Activism

Texas: Former Corrections Officer To Join Marijuana Policy Reformers For Advocacy Training Event

MichaelGilbertPhD[UTSA]

Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy is mobilizing activists throughout Texas in an effort to inject marijuana policy debate into 2016 state legislative races

Local marijuana policy reform activists, including a former Texas corrections officer, will gather Saturday for an advocacy training event at the Janet F. Harte Library in Corpus Christi.

The event, hosted by Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy, is the third in a series of events being held around the state as part of an effort to inject the marijuana policy debate into 2016 state legislative races. Regional events are also scheduled for East Texas on December 5 and Houston on December 12. Last month, activists held trainings in Dallas and San Antonio.

The featured speaker at Saturday’s event will be Michael Gilbert, Ph.D., a University of Texas San Antonio criminal justice professor and former Texas corrections officer. He will join representatives of Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy for media availability at 12:00 p.m. CT, and members of the media are invited to listen to his presentation at 1:15 p.m. CT.

“During nearly 16 years working as a corrections professional with military and state corrections, it became clear to me that marijuana prohibition is causing more harm than good," Dr. Gilbert said. "These laws have been counterproductive and fail to meet any of their policy objectives.

Virginia: Drug Policy Reform Conference To Feature Black Lives Matter Cofounder

PatrisseCullorsBlackLivesMatter[Twitter]

Thursday, November 19: International Drug Policy Reform Conference to Feature Town Hall Meeting Featuring BLM Co-Founder Patrisse Cullors and Leading Drug Policy Reform Activists

The Drug War is a primary source of funding for the tanks in towns like Ferguson, the over-policing in New York City and the unprecedented discretion given to police officers to criminalize black people. With the meteoric rise of the Movement for Black Lives and the growing movement for broader drug policy reform, what are the essential questions that drug policy reformers must ask themselves about black lives? And how can we join forces to course correct and create a world where all our communities can thrive?

These questions and many more will be explored at a live town hall as part of the International Drug Policy Reform Conference, hosted by the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) in the Washington, D.C. area from Nov. 18-21. The conference brings together more than 1200 leading international experts, treatment providers, researchers, policymakers and key activists at the leading global forum on drug policy reform.

Texas: Marijuana Activists To Gather In Dallas Saturday For Advocacy Training Event

TexansForResponsibleMarijuanaPolicy(logo)

Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy is mobilizing activists throughout Texas in an effort to inject marijuana policy debate into 2016 state legislative races

Local marijuana policy reform activists, including a former Dallas police official, will gather Saturday, Oct. 31, for an advocacy training event at the J. Erik Jonsson Central Library in Dallas.

The event, hosted by Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy, is the second in a series of events being held around the state as part of an effort to inject the marijuana policy debate into 2016 state legislative races. Regional events are also scheduled for Corpus Christi on November 7, East Texas on December 5, and Houston on December 12. The first event was held earlier this month in San Antonio.

The featured speaker at Saturday’s event will be Joe Morris, a retired senior police corporal who enforced marijuana laws in uniform and undercover during his tenure at the Dallas Police Department. He will join representatives of Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy for media availability at 9:30 a.m. CT, and members of the media are invited to listen to his presentation at 10:15 a.m. CT.

“Marijuana prohibition has been a public policy failure and a public safety nightmare,” said Morris, who participated in hundreds of marijuana-related undercover stings during his career, oftentimes involving buying marijuana from or selling it to high school students.

California: Marijuana Legalization Supporters Split Up, Threaten Separate Initiatives

ReformCalifornia[logo]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

With legalization seemingly a near-certainty coming down the pike in California, there's a lot of excitement in the air. And the smell of money has joined the aroma of cannabis, stoking the excitement to a fever pitch. But there's a fly in that medicated ointment.

Inspired by successes in Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska, activists are hungrily eyeing California, the biggest prize of all in the recreational legalization sweepstakes, reports Dennis Romero at the L.A. Weekly.

Legalization fell short in the Golden State in 2010 with Proposition 19, and that sad outcome could see a repeat if multiple initiatives compete against each other to qualify, and if two or more reach the ballot and face off against each other.

What was supposed to be the unifying initiative -- ReformCA, from the Coalition for Cannabis Policy Reform -- was the intended vehicle for all the big players in California cannabis politics to support; they almost pulled it off, too.

Texas: Marijuana Activists Mobilizing Statewide; 3 Out Of 4 Voters Support Reform

TexansForResponsibleMarijuanaPolicy(logo)

Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy to Mobilize Activists Statewide in Effort to Inject Marijuana Policy Debate Into 2016 State Legislative Races; New Texas Lyceum Poll Finds Three Out of Four Voters Support Reform

First of several regional advocacy training events will be held Saturday in San Antonio; UTSA criminal justice professor and former corrections officer Michel Gilbert will be a guest speaker

Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy will hold an advocacy training event Saturday, October 3, in San Antonio that will mark the beginning of a statewide effort to inject the marijuana policy debate into 2016 state legislative races. Regional events are also scheduled for Dallas on October 31, Corpus Christi on November 7, East Texas on December 5, and Houston on December 12.

“Comprehensive marijuana reform saw tremendous progress this legislative session largely because families and regular Texans shared their stories with lawmakers,” said State Sen. José Menéndez (D-San Antonio). “The movement to change our antiquated and dangerous prohibition laws are gaining traction. However, that momentum will be lost unless citizens stay engaged with their lawmakers during the interim and campaign season.

“That's why these advocacy training events are so important because citizens will be the catalyst for change,” Sen. Menéndez said. “I'm excited the inaugural training session is taking place in San Antonio. Poll after poll shows Texans are ready for comprehensive marijuana reform.”

U.S.: National Cannabis Patients Wall Passes 18,000 Members

NationalCannabisPatientsWall

The National Cannabis Patients Wall, a nonprofit advocacy organization working to change the perception of medical cannabis and its legislation, and humanize the perception of its patients, on Tuesday announced that it has exceeded 18,000 members.

"We endeavor to help patients find support, encourage and support activism while educating the public about medical cannabis and its advantages while raising funds to build display walls to represent patients from every state," said founding Executive Director Dana Arvidson of The Wall. "One of our primary goals is to assist patients in every state to reverse the prohibition of cannabis this year, and to end the needless suffering, before more people die.

"We work daily to assist the repeal of marijuana prohibition, opening the door to common sense regulation," Arvidson said.

According to Arvidson, The Walls' patient support group welcomes patient questions and offers loving support during times of trial and celebration. "We provide patients with a place to gather with others that feel the same way," Arvidson said. "It truly helps when a Patient knows they are not alone in their struggle.

"We also share patient's stories of healing or their search for healing, and many times their struggle for legalization in states denying them legal access," Arvidson said. "We also do our best to connect them with appropriate doctors and dispensaries in their area."

Oregon: Hempstalk Harvest Festival Set For October 17-18th in Tom McCall Waterfront Park

Hempstalk2015Poster

By Michael Bachara, Hemp News

Hempstalk Harvest Festival will be held at Tom McCall Waterfront Park in Portland, Oregon on October 17th and 18th. Hempstalk advocates decriminalization of cannabis for medicinal, industrial, and social use. Founded in 2005, the festival features live music, guest speakers, food and goods vendors and information booths. This public event has always been free to attend, with a suggested donation of $10 per person.

According to Paul Stanford, founder and presenting sponsor of the event, "Hempstalk is about the many uses of agricultural hemp fiber, oil, protein, fuel and medicine. We are working to end adult cannabis prohibition, allow adults to grow their own and license the legal sale of psychoactive cannabis to adults. We believe that hemp will save the Earth's biosphere with the adoption of hemp seed for bio-diesel fuel, which will solve the energy and world hunger problems, and stop deforestation when hemp fiber is used for paper and building materials."

Featuring three stages, the Jack Herer Memorial Stage, the newly added Elechronic stage in the Larry “LK” Kirk Memorial Pavilion, and the Lyon Pride Stage, the event is sure to inspire and inform attendees. Already confirmed on the musical bill for 2015 are John Trudell and Bad Dog, Herbivores, Los Marijuanos, Binghi and the 7th Seal, John Cornett, The Sindicate, J Mack and Big Dub, Bad Habitat and more.

U.S.: Drug Policy Alliance Celebrates Latino Drug Policy Reformers

AnaYanez-Correa[DPA]

This week, the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) will launch a month-long online tribute to Latino drug policy reformers. As the nation reflects upon the history, cultures and contributions of Latinos in the U.S., DPA recognizes the significant and far-reaching roles that Latino activists, communities, advocates and movement builders have played and continue to play in ending the war on drugs.

The drug war has had a devastating impact on Latino and Latin American communities – fueling mass incarceration, widespread detention and deportation, border militarization, racial profiling, and rampant crime, corruption and violence. Latinos make up 17 percent of the U.S. population, and use and sell drugs at similar rates as other people in the U.S. Yet Latinos comprise 20 percent of people in state prisons for drug offenses, 37 percent of people in federal prisons for drug offenses, and almost half (47 percent) of all cases in federal courts for drug offenses. Roughly 40,000 people (overwhelmingly Latinos) are deported every year for nonviolent drug offenses.

Against this backdrop, many Latino activists and communities are fighting back – and have been for years. From criminal justice reform advocates and groups most affected by failed drug policies to on-the-ground harm reduction activists, DPA acknowledges the profound and transformative contributions and sacrifices of this distinguished list of drug policy reformers who struggle to end the drug war in their communities – and all communities.

U.S.: Activist Discusses Cannabis Industry's Lack of Diversity

CharloGreene[Ganjapreneur.com]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Marijuana activist Charlo Greene, who famously quit her job as a reporter on live television last year, is now working to increase diversity in the legal cannabis industry.

Greene recently talked with Ganjapreneur about her work to advance legalization efforts and protect medical marijuana patients in her home state of Alaska, along with lack of diversity in the industry.

Addressing several possible reasons for the racial disparity, Greene said she believes the cannabis activist community and industry as a whole is ready and welcoming to entrepreneurs of color.

"To be a true activist you have to know the cause you're fighting for and its history," she said. "All real cannabis activists know our drug policy is racist as fuck."

In the interview Greene also encouraged people of color to pursue business opportunities in legal cannabis, but warned of the "double-edged sword" of publicity.

To help promote a more inclusive industry, Greene founded GoGreene.org, a nonprofit intended to encourage diversity via education, networking and empowerment. GoGreene.org's stated mission is to "cultivate diversity in cannabis advocacy and industry" through events that promote "education, networking, and empowerment."

"We’re working to activate communities of color as we march toward the end of prohibition and to arm everyday citizens from all walks of life with the education and community backing they need to champion the movement in their areas," Greene said.

Colorado: Activists Pull Back On Denver Marijuana Nightclubs Measure

DenverMarijuanaBar[TedSWarrenAP]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Activists campaigning to allow marijuana to be legally used in adults-only businesses such as bars and nightclubs said on Thursday they are withdrawing a ballot measure that would have put the issue before Denver voters this November.

Sponsors said they were pulling the initiative because they hope to reach a compromise with city officials and business groups that could result in a local ordinance allowing some limited social cannabis use in Denver, reports Jack Healy at The New York Times.

Colorado's recreational marijuana legalization law doesn't allow "public use." But activists said restrictions had prohibited cannabis everywhere except in private homes and a few 420-friendly bed-and-breakfasts scattered around the state.

The ballot proposal would have allowed adults to consume cannabis edibles or inhale vaporized marijuana outdoors, if blocked from public view.

Organizers said it's still too early to know what might be included in any compromise ordinance. If that effort stalls, they said, the ballot measure might be reintroduced next year.

Photo: Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

Kansas: Mother, Marijuana Advocate Shona Banda Faces Preliminary Hearing Nov. 16

ShonaBandaShowsBiceps[SupportShonda.com]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Shona Banda, a Kansas mother who faces three felony charges and two misdemeanors for medical marijuana, will face a preliminary hearing on November 16. Banda has not entered a plea, contrary to incorrect press reports; Finney County District Attorney Susan Richmeier incorrectly stated in a Monday email that Banda had done so.

Law enforcement authorities and the Kansas Department of Children and Families started "investigating" Banda after her 11-year-old son said during an anti-drug program at his school that his mom smokes "a lot" of pot, reports Gabriella Dunn of The Wichita Eagle. The 11-year-old could name various strains of cannabis, according to Banda's arrest affidavit.

In an interview last month, Banda told of how cannabis oil has helped her cope with her Crohn's disease, when other medical remedies did not. She wrote a book, Live Free Or Die: Reclaim Your Life ... Reclaim Your Country, about her marijuana use to treat her disease.

"When I'm dying, I'm going to do whatever it takes to save my life," she said during the interview last month. "It's instinct -- it's human instinct at its very core. You should not have to choose your life over a law."

Photo of Shona Banda: SupportShona.com

U.S.: National Cannabis Industry Association Expands Advocacy Team On Capitol Hill

NationalCannabisIndustryAssociation(logoJPG)

“We’re taking our legislative strategy to a new level, enlisting a top-quality bipartisan team to further fight for the rights of our responsible small business owners.”

With the legal marijuana business valued at nearly $3 billion nationwide and growing, a national trade group -- the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) -- is expanding its advocacy team on Capitol Hill.

NCIA has partnered with D.C.-based public affairs firms Heather Podesta + Partners and Jochum Shore & Trossevin PC to magnify its efforts to address the industry’s top federal priorities: access to basic banking services and fair federal taxation.

“In the five years since NCIA was formed, we’ve gone from simply seeking to have our industry’s issues taken seriously to bipartisan legislation introduced in both chambers,” said NCIA executive director Aaron Smith. “We’ve seen successful appropriations amendment votes on the House floor and in Senate committee, and we’ve helped bring together a coalition of lawmakers that spans the political spectrum.

“Now we’re taking our legislative strategy to a new level, enlisting a top-quality bipartisan team to further fight for the rights of our responsible small business owners to be treated fairly under federal law,” Smith said.

U.S.: Marijuana Arrest Turns Into Music Career For Chief Greenbud

ChiefGreenbud2015(Use)

A simple marijuana possession charge in a small Nashville suburb back in 2005 changed the career trajectory of a small business owner and songwriter. When he saw firsthand how the system handles those convicted of what he saw as a victimless crime, Chief Greenbud decided to share his experience.

After writing several songs on the subject and posting them online, he was asked to perform for a local chapter of NORML, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. Ten years later the Chief is releasing his fourth album and has amassed over 1.7 million followers on his social networks.

Chief Greenbud's latest CD, "Chief Greenbud Volume 4" is set for physical and digital release on August 25.

The Chief said he's especially proud of the title, saying “I've spent a lot of time thinking about it. We've had multiple meetings brainstorming ideas to come up with the perfect name to represent what we're putting on the CD. I feel that we captured its essence,” he noted lightheartedly.

“There are several songs that I am excited for people to hear," Chief Greenbud said. "‘Everybody Gets High’ is an upbeat anthem that every stoner will be able to groove to and sing along with.”

Another song on the disc is 'iBake', about a regular guy who likes to smoke a little weed but is fearful of what may happen if he is caught. As the lyrics state, "I can’t wait for the day when my state says okay, and I won’t waste a single minute being afraid I bake."

Oregon: AJ+ - How High Is Too High? (Documentary)

AJ+ - Weed The People

By Michael Bachara, Hemp News

Earlier this month, AJ+ traveled to Oregon's first legal social cannabis celebration, "Weed the People", to produce a documentary titled "How High Is Too High?". The comedic documentary showcases the emerging cannabis industry and brings awareness to social cannabis in America. At the event, growers distributed free cannabis samples, Obama Kush, Purple Alien Dawg and, the most popular, Girl Scout Cookie. Cannabis industry vendors educated the masses on their methods of cultivation. Most attendees received approximately seven grams of cannabis. The cost of the event was $40 per person.

Using their comedic point of view, AJ+ highlights the common assumptions about people who consume cannabis and then proceeds to discount those assumptions by talking with the event attendees and getting real opinions. One of the attendees, a computer programmer, states, "Sometimes when I'm stuck on a problem I don't understand, I can smoke and see things in a different way."

Since the passage of Oregon Measure 91, individuals over 21 are allowed to possess an ounce of cannabis in public and may possess eight ounces of cannabis in their home. Oregon residents may cultivate four plants for personal use, per household, and individuals are allowed to give away an ounce to friends and family.

California: Advocates To Hand-Deliver Medical Marijuana Petition To Sen. Feinstein

DianneFeinsteinSenatorCalifornia[SFChronicle]

Over 10,000 Signatories Tell Feinstein to Stop Opposing Medical Marijuana

Petition Follows Feinstein's Recent Vote Against Protecting Californian Residents from Federal Interference in Medical Marijuana Laws

A group of California-based advocates on Tuesday will hand-deliver a medical marijuana petition to the San Francisco office of Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA). Feinstein has been a leading opponent of cannabis reform, and recently spoke out against an amendment that would protect state medical marijuana programs from federal interference.

The amendment passed the Senate Appropriations Committee 21-9, with Feinstein as the only Democrat to oppose the measure, joining eight Republicans who voted in support.

California locals are fed up with Feinstein's well-documented opposition to medical marijuana, according to Amanda Reiman, manager, Marijuana Law and Policy, with the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA).

"California has allowed access to medical marijuana for 20 years and the vast majority of Californians support this," Reiman said. "It is disappointing that Senator Feinstein continues to be a lone voice of opposition from California when it comes to supporting medical marijuana patients."

New York: Families To Rally Demanding Governor Grant Access To Medical Marijuana

NewYorkMMJPatientRally[CompassionateCareNY]

Tuesday Marks One-Year Anniversary of Medical Marijuana Bill Signing

New Bill to Provide Faster Relief to Suffering Patients Just Passed NY Legislature with Overwhelming Bipartisan Support – But Needs Cuomo’s Signature to Become Law

On the one-year anniversary of the signing of New York’s medical marijuana law, patients and families will gather in front of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s New York City Office to urge him to sign a new bill that would create an emergency access program so that critically ill patients could access medical marijuana as soon as possible.

Since the medical marijuana law passed a year ago, not one patient in New York has been able to access medical marijuana and at least four children, who could have likely benefited from it, have tragically died while waiting to obtain this much-needed medicine.

Compassionate Care NY will hold a press conference urging Governor Cuomo to sign the emergency access bill.

What: Press conference and rally urging Cuomo to create emergency access to medical marijuana

Who:
• Representatives of the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA)
• Dr. Richard Carlton, physician and caregiver
• Elaine Smith, mother of a child with severe epilepsy
• Nancy Rivera, four-time cancer survivor
• Wanda Hernandez, person living with HIV/AIDS

When: Tuesday, July 7, 12:30 PM

Where: Outside Governor Cuomo’s NYC Offices; 633 Third Avenue, New York, NY

Global: New UN Report Exposes Failure Of War On Drugs But Ignores Causes, Solution

Support.DontPunish.(logo)

Activists in 150 Cities Call for End to Drug War, Including D.C. March from State Department to White House

UN Will Review International Drug Control Policies in 2016

The United Nations 2015 World Drug Report, released Friday, details the failure of and harms caused by the war on drugs, but doesn't grapple with the fact that problems such as alarmingly high overdose rates, control of the trade by organized crime networks and illegal sales funding terrorism are caused by the very prohibition policies the international body still supports.

Also on Friday, activists in more than 150 cities around the world called attention to the failure of the war on drugs, including with a march from the U.S. State Department to the White House to demand that the Obama Administration do more to bring about an end to international prohibition policies and the human rights violations they cause.

The day of action, called "Support, Don't Punish," coincides with the United Nations International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking -- which some governments use to focus on prevention and awareness, but which others have used to highlight large drug busts and seizures, or even to carry out executions. U.S.-based activists are particularly concerned that the Obama administration isn't doing enough to ensure that international aid isn't used to support the death penalty for nonviolent drug offenses.

D.C.: Activists To March Friday From State Dept. To White House To End War On Drugs

Support.DontPunish.(logo)

U.N. Preparing to Reconsider International Drug Control Policies

Activists will march from the U.S. State Department to the White House on Friday morning, demanding that the Obama Administration do more to end the failed War On Drugs and the human rights violations it causes. The advocates especially want the U.S. to ensure that international aid it provides is not used to support the death penalty for nonviolent drug offenses.

The march is part of a global day of action called "Support, Don't Punish," with events taking place in 150 cities around the world, including New York. It coincides with the annual United Nations International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, which some governments use to focus on prevention and awareness, but which others have used to highlight large drug busts and seizures, or even to carry out executions.

WHO: Organizations that oppose the War On Drugs and support human rights

WHAT: March -- part of an international day of action in 150 cities -- featuring signs with slogans like "Prohibition => Crime + Violence," "No Drug Executions With Our Dollars" and “Drug Execution Agency"

WHEN: Friday, June 26 at 9:30 AM ET

WHERE: From the State Department (2201 C St NW) to the White House (1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW)

Oregon: Celebrating a Champion - Larry LK Kirk

Larry Kirk

By Michael Bachara, Hemp News

Last Thursday, June 18, the cannabis community lost a colorful and dedicated freedom fighter, photographer and Army veteran, Larry LK Kirk. Known globally simply as "LK", Larry traveled the country to bring awareness to the injustice, which is the drug war. He believed no one should go to jail for a plant.

A long-time Hemp News and High Times photojournalist, LK captured thousands of historic photos in his effort to document the path to legalization. There was no distance too far in his effort to, as he stated, "document freedom as it happened.” LK had the ability and access to get the camera angles and photographic perspective that most could only imagine.

As an avid supporter of NORML, he had many friends in the organization from founder Keith Stroup to board member Rick Steves. LK was an Oregon NORML board member for several years and through his tireless efforts helped to persuade Oregonians to regulate cannabis in 2014.

LK was a regular attendee and judge at the High Times Cannabis Cups across the United States and in the Netherlands. Over the years, due to his dedication and charm, he became close family with the entire High Times crew.

Global: National Cannabis Patients Wall Humanizes Patients In 40 Countries

NationalCannabisPatientsWallBuildingWallsAgainstProhibition

The National Cannabis Patients Wall, a nonprofit advocacy organization working to humanize and change medical marijuana laws founded in 2014 in Tennessee, now reaches 40 countries around the world and has more than 17,000 members, organizers announced on Tuesday.

"We endeavor to help patients find support, encourage and support activism while educating the public about medical cannabis and its advantages, and raising funds to build display walls to represent patients from every state," explained NCPW founder Dana Arvidson of Nashville, Tennesseee.

“The National Cannabis Patient's Wall not only signifies our solidarity as patients in need of a safer and effective alternative to harsh pharmaceuticals, but also the barriers we must overcome, our current State and Federal laws, which keep us from the medicine we desire and need," Arvidson said.

Arvidson said the group, which maintains a prominent social media presence including on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Google+, aims to help patients in every state and country reverse the prohibition of cannabis this year, "and to end the needless suffering, before more people die."

"We work daily to assist the repeal of marijuana prohibition, opening the door to common sense regulation," Arvidson said.

According to Arvidson, one of the best parts of NCPW is letting patients know they aren't facing illness and often legal persecution all alone.

"We provide patients with a place to gather with others who feel the same way," she said. "It truly helps when a patient knows they are not along in their struggle.

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