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Nevada NORML

  • by Josh Kasoff, Nevada NORML April 28, 2020

    Even in the midst of a global pandemic that’s resulted in devastating shockwaves felt across every economic sector, Nevada NORML has nevertheless continued to strongly advocate for cannabis reform in these uncertain and unknown times. And with the month of April having the worldwide cannabis day of celebration, we knew that a 4/20-centric event was exactly what our great cannabis community in Nevada and beyond deserves.

    While public in-person events are currently on hold, the dedicated members of Nevada NORML assembled something incredible and comprehensive, all over the course of less than three weeks. Since we unfortunately couldn’t have an in-person event given the current pandemic, yet still wanted to celebrate The Highest of Holidays with our cannabis-loving community, we had the honor of hosting our 420 Stay Home Stay High Extravaganza.

    Co-hosted with our good friends and passionate cannabis advocates at Culture and Cannabis at the always gracious Rigel Studios, we had the pleasure of featuring a vast array of talented and unique content. Consisting of over 50 segments in total, our community had the pleasure of tuning in to a true cannabis-centric variety show, one that would put Dean Martin and Carol Burnett’s long-running variety shows to shame. Embracing the pure creative power of the cannabis community throughout The Battle Born State, the five-hour extravaganza was certainly one to remember.

    Product reviews of local cannabis companies’ wares from weed influencers, delicious at-home cooking lessons and recipes with cannabis chefs, yoga and hiking videos from 420-friendly instructors and hikers, to short films from community members discussing local cannabis-related issues and topics.

    Thought-provoking interviews with notable people such as Jerome Baker Designs founder Jason Harris, State Assemblyman Steve Yeager, Las Vegas City Councilman Tick Segerblom, and those on the ground fighting the good fight to ensure that this essential plant can still be accessible to consumers during these unforeseen times. Messages from NORML founder Keith Stroup and our multi-segment “Virtual Doobie Sesh”, a compilation of our community members hitting the joint and virtually passing it to their friend on the left, is just some of the content available to viewers far and wide.

    Through it all, we at Nevada NORML couldn’t be any happier with all of our segment submissions and that everything miraculously came together in a matter of weeks. Even in the most self-isolating and socially distant of times, Nevada NORML is nonetheless proud to stand for cannabis consumers and their rights, but we couldn’t do it without the wonderfully creative community that we’re lucky to have. 

    Stay Home, Stay Healthy, Stay Hydrated, Stay Woke and most importantly, Stay High.

  • by Josh Kasoff, Nevada NORML March 12, 2020

    In the same vein as our historic start to 2020, the month of February proved to be an equally memorable and important month for the Las Vegas chapter of NORML. Throughout the city, we’ve been making sure that criminal justice advocacy stays at the forefront of the social cannabis community’s mind. From staying up to date on the happenings of the legal adult use industry to the patient and consumer rights that we stand for, we’re going into March with an even stronger, fired up passion and our forever memorable February is to blame. 

    Dana Gentry at February’s meeting

    At our monthly meeting hosted by our generous dispensary/cannabis mini-museum sponsor Acres, members and guests were able to hear from award-winning investigative journalist and longtime Las Vegan media personality Dana Gentry. Most recently, the reporter exposed the many misdeeds of the Department of Taxation throughout a series of articles with the Nevada Current, from blatant examples of nepotism and playing favorites with certain cannabis companies over others to full on corruption within the very regulatory body supposedly put in place to act as an authority figure over this newly legal industry. 

    Continuing from our inaugural meeting in January, the team at Las Vegas NORML has spread across cannabis-related events and locations across Sin City getting the information out about our Smoke The Vote campaign. With methods such as hosting popups at dispensaries and providing knowledge about all the upcoming state and federal elections with plans to helping people get registered to vote at the dispensaries themselves, Las Vegas NORML is ensuring that the democratic voices of cannabis patients, consumers and advocates are heard clear as day and that thorough cannabis reforms are enacted. 

    For the Presidential debate hosted in the heart of Sin City which certainly had a slight focus on issues directly facing Nevadans, Las Vegas NORML hosted a watch party complete with popcorn and snacks in The Cannabis Business Den. The Democratic candidates, many of them considered senior citizens, traded verbal blows and “threw shade” as the Gen Z’ers would say about a certain candidate’s previous errors or scandals like it was a high school trash talking contest. From Elizabeth Warren absolutely eviscerating Michael Bloomberg over non-disclosure agreements he signed in relation to sexual harassment incidents to of course, Joe Biden awkardly touching Pete Buttigieg, the debate was undoubtedly more theatrical than analytical, but everyone’s hilarious banter and reactions to the hijinks of an actual presidential debate made it a great time regardless. 

    Aariel Williams with a handful of panelists

    And as the pinnacle of February and the importance of remembering the history of a culture of America’s society that have contributed to the greater good of our country in an endless amount of ways. For our 3rd Annual Black History Month Summit and Celebration, Las Vegas NORML paired up with the Cannabis Law Society, an organization consisting of UNLV Boyd School of Law students advocating for cannabis and drug sentencing reform founded by our member Aariel Williams. 

    “I’m grateful that we were able to have these conversations,” explained Williams, “because that is how we work towards change. We had a Students for Sensible Drug Policy chapter from Golden Gate School of Law attend, and they said it was one of the best cannabis education events they’ve attended.” 

    Hosted in UNLV’s Richard Tam Alumni Center, the summit had a series of panel discussions with successful, well experienced and influential people of color who incorporate cannabis into their lives and professions in a variety of ways. The spectrum of speakers and their subjects of expertise varied greatly, from XXL Freshman-featured musician Dizzy Wright to G Five Cultivation CEO Larry Smith, Director of Black Caucus Nevada Yvette Williams and NORML Board of Directors Member Kyndra Miller Esq. 

    “We began this year with intense momentum and passion for education & reform within the Silver State.” said Executive Director Madisen Saglibene. “I am proud to say that with the Black History Month Summit completed, and Smoke the Vote well underway, it’s obvious we aren’t slowing down. I look forward to what’s in store as we head into this local elections cycle – defining vital seats who will either align with us, or vote against us.”

  • by Josh Kasoff, Nevada NORML January 29, 2020

    Although we’re only one month into the Roaring 20’s, Nevada NORML has already hit the cannabis advocacy ground running at full sprint. Following a wild and groundbreakingly successful 2019 with several memorable events across both The Battle Born State and the nation as a whole, Nevada NORML wanted to ensure that their operations in 2020 surpassed even that of the previous year. After coming down from the high of coordinating all the panels for the CBD.io convention and hosting a festive Happy Holidays party at Nuwu’s historic cannabis consumption lounge, taking it to an even higher level in 2020 was absolutely vital.      

    Starting within the first few days of the year, Las Vegas NORML hosted their monthly meeting with a very special guest and a representative who’s become a huge legislative champion for cannabis, Assemblyman Steve Yeager. During the meeting, Yeager spoke about the new pieces of cannabis legislation signed by Governor Sisolak from the 2019 legislative session that Nevada NORML was instrumental in the passing of, such as Assembly Bill 132 and 192. As usual, Acres Underground was packed to capacity with passionate volunteers who span from across the cannabis community and those new faces eager to learn about cannabis advocacy.

    On January 22nd in the state-of-the-art Cannabis Business Den in the heart of Downtown Las Vegas, Nevada NORML then hosted the first meeting of their extensive campaign for the countless elections occurring throughout all branches of government in November, lovingly called Smoke The Vote. During the meeting, Madisen, Executive Direcor, and Tina, Communications Director, spoke about how to register, the various strategies throughout Nevada that NORML and the many volunteers will be using for mass voter registration and awareness for further cannabis reform within the state and desperately needed reforms on the federal level.

    “Smoke the Vote has been a strong national campaign by NORML for years, and we here in Nevada are proud to do our part to contribute to it.” says Nevada NORML Director Madisen Saglibene. “By building bridges between consumers, industry, and government officials, we anticipate extremely high participation in the 2020 election cycle and beyond.”

    The innovative ways in which Nevada NORML will be finding consumers and turning them into new voters and volunteers will be vast far reaching across the state. 

    “Through partnerships with local dispensaries along with other supporters, we will be popping up at various locations to spread the word about the voter registration process. As we get closer to November, we will be providing voters with a scorecard based on candidates positions on cannabis reform. We look forward to working with candidates and consumers alike to work towards sensible solutions within marijuana policy.” describes Saglibene. 

    And just this past weekend, Las Vegas NORML ventured to visit friends up north, Reno NORML, and assist in their defining activities over the weekend. While there, Nevada NORML exhibited its true strength for providing the unique blend of cannabis culture and cannabis advocacy at Hookava hookah bar. And to their credit, Reno NORML hosted an inaugural fundraiser/party this past Saturday with a turnout and an exhilarating energy that could easily match any party at a hookah bar in Vegas. 

    “The amount of people that came together for our very first fundraiser to support responsible cannabis use was unbelievable.” described Reno NORML Treasurer, Heather Carona. “It was a great kickoff event for NORML officially coming to Northern Nevada and was an opportunity to share what we are about. So many vendors and people were willing to offer their time, and products for raffles or sponsorships. It was very inspiring.”

    To document, a couple of Reno NORML volunteers put together a video of the event, perfectly detailing the success of the fundraiser. 

    “NORML is tat he core of legal cannabis and we are at the forefront. Our first fundraiser’s success shows how hungry the community is for cannabis law reformation. History is being made.” said Reno NORML Communications Director, Conchita Maberry. 

    With events focusing on everything from the next steps in the Smoke The Vote campaign to Black History Month and the racial injustices that have come with cannabis prohibition, February is guaranteed to be one to remember and especially one to become involved in.

  • 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.

  • by Josh Kasoff, Nevada NORML November 5, 2019

    To honor both those who have bravely served and those who still suffer due to federal cannabis laws, Nevada NORML will be hosting a unique event on Veteran’s Day. The virtual lobby day, a lobbying event done entirely through electronic means, will raise awareness of the many federal pieces of legislation that could benefit veterans such as Hawaii Senator Brian Schatz and California Congresswoman Barbara Lee-sponsored The Veterans Medical Marijuana Safe Harbor Act, which would allow veterans in states or Indian tribal lands with current medicinal laws to both possess medical cannabis and discuss medical cannabis options with a Veterans Affairs-affiliated doctor – without fear of repercussions.

    Another crucial benefit of The Veterans Medical Marijuana Safe Harbor Act is that its passage will enact a series of studies conducted by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs two years after it’s passing, one on the “effects of medical marijuana on veterans in pain” and another pertaining to “the relationship between treatment programs involving medical marijuana that are approved by states, the access of veterans to such programs, and a reduction in opioid abuse among veterans.”

    Six months following the completion of these studies, the Secretary will compile the findings into a detailed report that will then be submitted to Congress, hopefully providing undeniable evidence to the prohibitionist members of the Legislative Branch who refuse to believe in medical freedom.

    With Nevada NORML’s Virtual Lobby Day, volunteers will be utilizing a variety of communication mediums, from letter writing campaigns to phone banking and social media, to contact their representatives to demonstrate support for these federal bills. Through registering to vote from The Nevada Secretary of State’s Office, volunteers will then be directed to a script containing valuable speaking points depending on which bill they’ll be calling the representative about along with their contact information.

    “We have set a goal of 1,000 calls to our representatives’ offices in DC on November 12th.” said Nevada NORML Director Madisen Saglibene. “We know that with our statewide efforts, we can show our leaders the constituent support that exists to urge their support for the Veterans Medical Marijuana Safe Harbor Act.”

    To stand in solidarity through social media, shareable graphics will be produced by NORML with accompanying hashtags such as “#freedomisNORML” and #homemeansNevada.

    The time we’re living in is among the most crucial for cannabis reform, and continued demonstrations of support for reform and medical expansion for our nation’s heroes will hopefully lead to quicker results than waiting idly for change.

    Rep. Barbara Lee with Nevada NORML’s leadership