Report on NORML First SE Regional Conference
Report on NORML First SE Regional Conference Sat Dec 15, 2012
“Coming Together for Change” Part One by Bamboo Jones
“We need to help our members know the political climate and go to their legislators with an education package. Don’t be condescending, or treat them like idiots, or make it personal, or dress in a chicken suit or block a doorway.”
Cheyanne Weldon, Director of Women’s Outreach for Texas NORML, had Marijuana education experience the 52 attendees from seven states were eager to hear. This was the first South East NORML Conference in the history of the organization, held on a balmy December Saturday in 2012, in Nashville, TN.
“Keep in mind, it’s your lawmakers job, whatever they do or don’t do you don’t like, they’re just keeping their job. Once you get over and through that, you’re just educating them in conversations with peers. The Summary sheet tells who we are, what want and contains a section on decriminalization, facts around it and action we want them to take. ”
Weldon says her challenge in Texas is that the Legislature meets only 120 days every two years and they have thousands of bills to process.
“Get as many supporters to deliver (the education package) to their own representatives and advise them on what to be prepared for. Personal deliveries are good to create that conversation as first step. They (state reps) are uneducated in a lot of these aspects. Many legislative aids had no idea that Marijuana was in class like heroine, and that hemp is illegal too. Nothing will happen until we get more people to call their offices and tell them about it.”
This was the tone of the day as Greta Gaines told about the history of hemp in the US, how the plant has thousands of positive uses and her letter to the president outlining how it can help our economy (See link for the full letter); TN Senator Cohen sent a letter outlining his efforts to reform marijuana laws after 40 years of a counter productive drug war; Chris Butts of the Alabama Medical Marijuana Coalition explained how pain pills for a spinal injury ruined his life and he got it back by switching to Marijuana and Epidemiologist Bernie Ellis, the first Federal Medical Marijuana convict seeking a presidential pardon, listed numerous uses medical uses for cannabis.
Ron Crumpton, Executive Director of the Alabama Medical Marijuana Coalition said we need to organize core groups with three components; looks, brains and brawn.
More about that and Marijuana Activism Tips coming soon. In the mean time, check out NORML North Carolina’s post for a great synopsis of those steps.