Monday, July 13, 2015

Open Letter to Battling Marijuana Intiatives in AZ

Hello all,

As you may know, late Friday, I was appointed to be the new deputy director for the state chapter of NORML.

I am sending this letter to some of the great leaders in the AZ marijuana reform movement who may be upset to see I was appointed to be the state deputy director for AZ NORML. I am also sending it to several others in the community to be observers. This is a tremendous opportunity for our state. I want to do my best to do it right.

I know some are concerned I am only interested in promoting my personal agenda on marijuana reform. I am writing you here, in my first official NORML correspondence, to assure you that is not the case. I am committed to improving the lives of Arizona's marijuana community in general. I am further committed to doing my best to use NORML to promote the reform movement in general and support all campaigns to the extent they want to work w me, NORML and respect each other.

Having been intimately involved in multiple campaigns, I believe I am aware of the dynamics of trying to get a message out. It is my hope that each campaign will allow me, in my capacity as NORML leadership, to promote your campaign throughout the state, carry your petitions, etc. As a notary public, I am prepared to assist ALL campaigns in processing your petitions. As a statewide representative of themost visible marijuana brand in the nation, I intend for NORML to actively spread the message of reform across the state and am already scheduling expeditions to revive or establish NORML activist groups across the state; and I heartily invite representatives from all campaigns to join me on these trips. 

BUT-- (you knew it was coming) I am establishing some ground rules for conduct, both how I will conduct myself and what I expect from others I support.

1. I will honestly work for marijuana reform throughout the state and not to advance a specific group over another unless or until NORML national changes their message of neutrality. (As I told Billy Hayes when the announcement was made, the AZFMR crowd should rejoice because this muzzles me in many ways, lol)

2. I will not slander the character of the leaders or initiative provisions in public or in private. I won't exaggerate the claims or flaws in any campaign. I will talk honestlyabout strengths and weaknesses. To be clear: I will NOT support slanderous characterizations of any campaigns (MPP will not create a corporate monopoly & AZFMR is not strictly for drug dealers; MPP is not in bed with the private prison folk & AZFMR is not out to destroy legalization in 2016; a seed is not a plant & AZFMR will not put a pot shop on every corner, to dismiss a few of the more commonly lies being spread). We do ourselves and marijuana in general a disservice when we behave like that. Such hyperbole clouds the issue and drives the general public away. 

3. I will share what resources I can generate for the overall project of reform with all legitimate groups according to my resources and their need and their conduct.

4. PLEASE contact or reply to me directly and soon with any questions, any time. (That offer is not hyperbolic, btw. I intend to continue my office hours, 8a-12a, and take calls and texts during overtime hours--that REALLY does mean 24/7, if I can't take your call, I will take your message.) Call, text, email, direct FB message. I try to not get involved in chat-stream flame-wars, so contact me directly with concerns.Marijuana is suposed to make us happy, so we should stop fighting in public. Let's not hang each other up as straw men on chat walls for the public to pillory. The public only has so much energy and attention, why waste it pointing them as weapons at each other when we have a far greater enemy to face?

5. While, as a history teacher, I would not encourage a person to forget the past; I am ready, and encourage us all, to forgive.

Those of you who have worked with me know that I will want to act now, act quickly, and act often. Now that the AZFMR campaign is ready to collect signatures, it is time to start getting their petitions distributed along w the MPP's so the public can have a choice. I also would like to have a sit-down bringing the leaders of the various campaigns together for an organizational meeting to see how the campaigns can work together, instead of tearing each other apart.

Let's do that this week.

I am reaching out with good will, good faith and forgiveness considering the various riffs. Please join me and we WILL reform marijuana laws in 2016.


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