Friday, November 29, 2013

AZ Cannabis Reform Update 11/29/13: AZ Rep Introduces Legalization Bill and We Are Here to Help!

Here's something to feel thankful for this holiday season:  

AZ House Minority Whip, Ruben Gallego (D-LD27), just announced he is introducing a bill for full-scale marijuana legalization in Arizona, in part, thanks to the work of our organization, Safer AZ. The bill is already making national news though it hasn’t been filed yet. Read Gallego’s press release about it here:
Gallego’s announcement is already

In response this week there has been a flurry of calls and messages between cannabis activists around the state to see what all we could do to in promoting public awareness of this bill and bring AZ cannabis legalization one step closer to reality. THX to my congressional run last year and my wife's membership on AZ's DNC delegation, the Gallegos and the Weissers are already social friends within the party, and so I am more than happy to help my friend w his work, especially when he is working on one of my main issues. It is the kind of thing I am attacking at a federal level w my congressional campaign and here in the state through my work as the legislative liaison and general speaker for Safer AZ.
Safer AZ is a cannabis activist network working to promote reform through direct activism at the statehouse and in the general public. We are the people behind the current petition drive for the citizens’ Marijuana initiative to tax and regulate cannabis, AND, the “Harm Reduction Measure,” another cannabis bill also readying to be introduced this January by Rep. Mark Cardenas (D-LD19), which will address the state draconian felony sentencing statures for possession. We are also the creators of the “Safer AZ Legislative Status” report which informs Arizonans of our legislators’ positions on cannabis reform.
 Among others things we are already doing to promote Gallego’s bill include communicating w other cannabis activist groups, in particular PHX NORML, NORML in AZ & LEAP to promote awareness of the bill through our networks. I, in particular, talk directly w smoke shop and dispensary operators throughout the western part of the state to promote cannabis awareness in general and legalization efforts. In addition, Safer AZ creates/participates in musical events to increase visibility and we are coordinating a major public action on Jan. 13 to bring cannabis activists from all corners of Arizona to the statehouse to call for legalization. Finally we work w reporters to provide info and interviews to help improve their coverage of the issues.
The future of America is legalization. We have this chance to push to bring that future sooner, rather than later. There is a tremendous urgency of now. The often quoted figure is the AZ Central poll that showed 59% approval for legalization. It is certainly reflected in what I am seeing in the western part of the state. While the two parties officially take different positions on the issue, the citizens of both parties support legalization. Here is a link to read further on my observations of this issue.
A poet, political writer, entertainer/arts organizer and Democratic community activist from the Bullhead, Kingman & Prescott areas, I first challenged the GOP for control of the newly created congressional seat in 2012 while maintaining my full-time teaching career. This year I am running full-time and standing up for a 21st Century economy, dramatically improving education, immigration reform, women's rights & gender equality, solar & wind, rural modernization, improved consumer protections against predatory banks & corporations, reversing the privatization of government services (such as private prisons), increased arts funding, and, yes, cannabis legalization at the federal level.

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