First Day of NORML Conference

First Day of NORML Conference
Posted by CN Staff on April 01, 2005 at 09:50:22 PT
By Chris Durant, The Times-Standard 
Source: Times-Standard 
San Francisco, California -- One panel member at the 2005 National Organization to Reform Marijuana Laws conference said the event was like preaching to the choir. If that's the case then the choir was fully attentive during the first day of the conference here Thursday.NORML's Executive Director, Allen St. Pierre, addressed the crowd of about 200 at the Cathedral Hill Hotel. "I don't see a bright and endearing future," St. Pierre said.
He said that a majority of the responsible adults who smoke marijuana are unorganized and not connected."We're very frustrated being too white middle class and male oriented," St. Pierre said.San Francisco Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi welcomed the crowd to the city saying that he learned of NORML from his mother in the '70s.He also said the local and state initiatives were a way to show the "misguided federal government" that people were "responsible enough." Mirkarimi said medical marijuana wasn't a police issue but a public health department issue.The first panel discussion was a rundown of how state and local initiatives from around the country fared in the recent elections.Moderator Dominic Holden of the Washington NORML chapter said when reports of the initiatives and efforts show up in the media even if they're defeated it's still helpful."It means our movement always has momentum," Holden said. Rob Kampia of the Marijuana Policy Project said 17 out of 18 local initiatives passed in the last election and one out of three statewide efforts won."Last year was a banner year for initiatives," Kampia said.But Kampia also said the time for initiatives may be ending."The best states have been taken," Kampia said.The future of legalization efforts may take place in state capital buildings."Push hard in the legislature and whip up the people," Kampia said.He said state legislation is cheaper than the initiative process.Kampia referred to an upcoming initiative that will appear on the November 2006 ballot in Nevada that will "wipe out prohibition entirely."The details of the initiative include no penalties for someone who's 21 or older to have up to an ounce of marijuana and the opportunity to buy it legally. The penalties for driving under the influence of marijuana and selling pot to a minor would stiffen and taxation of marijuana are also part of the initiative.Panelists also gave tips to those aspiring to start efforts in their areas."Have a thick skin because the rejection is constant," said Steve Epstein with the Massachusetts Cannabis Reform Coalition.Alaskan attorney Ken Jacobes of Alaskans for Marijuana Regulation and Control described what the movement is up against."We're fighting decades of misinformation," Jacobes said.John Sajo with Voter Power in Oregon, who recently was behind a losing marijuana ballot initiative in his state, told the crowd, "We are winning.""Throughout history people have been winning wars by losing battles," Sajo said.Dan Viets, a NORML board member and Missouri attorney recently behind successful initiatives in that state, said statistics favor high voter turnout for marijuana ballot measures."We do better when more people are voting," Viets said.Another of Thursday's panels consisted of "prohibition victims," including Angel Raich whose case was before the Supreme Court in November. A decision has not yet come down. Raich suffers from numerous ailments including an inoperable brain tumor. She has been smoking medicinal marijuana since the mid-90s."It's time for us to come out of the closet," Raich said. "We're constantly fighting. It's so close I could grab it. I could smell it."Raich's case has put the medical marijuana issue in the spotlight."I think we've done a real good job in changing the image of medical cannabis over the past year," Raich said.Smaller presentations on different marijuana subjects ended Thursday's conference.Medical marijuana activist Chris Conrad of Safe Access Now moderated a presentation on cultivation.He said motivation, location, genetics, time, skills, risks and defense are what someone needs to consider when thinking about growing marijuana."Risks come at different levels," Conrad said. "If you're going to be growing cannabis it's probably not a good idea to have a little meth around, a little coke around."He said it's never too early to think about your defense if you decide to grow marijuana."You have to be looking down the road," Conrad said. "When you come out of court are you going to be coming out free?"The most popular of Thursday's breakout sessions was "Police tactics: Don't become a statistic," touching on the legal angles of marijuana possession and cultivation."In the whole state of California there's probably only eight or 10 lawyers who know the Proposition 215 law," said William Panzer, part of the NORML Legal Committee.Lawyer Omar Figaroa gave tips to growers.He said the No. 1 detection of both indoor grows and outdoor grows was odor. Indoor growers, according to Figaroa, also get caught from what's in their trash and what he called the "knock and talk," when police suspicious of cultivation knock on the door of the home and gain observations from looking inside when someone answers."You don't have to open the door and give them all those observations," Figaroa said. "Just tell them to slide a card under the door."Today's conference will include "In the cross hairs: Medi-pot docs" and "Student activism: Stoking the reefer revolution."Complete Title: Initiatives, Prohibition and Cultivation Top First Day of NORML ConferenceSource: Times-Standard (CA)Author: Chris Durant, The Times-Standard Published: Friday, April 01, 2005Copyright: 2005 MediaNews Group, Inc.Contact: editor times-standard.comWebsite: Articles & Web Sites:NORML Policy Project Raich v. Ashcroft News Smokers Unite in 'Hemp-Friendly City' Cutting Through The Haze -- NORML Archives
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on April 01, 2005 at 15:10:17 PT
charmed quark
Thank you!
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Comment #2 posted by charmed quark on April 01, 2005 at 14:51:07 PT
PBS show about medical marijuana in NJ
 The local PBS affliate, NJN, has a very interesting half hour show about legislating medical marijuana in NJ. You can view the video at: is also discusssion of the supreme court case about states' right and MM. unfortunately, the legal expert on the show believes the supremes will rule against CA.-CQ
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on April 01, 2005 at 10:09:18 PT
Two Articles from Snipped Sources
Medical Marijuana Proponent Makes Peace With City Attorney:***Tone of Hash Bash Changing:
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