Steve Bullock of Montana, Charlie Backer of Massachusetts, and Kate Brown of Oregon, recently sent a letter to federal lawmakers requesting support for state and local-level initiatives:

    “Every day governors face the devastating impact of this disease on our communities, health care system, schools and families,” the letter reads. “Governors need increased financial and technical support to address this crisis and we urge Congress to avoid burdensome requirements on state programs.”

    Read more here: https://www.nga.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/NGA-Letter-6.7.2018.pdf

    In addition to his formal request for Congressional support, Governor Sandoval created the Governor’s Opioid State Action Accountability Task Force to explore, among other things, education and guidelines for treatment options and data collection.

    Click here to urge the Governor’s Opioid State Action Accountability Task Force to acknowledge the role that marijuana can play in combating Nevada’s opioid epidemic

    When asked about the Governor’s actions, Executive Director of Nevada NORML Madisen Saglibene had this to say: “State data shows that per 100,000 patients, Nevada ranks 2nd highest for hydrocodone and oxycontin addiction in the nation. Furthermore, Las Vegas ranked 4th highest in the nation for methadone, and 7th for codeine. So while we appreciate the efforts of Governor Sandoval, we’re encouraging members the the Governor’s Task Force to consider the positive role access to marijuana can play in addressing this issue.”

    Several observational studies – such as those here, here, and here – find that medical marijuana regulation is correlated with reductions in opioid-related use, drug spending, abuse, hospitalization, and mortality. Separate data evaluating prescription drug use trends among individual patients enrolled in state-licensed medical marijuana programs is consistent with this conclusion, finding that many chronic pain subjects reduce or eliminate their use of opioids following enrollment.

    Nevada lawmakers should not ignore the reality that access to marijuana can play a role in mitigating the opioid abuse crisis. Use NORML’s online action center below to urge members of the Governor’s Opioid State Action Accountability Task Force to acknowledge the positive role that access to marijuana is playing in combating the prescription drug overdose epidemic, and promoting greater public health and safety.

    Click here to urge the Governor’s Opioid State Action Accountability Task Force to acknowledge the role that marijuana can play in combating Nevada’s opioid epidemic

    Is there an active opioid commission or task force in your community? Email KevinM@NORML.org and we’ll create an action alert to engage and educate your elected officials about the role access to marijuana can play in reducing opioid-related deaths, hospitalizations, and total number of opioids prescribed.

  • by Dan Viets, Executive Director, Missouri NORML August 3, 2018

    Dear Friends,

    I am pleased to be able to tell you that this morning, Thursday, August 2, the Missouri Secretary of State’s Office certified that the New Approach Missouri Medical Marijuana Initiative will appear on the November 6 ballot this year! New Approach Missouri is closely allied with Missouri NORML and the active Missouri NORML Chapters around the state whose members were instrumental in gathering the signatures which were submitted in early May and have just been certified sufficient to place this measure before the voters.

    In fact, the Missouri Secretary of State certified that three medical marijuana initiatives will appear on the ballot this November, an unprecedented event in the marijuana law reform movement and possibly in the history of our state, and possibly the nation!

    Having three initiatives on the same ballot dealing with the same issue complicates the situation considerably. The Missouri Constitution specifies that if conflicting initiative measures appear on the same ballot, the one which receives the most votes will prevail. It is likely that all three of these measures will have the support of a majority of the voters. Two are constitutional amendments and the third is a statutory initiative.

    Most observers believe that either of the constitutional amendments would prevail over the statutory initiative even if it got more votes, which seems very unlikely.

    The other constitutional initiative is funded by a single individual, a wealthy personal injury lawyer from Springfield, Missouri. His campaign has a single contributor. It would establish the highest tax on medical marijuana in the nation and use that tax money to establish a new medical research facility which the filer of the petition, attorney Brad Bradshaw, would personally run. His initiative specifies that the filer of his initiative will choose the Board of Directors and that the Chief Executive of that research agency must be someone who is both a physician and a lawyer, which Bradshaw is! If the press exposes the blatant vested interest he has in this measure, we think the public will reject it.

    Sincerely,

    Dan Viets

  • by Kevin Mahmalji, NORML Outreach Director August 1, 2018

    Everyday NORML Chapters from around the country invest countless hours in advocating for meaningful marijuana law reforms on the local, state and federal level! Below is a brief rundown of some of their most recent accomplishments.

    Lehigh Valley NORML Continues Push to Decriminalize Possession of Marijuana

    Members of Lehigh Valley NORML are circulating a petition with the hopes of convincing members of the Easton City Council to reconsider an ordinance that would decriminalize small amounts of marijuana.

    Read more from The Morning Call!

    Follow Lehigh Valley NORML on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter today!

     

    Collaboration and Education Remain a Priority for Kentucky NORML

    Members of Kentucky NORML recently teamed up with the Kentucky Cannabis Freedom Coalition (KCFC), Kentuckians for Medicinal Marijuana (KY4MM), the Alliance for Innovative Medicine (AIM), to host an educational forum.

    Read more from NORML.org!

    Follow Kentucky NORML on Facebook and Twitter and become a member today!

    NORML Leaders in the Media

    NORML Chapter Leadership in Pennsylvania Question Police Tactics That Led to Man’s Death Over Small Marijuana Grow

    “The body of a suspect in the case, Pennsylvania resident Gregory A. Longenecker, was found earlier this week under a bulldozer operated by a Pennsylvania Game Commission worker. The bulldozer was carrying a Pennsylvania state trooper in pursuit of Mr. Longenecker, who was suspected to have been cultivating ten marijuana plants in Penn Township, PA. A police helicopter was also used in the search.”

    Read more from NORML.org!

    Follow NORML on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and become a member today!

    Mikel Weisser, Executive Director, Arizona NORML

    “Exactly how many cannabis extracts Arizona patients consume isn’t known for sure, but products with extracts are among the best sellers at many dispensaries. Mikel Weisser, executive director of Arizona’s National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws chapter, estimated concentrates made up about 40 percent of dispensary sales.”

    Read more from the Phoenix New Times!

    Follow Arizona NORML on Instagram and Twitter and become a member today!

    Dale Geringer, Executive Director, California NORML

    But it’s still a felony to use minors to sell cannabis or to repeatedly grow large amounts of marijuana without a license, and advocates say they never expected marijuana-related arrests would drop to zero under the new law. “That’s like saying no one is arrested for alcohol anymore because alcohol is legal,” said Dale Gieringer, director of the advocacy group California NORML.

    Read more from The Mercury News!

    Follow California NORML on Facebook and Twitter and become a member today!

    Dale Geringer, Executive Director, California NORML

    “Edibles are attractive to young people and pets,” said Dale Gieringer, director of California NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws). “The new labeling and packaging rules mandated by Prop. 64 should alleviate the problem.”

    Read more from the L.A. Times!

    Follow California NORML on Facebook and Twitter and become a member today!

    Ellen Komp, Deputy Director, California NORML

    “According to the Attorney General’s annual crime report for 2017, arrests for marijuana offenses dropped precipitously in California following the passage of Proposition 64, which legalized the recreational use for adults in November 2016.”

    Read more from City Watch!

    Follow California NORML on Facebook and Twitter and become a member today!

    Cynthia Ferguson, Executive Director, Delaware NORML

    Cynthia Ferguson, executive director of Delaware’s chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, said the new measure is not enough but is a step in the right direction. “It’s nice for first-timers. Expungement is a big thing. When you are charged with a cannabis crime I don’t care if it’s one time or five times, it’s ridiculous,” she said.

    Read more from WHYY!

    Follow Delaware NORML on Facebook and Instagram and become a member today!

    David Phipps, Communications Director, Indiana NORML

    “You’re going to be shocked,” says David Phipps, the communications director for the Indiana chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, when asked for a prediction. “I think we have a realistic chance, as long as we do a good job with the summer study, educating our legislators on the truth behind this. I think we can get it as early as the next General Assembly.”

    Read more from the Indianapolis Monthly!

    Follow Indiana NORML on Facebook and Twitter and become a member today!

    Abner Brown, Executive Director, North Carolina NORML

    Now the head of North Carolina National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, he and others are touring the Tar Heel State, talking with residents and hoping to see cannabis legalized in 2019. Brown said the group will be working in 2018, ahead of the 2019 long General Assembly session.

    Read more from WECT!

    Follow North Carolina NORML on Facebook and Twitter and become a member today!

    Jay Selthofner, Executive Director, Northern Wisconsin NORML

    “Several counties in Wisconsin could have referendums for legalizing marijuana on the ballot this fall including La Crosse, Rock, Brown, Dane, Winnebago, Racine and Marathon. Selthofner says public polling on the issue clearly indicates a shift in perception on marijuana and legalization, he says, appears inevitable.”

    Read more from WIZM Talk News!

    Follow Northwest Wisconsin NORML on Facebook and Twitter and become a member today!

    Jay Selthofner, Executive Director, Northern Wisconsin NORML

    “I think once we have plants in the ground and they see it’s processed just like any agricultural crop a lot of our legislators are going to look at marijuana, medical marijuana differently,”

    Read more from Fox 11 News!

    Follow Northwest Wisconsin NORML on Facebook and Twitter and become a member today!

    Norma Sapp, Executive Director, Oklahoma NORML

    Norma Sapp of The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws remains optimistic. “Yes it’s going to be close. And we knew that going into it.  But it’s not impossible.  It depends on how fast they count the signatures,” Sapp said.

    Read more from News 9!

    Follow Oklahoma NORML on Facebook and become a member today!

    Tom McCain, Executive Director, Peachtree NORML

    “This story went worldwide. The family collected more than $60,000 in donations on their GoFundMe page,” said Tom McCain, executive director of Peachtree NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws). “It changed their lives. Whether it has any effect on changing Georgia laws, I doubt it.”

    Read more from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution!

    Follow Peachtree NORML on Facebook and Twitter and become a member today!

    Eric Marsch, Executive Director, Southeastern Wisconsin NORML

    If Wisconsinites don’t vote pro-cannabis candidates into office, Marsch says, legalization is unlikely to happen anytime soon. “When we talk to people now, they say, ‘It’s coming soon, we’re going to get there,’” Marsch says. “But we’re only going to ‘get there’ if people push for it. It’s not just going to happen on its own.”

    Read more from the Shepherd Express!

    Follow Southeastern Wisconsin NORML on Facebook and Twitter and become a member today!

    Jenn Michelle Pedini, Executive Director, Virginia NORML

    Jenn Michelle Pedini, the Executive Director of the marijuana advocacy group Virginia NORML, applauded Kaine’s support for the bill. “Virginia NORML is thrilled that Senator Kaine has joined Congressmen Garrett and Taylor in calling for the end to federal marijuana prohibition. Senator Kaine is clearly listening to his constituents. He’s heard their stories, he’s seen the data, and now he’s taking action,” she said in a statement.

    Read more from WHSV!

    Follow Virginia NORML on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and become a member today!

    Jack Porcari, Board Member, Western New York NORML

    Legalizing marijuana could lower costs for the transport and sale of medical marijuana, he said. It could also legalize other ways of ingesting medical marijuana, like a gummy form of the drug, he said. “This is a big deal,” said Porcari, an organizer for the Western New York chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. “It’s finally coming to fruition.”

    Read more from The Buffalo News!

    Follow Western New York NORML on Facebook and Twitter and become a member today!

    For over 45 years NORML chapters have been leading marijuana law reform conversations and continue to be the driving force behind policy decisions on the local and state level. Have you connected with your local NORML chapter? If there isn’t one in your community, please reach out to chapters@norml.org for help starting your own!

    Ready to start a NORML chapter in your hometown? Click here to find out how!

  • by Kevin Mahmalji, NORML Outreach Director July 30, 2018

    During Denver’s State of the City Address, Mayor Michael Hancock addressed many of the biggest issues facing residents of the Mile High City — including his plan to respond to the city’s opioid epidemic. With Denver’s Office of the Medical Examiner reporting 110 overdose fatalities involving opioids in 2017 and data from Denver Needs Assessment on Opioid Use, Mayor Hancock’s response is not a moment too soon.

    In the plan’s welcome letter, Mayor Hancock proudly states, “I present to you the Opioid Response Strategic Plan, the result of a collaborative effort among more than 100 government agencies and community organizations to address the opioid crisis in Denver. The work here represents a truly united effort by the Collective Impact Group, which was formed to combat opioid and other substance (mis)use in the city.”

    If you’re in Denver, click here to urge Mayor Hancock to acknowledge the role that marijuana can play in combating Denver’s opioid epidemic

    While we appreciate Mayor Hancock’s leadership, his decision to not highlight the role that  marijuana access can play as an alternative to opioids is concerning. Several observational studies – such as those here, here, and here – find that medical marijuana regulation is correlated with reductions in opioid-related use, drug spending, abuse, hospitalization, and mortality. Separate data evaluating prescription drug use trends among individual patients enrolled in state-licensed medical marijuana programs is consistent with this conclusion, finding that many chronic pain subjects reduce or eliminate their use of opioids following enrollment.

    Mayor Hancock should not ignore the reality that access to marijuana can play a role in mitigating the opioid abuse crisis. Click below to urge Mayor Hancock to acknowledge the role that marijuana access can play in combating the prescription drug overdose epidemic, and promoting greater public health and safety.

    If you’re in Denver, click here to urge Mayor Hancock to acknowledge the role that marijuana can play in combating Denver’s opioid epidemic

    Have you connected with your local NORML chapter? If there isn’t one in your community, please reach out to chapters@norml.org for help starting your own!

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