Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Safer AZ Cannabis Reform Status Report 9/30/14

After pulling our 2014 cannabis illegalization initiative in June of 2014, Safer AZ’s legislative liaison & board member, Mikel Weisser, assumed control of the group to direct our energies for the upcoming 2016 initiative campaign that was being brought to AZ by MPP.
Through the summer, at the behest of the Safer AZ board, Weisser developed the relationship w leaders in MPP and the ADA to better keep track of their actions and to insert Safer AZ into the decision making process of those “officially shaping” the upcoming campaign for AZ cannabis rights.
When MPP’s representative Neal Levine, first came to assess the situation in June, Safer AZ was one of their meetings. When MPP returned on Aug. 27th to commence their campaign, Safer AZ was one of the key meetings they held that day (all and all our rep. attended 5 hours of meetings w MPP: an hour long direct conference, a two-hour shared conference and attending a two hour public presentation).
Safer AZ’s stated intentions are thus: 1) Serve as a representative for the larger cannabis community in the campaign and initiative process; 2) Shape the language of the upcoming initiative to make it as consumer friendly as possible; 3) establish a profession relationship between the AZ campaign committee and Safer AZ , wherein Safer AZ can be an active partner w the campaign (thus guaranteeing our interests are protected); 4) Develop our own fundraising arm to afford better operations and provide services to the campaign including a) activist outreach, b) campaign fundraising assistance, c) public education events, d) legislative advocacy, e) qualified petition gathering, & f) community messaging and guidance.
National MPP has consistently responded favorably to our efforts and provided encouragement that we are pursuing a shared agenda; and so, despite outcry from the under-informed public, Safer AZ has continued to develop this relationship, principally w Sarah Hollyhead, the MPP development rep. Once the AZ based campaign committee was formed, Safer AZ reached out to their officers, Ryan Hurley and Gina Bermen and had lengthy meetings Thursday, Sept. 25. Again the local MPP committee reassured Safer AZ that our stated initiative objectives--various legal and anti-discriminatory protections for cannabis users, limited personal grow, protected status for mmj patients, and reasonably unrestricted market access to licensing for newer and smaller cannabis operators—are part of their vision of the legislation they hope to create. A representative from R.A.M.M.P. (Registry of AZ Medical Marijuan Patients) has independently verified that their impression of the goals of the new AZMPP organization are in keeping w our stated objectives. AZMPP did make suggestions to Safer AZ as to ways we can help advance the overall project.

In specific, AZ MPP asked Safer to develop these objectives: 1) Review and upgrade our existing data base so we can use it as a tool in our work in the upcoming campaign; 2) Begin marketing our tee-shirts to smoke shops and dispensaries to advance our messaging; 3) Attend the upcoming AZ MPP fundraiser (our table would cost $1000); 4) Increase our efforts to public outreach; 5) Overcome our own oh-so-very-public in-fighting that damages our credibility. Both Hurley and Bermen re-emphasized appreciation of our work so far and a desire to work w us in the future. Towards that end, the AZMPP committee has sent me an invitation to their fundraiser kick-off event which I have forwarded to my board for approval.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Dear Supporters:

(Thank you again for all your faith in my work. It is your energy that pushes this campaign forward.)

I often talk to people about this congressional campaign as a tactic for an even larger, even more urgent social transformation America must have if we are to survive this century. National attitudes about equality, opportunity, education, foreign relations, the environment and the economy have got to change. If you have followed our campaign, you know I also believe another key tactic in that movement is the legalization of marijuana.
While it is not my only issue, my cannabis activism has often been at the center of my image in the public. This week one of AZ’s most respected writers, Ray Stern, wrote a feature on my work in AZ’s alt-weekly of record, the PHX New Times. The profile focused on my bold marijuana positions, yes, but also on the other main issues in my campaign and my efforts for progressive values in general. One of the main themes is that marijuana is not the motivation sapping debilitating devil the Right want paint.
“Weisser, who was attending the Arizona Leadership Forum at the Phoenix Convention Center, didn't seem impaired or on anything stronger than a cup of coffee. He says he doesn't "have the leisure time" to sit around smoking pot all day long, and on a typical day he's out from 8 a.m. to midnight meeting people and groups in District 4. We can vouch for the fact.”
Standing up for marijuana users is the same as standing up for education: “I want to have limits on class size, and I want to get Howard Zinn back in the classroom," Weisser says … wearing a Howard Zinn button on his lapel.”
Or sane immigration policies: "The whole world is teeming with refugees right now, and America's xenophobic approach is to say, 'build the damn fence.'"
Or a humane approach to affording America’s future: “If only the government stopped corporations from keeping trillions of dollars in profit parked in offshore accounts where they can't be taxed, the United States would have the resources to pay for services needed.”
Now, if these values are the kinds of things you want to see advanced, I ask you to join your cause w mine. We can make a difference. We ARE making a difference now:
Learn more about the campaign:
“Telling the Right They’re Wrong!” 2014 style (You Tube Video):
“Telling the Right They’re Wrong!” 2012 (same audience):

Safer AZ site: http://saferarizona.com/

Paid for by the Mikel Weisser for US Congress campaign

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Weisser to Deliver Opening Remarks at 2014 Individual World Poetry Slam Championships in PHX

OMG, my tremendous good fortune, was to meet Aaron Johnson in 2008 and have him change my AZ life forever. At that point I was a busy happy local poet in the Kingman/Bullhead City area, but he asked me to start performing in the larger AZ circuit and the courage and skills I developed from growing to become a touring poet are at the heart of who I have become as a political figure. Somehow the courage to combine poetry and politics has given this small town rube a tremendous nearly impossible opportunity: I have been asked to give the opening remarks to the world's most elite poetry slam competition. To remember where I started as a scared little scribbler at 14 and decided I would commit to being a poet, no matter what that meant; to see where that faith has brought me--oh my, oh my.

Now this speech won't be delivered until Oct. 8 at the opening ceremonies.

  1. Address: 905 N 5th St, Phoenix, AZ 85004

Opening Remarks 2014 iWPS

Poets, bless you. Thank you for coming to save us. My name is Mikel Weisser and it is one of the great honors in my lifetime to be on hand to welcome the world’s finest poets to AZ, to PHX in fact, for this year’s Individual World Poetry Slam championship!
As a poet who has somehow managed to become the democratic candidate for US House of Representatives in Arizona’s Fourth Congressional District, I live my life in the shadow of the famous quote by Shelley about poets being the unacknowledged legislators of the world.
While I do not know if that phrase characterizes the soul of every wordsmith who ever mangled sentence structure so “moon” and “June” could spoon, I do believe that the assembled talent here this weekend, take their mandate quite seriously: if you are going to open your mouth to fill our minds, it better be about something. I am, to say again, humbled to merely be this close to so many legends, so many great entertainers, so many passionate activists. This weekend, Phoenix will hear if we hear the pulse of the universe in the tones our poets bring out. Phoenix let me warn you: it may not be pretty.
Poets, more than many other public bloviators, tend to remember we have an obligation to enlighten and entertain and, in the process, it’s the ugly we exactly need to hear. People don’t always want to allow the ugly to be seen. Sometimes we want to think that poetry is nothing more than window dressing: comparing your lovely to a summer’s day, instead of simply saying she’s hot. And, yes, there’s times when it’s true that’s all poetry needs to be. But these are the worst of times and the best of times and we have seen the best minds of multiple generations dragged through the disasters of human folly and the whole thing made worse, because no one would address the ugly. We can’t change the ugly truths of life by ignoring them, by disguising ourselves and our emotions. We aren’t chameleons, we’re just humans and luckily us all it is the poets that remember this.
Just to be sure we all understand, I’m not just rattling my jaw because I fell off the donkey truck near a place where there’s free food (there’s food right?) I have a Masters in English from the University of Illinois at Springfield and an M Ed in Secondary Ed from NAU and been performing, publishing, and promoting poetry for about 20yrs after writing in my closet for 20yrs before that and I can tell you, based on that considerable experience, there is a whole lot of ugly the world needs to hear about.
There is a tremendous sense of urgency, corruption does not have a curfew. The poor don’t stop starving just because no one hears about it and our childhoods are always being reborn or destroyed anew w every new moment, at least sometimes there’s a poet there to catch us. Poets are willing to reach down deep in their hearts and write w their blood on the page, maybe to satisfy us, mostly to be lost in the din between the stage and where we stand, mere players. But sometimes, pretty or no, the moons align, the thunder cracks and the words of the poet bring light to the darkness of insanity. And whether we think it’s pretty or whether we think it ugly, it’s the poets’ truth that sets us free.
Let us go then, past the question of “Do I dare?”And let these games begin. Ladies and gentlemen of PHX, it is my honor and privilege to be here today, to be in earshot as the greatest poets of the world speak. Thank you for welcoming them, and thank you poets for coming, with your husky brawling voices and your big shoulders to carry the weight of the world. Thank you Aaron Johnson for bringing us all here today.  Thank you for bringing pretty and ugly and everything beautiful. Thank you for letting me listen.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Safer AZ Announces 2016 Drive at PHX NORML 9/2/14 (Mikel Weisser)

Safer AZ is pushing to be a functioning political action committee that helps shape marijuana policy in Arizona.

Our constituency is the cannabis community in all aspects of that rather expansive group. As patients ourselves our primary concerns are w patients, of course, but Safer Arizona aims to make marijuana legal for all people in AZ—smokers and vaporizer users, edibles users, folks w cannabis infused health and beauty products. Even more we want to make marijuana safer for the stores that sell marijuana and the attendant industry and boutique businesses that have grown up around cannabis and are all often demonized.

When terminated our 2014 petition drive, we said we would continue to push for marijuana legalization in AZ we quickly decided to develop an understanding of the upcoming MPP effort. Starting in June we began actively working to develop an understanding of MPP’s efforts and sensing them to be sound, pro-marijuana and pro-Arizona, we have begun to promote MPP in the state. This is often a difficult sell because of lingering frustrations w provisions in the AMMA, the problematic campaign that nearly lost the initiative at the very end and the tense relationship that has developed between certain figures associated w the 2010 Prop 203 campaign as well as the hostility between patients and the dispensary industry.
This speech was meant to give the public, both in person and online, an overview of Safer AZ’s view of the upcoming MPP guided campaign.
Feel free to contact me through our normal congressional campaign channels, but also through:
for cannabis related issues. We really are going to legalize it. Join us—

Mikel Weisser
Director, Safer Arizona