Benzie County: Chamber Nixes NORML 

Benzie County: Chamber Nixes NORML 
Posted by CN Staff on November 13, 2003 at 07:55:21 PT
By Record-Eagle Staff Writer
Source: Record-Eagle
Beulah -- A Benzie County organization working to legalize marijuana says they were weeded out of the Chamber of Commerce. And they're not just blowing smoke. The Rev. Steven Thompson, president of the Benzie National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, or NORML, said the group thought it was welcome this spring when they paid their dues and received a member plaque.
"We were trying to dispel the stereotype that we're all a bunch of Cheech and Chong people and also dispel the myth we're all a bunch of criminals or terrorists," he said.But a letter sent this fall by chamber president Brenda Sue Webber says the board decided to reject the group.   Webber declined comment on the decision, saying it would be inappropriate.    Carol Davidson, executive director of the chamber, said the 18 board members were unanimous.   "Our board feels a responsibility to make the best decisions on behalf of the business community," she said.   The letter sent to Thompson said area businesses support drug-free work environments and employee drug testing.   "We are in agreement with these priorities," the letter continued. "We find that your goals are not consistent with our philosophy and responsibility."   Thompson said he and 63 other Benzie NORML members see the refusal as a slap in the face.   "Most of us have been doing business with our local businesses all our lives," he said. "We're real adamant about supporting our local businesses."    Board members Bob Yeager and Doug Rodriguez would not comment on their decision but both said they have not changed their mind.   Thompson said the group would continue to rally for membership.   "Instead of choosing a high ball or a beer after work, we might just choose to roll up a doobie or hit a bong and do it naturally," he said. "We're supposed to have the right to do what we want to do in our own homes and we're not hurting anybody."Note: Group sees refusal as a slap in the face.   Source: Traverse City Record-Eagle (MI)Published: November 13, 2003Copyright: 2003 The Traverse City Record-EagleContact: letters record-eagle.comWebsite: -- NORML Archives
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Comment #4 posted by escapegoat on November 13, 2003 at 10:32:12 PT
Contact them and tell them why they're wrong
Maybe we should let them know that their discriminiatory attitude will certainly discourage business and tourism in Benzie County...Benzie County Chamber of Commerce
PO Box 204
Benzonia, MI 49616Local Phone: 231-882-5801
Toll Free: 800-882-5801 
Fax: 231-882-9249
Email: chamber
Benzie County Chamber of Commerce
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Comment #3 posted by mamawillie on November 13, 2003 at 09:41:41 PT
Call them?
Does anyone have the phone number where we can tell them a civic group should never reject members based on their own moral judgements?
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Comment #2 posted by OverwhelmSam on November 13, 2003 at 08:29:55 PT:
Another Law Suit Opportunity
I sincerely hope that NORML teams with the ACLU and supports the filing of a civil suit against this chamber of commerce. A law suit and legal fees should get them to soften their position against marijuana.
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Comment #1 posted by MikeEEEEE on November 13, 2003 at 08:12:37 PT
Red necks
It's probably a red neck town. Let em' watch the cars rust.
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