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2019: A High-storic Year for Nevada NORML Chapters

  • by Josh Kasoff, Nevada NORML January 7, 2020

    In terms of a successful year of operations that a non-profit organization could have, it’s unlikely that any organization had as historic of a year as Las Vegas NORML had. Over the course of twelve months, the proud fighters of the Las Vegas chapter have taken cannabis advocacy, education and community to otherworldly levels through a variety of far-reaching ways. Since January, the advocates traveled across Sin City, completed a tour across the Battle Born State and to our nation’s capital on behalf of medical patients and those who have been unfairly affected by the War on Drugs. 

    To list everything we’ve done in the nineteenth year of this century, we’ve compiled a list of our 19 favorite and most meaningful moments over the year, many of which were impossible without the incredible community of equally passionate advocates that we’re lucky to have as our supporters.  

    Hosted pop-ups across Las Vegas and Reno

    To collect signatures for our trip to Washington DC for NORML’s national conference and lobby day, we hosted pop-up stops at the many dispensaries across Las Vegas and a few in Reno. From Oasis to Acres, we collected thousands of signatures in total, consisting of constituents voicing their support for several pieces of federal legislation. Those large stacks of supportive letters were then delivered directly to their representatives in DC.

    Initiated a patient voucher program for eligible patients

    Through NORML’s partnership with Sahara Wellness, The Source, and MMJ America, over 2,500 product vouchers were redeemed by eligible patients, including veterans, senior citizens and the many other individuals who receive thapeutic relief from the plant. 

    Visited Sandy Valley, NV in support of a cultivation facility

    To show support and provide knowledge for the populace of Sandy Valley, volunteers from Las Vegas NORML attended a town hall meeting where we addressed the divided community on a cultivation facility opening in their town. Some citizens were apprehensive and remained that way, yet we provided resources and spoke directly with the community and heard their concerns regardless, showing that respectfully speaking and providing accurate information to opponents of cannabis reform is the best way to change the negative views some still hold.  

    Protested anti-cannabis act by Nevada state government

    When the state legislators pulled the plug on the plans of cannabis consumption lounges guaranteed by the Las Vegas city council vote, almost 40 volunteers showed up to protest the Legislature’s disregard for consumer rights at the entrance of the Grant Sawyer Building. And back in Carson City, NORML participated in a political rally with other reform-based groups such as American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Planned Parenthood to combine our legislative efforts. 

    Black History Month Celebration

    For the 2nd year in a row, Las Vegas NORML hosted a seminar and panel discussion focused on diversity and equity within the cannabis space. These conversations helped provide deeper context on why we don’t see inclusivity as often in the marijuana industry – and how we can begin to change it from the ground up. 

    National NORML Conference & Lobby Day

    Every year our volunteers have the opportunity to learn more about activism and how our government works, then engage with our federal representatives in conversations about cannabis reform in Washington DC. We collaborated and shared ideas with dozens of other NORML chapters, then pled our cases to Nevada’s Congressional & Senate leaders. 

    Spoke with high-profile politicians such as Cory Booker and Susie Lee

    Through our advocacy and connections made in Las Vegas, volunteers from Nevada NORML chapters were able to attend political fundraisers and meet and greets with high-ranking politicians and presidential candidates, including New Jersey Senator Cory Booker and Nevada Congresswoman Susie Lee. We heard their viewpoints on cannabis reform and asked them questions in person on how their policies would affect consumers and patients.   

    Established a NORML chapter in Reno

    To expand the true reach of Nevada NORML, our volunteers created a chapter in our neighbor to the Northwest and the “Biggest Little City in the World”, Reno. Since its creation, Reno NORML began hosting monthly meetings alongside Budtender Fight Club to educate the community on state and federal laws.

    Director of Development Tina Ulman appeared on “The Ingraham Angle”

    Tina had the honor of appearing on the Fox News primetime program of a personality notoriously against cannabis, Laura Ingraham. During the segment, Tina defended the rights of patients and consumers as well as Assembly Bill 132 against Ingraham’s clear hostility and lack of promise to discussing the issue respectfully. Tina showed the true power of Nevada NORML’s advocacy on a national level. 

    Organized a virtual lobbying mission on Veterans’ Day 

    To show continued support for our nation’s heroes and legislation that could greatly expand their legal access to medical cannabis such as the Veterans’ Safe Harbor Act, Nevada NORML created a virtual lobbying day in which advocates continually call the offices of their federal representatives to voice support for these bills. Dozens of calls were made by Nevadan’s to each district, delivering a direct message to representatives in DC.     

     Created panel lineup at Reno Cannabis Convention

    To continue our support for the community in Reno, we organized every informative panel at the 2nd Annual Reno Cannabis Convention, including subjects such as diversity in the industry, personal cultivation, and tips on best smoking apparatus. 

    Organized a 50+ panel discussion for CBD.io

    In November, Las Vegas NORML organized an extensive series of panel discussions for the CBD mega-convention with cameo appearances by Mike Tyson and Dennis Rodman, CBD.io. With over 100 panelists in total, we hosted discussions on everything from culinary uses to politics/law, and several on CBD and health, from mental health to its possible medicinal uses and even sexual health.

    Nevada & Las Vegas NORML Director Madisen Saglibene receives NORML Activist of the Year Award

    A passionate fighter and volunteer for cannabis, our wonderful state director Madisen Saglibene won a national award from NORML and one very well deserved. Madisen received the honorable title of NORML’s Activist of the Year award for her tireless efforts in planning an impactful and memorable year of cannabis advocacy for the state of Nevada. 

    Meetings Grew Substantially in Size

    Throughout monthly meetings in 2019, we became humbled by all the new and continued attendance by advocates and those passionate about cannabis reform, medical access and legal rights for consumers. From only a few dozen to well over a hundred, being able to see the power of cannabis advocacy in Las Vegas grow so much during this year is something we’ll forever be grateful for. It is thanks to Acres Dispensary that we had the wonderful opportunity to utilize the Underground for these monthly meetings.

    Lobbied for Medical Access and Cannabis Reform in Carson City

    Volunteers from Nevada NORML travelled to our state capital of Carson City and lobbied for cannabis-related legislation this during Nevada’s 2019 Legislative Session. Among our greatest accomplishments was the passing of Assembly Bill 132, which protected legal cannabis consumers from refusal of employees due to a positive cannabis result on a drug test. Additionally, AB 192, allowing expansions for record sealing in Nevada. Other legislative efforts made by our activists helped expand qualifications for medical marijuana and eliminate needless discrimination by CPS upon cannabis patient parents.

    Took a tour of Northern Nevada

    As part of the reason for starting the Reno chapter of NORML, our volunteers went on a tour across Northern Nevada in June. During our time there, we held a meeting in Fallon, meeting the owner of the only existing dispensary in town called Green Cross Farmacy, one that can only be medical only due to local prohibitions. We went to other dispensaries across the state to advocate. We built support further for cannabis in areas not often visited by cannabis or reform groups. 

    Attended numerous cannabis industry trade shows

    Besides organizing the panel discussions for CBD.io and Reno Cannabis Convention, the volunteers of Las Vegas NORML also remain involved with the businesses of the cannabis industry by attending trade shows such as the 2-day Champs Cannabis Trade Show and presented during the Associations Day portion of MJBizCon to educate and partner with companies passionate about cannabis reform.  

    Established and increased a media presence for Nevada NORML

    In 2019, NORML drastically increased our online presence. By utilizing social media and an amazing videographer, we were able to quickly spread information for advocacy efforts such as our Veterans Day Virtual Lobbying Day and capture quality videos of our events and happenings to show directly to our volunteers at meetings and social media followings. 

    Fantastic new brand partnerships

    2019 brought us such wealth in terms of supportive cannabis industry sponsors. Our relationships with brands like The Source, Old Pal, Fleur and Pure Extracts (to name a few) are extremely authentic! These respected brands support our mission and are constantly finding ways to be more involved. It was with their support that we were able to travel to Washington DC to lobby for cannabis consumer rights.

    Overall, 2019 was a historic year for both Las Vegas and Reno NORML, with our advocacy efforts and actions across the country reaching equally as historic levels. We once again witnessed that even though cannabis may be recreationally legal in the Battle Born State, the fight for consumer and patient rights is far over and in 2020, our volunteers plan on continuing the fight on every front. Thank you to all our phenomenal volunteers for their appreciation and support of NORML and get ready for a groundbreaking 2020.

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