3rd Annual Holidaze Fundraiser

Join us on December 13th at the MetLo for a fun night of fundraising for Denver NORML!

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The countdown for our 3rd Annual Holidaze Fundraiser is on and our Board of Directors could not be more excited. Sending tons of gratitude to our Silver Sponsors: Lightshade Labs and IheartJane and to our Bronze Sponsors: Quest Concentrates, Concentrate Supply Co., and Freely Loved Hemp. We have received some incredible silent auction donation items and lots of great goodies for the VIP gift bags.

The event is FREE to all attendees and you must be 21 or over to attend but you must RSVP.  If you want to be treated like a VIP for the evening then a $20 donation will get you access to the VIP lounge, cannabis infused chair massages by Primal Therapeutics, early entrance into the event, and a VIP gift bag.

If you are interested in attending, donating or volunteering for this event, please send an email to lisanorml5280@gmail.com and we will add you to the list.

2017 Cannabis Business Awards

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2017 Cannabis Business Awards

Each year, The Cannabis Business Awards recognizes outstanding individuals and businesses for their influence within the cannabis industry. 

Denver NORML is honored to announce our nominations in the following categories: 

Keith Stroup- Most Influential Individual
Denver NORML - Non-profit of the Year
Jordan Person (Pierson) - Activist of the Year
NORML - Industry Organization of the Year

Voting ends December 1 with the event to follow on December 7. Please click here to vote today! 
 

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The Last Nail On The Coffin Of Prohibition

The New York Constitutional Convention on November 7th, 2017 will be one for the books

Since last fall the entire nation and the world at large have witnessed an historic paradigm shift, in the long battle for the reform of marijuana laws as well as the single greatest victory for the legalization movement: 8 out of 9 ballot initiatives were passed and by the 1st quarter of 2018, experts have calculated that 1 in every 5 Americans will have access to recreational sales of cannabis!! Every legalization activist should be proud of this fact and even more so is the emboldening of an entire nation to finally start accepting a miraculous natural resource and begin to understand the infinite potential that it holds.

Cannabis 4 America

So far legislators in California, Nevada and Massachusetts, which are the largest markets for the new recreational states coming online, will have to learn from the success of Colorado and others to get it right, and make sure the citizens of their respective states will be able to reap the benefits of the Cannabis Industry, with an effective monitoring and taxation system that will make the public feel reassured about the quality of future cannabis goods being sold as well as a way for states to earn more funds for needed public programs. On top of that there need to be fair benchmarks for the licensing model, in order for these newly born markets to have a fair playing field and incentivize as many business participants as possible to enter the Cannabis space. 

It is quite shocking that there is overwhelming evidence of the success of the recreational marijuana experiment in multiple states, as well as undeniable empirical data on the incredible medicinal properties that the cannabis plant possesses and yet, we see legislators, police officers, our current AG as well as doctors that still have the courage to say that marijuana legalization is a big mistake! You do not have to have a Ph.D. in statistics or medicine to understand that the numbers speak for themselves and that fear mongering will not trump facts. 

I speculate that this incessant opposition and resistance towards nationwide legalization is a sad attempt at maintaining the status quo of big corporations, to keep making mind-boggling profits at the cost of many and hold their influence in our public offices. Prohibitionists are scared that other states will follow through and legalize Cannabis themselves after seeing the abysmal failure of the war on drugs and the unqualified success of taxing and regulating the substance instead of prohibiting it. That is why the Constitutional Convention in New York State this November 7th will be a historic moment for the nation and the world; because when the Empire State will legalize recreational Cannabis, it will be the final blow to the war on drugs and the reefer madness era.

Cannabis4NY

When New Yorkers will cast their vote on November 7th, they will have the opportunity of initiating a 2-year process and in the year of 2018 delegates would be elected to attend this convention, and such individuals would be considered "temporary legislators" for the purpose of amending the State's Constitution. If the voters say YES on November 7th, it will grant the delegates unlimited powers to make needed changes to the constitution and this, by all means, presents a tremendous opportunity for legalization activists to see one of the most influential states of the union legalize the recreational of Cannabis and greatly improve the current crippled medical marijuana program!!

Once the delegates will be elected they will be able to attend the constitutional convention in 2019; the session will begin in April and will last for as long as the body of elected delegates will deem necessary. Once the drafted amendments will be brought forth then the political process will be given once again to the voters, to place the final decision on a 50% + 1 vote criteria to have the constitutional amendments implemented. 

To make a long story short, in order to have amendments to the New York State Constitution, 3 different votes will be needed to be cast by the public:

  1. Voting to initiate the process of creating the Constitutional Convention in November 2017
  2. Voting to elect the delegates that will participate at the convention in the Spring of 2018
  3. Voting to approve the proposed constitutional amendments by 2019

There are many marijuana activist groups in the State of New York, including the Empire State NORML Chapter that will be keeping up the good fight in order to successfully reform the marijuana laws of New York State. Legalizing Cannabis in the State of New York will not be a walk in the park; there will be many battles to overcome between now and spring of 2019. One of the most active opposers of the convention is the organization of New York State United Teachers which has been very vocal about the threats they believe will manifest if the constitutional delegates will be given unlimited powers to modify New York State laws. 

Once again for every debate, there will always be opposing views and for each organization/ group of people, including the different agendas they will pursue. The important aspect to always keep in mind is that at the end of the day voters will always have the final say in which legislators will be part of the convention and also whether the proposed amendments will be implemented. We cannot expect change to be perfect, though the current political situation in the Empire state has to change, and this convention will give the people a fighting chance to:

  • Legalize Recreational Cannabis and greatly improve the Medical Marijuana Program
  • Allow for future voter referendums/ ballot initiatives and not have a deadlocked process in the legislative body

The New York State Constitutional Convention will be a historic event, no matter which side of the debate you stand on, and let it be an important reminder that if the people decide to vote NO on November 7th, then this opportunity will not appear for another 20 YEARS!!

New Yorkers do the right thing and keep up the good fight.

 

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Careful What You Wish For

"The Compassionate Access, Research Expansion, and Respect States Act comes back to life"

Senators Cory Booker (D-New Jersey), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York), Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), Al Franken (D-Minnesota) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Arkansas) joined forces to bring back a piece of legislation that can potentially bring monumental change on the hill!

representatives

The Cannabis Caucus was one of the first important signals of a political paradigm shift in D.C. and the reintroduction of the CARERS Act is yet another important statement that our legislators have finally come around the reefer madness and starting to embrace Cannabis as the needed revolution in this country and the world at large. 

The CARERS Act was first introduced by Sen. Cory Brooker in 2015 and much has changed in our society when it comes to the topic of Cannabis since 2 years ago. The industry has grown to such an extent that it can no longer be ignored by the skeptics and prohibitionists; soon Cannabis will become a normal aspect of our daily lives as it was and always meant to be. Nonetheless it is important to steer clear from the initial excitment, overall histerya and noise, in order to focus more on the facts and understand the fine print of this revamped bill. This legislation is broken down in various components, tackling diverse aspects of the Cannabis topic:

  1. Moving Marijuana from a Schedule I narcotic to Shedule II.
  2. Excludes "cannabidiol" (aka CBD) from the definition of "marijuana" and defines it separately as the substance cannabidiol.
  3. Prohibits financial institutions from denying services to businesses in the Cannabis industry.
  4. Allows the Drug Enforcement Administration to issue at least three licenses under CSA registration requirements; to manufacture marijuana and marijuana-derivatives for research approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

For every marijuana activist out there, it is a well known fact that when true change manifests it will always be met by heavy resistance; unless a certain entity or group of individuals benefit from it. Talking about one of the biggest societal shifts of the 21st century, many of us have come to learn that through determination, proper messaging and good old persistence much can be achieved! With that being said an effective implementation of policies has to be gradually built for people to get used to it and not feel threatened or worried by the fast pace of change. That's why baby steps are a crucial aspect of the political evolution of reforms in regards to the marijuana laws' realm. 

It is important to move forward and always support positive changes in the reform of marijuana laws, whike equally important is the ability to pay close attention to the language of an introduced bill and evaluate whether the proposed legislation will benefit society at large or big business as usual. Looking back at the 4 bullet points provided, briefly describing some of the most important aspects of the CARERS Act, point 1 & 4 should raise some initial warnings when it comes to keeping the integrity of the Cannabis industry and the long term viability of a vibrant and competitive market!

Big Pharma

We have already seen monopolies belonging to certain industries take over control of a natural resource and virtually own the supply, thus put consumers in a tight spot and offer very little choice. Placing marijuana on the Schedule II, from Schedule I incentivizes yet again unnecessarily strict control over the so called "narcotic" and from what the Controlled Substance Act of 1970 clearly shows, Schedule II narcotics are recognized as such:

  • Having a high potential for abuse.  
  • Possesses currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States or a currently accepted medical use with severe restrictions.
  • Abuse of the drug or other substances may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence.

None of the statements above are true when trying to represent the Cannabis Sativa specie nor all of its byproducts containing the psychoactive substance know as THC. Cannabis Sativa as a specie of plants and all of its byproducts should be rescheduled at least to level III of the Controlled Substance Act, with:

  • The drug has a potential for abuse less than the drugs in schedules 1 and 2. The drug has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States. Abuse of the drug may lead to moderate or low physical dependence or high psychological dependence.

The troublesome aspect of the current bill is the shift of Scheduling, accompanied by a restrictive access to licensing, controlled by the DEA, which would facilitate pharmaceutical companies to potentially take over the growing sector of the industry and therefore control the supply for the rest of the market. For now this is just a presumptive speculation, though history has an ironic way of repeating itself when the citizenry does not pay attention to the macro events that will affect all of us in the long term. Follow the money and always be ware of the greater entities that will constantly seek to centralize power and will stop at nothing to persuade public officials to manipulate the political process in their favor. Freedom fighters stay vigilant!

Citations:

1) https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/senate-bill/683

2) https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/STATUTE-84/pdf/STATUTE-84-Pg1236.pdf

 

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A Journey of a Thousand Miles began with a Single Step

"When everyone flows in one direction, the current will attempt to push you the same way... few will stand still, resist and with time diverge others into a new stream" 

Someone needs to tell others what they need to hear and NOT what they want. We live in a repetitive cycle throughout history and times may change, but the essence remains the same. Observe the course of humanity's journey and you will find in many circumstances a similar trend:

New idea --> resistance to the idea --> few fight for the idea --> many begin to understand the idea --> the idea is implemented --> the idea grows to become mainstream --> a new idea comes along --> resistance to the idea.... and it goes over and over and over again. 

A very simple explanation, though I hope I got the point across: how any paradigm that we as a society have constructed upon ourselves, originally stemmed from an unpopular and criticized new idea. We all, as human beings, naturally feel a sense of discomfort from something new, something we do not know. This particular behavioral trait has accompanied our specie since its inception and during the first steps of our evolution it most likely served a benevolent purpose: Our ancestors had to grow up in a harsh environment, needing to survive against natural cataclysms as well as other creatures roaming the earth. When you look at the way people instinctively behave we shouldn't be surprised when this psychological factor is placed in the context of millennia! Back then many things we were not aware of had a big chance of hurting or even killing us; thus we quickly learned that new phenomenons were to be taken very seriously and with extreme caution before accepting them as a group. 

educateyourself

Surpassing a few thousand years and we see how external forces permanently shaped the way humans perceived the world around them. Where it gets really interesting is when a few individuals, supposedly with either greater knowledge, resources and ultimately influence on others, would condemn any new idea or concept because they were afraid that it would undermine their legitimacy and control. A new idea has never been the real problem, its the inevitable change that comes with such novelty is what many powerful individuals have always been terrified of. 

This crucial concept that has persisted throughout time can be traced all the way to the 20th century and how such behavioral construct played a decisive role after the demonization and subsequent criminalization of the Cannabis Sativa specie. With so many wonderful things someone could produce with this natural resource, it is obvious that certain people and organizations had a direct interest in subverting the use of Cannabis, its vast applicability into the economy and its newly discovered uses in the early decades of the century: Like bioplastics and biofuels as an example. 

After the reefer madness movement ensued and took the United States by storm, virtually every state of the union, by the end of the 1930's, had established some sort of ban or limitation for the cultivation, sale and distribution of cannabis derived products. For decades only a few voices echoed in the vast sea of disbelief and ignorance, due to the fear of social exclusion and prosecution from what we imposed on ourselves as a new cultural paradigm. Collectively we are able to achieve the greatest endeavors and inflict the worst tragedies on ourselves, simply because we let the fear of the unknown dictate drastic measures to make us feel safe in the short term. A vast majority of the public would rather live in its own lies, while condemning others for trying to find the truth and break free, because they believe that if more people depart from the status quo, that they too will need to change and adapt sooner or later. The greatest tragedy of all is that Cannabis was never something new, though the power of language and ideological manipulation allowed thousands of years of history to be erased; allowing powerful interests to rewrite a new reality for this plant. 

For decades the public simply agreed on the lies originally propagated by a select number of individuals and once the seed of Marijuana demonization was planted, it took a life of its own and the original drafters of the criminalization movement just had to sit back and watch as people took their idea, became ambassadors for such cause and spread it like wildfire. During the 1st half of the 20th century very few people publicly expressed support for Cannabis, or commonly misrepresented as "Marijuana". During the late 1950's and throughout the 60's you can witness the first signs of rebellion, the rejection of conventional values imparted by society as a whole, stemming from the Beat generation as well as the more popular and universally recognized "Hippie movement". More people were waking up to the lies and manipulation of information from their own government and that was an early sign of a distinctive crack in the wall... the light was seeping through and some had caught on the brightness of the other side. 

revolution

We can list many historical figures and organizations that were of great importance to the origins of the Cannabis legalization movement, such as: LeMar (aka Legalize Marijuana) founded in 1964 by Allen Ginsberg and Amorphia, which was founded in 1967 by Blair Newman. Nonetheless these groups shy in comparison to the pivotal role that the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, NORML, played in the success of the legalization movement. The founder of NORML, Keith Stroup, started the organization in 1970 and since then it has grown to become a monumental grassroots movement with 150 chapters across the US and now expanding internationally. For many it is easy to accept the success of NORML in the 21st century, however the true courage, determination and vision resided in the almost 2 decades, from the late 1970's all the way to the mid 90's, where the legalization movement saw virtually no real progress due to the backlash of prohibitionist groups and proponents of harsh drug laws that managed to control the narrative and successfully lobbied to maintain and expand the war on drugs. 

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NORML took a stand to conserve its legitimacy and keep up the good fight to advocate for the rights of all marijuana consumers! Many people now a days often forget the heavy lifters and are now constantly amused by new organizations that have sprung from the rapidly growing support of legalizing Cannabis.... but what about the past? What about the years of loss, constant discrimination and down right discrediting of marijuana activists all across the country? The original freedom fighters belonged to a rare culture of society, often times standing alone in the crowd, because others were too afraid to speak up or just couldn't believe that change was possible. We owe NORML and its countless grassroots activist this brave new world we live in and the civil liberties we are able enjoy...... such liberties originated from struggle, determination, unwillingness to give up, a true sense of leadership to stand your ground and not allow dissidents and skeptics to stop someone from doing the right thing.

We live in a reality that is dictated by predetermined rules, a constant fear of change and a convergence towards a faulty status quo. In 1970 someone became the catalyst, the genesis of a revolution: Whom strongly believed in an objective truth, dictated important principles of personal freedom, by being morally inflexible throughout time, while constantly portraying great resilience and courage. Such individual managed to create its own gravitational force to where lies and deception found no escape and after many, many years people saw in him an objective truth.

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The Plant That Transcends

"Never in the history of humanity has there been a single natural resource so prevalent and so pervasive among many different cultures and civilizations."

Since the dawn of men we can see that one common denominator has always been present, almost invisible to the attention of our modern society because of its vast utlity, its influence and ultimately the reason for its exhile and renegation: Power. I'm talking about the one plant that beheld the strenght, stability and prosperity of many ancient civilizations and even to this day has the ability of forever changing the way we live. For millennia Cannabis L. Sativa has been a vital aspect of our ancestors' great endeavors and accompanied them throughout the incredible journey we call evolution, by becoming an integral part of who we were and hopefully for who we are and whom we will be.  

In order to understand the veil of mistery that sorrounds this incredibly vast topic, we must understand that Cannabis Sativa, as a specie of plants, was so frequently used by people in numerous societies that not only it became something ordinary to cultivate, it became so prevalent in almost every culture and social hierarchical level of many societies that its presence acquired a sense of invisibility from collective attention due to its vast abundance. This point may seem dull and far fetched at first glance, but its very important to then understand how the transformation of this plant's perceived image and value was abrupted and forever changed the world's trajectory. With that being said we shall first examine the extent of Cannabis use among various cultures and societies across our historical timeline, before closing the circle and coming back to the recent distateful portayal of the plant's image, which led to its complete and utter eradication.

Thanks to the wonders of science and human technology, experts were able to bring to light an exploration site that provided astounding revelations about our past: "Archaeologists discovered an ancient village in China, containing the earliest known record of the use of the cannabis plant.  This village dates back over 10 000 years to the Stone Age.  Amongst the debris of this village, archaeologists found small pots with patterns of twisted hemp fibre decorating them.  This use of the cannabis plant suggests men have been using the marijuana plant in some manner since the dawn of history.”(1) The ending of this quote beautifully conveys the bond that our specie and this plant shared. Our ancestors' greatest virtue was their incessant curiosity to learn more, and when discovering the uniqueness of the Cannabis L. Sativa specie, with the sharing of knowledge and useful implementation of this plant throughout the centuries, some were able to bring "the first evidence of the medicinal use of cannabis in the book Pên-ts’ao Ching, attributed to the Emperor Shen-nung of about 2000 B.C."(1) 

Ranging from the far east all the way to the craddle of civilization, "several cannabis commentators believe that the peoples of the Near East, now known as the Middle East, were the first to use cannabis for religious purposes due to man’s inability to engage in introspection. The Sumerians of the Ancient Near East developed their own ‘personal deity’ whom they would worship each day by burning cannabis and it became entrenched into Sumerian religion because they believed it was putting them in touch with their gods."(1) It is not hard to understand why our ancestors gained a spiritual influence from the consumption of this plant; as I am sure many of you reading this article will be able to relate regarding the peace of mind, tranquility and deeper understanding of yourself that can be reached, once benefitting from the miracolous properties of Cannabis. Believe it or not every time you consume the flower from this plant you'll be able to relate to countless individuals that lived millennias ago... transcendent!

If that first notion in it of itself does not make you intrigued and fascinated, there are plenty of stories that you will be able to relate to and truly comprehend the vast utilization of Cannabis:

India

"It has always been a customary part of life in India, and was intimately associated with magical, medical, religious, and social customs in India for thousands of years. The most potent Indian preparation of cannabis called ‘charas’ has the same religious importance to many Hindus that wine has to Christians celebrating the Eucharist. While the cannabis plant’s pre-eminence in India was, and continues to be its association with religious life and as a social lubricant, cannabis was also used as a medicinal aid.  In Indian folk medicine, hemp boughs were thrown into fires in order to overcome evil forces.  Sushruta, a legendary physician of ancient India, recommended it to relieve congestion, a remedy for diarrhoea and as an ingredient in a cure for fevers."(1)

Africa

"The cultural use of cannabis is widespread throughout Africa. Aside from Egypt, where cannabis has been grown for over a thousand years due to the influence of India and Persia, the first archaeological evidence of cannabis in central and southern parts of Africa comes from 14th century Ethiopia where two ceramic smoking-pipe bowls containing traces of cannabis were discovered. Researchers also believe that later on, around 1500 A.D., the fully developed trade routes between Arabia, Turkey, India and Persia with the East African coast, permitted the Arab traders to introduce cannabis to the more southern parts of Africa. The habit of smoking cannabis, which many tribes called ‘dagga,’ spread from tribe to tribe quite quickly. Several different pipes began to be developed out of gourds, bamboo stalks and coconut bowls.  When smoking cannabis reached the northern areas of Africa, it was the North Africans who developed the water pipe, which cooled and to some degree purified the smoke.” (1) That's right ladies and gentlemen, the ancestor of the bong & bubbler were originally created in Northern Africa!!!

Latin America

"In 1549, the French and the British imported Angolan slaves from the southwest coast of Africa to work as labourers on the sugar plantations of northeastern Brazil.  “The slaves carried the seeds in cloth dolls tied to their ragtag clothing.  The planters permitted slaves to grow their maconha between the rows of cane, and to smoke and dream during the periods of inactivity between harvests. Cannabis came to be regarded in Brazil as the opium of the poor, used for cordage and clothing, comestible and spice, energizer and invigorant, as well as medicine and euphoriant." (1)

North America

Even today, there are some North American tribes, especially those from Mexico, who have used cannabis as sacred gift under the name Rosa Maria or Santa Rosa, and continue to use it today. Indians in the Mexican states of Veracruz, Hidalgo, and Puebla practice a communal curing ceremony with a plant called Santa Rosa, identified as cannabis sativa, which is considered both a plant and a sacred intercessor with the Virgin.  Although the ceremony is based mainly on Christian elements, the plant is worshipped as an earth deity and is thought to be alive and to represent a part of the heart of God. (1)

From the very early signs of human civilization all the way to the 19th century America, we can attest to the importance that this natural resource had; due to its omniscent presence across time and space. Medicinally speaking Cannabis has no rival in the whole plant kingdom! We can understand that such specific virtue, among many belonging to this plant, was definitely one of the most wide spread methods of implementation and In "1839, the homeopathy journal American Provers' Union published the first of many reports on the effects of cannabis. In 1860, the Ohio Medical Society catalogued the conditions in which cannabis had been successfully used. Among those mentioned were neuralgia, nervous rheumatism, mania, whooping cough, asthma, chronic bronchitis, muscular spasms, tetanus, epilepsy, infantile convulsions, palsy, uterine hemorrhage, dysmenorrhea, hysteria, withdrawal from alcohol, and loss of appetite - an imposing list of disorders drawn mainly from O'Shaughnessy's and other reports published in England."(2)

When you grasp the gravity that this plant posessed, the sheer weight of importance Cannabis had in everyone's lives, you might begin to question the world around you and ask: how could it all go away, suddenly, and now we are redescovering it all over again?  When you type in Cannabis on the online search bar, the results will seem infinite; because the amount of knowledge that people have been able to accumulate over the course of our evolution on this plant is gigantic. Studies upon studies have been made to understand the infinite complexity of the plant and yet we always seem to be surprised at its ability to provide us new value and opportunities; which is why it is very frustrating seeing how we successfully managed to eradicate such a useful natural resource because of greed and thirst for power. 

From the data given and the evidence within this article, we can definitely observe a wide array of definitions for this plant and it seems that we liked to name it our own different ways: as if throughout history every society and culture understood this plant through the lense of its own perspective and interpreted the way it saw fit. This morfing capability of representing so many different cultures and defined by many names, such as: Dagga, Ganja, Hashish, Kif, Bhang, Maconha and many more, created a dangerous paradigm to be existing in. It allowed for a greater flexibility to be recognized by numerous words and when the language needed to identify something can be changed, then the entire perception and understanding of the plant could be easily manipulated. We go back to the 2nd paragraph and see how the vast availability of this plant, presented in its many different forms of commercial products and uses allowed the North American society to take it for granted and now understand that many other cultures, just like the people living in the US, loved Cannabis and simply decided to use it in a different way and define by another term that would impart greater meaning and symbolism in their traditions. Hence why another popular slang in the Mexican culture, Marijuana, was so easy to adopt and be weaponized into the United States of America of the 20th century... oh did they exploit that word for the worst.

Cannabis L. Sativa is definitely one of, if not the greatest example of mass manipulation of perception ever perpetrated by mankind. With that being said it is not the only example in history where one entity's image was transformed entirely to serve a new purpose, with a new meaning. Just to give you two very clear examples of how things that once held a benign understanding, were then utilized by another group of individuals to distort its perception in the eyes of the people and such negative connotation carried on within the collective consciousness would taint such artifacts forever: 

I know what you are thinking, it pretty much resembles the Swastika sign used by the Nazis during WWII, nonetheless it has been carried by the Buddhist religion for thousands of years and it is recognized as "Manji." Originally known as a symbol of piece, was then stolen from another culture to instill in it its own malignant endeavors:

Another great parallel is the astounding resemblence that this type of clothing has gained when shifting cultures and be adopted for a new and evil purpose:

In this picture we have a traditional ceremony carried out in the nation of Spain, mostly prevalent in the southern region of Andalucia and it symbolizes the religious passage of the year many christians define as Easter and in the Spanish language it is known as: Semana Santa. 

On the other hand here we have the horrible spin off of this type of ceremonial costume that was taken and implemented in a completely different context:

It is evident that objects, symbols and even plants can originally stem from a benevolent and just cause to be ultimately taken from its original context and defined with a new perspective; with a different history that people immediately will associate it with. It is true that as a specie we are a paradox in it of itself: As human beings we are capable of grandeur gestures and acts of kindness, while at the same time be able to committ such horrific atrocities! It is up to us to learn from our mistakes, from our history and make repair of what we damaged. Sad to say that we usually tend to always want to move forward and never look behind to see where we came from and what actions led us to the place we are today. It is crazy to think how certain aspects of our heritage and culture can be a force for good throughout many centuries and then be suddenly casted into the shadows of evil; because of the action of few, yet influential individuals. We tend to think in a linear fashion, always ready to acquire new knowledge relevant in our present, while quickly discarding the past and its valuable lessons. People tend to identify things and reevaluate their perception according to the newest experiences they are subjected to, thus replacing previous knowledge and understanding. For once it would be good to take a step back to look at the greater picture and understand that everything can change for the worst, even the few aspects and values of our lives that we thought would be forever lasting, if we don't pay eternal vigilance. 

 

Citations: 

1) https://sencanada.ca/content/sen/committee/371/ille/library/spicer-e.htm#_ftn108

2) http://druglibrary.org/schaffer/hemp/history/first12000/9.htm

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The Legislative Session Is Over, Yet Grassroots Activism Never Sleeps

May 10th was the date that officially concluded Colorado's legislative session for this year... and now what? Well I can tell you this much: Denver NORML will continue its fight to educate the public and gather even greater support from our community, to effectively reform our marijuana laws in the legislative session to come. We grant our public officials farewell... for now. 
For all the freedom fighters and grassroots activist out there, they sure know the feeling when politicians divest themselves from their duties and comfortable chairs, when the general public suddenly retrieves back into its bubble and all of a sudden it seems as if all that momentum, the political energy accumulated throughout months of rallying, lobbying, endless calls and messaging quickly faded; blown away like the leaves at fall. 

Often times it is discouraging and incredibly frustrating to see all the efforts you and your team put in to promoting a legislative reform you were vigorously supporting, knowing it would have improved the daily lives of the people in your community, to just see it being thrown aside. There are so many different factors that can play in favor or against a particular bill/proposition that it's hard to pin point one in particular; though we can definitely think of a few: Usually it all comes down to internal powers playing in the backdrop and emboldened by outside entities, manipulating the decision of fellow colleagues in the political realm. Usually we hear the main motif politicians have is to listen closely to their donors; nonetheless intricated and complex dealings can also be attributed to a legislator's political image to his/her constituents as well as the sheer lack of proper information and evidence to make the right decision. 

Let's always remember that a legislative session is a set amount of days throughout the year; so for us grassroots activist not only are large amounts of money and political connections far from our reach, now even time itself is against us!! There will be a moment in time where you will get this depressing sensation of being one of the remaining few that really cares. One of the few out there that still values the democratic process, that is actively involved and whom does NOT fall into the slippery slope of becoming what we define as a "Keyboard Activist". It's hard to keep up a high morale for yourself as well as your peers, especially when so much of this political process can be out of your control. 

Let's just take a quick look on the treacherous path that a bill has to go through to make it to the finish line: 

  1. Passing the vote of a carefully selected committee
  2. Voting on the house floor 
  3. Senate chooses its committee which will vote on the bill
  4. Voting on the senare floor
  5. Bill goes back to the house floor and is finalized
  6. Bill heads to governor's desk for approval

Keep in mind that throughout this long, 6-step process, you always can have countless amendments to a bill, which will force this back-and-forth tug of war between the two chambers of the state government and on top of that, any majority "no vote" at any step of the way constitutes legal grounds for killing a bill. Last but not least you also have a final filtering process where the governor has undeniably great influence over the passage of a proposed legislation. A pretty scary thought, thinking that a bill could climb the political ladder so far to then be discarded altogether by one individual!!

Throughout the incredible learning experience our chapter has gained these past 3 months, starting during the March 7th NORML Lobby Day at the State Capitol and ending a few days ago while still continuing to attend committee hearings, to maintain an open dialogue with our legislators, was for sure an eye opening process for all of us. We knew that our efforts left a significant mark in the minds of many elected officials and we truly understood the hidden potential of practicing the greatest sport of all: Democracy. 

Remember the ABC of proper grassroots activism lies in creating and most importantly MAINTAINING an open discussion about the topic you feel so strongly about and make sure that the public is constantly engaged, to encourage elected officials to do the same; because even though many in our society feel like a vote doesn't count, well it sure does for the ones who are elected!! Email your respective representative once in a while (we suggest once a month will be plenty, since surprisingly enough they have a life outside of politics.. WHAT!!?), make sure to stay updated with your local grassroots organizations to know what's going on in your community, spread the word about a particular topic you care about, volunteer at events that will promote the cause and in the end always be prepared to learn from your experiences, to know what to do and what to avoid. 

Being part of the democratic process can be frustrating, time consuming but often times instill your mind with an overwhelming sense of empowerement and an exhilarating feeling of pride, knowing you are practicing something that people in most places around the world would die for and indeed, our ancestors gave their lives to. This past legislative session in 2017 has left a bitter taste in our mouths because we fought so hard to make Senate Bill 184, on the Marijuana Membership Clubs, a reality for every marijuana consumer in the State of Colorado. Even though we may have lost this battle, the war is far from over and the revolution continues... always moving forward.  

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A Unique Corner Of The Earth

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A Unique Corner Of The Earth

Many people in our society can say with confidence that the State of Colorado has become a pretty special place since 2012.

For decades the entire world fell into the abyss of ignorance and bigotry, towards a natural resource that has brought nothing but good in this world, spearheaded by the one nation that is now turning it all around, again! Cannabis, or what had been recognized by almost every individual, lawmaker, enforcement agent, journalist and world government as marijuana, has finally come out of the shadows after more than 80 years of condemnation, oppression and isolation from the world.  

Many historians will look back at these so called "dark ages", of the cannabis plant's journey, as a very strange phenomenon in the decision making rpocess that our ancestors brought forth as a means of manipulation and concentration of power. Across the millennia this natural resource has been utilized by human beings in almost every aspect of our daily lives and has played a fundamental role in our evolution and progression towards the advanced society that we are now a days. Somebody will have to explain the students of tomorrow how in hell could our leaders be so blind, and down right ignorant? Unfortunately the archetypes of the marijuana demonization campaign were anything but ignorant, though they were surely blinded by something: Greed and power. 

Thanks to the countless efforts of activist groups, free thinking individuals and societal phenomenons of rebellion against government oppression over the past few decades since the 1960's, the cultural shift had finally taken place and the citizens of Colorado voted to overturn many years of injustice and strive forward in a new and brighter direction. The entire globe has been carefully watching ever since Amendement 64 was put in place, under the Colorado constitution, thus granting historical rights that will have forever changed the faith of this unique corner of the earth.

Many of us were not granted the privilege to live in this state before this colossal paradigm shift; which lead us to embark on a journey to reach the promised land. Cannabis as many of you know is not just a means of relaxation, an interesting hobby or a natural medicine: it's a way of life. Since we can remember this important aspect of our existence always had to be segregated into the deepest corner of our minds to avoid conflict, social isolation or even criminal prosecution in many cases. It is unbelievable to see the stark difference just by looking at our neighbors in every direction and it should make everyone feel so grateful of the fact that we live in a time where a massive conscious awakening is taking place and Colorado has definitely been a catalyst for this change.

Nobody really knows where this legendary legalization movement will bring us, though it is certain that it's not going to hault any time soon. Hopefully one day no human being will ever have to suffer simply because they decided to create their own unique pursuit of happiness!    The legalization of Cannabis perfectly coincides with the degradation, erosion and subsequent transformation of many structural foundations deemed to be eternal in the eyes of previous generations: Things such as education, labor, technology, relationships, financial systems and political ideologies are all being put to the test on our ability to adapt and survice the changes that we have brought upon ourselves. Whether you believe it or not many of the challenges we are currently facing as a specie could have been easily prevented if our governments saw Cannabis as a force for good and not as an enemy of profitable institutions.

There are many moving pieces on this highly complex puzzle we call life and with time, many will get the chance to sit back and be able to grasp the immense complexity and yet fascinating simplicity of our world; the level of intricacy that us humans generate in our lives is quite astounding and one day we will be able to observe nature for what it really is: a teacher and not a resource.        

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Savory Cannabis Butter and Infused Shepard's Pie Recipie

Savory Cannabis Butter and Infused Shepard's Pie Recipie

Easy Cannabis Butter and Holiday Recipe

With the Holidays here and around the corner, food is one of the best parts of getting together with friends and family. And what’s any great holiday feast without it being infused with Cannabis! Here at Denver NORML are primary mission and goal is to educate Cannabis consumers on everything related to Cannabis, especially edibles.  Here is a beginners guide to making Cannabutter as well as a Shepard’s Pie recipe for the smashed potato lover’s out there. 

Cannabutter Recipe

Before we begin, it is always best to calculate and estimate the amount of milligrams you will be infusing into your butter.

-1 gram(g) of Cannabis flower is 1000 milligrams(mg) of dry weight.

To calculate the mgs of THC you look at the percentage of THC in your flower. 

-If your strain is 10% THC, 10% of 1 gram(1000mg) is 100mg, 20% of 1 gram is 200mg.

For this recipe, I used 1 ounce (28 grams) of Sweet Dream(Sativa Hybrid, Blue Dream X Island Sweet Skunk, so bomb) shake that was 22% THC. 

-28 g = 28,000mg.  

-22% of 28,000mg = 6,160mg.

I used 6 sticks (3cups) of unsalted butter. Here you can calculate how many milligrams per cup, tablespoon, and teaspoon.

-6,160 mg of cannabis / 3 cups = 2,035mg per Cup

-1 cup = 16 tablespoons

-1 cup = 48 teaspoons

-2,035 mg of cannabis /  16 tablespoons =  about 130 mg per Tablespoon.

-2,035 mg of cannabis / 48 teaspoons = about 45mg per teaspoon.

I followed a Cannabutter recipe from the Cannabist Online which follows seven pretty basic steps. 

Step 1: Before cooking with Cannabis Flower, its best to grind it down to a shake consistency and decarboxylate. Decarboxylation is a process to fully activate the THC in your flower. To decarb your cannabis, heat your oven to 240 degrees. Spread the Cannabis flower evenly on a baking sheet. Bake for about 40 minutes, turning the sheet about half way to ensure even heating. The dried cannabis will become dry and crumbly.

Step 2: In a medium saucepan bring a quart of water to a boil on the stove. You can vary the amounts, just be sure that the marijuana is always floating about 1 1/2 – 2 inches from the bottom of the pan. When the water is boiling place the butter in the pan and allow it to melt completely. My recipe uses 6 sticks of butter to every ounce of marijuana, so if you’re using a half ounce of weed that’s about 3 sticks of butter.

Step 3: Once the butter has melted you can add the marijuana. Once the weed is added the heat should be turned down, very low, to barely a simmer. I usually let the weed cook for around three hours. You can tell it’s done when the top of the mix turns from really watery to glossy and thick.

Step 4: While the butter is cooking set up the bowl to hold the finished product. I like to use a heatproof bowl, and some people use a plastic food container. Place a double layer of cheesecloth over the top, and secure it with elastic, string or tape.

Step 5: Strain the marijuana butter over the bowl, carefully trying not to spill. When the saucepan is empty, undo the twine, pick up the cheesecloth from all four sides and squeeze out all of the remaining butter.

Step 6: Allow the cannabutter to cool for about an hour. Place in the fridge until the butter has risen to the top layer and is solid. The THC and other properties have attached to the butter, and you are just about there.

Step 7: Run a knife around the edge and lift the butter off. Place upside down on your work surface and scrape off any of the cooking water. Your weed butter is ready to roll. Enjoy!

Delicious Infused Shepard’s Pie

Ingredients:

5 russet potatoes

2 cups of Milk

1 stick of butter

2-4 tableboons of infused Cannabutter (add less or more depending on desired potency) 

2 pounds of ground beef

1 package of frozen peas and carrots

4 Tablespoons of Pepper

2 Tablespoon of Salt

2 Teaspoons of Garlic Powder

3/4 cup of worcestershire sauce

1 cup or shredded cheddar cheese

Step 1: First, put a large pot of water about 3/4 way full on the stove to boil. Peel and medium cube potatoes and add to water. Boil potatoes till tender consistency.  

Step 2: While your potatoes are boiling, put a medium sauce pan on the stove to almost full heat and Sauté ground beef. Chop beef to small taco like consistency. Cook until browned. Drain excess liquid. 

Turn heat down to medium, and add the frozen peas and carrots, 3/4 cup of worcestershire sauce, 2 tablespoons of pepper, 1 tablespoon of salt, and 1 tablespoon of garlic powder. Combine everything together and sauté for about 20 mins.  

Step 3: Strain potatoes and put back into pot. Add in the milk and the butter, which melts best when you chop it in about 6 to 8 pieces, 2 tablespoons of pepper, 1 tablespoon of salt, and 1 tablespoon of garlic powder . Mash the potatoes with a food processor, potato masher, or fork till desired consistency. Add your Cannabutter and mix well. 

Step 4: Add a the beef, carrots, peas combination to a 9’ by 13’ glass casserole dish. Flatten out then add the mashed potatoes on top. Flatten out with a fork. 

Bake in the oven on 400 degrees for 30 mins. 

Last step: Take out the dish and add a layer of cheddar cheese. Put back in oven for 10 mins.

Take out, let cool for 10 mins and serve! 

Grow Safety Symposium

Grow Safety Symposium

On April 15th, 2017 Denver NORML hosted a free event, the Grow Safety Symposium at the Englewood Civic Center focused around safety and sustainability for home cultivation.  In Colorado residents have the legal right to grow marijuana however there is a lack of education regarding the best practices for each municipality.  NORML's goal was to cover every aspect of home cultivation from seed to flower. 

Denver NORML would like to say a very special thank you to the event's sponsors: Transcend Lighting, Soil Secrets, National Energy Technologies, Blumat Irrigation, TGM Greenhouses of Colorado and Cannabis Clean. We also want to say thank you to the amazing and generous companies that donated their genetics to Denver NORML: Ethos Genetics, Dank by Pank, Ego Free Seeds, Concentrated Genetics, and Covert Genetics. The raffle winners were so grateful for their ability to go home and practice what they spent the day learning. Huge thanks to Grofax 13 and HippieDew for completing the booth area.

Our list of guest speakers was unreal. We are so grateful to this list of experts that donated their time to this event. We hope to have each of these incredible speakers at next years event as well.

  • Moment of Mindfulness - Rachael Carlevale, Ganjasana
  • Nutrients - Rashad Reed

  • Cultivation - Cassandra Maffey, Verde Natural

  • Energy Consumption & Savings - Scott Milne, National Energy Technologies

  • Pest Control - Jason Furman, Srills 420 Pest Bully

  • Lighting - Michael Cleveland, Epic Grow Light

  • All About Genetics - Colin Gordon, Ethos Collective

  • Permaculture - Matt Davenport, ARLO Systems

  • RSO Instruction - Mike Wise

  • Home Security - Joey Baker, Denver Protection & Obedience Training

  • HVAC, Plumbing, Electricity - Jay Lopez, Dr. Green Plumb

  • Proper Storage & Waste - Paul Isham & Ben Meyer, MariWaste LLC

    Steven McMorrow, Cannabis Clean

  • Curing & Storing - Vaughn Fitzgerald, Integra by Desiccare

  • Compliance & Law - Dennis Brovarone, Hoban Law Group

  • Full Synopsis - Nick Tanem, Essential Extracts & The Herbal Cure

Our goal was to create a dialogue and provide as much education as possible. People continue to move to Colorado every single day, simply for the opportunity to legally grow their own marijuana. People arrive with little knowledge, but they’re excited grow so they typically buy a light, put it in a small closet or tent, and then immediately run into issues with ventilation, temperature and pests. The problem that we at Denver NORML kept seeing was the lack of education for those that wish to safely grow in the privacy of their homes. We enjoyed creating this event for our cannabis community and intend to have this event every year. 

We will continue to strive to bring education to our members and community. With the knowledge this symposium brought us we hope to create an education campaign that we can provide municipalities for future reference. If you or someone you know has a company that thrives on safety and sustainability please send them our way for our next Grow Safety Symposium. 

Getting Lit: How Denver’s Cannabis Industry is Transforming Entrepreneurship & Engagement

Getting Lit: How Denver’s Cannabis Industry is Transforming Entrepreneurship & Engagement

It’s a Sunday evening in Denver, a friendly security guard checks my ID, and I settle onto a couch with my book while ambient music comes through the speakers. Around me is a group of friends in their early 20s dressed casually, a guy in a suit who looks like he just got off of work, and men and women of all ages hanging out, talking, and texting. There are white brick walls, a refurbished wood look throughout and lighting that’s bright but welcoming and befitting of any hipster establishment.

This isn’t a coffee shop or bar, though, this is Kind Love: an upscale and award-winning medical and retail cannabis dispensary in Denver. With one-third of millenials in Colorado reporting past-30 day cannabis use, I went to Kind Love with the goal of seeing for myself what the legalization of retail marijuana looked like at point of sale and beyond. Like the city itself, which legalized retail cannabis in 2012, you couldn’t sum up or stereotype anyone in the shop that night. But they all had one thing in common – a mission to get lit.

Denver residents feel like their town has long been a well-kept secret. Known for its progressive culture, endless opportunities for outdoor recreation, 300 days of sunshine and a vibrant arts’ scene, it’s no wonder News & World Report ranked it as #1 in their 2016 Best Places To Live list. Since becoming the first city in the U.S. to legalize retail cannabis, an even brighter light has shone on the city. Non-cannabis related efforts and city improvements fueled by the city government, the arts community, everyday citizens, and the private sector have all contributed to a significant improvement in quality of life in Denver, resulting in a major growth in its population. Currently home to 680,000 residents, economists predict that the city’s population will grow by another 100,000 over the coming decade – a fact that has some residents I spoke with feeling weary about how this would impact cost of living, among other things.

The legalization of cannabis is like icing on the proverbial cake, making an already appealing city that much more so. Denver has always been attractive to the young, but it’s become a true innovation playground for millenials, and now there’s a billion dollar industry adding to the dynamism.

But what impact has the legalization really had? There are no shortage of analyses from a legal, health, and economic perspective on the cannabis industry. But with all eyes on the Mile High City as it becomes the first in the world to implement the selling and commercialization of retail marijuana, I wanted to find out what’s really happening on the ground and how it has impacted the city, from entrepreneurship to civic engagement.

The Evolution of Entrepreneurship

With the creation of any new industry comes innovation, opportunity and the potential for challenging traditional business models. I dropped by Cultivated Synergy – a co-working space and community hub for cannabis entrepreneurs – and chatted with COO Sebastian Nassau. On the impact these entrepreneurs are having on challenging traditional models, Nassau believes that “cannabis entrepreneurs are definitely changing the narrative of business building and successful business practices.” He continues: “In an industry that developed from scratch and is still building upon its foundations, we get to explore ways that a creative, dynamic, and socially-responsible community can be created before having to be accountable to any “business as usual” way of thinking and managing our respective businesses and industry as a whole.”

Businesses at Cultivated Synergy include a marijuana staffing and human resources agency, a distributor  of high-tech cannabis products and a company dedicated to the science of soil used for growing cannabis. Outside of Cultivated Synergy is a florist creating wedding bouquets that can be smoked after you say “I do” and a retired Wall Street lawyer running a “bud and breakfast.” Rounding out the entrepreneurial impact of cannabis are small businesses – such as galleries looking to incorporate cannabis as part of the experience of art, and yoga studios and music venues looking to incorporate cannabis in their offerings.

After spending some time at Cultivated Synergy, I get the sense that this is truly a collaborative and open environment. There’s a mentality among many cannabis entrepreneurs that a rising tide will lift all boats, and working together has eliminated the fear and scarcity mindset that is often seen in startup environments. Like with anything that’s illegal or stigmatized, cannabis consumers are a community that have typically been marginalized (with people of color facing disproportionate prosecution). The entrepreneurs at Cultivated Synergy get that this disenfranchisement can now turn into empowerment, and they’re starting by empowering each other through information sharing in order to build a more collaborative economy. Nassau has seen this first hand, noting that “as the cannabis community is built with many others with this perspective, opportunities for building a creative, engaging, and symbiotic industry landscape arise.”

In addition to the membership of Cultivated Synergy that spans several types of marijuana businesses, it is also home to NORML’s Denver state chapter, part of the nationwide nonprofit advocacy group for marijuana legalization that has been around since the 1970s. I chatted with Denver NORML’s Executive Director Jordan Person and Outreach Coordinator Kevin Mahmalji. When discussing the challenges entrepreneurs face, they explain that one of the biggest has been the paradigm shift of going from fighting the system to working alongside it. While everyone is excited by the culture of entrepreneurship that has come from the legalization of cannabis, they recognize that shaking off old narratives around engagement with the government has been tough. Cannabis consumers are generally weary of law enforcement, and activists now have to switch their frame from one of fighting for the legalization to collaborating with city officials on policies while building their businesses.

“Unlike other, established industries, the cannabis industry isn’t fighting against existing dogma and gender standards/roles. Instead, many see creative opportunities to enter the industry and shape the culture they’d like to see. I think as an emerging market, we aren’t shaped by preconceived notions of “how it should be” and can instead hop in where opportunity is seen,” says Cecile Weigle, Event Director at Cultivated Synergy.

Leading the Way With a Collaborative Approach

My conversations at Cultivated Synergy made me wonder how the government as a whole is engaging with cannabis entrepreneurs and the community at large. Leading these efforts within Denver’s city government is Ashley Kilroy, the City’s Executive Director of the Office of Marijuana Policy. The ultimate commitment of this team is to maintain Denver’s quality of life and the safety of its residents, while focusing on doing things right, not fast – a favorite motto of the Mayor. They know the world is watching and the city wants to be seen as a leader in terms of engaging employees and stakeholders throughout the community. This has required them to be nimble, responsive and innovative – qualities not often associated with government.

One way they’ve done this is through creating task forces, giving the marijuana industry and its entrepreneurs a direct line to the Mayor’s office, and having frequent check-ins with employees and community stakeholders, ensuring that a diversity of voices are present and heard at the table.

They’ve worked out how to engage with cannabis businesses and have built a regulatory framework through starting with a clean slate and creating it from the ground up. “We feel like we’re building the fire truck on the way to the fire, says Ashley Kilroy. The key for her team has been collaboration and adopting an entrepreneurial approach to their work. They understand that marijuana use doesn’t exist in a silo, and that it impacts everything from safety and the environment to licensing and education. The Mayor made the decision to not have a standalone marijuana department, but rather to put together a “small and mighty team” housed in the Mayor’s office that coordinates with all agencies that marijuana touches, building a truly collaborative model within the government.

What Can Other Cities Learn?

It’s not surprising that hundreds of people from around the world have been attending the now-annual Marijuana Management Symposium, the first of its kind, where the City of Denver shares everything they’ve learned with other state and local governments. This is in line with one of their core values, which is “a commitment to exchanging information and best practices with others to contribute to the public good, build better communities and develop common ground for the future.”

“One of the things the mayor talks about is ‘What makes a city great?’ He thinks that we all have an obligation to share ideas with other cities…by sharing those ideas, we can build standards, build better cities, and create for the better good,” says Kilroy.

So what do cities want to learn? Everything from ensuring that government employees are bought in once a community votes to legalize, to public safety, revenue, and the effects on children. But ultimately, Kilroy says that delegates from other cities and countries show up and “they don’t know what they don’t know.” Every day is a new challenge, and being flexible has been crucial to identifying issues as they’ve arisen and quickly collaborating on solutions.

It’s not surprising that Cultivated Synergy’s Sebastian Nassau agrees with the collaborative approach the city is taking. “Outreach to authentic and viable community groups becomes a primary goal held by all, and no one is asking why this is a goal. Everyone in the region who cares about the quality of community becomes a stakeholder in the venture and a player in the game in which everyone’s a winner.”

How is this impacting the fabric of the city? For one thing, it’s turned previously unengaged cannabis consumers into activists, with Jordan Person of Denver NORML seeing 80-100 people consistently showing up at community meetings each month. There’s a strong desire for information, and to bring that knowledge back to their neighborhoods, which has only picked up with the recent passing of I-300 in November 2016 – a Denver ballot initiative to support social consumption. Person’s hope is “for people to be a part of the change, to feel empowered.”

Empowerment & Engagement Through Destigmatization

And that’s what I really came to learn about the impact legalization has had on this city. What we’re talking about here is so much bigger than $150 million in tax revenue and the slew of policies and surface-level changes happening in Denver since retail marijuana was legalized. We’re talking about what happens when an entire portion of a community becomes empowered, and the impact this has had across the board – from entrepreneurship and government practices to the arts community and civic engagement – and on a deeper, human level.

What happens to a city when a segment of your population that used to keep part of its identity hidden is now expressed? And what impact can that have? When a significant portion of your population engages in cannabis use, it’s an important conversation to have and plays a clear role in the quality of life of residents in the state and beyond.

“The de-stigmatization of anything that’s important to people’s lifestyles in turn allows people to connect more with one another and brings communities together more deeply. Allowing people to enjoy and recreate with one another in public forums allows people to meet over shared interests. This then becomes part of a culture of growth,” says Nassau.

The beauty of cities is that they aren’t contained, and through exposure of and education around cannabis in Denver, the stigma surrounding it has flipped, and that extends beyond the city itself. “People feel empowered and are able to express themselves.” Kevin Mahmalji of NORML tells us. “There’s a strong feeling of home and optimism – there’s a ‘fire.’”

“When we’re speaking about the effects of the cannabis de-prohibition, it’s important to cite the systemic impacts. Cannabis activism has given the general population strategy and confidence to engage our legislative bodies, from the general population,” says David Serrano, Colorado Chapter President of the National Cannabis Chamber of Commerce. “In other words, cannabis pioneers have paved the way for Americans to question everything the government does, [providing] a path to discussion and sensible law making.”

At the end of the day, our cities are only as strong as their residents are empowered. Denver is a city that has the potential to fully express itself, and the spillover effect this can have on other cities is not to be understated. From the arts and entrepreneurship all the way to multi-million dollar businesses and the government itself, we’re seeing a progressive city push the envelope further. Denver is a city passionate about consistent evolution, and the empowerment of individuals and entrepreneurs is only contributing to the overall excitement. There’s a long way to go and a lot for the city to still figure out, but it’s well on its way – and it’s bringing the world along for the trip.

Jennie Armstrong

Jennie is a serial entrepreneur and nomad whom you can find updating her Goodreads account, downloading new podcasts and adding new scotches to her spreadsheet tracker. You can find her posting with way too many hashtags on Instagram.
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This article was originally published on progrss.com and reposted here.

420 Day of Action

420 Day of Action

After marijuana won the 2016 elections by doubling the number of states allowing recreational use with four more for a total of 8 and the establishment of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus this year, it’s clear that consumers are catching the ears of decision-makers across the nation. It’s high time they listen and some simply need that personal touch. For example, Colorado Senator Chris Holbert of Douglas County initially opposed marijuana law reform because he didn’t know its medical benefits until he met a family of constituents using CBD to treat their son’s seizures. Now he’s open to meeting with advocates pushing legalization and supports marijuana law reform.

The pioneers of marijuana legalization paved the road that brought us to this pivotal moment. Now our voices remain on congress’ doorstep.

Do you know those commercials from truth.com urging this generation to halt big tobacco and the smoking epidemic? Truth.com does an excellent job of getting in the faces of industry executives with displays of facts on big orange signs and organized chaos outside metro high-rises housing corporate tobacco companies. They’re changing the way consumers feel about ciggarettes using education or factual knowledge, one of the principle catalysts in paradigm shifts. We can do that with marijuana. Advocates for reform have an obligation to present the truth and halt misrepresentation.

On April 20th, marijuana consumers and advocates gather with NORML around the world to put an end to marijuana prohibition by supporting the 4/20 Day of Action Campaign; a grassroots effort that will combine social media presence with a call to action targeting federal lawmakers. Through this effort, we will raise awareness and support for the growing number of marijuana reform bills pending before the House and Senate lawmakers.

RSVP and sign up for our Thunderclap Campaign today!

https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/55788-4-20-online-day-of-action

Support Marijuana Social Clubs

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Support Marijuana Social Clubs

 

**UPDATE: SB-184 passed the Senate's Business, Labor and Technology Committee and is now scheduled for a vote by the full Senate this Wednesday, March 8, 2017.**

Support Marijuana Social Clubs!

"The current practice of allowing adults 21 years of age to purchase legal marijuana, while not providing a legally defined space to consume their legally purchased marijuana will continue to be a burden not just for marijuana consumers, but also for Colorado communities."

Click on the link below to contact your representative today!

#TakeAction

 

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Take Action: So We Have Attorney General Sessions – What’s Next For Marijuana?

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Take Action: So We Have Attorney General Sessions – What’s Next For Marijuana?

|by Justin Strekal, NORML Political Director |February 11, 2017|

 Despite historic opposition, members of the United States Senate voted 52 to 47 last week to approve the nomination of Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions for US Attorney General.

NORML thanks the tens of thousands of you who responded to our action alerts opposing this nomination and the thousands more who took time to make phone calls. While we are disappointed with this outcome, we are pleased that several members of Congress cited the senator’s opposition to marijuana policy reform as an impetus for rejecting his appointment.

We’ve previously told you why Jeff Sessions is the wrong man for the job, but today it is time to move forward, not backward.

So now what?

Well, during his testimony before members of the Senate Judiciary Committee in January, Sen. Sessions said that it is not the responsibility of the Attorney General to pick and choose which federal laws to enforce. “One obvious concern is the United States Congress has made the possession in every state and distribution an illegal act,” he said. “If that’s something that’s not desired any longer Congress should pass a law to change the rule. It is not the Attorney General’s job to decide what laws to enforce.”

He’s right. It is time we demand Congress to change the rules once and for all.

Just hours prior to Sessions’ confirmation vote, US Representative Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), along with six other Republicans and six Democrats, introduced bipartisan legislation, ‘The Respect State Marijuana Laws Act,’ to prevent the federal government from criminally prosecuting individuals and/or businesses who are engaging in state-sanctioned activities specific to the possession, use, production, and distribution of marijuana.

HR 975 states, ‘‘Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the provisions of this subchapter related to marihuana shall not apply to any person acting in compliance with State laws relating to the production, possession, distribution, dispensation, administration, or delivery of marihuana.’’

Passage of this Act would halt US Attorney General Jeff Sessions or any other federal official from prosecuting individuals and businesses for violating the Controlled Substances Act in the 29 states that permit either the medical or adult use and distribution of marijuana. According to national polling, 60 percent of Americans support legalizing marijuana.

Click here to send your member of Congress a message urging them to support HR 975.

With the appointment of Sen. Sessions to the position of US Attorney General, passage of this Act is necessary to ensure that medical marijuana patients and others are protected from undue federal interference.

There will be a number of bills in the coming months that will build upon the progress that the movement to legalize marijuana will support. As we always have, NORML will keep you informed and provide you the tools needed to connect with your elected officials.

Please take action today to urge your federal lawmakers to support HR 975, the ‘The Respect State Marijuana Laws Act,’ and when you have finished, please also take a moment to make a generous and much appreciated donation to NORML here so that we can continue to make progress in our federal and statewide efforts.

With NORML members throughout the country organizing lobby days and taking action over the coming days and weeks, the fight for cannabis freedom will continue with renewed energy.

NORML has resisted marijuana prohibition for 47 years – We’re not going to stop now; in fact, we’re just getting started. Are you in?

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This was originally posted on norml.org and reposted here.

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NORML Forms Multi-State Workplace Drug Testing Coalition

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NORML Forms Multi-State Workplace Drug Testing Coalition

 

|by Kevin Mahmalji, NORML Outreach Coordinator | February 14, 2017 |

The fact that 190 million Americans now live in states where marijuana has been legalized to some degree is raising a number of questions and issues about how to integrate the American workforce and marijuana consumers rights in regards to drug testing. With medical marijuana is legal in 29 states and recreational marijuana for adult use in 8 states and Washington DC, millions of responsible and otherwise law-abiding adults remain at risk of being excluded from the workforce due to a positive drug test — even where the use does not affect an individual’s job performance or has taken place days or weeks prior to the test.

NORML believes that this practice is discriminatory and defies common sense. As a result, a growing coalition of NORML Chapters in California, Oregon, Colorado and Washington have come together to advocate for necessary legislative and workplace reforms to protect responsible marijuana consumers.

NORML’s Workplace Drug Testing Coalition’s efforts will focus on these four areas:

  1. Reform workplace drug testing policies
  2. Expand employment opportunities for marijuana consumers
  3. Clarify the difference between detection technology and performance testing
  4. Highlight off-duty state law legal protections for employees

“Even though marijuana is legal and readily available in several states, consumers are being unfairly forced to choose between their job and consuming off the clock as a result of out-of-date employment practices,” said Kevin Mahmalji, National Outreach Coordinator for NORML. “That is why many NORML chapters active in legal states are now shifting their attention to protecting honest, hardworking marijuana consumers from these sort of antiquated, discriminatory workplace drug-testing practices, in particular the use of random suspicionless urine testing.”

Employer testing of applicants or employees for trace metabolites (inert waste-products) of past use of a legal substance makes no sense in the 21st century.  This activity is particularly discriminatory in the case of marijuana where such metabolites may be detectable for weeks or even months after the consumer has ceased use.

With the 2017 Legislative Session underway, this issue is finally getting the attention it deserves. Legislation has already been introduced in Oregon and Washington, and is gaining traction in those states.

“Random suspicionless drug testing of applicants or employees for past marijuana use is not just unfair and discriminatory, it’s bad for business,” said attorney Judd Golden of Boulder, Colorado, a long-time NORML activist and Coalition spokesperson. The modern workforce includes countless qualified people like Brandon Coats of Colorado, a paraplegic medical marijuana patient who never was impaired on the job and had an unblemished work record. Brandon was fired from a Fortune 500 company after a random drug test, and lost his case in the Colorado Supreme Court in 2015. The Court unfortunately found Colorado’s lawful off-duty activities law that protects employees for legal activities on their own time didn’t apply to marijuana use.

California NORML is also expecting legislation to be introduced this session to address this issue. Ellen Komp, deputy director of California NORML said, “One of the most frequently asked questions we have been getting since Prop. 64 passed legalizing adult marijuana use in California last November is, ‘Am I now protected against drug testing on my job?’ Sadly in our state, not even medical marijuana patients are protected against job discrimination, and it’s a priority of Cal NORML to change that. We are hoping to get a bill introduced at the state level and are working with legislators, unions, and other reform groups to make that happen.”

NORML Chapters across the country are advocating on behalf of the rights of responsible marijuana consumers against discrimination in the workplace. “Our coalition was formed with the intention of not only educating legislators, but also with businesses in mind.  It is important they know testing for marijuana is not mandatory, and that employers have testing options,” said Jordan Person, executive director for Denver NORML. The Denver chapter is currently working with companies that offer performance impairment testing of workers suspected of on-the-job impairment or use rather than unreliable bodily fluid testing to help provide options for employers.

For decades drug testing companies and others have pushed their agenda through a campaign of misinformation. Until now there has never been an organized effort to challenge the profit- driven ideology of those who seek to benefit from intrusive drug screening. Mounting evidence continues to prove there is no logical reason why adult marijuana consumers should be treated with any less respect, restricted more severely, and denied the same privileges we extend to responsible adults who enjoy a casual cocktail after a long day at the office.

For legal questions, please contact Coalition spokesperson Judd Golden at juddgolden@outlook.com. For other marijuana related questions or an interview, please contact Kevin Mahmalji at kevinm@norml.org.

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This was originally published on norml.org and reposted here.

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Active Colorado Bills 2017

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Active Colorado Bills 2017

As of February, here is a snapshot of the current bills in the Colorado 2017 Legislative Session obtained from the General Assembly website :

SB17-015 Unlawful Marijuana Advertising
Concerning the unlawful advertising of marijuana.
Sponsors: Sen. I. Aguilar | Rep. D. Pabon
Subjects: Crimes, Corrections, & Enforcement, Liquor, Tobacco, & Marijuana

SB17-063 Marijuana Club License
Concerning licensing marijuana consumption clubs.
Sponsors: Sen. V. Marble | Rep. J. Melton
Subject: Liquor, Tobacco, & Marijuana

HB17-1034 Medical Marijuana License Issues
Concerning licensing changes to the medical marijuana code to conform with the retail marijuana code.
Sponsors: Rep. D. Pabon | Sen. R. Baumgardner
Subject: Liquor, Tobacco, & Marijuana

SB17-111 Medical Marijuana Inventory Shortfall Fixes
Concerning measures to address medical marijuana inventory shortfalls.
Sponsors: Sen. T. Neville | Rep. M. Gray | Rep. D. Michaelson Jenet
Subject: Liquor, Tobacco, & Marijuana

SB17-025 Marijuana Education Materials Resource Bank
Concerning the development of marijuana education materials.
Sponsors: Sen. R. Baumgardner | Sen. C. Holbert | Rep. J. Singer
Subjects: Education & School Finance (Pre & K-12), Liquor, Tobacco, & Marijuana

SB17-017 Allow Medical Marijuana Use For Stress Disorders
Concerning adding stress disorders to the list of debilitating medical conditions for the purposes of the use of medical marijuana.
Sponsors: Sen. I. Aguilar | Rep. J. Singer
Subject: Liquor, Tobacco, & Marijuana

HB17-1082 BEST Building Excellent Schools Today Act Technology Grant Funding
Concerning financial assistance under the 'Building Excellent Schools Today Act', and, in connection therewith, requiring a specified amount of retail marijuana excise tax revenue to be used to provide such financial assistance in the form of technology grants to public schools.
Sponsors: Rep. D. Pabon
Subjects: Capital Construction, Education & School Finance (Pre & K-12), Liquor, Tobacco, & Marijuana

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Pot Pioneer Colorado Just Now Taking Look at PTSD Treatment

 

Credit: thierry ehrmann

| By Kristen Wyatt Associated Press | Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017 4:21 PM |

DENVER – The first state to legalize marijuana is just now taking steps to consider the drug medicine for people suffering from post-traumatic stress.

Colorado has authorized medical marijuana for nearly two decades, and the state approved recreational pot use in 2012. But doctors here still cannot recommend marijuana’s use to treat post-traumatic stress, forcing sufferers to pay higher taxes for recreational pot.

Many Colorado PTSD patients interested in pot say they lie to doctors about having chronic pain, allowing them to qualify for medical pot cards.

“Medical obviously comes at a lesser price, and needing it medicinally, we need a lot more than a regular person would,” said Ashley Weber, 32, a Longmont native who uses marijuana to treat chronic pain and PTSD from a car accident that left her in wheelchair.

A bill headed to the state Senate would make PTSD the 10th ailment eligible for medical pot in Colorado. Passage would make Colorado the 20th state to allow doctors to recommend pot for PTSD.

Colorado’s Medical Board has rejected post-traumatic stress as an ailment eligible for pot at least four times. Citing a lack of medical research showing pot’s effectiveness treating PTSD, the state’s major medical societies also oppose pot for PTSD.

“There are well-known, proven treatments for PTSD,” said Dr. Adam Burstein, testifying against the bill on behalf of the Colorado Medical Society and the Colorado Psychiatric Association.

But other physicians testified that marijuana treatments for PTSD are already common and that the change wouldn’t require pot treatment, just allow doctors to consider it.

“There is an institutional bias against marijuana in the medical profession,” said Dr. Irene Aguilar, who is also a state senator from Denver and sponsor of the bill, which awaits a Senate vote in the next few weeks before heading to the House.

Allowing PTSD pot treatments, Aguilar said, would “allow physicians to put marijuana in their toolbox if they so choose.”

Colorado has about 100,000 people registered for medical marijuana, a number that has stayed steady since the passage of recreational pot in 2012.

Medical pot users can possess twice as much pot as recreational users and their taxes are significantly lower. Also, some shops provide specialty strains to medical patients that are unavailable to the general public.

Colorado’s Health Department has also set aside some $3.3 million since 2015 for studying marijuana to treat post-traumatic stress, including an observational study of 76 military veterans. The studies have not yet been completed.

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This article was originally posted at durangoherald.com and has been reposted here.

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TAKE ACTION: Letter to the Editor

| Teresa Wright | February 1, 2017|

Dear Editor:

When I was a child, my family was poor. Not quite living out of our car poor, but never very far from it. Most years, we had a garden –usually a pretty substantial one. I loved fresh veggies and in the summer my brother, three sisters, and I were able to eat lots of healthy foods that we often couldn’t afford year-round. For kids whose dinners were sometimes no more than mac & cheese with some breakfast sausage – those salads, tomatoes, green beans, zucchini and more were gifts beyond measure. For my parents, it was a small respite from their ongoing struggle to keep the family above water.

Considering recent announcements in Colorado, I have tried to imagine what it would have been like if, in the middle of July one summer, the police came to our house and pulled up 90% all our crops, and then burned what they had already destroyed. What if they had been willing to let hungry children watch their next three months’ worth of meals go up in smoke?

Inconceivable, right? Except that is essentially what the state and many municipalities, including Denver, are trying to do in 2107 – except instead of food, they want to reduce the amount of medicine an individual can grow. Children’s medicine. Cannabis medicine.

Somehow in 2017 we have reached a point where we accept that politicians and bureaucrats know more about how much medicine someone requires than doctors, nurses, other healthcare providers, and the patients or their families. To someone who doesn’t know much about cannabis or about the way various healing component are extracted, 99 plants may seem ridiculous. And I get that. But it really does take a large amount of flower to make enough medicine to treat a child with epilepsy or cancer.

But the black market. Yes, the black market is certainly a concern, but does it really make sense to take away affordable, safe, effective, home-grown medicine from thousands of sick people to make it potentially easier to weed out illegal grows? How will licensing people’s legal basement grows make life harder for black marketers? Exactly – it won’t.

So please, learn about proposed changes to state and local laws, call your elected officials, write letters to editors, and if you don’t know enough about the subject – learn a little. There is so much evidence available now that it is no longer in question that marijuana is a safe and effective treatment for many illnesses and conditions. And if none of this matters to you because you aren’t a cannabis patient, I know very many people who are – people I care about. People who are living better lives today because the people of Colorado decided to send the message that we want control of our own lives and our own health. And now that we have it, I am not willing to let it go without a fight. I hope you will join me.

NORML Chapters Organize State Lobby Days for Marijuana Law Reforms

NORML Chapters Organize State Lobby Days for Marijuana Law Reforms

| by Kevin Mahmalji, NORML Outreach Coordinator| January 25, 2017

On the heels of the 2016 election – where four states voted to approve adult-use marijuana initiatives, and four more voted to approve medical marijuana initiatives – NORML Chapters across the country are lobbying their state legislators for additional reforms. In the coming weeks, NORML Chapters around the country, such as California NORML, Connecticut NORML, Wyoming NORML, and Virginia NORML, will be focusing their time and energy in support of dozens of statewide reform bills seeking to amend various aspects of their state’s marijuana policies.

To help increase the likelihood of success for these volunteer-led lobbying efforts, NORML has created a citizen lobby guide. This comprehensive booklet will assist activists in planning and execution of a successful lobby day. It also provides organizational checklists and a legislative questionnaire so that marijuana activists, regardless of the state they’re located in, will be fully prepared to meet with state lawmakers to discuss meaningful marijuana law reforms and to most effectively communicate NORML’s message of ending the prohibition of marijuana on the local, state and federal level.

Citizen Lobby Guide: http://norml.org/pdf_files/NORML_CitizenLobbyGuide.pdf

In addition to offering support through NORML’s Citizen Lobby Guide, we have created more than 30 action alerts targeting state lawmakers across the country urging their support for marijuana legislation being considered in their state. Simply click on the link below and enter your information to join the fight!

Take Action: http://norml.org/act

We hope that with these tools, along with the direct support of NORML staff, marijuana activists will have the resources needed to effectively lobby state lawmakers in support of marijuana law reforms.

Here’s a list of scheduled NORML Chapter Lobby Days below:

  • Virginia NORML – Jan 30
  • Arizona NORML – Feb 2
  • Texas NORML – Feb 8
  • Houston NORML – Feb 8
  • DFW NORML – Feb 8
  • Waco NORML – Feb 8
  • New Mexico – Feb 8
  • Missouri NORML – Feb 28
  • Kansas City NORML – Feb 28
  • Greater St. Louis NORML – Feb 28
  • Mid-Missouri NORML – Feb 28
  • Springfield NORML – Feb 28
  • University of Missouri NORML – Feb 28
  • North Carolina NORML – Mar 1
  • Charlotte NORML – Mar 1
  • Denver NORML – Mar 7
  • Colorado NORML – Mar 7
  • Monterey County NORML – Mar 7
  • NORML Women of Washington – Mar 7
  • Washington NORML – Mar 7
  • Portland NORML – Mar 7
  • Michigan NORML – March 30
  • Illinois NORML – May 17

To get involved or to find out more information about a lobby day in your state, please email: KevinM@NORML.org

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Drug Testing Policies Might Get a Much Needed Upgrade Soon

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Drug Testing Policies Might Get a Much Needed Upgrade Soon

 

| By Reilly Capps |

Even though recreational cannabis has been legal for adults to consume since 2012 in Colorado, there isn't a single company known to have changed its policies on having it in your system. So NORML, a marijuana advocacy group, is developing a citizen-led lobbying effort to convince employers that they're missing out on good talent by testing for a substance that's less harmful than alcohol.

"You've got way more to worry about with someone coming in all hungover and half awake than you do with someone on trace metabolites of marijuana," said Denver NORML executive director Jordan Person.

Person unveiled the new anti-drug test campaign recently in Denver's RiNo neighborhood, in a vaulted warehouse that was recently converted into a high-class, cannabis-friendly meeting space and co-work area called Cultivated Synergy.

There, the air is filled with strong whiffs of dabs and new money. The shmancy track lighting overhead and heavily-laminated business cards being handed around are a stark reminder that, in Denver, smoking marijuana is more likely to land you a job than it is to lose you one.

Still, the people there tell stories of horror back when they lived in bummer states, when drug tests dragged down their careers. For budtender Kees Van Bergeijk, whose body was a tangled mess after he hit the pavement at 50 mph on his longboard, marijuana was the best thing to manage the pain — except for opioids, he said, but those things will kill you. He was a lifeguard at a camp for special needs kids, but his use made him have to quit. When he told the kids, a special needs girl who he used to tell stories to broke into tears.

Yet, just as some businesses look down on pot smokers, intelligent cannabists look down on drug-testing businesses as unsophisticated or uneducated, says brand consultant Tyco Skinner — who has an MBA from Cornell. "I discount their business acumen," he says.

Drug-testing businesses are missing out on top-notch talent, Person adds. "Really intelligent people who might be the best graphic designers or coders on the planet, but because they have daily nausea, they use marijuana, so they don't go for the job," she says.

NORML's campaign also includes coordination from NORML chapters in Oregon, Washington and California. Colorado's NORML will be lobbying on Colorado's Capitol Hill on March 7. There, they'll point out how silly it is to test for marijuana but not other, more life-wrecking drugs. The current situation tells employers, "Take all the drugs you want, just don't smoke any weed,” says Person. “Get as drunk as you want, but don't do weed. Do a bunch of cocaine and then come to work, and you'll be fine, it's out of your system quick, but don't do any weed.

"It's ridiculous," Person adds. "In time, it has to change. People are excited that the conversation is being had again."

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This article was originally published on www.therooster.com and has been reposted here.

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