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Marijuana Reform On The March

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legalize marijuana cannabis safe safetyBy John Payne

In the past week, we have seen dramatic and, in many ways, unexpected progress towards ending the war on cannabis.

CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s kicked off the week with his special report “WEED,” which attracted a great deal of attention before it even aired Sunday evening. The report didn’t really break any new ground for those of us who follow the subject closely, but it introduced those who don’t to people who benefit from medical cannabis. Those individuals include an Israeli Holocaust survivor, who uses cannabis for tremors in his hands, and six-year-old Charlotte Figi, who uses a low THC, high CBD strain of cannabis to prevent constant, life-threatening seizures.

I’m sure it was also the first time many viewers heard that early research indicates that cannabis contains a number of compounds with cancer-fighting properties, but the federal government has stood in the way of conducting the research necessary to fully explore the possible applications of those compounds. Gupta’s report has made a profound impact on the public debate already, and if you didn’t catch it when it aired, you can watch the whole thing online.

And we continue to shift the terms of the debate here in Missouri, as well. Check out the coverage of our Rolla town hall meeting that ran on the front page of The Rolla Daily News on Tuesday. The article gives readers a very factual and thorough description of the meeting, along with a couple pictures that capture the size of the crowd. Anyone who reads that article will see that the movement to legalize marijuana in Missouri is large, organized, and informed.

The same article in the Post-Dispatch or Kansas City Star would certainly reach more people, but I think good coverage of local events in smaller papers has a greater impact on that smaller audience. Local papers are trusted sources of information in their communities, and, in some places, the exclusive source of local news.

Help us continue taking the message of legalization to rural and conservative areas of the state by contributing now! You can also make a lasting impact with a recurring monthly contribution!

Reformers also won judicial and legislative victories nationwide this week:

  • In New York, a federal judge ruled that the New York Police Department’s policy of stopping and frisking anyone they deem suspicious violates the rights of minorities in New York City. Minorities are disproportionately stopped and frisked by the police, and cannabis is the most common contraband found — instead of the weapons police for which police claim they are searching.
  • In Oregon, our allies at the National Cannabis Coalition played a major part in passing a bill that will allow medical marijuana dispensaries in the state. You can read more about that effort in the article by NCC Executive Director, Show-Me Cannabis Regulation board member, and Missouri native Anthony Johnson below.
  • At the federal level, Attorney General Eric Holder has announced the federal government will no longer pursue harsh mandatory minimum prison sentences for low-level, nonviolent drug offenders. He is also expected to support bipartisan legislation sponsored by Senators Patrick Leahy (D – VT), Mike Lee (R – UT), Dick Durbin (D – IL), and Rand Paul (R – KY) that would remove those sentences from federal law.
  • Holder’s speech was also important for what he didn’t say: He still has not announced any new guidelines for how the federal government will deal with cannabis legalization in Colorado and Washington. That does leave a great deal of uncertainty surrounding the issue, but it also means that the federal government is unlikely to directly challenge the legality of legalization in those states.

Even with all these victories, there is much to be done, and now is the time to press our advantage and keep up a relentless offensive.

In just over a week (Monday, 8/26), we will be screening the Reason Foundation’s film America’s Longest War at the Christman Center in Joplin (501 S. Main Street, 64801). I’ve also heard through the grapevine that some anti-reform groups are organizing to attend the event to show that not everyone supports legalization. I welcome them to attend, learn, and debate the issue, but that also makes it even more important that we have a large turnout and show that we are the majority. Please join the Facebook page and invite your friends in the area!

We also hope to run radio ads in the area to promote the event and awareness of the issue generally, but we can’t do it without your help. Please contribute now to help us purchase radio ads for our meeting in Joplin!

The following Saturday, August 31, is our kickball tournament Kick It for Cannabis Reform. Our work at Show-Me Cannabis is very serious, but it’s nice to have an event that is both fun and supports the cause, and if you are anywhere near the Saint Louis area, you should make a point to be there. The event is open to the public, so even if you don’t have a team or don’t particularly want to play kickball, you can come out, get some Show-Me Cannabis merchandise and literature, and take part in some of the yard games like washers and beer pong!

The event starts at 11:00 A.M. at Bingham field in south Saint Louis City near the intersection of Gravois and Bingham avenues. You can find more information and register your team on the website and invite your friends on the Facebook page!

Finally, Show-Me Cannabis will be sharing a booth with Missouri NORML at Mid-Missouri Pride on Sunday between 11:00 A.M. and 6:00 P.M. in downtown Columbia near the intersection of Fifth and Cherry streets. If you’re in the area, join us there and pick up some Show-Me Cannabis literature and merchandise!

Source: National Cannabis Coalitionmake a donation

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4 Comments

  1. What has Compassionate Idaho done to change the laws in Idaho? What has Moms for Marijuana in Georgia done to change the laws in Georgia? See what im talking about..

  2. I include all the individuals that openly discuss cannabis reform as part of the grass root efforts and we are making progress. I openly debate with anyone that spouts off the lies about cannabis. I have helped a few change or at least relax their views on prohibition and if we all take an active stance we will help the movement. I disagree with you about needing the big money. It does help especially at the state or federal level but change can start at a town hall meeting with local support only. The biggest obstacle is changing the mindset of those opposed to reform and big money really has no affect on that. We have to show mom and pop voter that they have been lied to and that my friend takes a personal touch sometimes.

  3. Theres never been a successful grassroots marijuana effort, Not a single law against marijuana whether it be on the state, federal or local level has ever been changed without the help of big money from people like George Soros and Peter Lewis.

  4. I applaud all the grass root efforts as well as the MSM surprises we have had recently. I hope we dont loose momentum or have some moron in office do something stupid to diminish what hope we have in reform. I wish there was some sort of activist activity in my area. Unfortunately anyone that attempts something outside of the ultra conservative norm regrets ever waking up the day they make the attempt. If you make too big of a scene you simply disappear ( I’m joking of course ;| ).

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