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Alabama Cities Censor Medical Cannabis Advocates Right To Free Speech

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Alabama marijuanaBy Ron Crumpton

There are many wonderful nonprofits working in the state of Alabama trying to change state law on a variety of issues. These groups are of great importance in the state political structure. Unlike federal legislators, most state legislators do not have a staff, and these nonprofits often act in lieu of staff on an issue-by-issue basis.
The nonprofits bring issues to legislators, have legislation crafted, and provide legislators with the background information necessary to do their jobs. The nonprofits generate support or opposition for a particular piece of legislation. They do this on the backs of volunteers, and they do it with very limited budgets.

It is a difficult task for any nonprofit, but when the nonprofit is supporting a “controversial issue” that task becomes even harder. The prejudices of a single person, or a small group of people, who does not represent the opinion of the public, get to decide for everyone what issues are heard, and what issues or not.

Alabama Medical Marijuana Coalition, one of the groups that I represent, is a group that’s sole purpose is to promote education and awareness for the Alabama Medical Marijuana Patients’ Rights Act, which is one of these “controversial issues.”

They do this by setting up booths at festivals and trade days across the state of Alabama. There have been cases where certain trade days have refused to rent them space, but as private businesses, they have the right to refuse to do business with whomever they choose. However, when it is a festival that is being held by, or in conjunction with, state, county or city government it becomes a much larger issue. Then it is not a private business, but our own government stifling the political speech of an organization based on personal opinion and not the opinion of the masses.

So far this year, the Auburn CityFest, The Arab Poke Salat Festival, the Pell City Hometown Block Party and The Alabaster CityFest have denied them booth space.

In the case of the Arab Poke Salat Festival, it was a single member of the Arab Chamber of Commerce not an elected official or even a city employee. She said that she didn’t agree with it, her personally.

If that is not bad enough, the City of Alabaster approved their application, then two days before the event their check was returned to them. Apparently, after the application was approved, a city official who does not approve of medical marijuana freaked out and changed the approval status.

When they called the vendor phone number, Robin Smith said it was a family event where no alcohol or anything like that was allowed and since a lot of children were going to be there, they and their sponsors felt strongly against marijuana in the same way. When questioned why they accepted the application to start with, she said it was electronically accepted but had to be accepted by the board before granting a booth location. This is just not true.
It was electronically accepted. However, a member of the AMMJC staff spoke with someone at the same number, believed to be Smith, and was told that the organization did have booth. They confirmed this by asking, “So, we definitely have a booth?” the person in the CityFest office said yes.

When Adam Moseley, president of the Arts Council, was contacted, he said that AMMJC’s application was late. Well that is true.

AMMJC did not contact the CityFest office until after the deadline. However, at that time they were told that booths were still available. They requested a picture of a past AMMJC booth, they had them fill out the forms, and told them that because it was past the due date, they needed to send the payment in the form of a certified check or money order. They did that, and that check was returned to them 2 days prior to the event. So, while this is true, it is inconsequential to the facts.

Then there is Alabaster Mayor David Frings who said, “The City Council has chosen the Arts Council to run the event. I think that Adam Moseley is their president.”

When asked for his help he replied repeatedly with, “This is all handled by the Arts Council.”
When Mayor Frings was told that the 6,000 patients associated with AMMJC need his help because the people running his cities festival would not return any communications, he referred them to the city attorney.

In other words, Mayor Frings is not sure who is running his cities festival, does not have any authority over the festival, and he does not care about the rights of 6,000 patients; that mayor thing must really be a great gig.
The simple fact is that these organizations, which are such an important part of the state’s political system, are having the rights of their membership violated by their own government.

In a country that is founded on the principle of open government, that guarantees the rights of the minority to speak, this kind of censorship cannot be tolerated. Not only did the City of Alabaster violate the rights of patients in Alabama, not only did they violate the right of the public to know about the issue, but when they accepted the application and then pulled the booth from AMMJC they saddled this struggling organization with hundreds of dollars in expenses and no way to recoup them.

If you live in Alabaster and you are appalled, by the way your city leaders handled this situation… Elections are in August.

Ron Crumpton is the Executive Director of both The Alabama Patients’ Rights Coalition and The Alabama Medical Marijuana Coalition

Article from Alabama Medical Marijuana Coalition and republished with special permission

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20 Comments

  1. Midnight train on

    Great work AMMJC !! You guys are really active and we here im georgia are loving it!!.we dont have a group like yours that i know of .

    And ppl always say alabama is ass backwards. keep up the great work!!

  2. Another bunch of freaking morons who seem to think the constitution was written ONLY for them!  They are the only ones with rights!  If you don’t agree with them, you have no rights!  STUPID FREAKIN’ AZZHOLES!!!!!

  3. Dewaynekendall75 on

    AMMJC can set up in my yard anytime,to tell these mississippins the truth

  4. Well it is, after all, Alabama and it is full of God fearin’, born again ( born again and they still can’t get it right), the south shall rise again, red neck , Bible toatin’, my way or the highway , good Christians.

  5. There are tons of thinhs in this world that i dont agree with but ita not my place to tell people what they can and cannot do i think this is a goos thong for the people that tru
    lly need it

  6. HarloweThrombey on

    This article leaves out important information.  It says “one politician” did this and another “Chamber of Commerce lady” did that, etc.   NAME THE NAMES, AND THEIR CITIES, AND THEIR POSITIONS IN THEIR JOBS.     That way we know who these worthless pricks are.   May their precious Jesus piss cum all over them.

  7. you there in Ga start your own group !! can’t be that hard especially with all the communication these days. networking is a wonderful things. And I agree that the south is still ass backwards. I lived in NC for 35 years. I found they were still fighting the civil war and don’t like us damn yankees!! How stupid and backward is that? And as for MMJ , we need to educate, educate, educate!!! Those with narrow minds must be enlightened.

  8. WE THE PEOPLE NEED TO START STANDING UP FOR OUR RIGHTS. THAT IS THE REASON WHY WE ARE BEING STRIPPED OF THEM BECAUSE NO ONE WANTS TO BUCK THE SYSTEM AND SPEAK OUT AGAINST THIS TYRANNY. OUR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS ARE BEING TRAMPLED ON BY ANYBODY AND EVERYBODY THAT DOESN’T AGREE WITH OUR STANCE. WE ALSO HAVE A RIGHT TO OUR OPINION JUST LIKE THEY DO. SPEAK OUT, STAND UP AND BE COUNTED AND EDUCATE, EDUCATE, EDUCATE!! TIME FOR A REVOLUTION!!

  9. Even if the city council appoints another group – they still have to abide by state laws of non-descrimination. Look up your state laws before the next event – have a copy of the law with you when you apply – even attach to your registration request.

  10. We have fought this fight for a year in Arkansas.  We won the very biggest one 3 weeks ago at Riverfest. We were very lucky to have a Mayor in Little Rock that sided with us. this event had been able to keep canvassers out for 29 years until we fought back and won.  So don’t give up every state is different but hang tough. We are on course to make the ballot this year. Arkansas will be the first state to get Medical Marijuana WOOOOO  Pig Sooie!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. I am an Army Vet, serving as an infantryman. I was medically discharged from service for Depression and anxiety. I injured both my knees and my back. That cause me allot of pain,
    which lead to me being unable to do my job. Which brought the
    depression.

    When I realized that my injuries where not going to get taken care
    of, as the Army said that nothing was wrong with me and they thought I
    was faking. I started to worry excessively that on my upcoming
    deployment that not only would I be liability to my unit, but because I
    was broken and weak that I could very well cost one of my battle buddies
    their life simply because I was unable to perform my duties due to the
    injuries.

    This lead to me wanting to kill myself. Not because I wanted to die.
    Very much the opposite. I wanted to live. But more then that I didn’t
    want to risk someone else’s life. I tried very hard to seek help trough out all this, but never found any. I was always told to “soldier on” “drink water” ect. In the end they cut me lose, broken and very messed up in my head. I
    spent the next two years just trying to function with my friends and
    family. However I couldn’t do much physically because of the pain. It
    hurt to sit, stand, walk or even to lay down.

    I lost my wife of 10 years because of my mental state and my
    inability to hold a job, or even do house hold work. I couldn’t even
    have sex with my wife. Due to either pain, or the inability to get or
    maintain and erection.

    This of course lead to more depression and anxiety getting much worse.

    I was at my mental and physical limit. I was just about to give up on
    everything and cash in my chips. When a friend came over and asked if I
    wanted to split a joint with me.

    Now I had not tried marijuana in over 15 years. I did it a little as a
    teen with friends. But to tell the truth I faked it and never inhaled. I
    just was trying to fit in and thought weed was very bad for you. (I
    come from the start of the D.A.R.E era) But I thought to myself what
    harm could it do to me now, I would just assume be dead anyway. So I
    said yes.

    Now before I go on, I would like to say that I thought medical
    marijuana was just some lame excuse to get high. But boy was I wrong.

    I noticed after my first couple of tokes that I was starting to feel a
    little more at ease, not so anxious. Keep in mind also I was doing this
    on my front step in full view of anyone, 2 blocks from the local police
    station. And I felt more calm and at ease.

    By the time I had finished I also noticed almost all my pain was better, not 100% gone but very manageable.

    I have been a daily user now for about 4 years. And I am happy to say
    I have got my life back. I may still not be able to do the thing I did
    when I was 20, but who can right? With everything I heard and thought I
    new about pot was so wrong.

    I never would have thought in a million years that a tiny little plant could give me my life back, but it did.

    But for some reason it is illegal. Meaning if I am ever caught with
    it, my life will be taken away from me again. That would mark twice that
    my government, which I bleed for took my life from me.

    I fought for freedom, but have none in regards to my own health and
    well being. No I am labeled a criminal, a drug user and forgotten.

    I would move to a medical marijuana state if I was able to, but
    financially I am unable to. I am not even eligible for disability from
    the Army simple because I found medicine that works.

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