NORML Smoke The Vote Campaign Kickoff Showcases Cannabis Friendly Candidates

The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws hosts voter education at Cannabition Cannabis Museum in Las Vegas

Keith Stroup will keynote Smoke The Vote rally in Las Vegas

Keith Stroup will keynote Smoke The Vote rally in Las Vegas

NEVADA: On Friday, October 5th, 2018, National NORML Founder Keith Stroup, local and national leaders of NORML, and key elected leaders and candidates in Nevada will convene to keep the marijuana momentum building in the Silver State.

A voter education rally will take place in Downtown Las Vegas. The event is to place at the recently opened “Cannabition” — the world’s first immersive cannabis museum and art installation in downtown Las Vegas.

The “Smoke the Vote” campaign has been offered by NORML for the past several election cycles and aims directly to educate cannabis consumers on candidates positions on marijuana reform, as well as other voting rights. Voter education and registration will be available inside the Neonopolis attraction. Office holders and seekers, such as Senator Tick Segerblom, will be discussing the importance of voter turnout this midterm.

“Now that cannabis is recreationally available to all Nevadans over 21, it is vital that office-holders acknowledge consumer rights protections so that we aren’t continued to be marginalized,” Las Vegas NORML’s Madisen Saglibene told MJNews Network. “Testing positive for marijuana after a traffic-related occurrence could results in felony charges that will ruin a person’s life. We need legislators to understand that they should use their influence to push for more research and consideration when talking about using the nanograms system to detect impairment. If you have consumed cannabis in the last 30 days or if you plan to, these things affect you!”

las vegas normlNevada voters legalized the adult use of marijuana in 2016. Nevadans need lawmakers at the state and federal level who will respect the will of the voters and who will ensure that these laws and regulations remain in place as intended, and that the federal government does not interfere with them.

“Not voting is not a form of rebellion, it’s instead a form of surrender and cannabis is the ultimate symbol of freedom,” Saglibene added. “NORML has been representing responsible cannabis consumers since 1970 and is working persistently to increase voter awareness within the cannabis industry.”

What: Press conference

Date:  10/05/2018

Location: Cannabition, 450 Fremont St #140, Las Vegas, NV 89101

5:00PM – National NORML Keith Stroup Meet & Greet at Cannabition

5:30PM-6:00PM – Press Conference w/ Nevada NORML, Senator Tick Segerblom, and other Clark County candidates

Florida: Court Strikes Down Legislative Ban On Medical Cannabis Smoking

FLORIDA: A Florida Circuit Court judge has ruled that a legislatively enacted ban on the smoking of medical cannabis by qualified patients is unconstitutional.

State lawmakers in 2017 passed Senate Bill 8A – which sought to amend provisions in Amendment 2, a voter initiated constitutional amendment permitting the use and distribution of marijuana for medical purposes. Specifically, SB 8A prohibited the possession of marijuana “in a form for smoking” and barred the use of herbal cannabis except in instances where it is contained “in a sealed tamper-proof receptacle for vaping.” Seventy-one percent of Florida voters approved Amendment 2 in November 2016.

Backers of Amendment 2, including the group Florida for Care and longtime medical activist Cathy Jordan, challenged the ‘no smoking’ ban – arguing that lawmakers improperly sought to overrule the will of the electorate. Circuit Court Judge Karen Gievers ruled on Friday in favor of the plaintiffs.

“Section 381.986, Florida Statutes (2017) unconstitutionally restricts rights that are protected in the Constitution, and so the statutory prohibition against the use of smokeable marijuana permitted by [a] qualifying patient is declared invalid and unenforceable,” the judge opined. “Qualifying patients have the right to use the form of medical marijuana for [the] treatment of their debilitating medical condition as recommended by their certified physicians, including the use of smokable marijuana in private places.”

NORML has long argued against regulations that limit or restrict patients’ access to whole plant herbal cannabis. Many patients seeking rapid relief from symptoms do not benefit from cannabis-infused pills, tinctures, or edibles because they possess delayed onset compared to inhaled cannabis and are far more variable in their effects.

“This ruling is a victory for Florida voters and, in particular, Florida’s patient community,” NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano said. “These legislatively enacted restrictions arbitrarily sought to limit patients’ choices in a manner that violated the spirit of the law, and cynically sought to deny patients the ability to obtain rapid relief from whole-plant cannabis in a manner that has long proven to be relatively safe and effective.”


The Court’s opinion in the case: People United for Medical Marijuana et al v. Florida department of Health et al., appears online.

For more information, contact Keith Stroup, NORML Legal Counsel, at: keith@norml.org.

NYC Cannabis Parade Redux: A Month Ago Today

By Michael O’Malley

NEW YORK: New York Gubernatorial hopeful Cynthia Nixon thrilled the crowd on a perfect Spring Day.  I had taken the opportunity that Steve Bloom, Editor of Freedom Leaf and Celebstoner.com, had given me to speak at the NYC Cannabis Parade on May 5th seriously, because it seemed to me like the chance of a lifetime for a New Yorker to stand up in Union Square to say anything.

So I wrote and wrote everything I could think of saying. In the end, I thought if I only get to say one thing what would it be? Vote. But I forgot to say it.  It’s funny the month-a-versary is Primary Day in eight states. At least here I’ll remember to say, it’s an election year people! November 6th. Be there.

New York Gubernatorial hopeful Cynthia Nixon thrilled the crowd on a perfect Spring Day.

New York Gubernatorial hopeful Cynthia Nixon thrilled the crowd on a perfect Spring Day.

Here’s what I wound up saying on that fine Saturday:

“Hello New York! Hello New York Cannabis Community!”

“I want to thank Steve Bloom for inviting me to represent innovators and entrepreneurs in the cannabis space. He was the first one to write a product review of Curved Papers.”

“I invented a new kind of rolling papers. They’re curved, that makes it easy to roll.”

“I got one fun fact: the first big rally in Union Square happened on 4/20! It was April 20th, 1861.”

“You guys know who NORML is? Yeah. The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Law. NORML. We need ’em more now than ever. They are like the New York Yankees of Legal Weed. And Keith Stroup is like the Babe Ruth of Legal Weed.”

“Keith says “we’re not just talking about marijuana, we’re talking about personal freedom.” Okay? But they say there are Red people and Blue people. We need a big red, white and blue party. Even Met fans and Yankee fans should get along!”

At this point I reversed my reversible Mets/Yankees Jacket and Stu Zakim of MJBA, who had done a great Curved Papers commercial for me in his introduction, chimed in with, “Look at that fashion statement! A true New Yorker!” And with that we started threw out free rolling papers and Curved Papers t-shirts to the audience. The whole thing was so much fun!

I unveiled my sacrilegious reversible Mets/Yankees jacket. Unthinkable! It’s a symbol of diametrically adversarial parties finding common ground and unity at a higher level.

I unveiled my sacrilegious reversible Mets/Yankees jacket. Unthinkable! It’s a symbol of diametrically adversarial parties finding common ground and unity at a higher level.

“Everybody get along! Happy Cannabis Parade!”

Stu said. “Go MJBA!”

“MJBA says pop culture is pot culture.”

“Happy Cinco do Mayo!”

“Remember The Kentucky Derby!” Which was also that day, and just about to start.

“Good Shabbos!” Stu added for good measure.

Emcee Amanda Reyes came out to extroduce us, but I had to add …

“CCA NORML!” Because the big news of the day was an announcement that Cannabis Cultural Association was turning into a new NORML Chapter.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=beXsW6yaVQs&w=560&h=315]

Here’s the really long version of the speech that would have taken forever and put everyone to sleep if they didn’t give me the hook halfway through:

Hello New York! Hello New York Cannabis Community!

I’m Michael O’Malley. Like most people, I was born in Brooklyn. I’m eighth of my parents 14 kids. I’ve invented a new kind of rolling papers! Yes, a new kind of rolling papers that are easy to roll. They have a patent-pending easy to roll curved edge.

A lot of good rolling papers have come from New York. E-Z Widers, Raw, Bambu. They are all from New York. And now Curved Papers.

Growing up in Brooklyn, going to Holy Innocents in Flatbush, I never imagined I would have a chance like this. Or that it would be because of weed!

Thanks Steve Bloom (of Freedom Leaf) for inviting me to speak, primarily as an innovator and entrepreneur in the cannabis space.

I finished my speech yesterday and it timed out to 4:20. I only have three minutes, so I’ll have to talk fast. No problem. Everyone from my neighborhood talks really fast.

My invention, Curved Papers, with the easy to roll curved edge, solve the centuries old RYO (Roll Your Own) problem: if you’re not careful to keep your edges parallel, your front corner doesn’t tuck, it goes up. Our innovation is super simple, and genuinely makes it Easy to Roll.

I’d like to lend some encouragement to the work we’re doing and the fun we’re having here. I guess I was invited because I made a cool invention and started a company. The business and commerce opportunities with weed are important.

We call the West-to-East Green Wave of legalization and mainstreaming: Cannafest Destiny!

We call the West-to-East Green Wave of legalization and mainstreaming: Cannafest Destiny!

 

I love New York! I’ve worked in every building in Manhattan. When people ask me where I’m from, I usually say Penn Station. The Beatles, The Rolling Stone, High Times, Saturday Night Live, Gangs of New York; I’m a life-long fan of New York pop culture, and as David Rheins of MJBA says, “Pop Culture is Pot Culture.” We call the West-to-East Green Wave of legalization and mainstreaming: Cannafest Destiny!

It brings us all to Union Square today. Fun fact: the first big rally in Union Square happened on 4/20! Yes, April 20th, 1861, at the start of The Civil War. The Confederates had attacked Fort Sumter, and the Civil War was joined. Union supporters gathered here to demonstrate their resolve and their readiness to respond. True story. Have you ever seen Gangs of New York? I’ve watched that movie 500 times. Martin Scorcese.

Don’t let history be a thing of the past. Fast forward over 100 years later, this parade we’re having today was founded here in the revolutionary times of John Lennon and the Yippies, after the end of the Sixties. Those were the days of the founding of NORML, too. Like I always say, fifty years of NORML, 30 years of HEMPFEST, next thing you know, weed is legal.

michael with mjba button

But the Pot Parade very much started here, like traffic lights, labor laws, and so many other modern progressive thinking.

The Global Marijuana March came later and they merged and now the whole thing is over 40 years old, with 40 global chapters. I think this is actually the 47th in New York City.

At Curved Papers, we’re in touch with people in many cities around the world marching today in solidarity. We want to give a special shout out to Toronto, where we started making the papers. They have a great parade up there today.

Now the “Global Marijuana March” is “the NYC Cannabis Parade and Rally.” I’m very proud Curved Papers could be a part of it this year. I was going to do a cheer for the Marijuana Movement in New York, like, say “Hello Marijuana Movement,” and go:

Give me an M! [Throw one.] M!

Give me an A! [Throw one.] A!

Give me an R! [Throw one.] R!

Give me an I! [Throw one.] I!

Give me an H! [Throw one.] H!

Or would it be give me a J?  Forget it.

Is it Marijuana, with a “J,” or Marihuana with an “H?” It doesn’t matter how you spell it, or what name you prefer – cannabis, marijuana, ganga, dope, pot, mary jane – they’re all good. As Keith Stroup, the Founder of NORML, says, “We’re only incidentally talking about marijuana – what we’re really talking about is personal freedom.”

The word marijuana never meant anything bad to me, that negative vibe was created by newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst who didn’t want the hemp industry to overtake paper. So he launched a campaign – yellow journalism – the dawn of Fake News – to exploit the anti-Mexican racism of his day!

NORML is The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Law. They’ve been fighting for legalization and getting people out of jail for 50 years. They’re like the New York Yankees of legal weed, and Keith is like the freaking Babe Ruth. Like I always say, “50 years of NORML, 30 years of HEMPFEST, next thing you know, weed is legal.

We have designed and produced 100% organic hemp rolling papers that will help support them. We need NORML now more than ever.

"we're very proud to be associated with NORML. This commercial program will help sustain the world-changing work that NORML does to protect personal freedom and reform our nation’s marijuana laws."

“We’re very proud to be associated with NORML. This commercial program will help sustain the world-changing work that NORML does to protect personal freedom and reform our nation’s marijuana laws.”

New York has been the largest marijuana market in the world for decades, and probably still is. The no flower thing is a mixup, but legalization will work out. The medical programs here and in all our neighboring states are evolving. I heard at Cannabis Learn that they were going to allow flower in PA by Memorial Day. And in Florida soon, too. There is no reason to try to force people away from smoking the flower. Nobody gets cancer from smoking marijuana. Flower, paper and fire. That is a simple, natural way that has worked for centuries. Stay close to the plant!

There’s only 9 states down. 41 to go.

We can achieve the rule of law without racism and the oppression of women and children. But only by voting. Election Day is Tuesday November 6th: Register (now), Educate (yourself and others), and Vote. Find someone who doesn’t vote and get them to register and vote.

The two party system is not that bad. Who’s in power goes back and forth. The will of the majority and the rights of the minority. It’s fair. Trump and the 1% are trying to dismantle government. Capitlism gone wild. Reform is necessary, but let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater.

There are only four things wrong, and people are working on them. Gerrymandering, voter access, lobby reform and campaign finance reform. Barak Obama and Eric Holder are working on gerrymandering. That’s when the ruling party distorts the electoral districts to make sure they can never lose an election. Voter Access! Lobby reform and campaign finance reform, starting with Citizens United. Don’t lose faith in democracy. Don’t lose faith in government.

Engage in political action. Support your local activists and advocates. Know your representatives, and bother them all the time. Vote. That’s the main thing. Register and vote Nov. 6th.

Today people are polarized by the incredible influence of contemporary media. There are red people and blue people. But in real life, most people seem to agree on most things. What we need a big red, white and blue party. We always need to find ways to work together to get the big things done right.

Only 14% of Americans are marijuana smokers, but 80% of Americans support the rights of states to legalize it. And over 80% support medical marijuana in their state.

Curved Papers is a national sponsor of The Marijuana Business Association. If you want to find out about opportunities in Cannabis, The MJBA is a great place to start. Curved Papers also sponsors and supports many aspects of the legalization movement. Always let us know when your group is having a cannabis event.

 

Curved Papers is a national sponsor of The Marijuana Business Association.

Curved Papers is a national sponsor of The Marijuana Business Association.

Some business advice to the inventive or entrepreneurial: I invented Curved Papers when I was 20 years old. Keep track of your good ideas. When the time comes, make a business plan, and get the capital you need to make it happen. This is capitalism. Right now there is a lotta money going down in the cannabiz. Investors are a dime a dozen, so if you’re an inventor or entrepreneur, don’t let them tell you the opposite. You need to protect your ideas. Immediately file a provisional patent, which only costs $100 and covers you for a year. This is one reason we have a government, by the way. Figure out the right way to do your thing, and if it requires capital, find partners who have what the project requires, and make a fair deal, in writing. Work with partners you trust, but be formal. You don’t want to own 100% of nothing.

Curved Papers also sponsors and supports many aspects of the marijuana movement, legalization, medical applications, veterans, women, criminal justice, anti-racism, sustainability, and personal freedom.

Smoking a joint is still the #1 way to consume cannabis, a natural and economical way.  Doctors and nurses agree: it’s generally a fine way to take your meds. Nobody gets cancer from smoking joints. It burns at relatively low temperature, and it is easy to moderate dosage. And everybody agrees it’s a very nice way to get high, and fun to do with friends.

Keep on rolling!  Follow us @curvedpapers on all platforms.

 

 

 

 

 

 

NORML Founder Keith Stroup To Address NJ Cannabis Symposium March 29 At NJPAC

NEW JERSEY:  The granddaddy of the marijuana reform movement, NORML founder Keith Stroup, will be a featured speaker at the upcoming NJ Cannabis Symposium’s “Finance and Investments” event.  The symposium takes place on March 29th at the NJPAC in Newark.

During his address, Stroup is expected to unveil The NORML Legal Committee (“NLC”) listserv, an attorney’s resource dedicated to cannabis business law.

Building on the success of their January program, which brought over 800 budding Cannabis entrepreneurs together to explore the Cannabis industry in NJ, the program is intended to educate those interested in preparing for cannabis business opportunities and follows a natural progression of topics relevant to NJ’s suspected timeline, spotlighting the intricacies, challenges, and opportunities associated with navigating all things finance.  Doors will open at 4pm to accommodate registration.

Justin Zaremba, editor of NJ Cannabis Insider will be one of the moderators. Brian Staffa of BSC Group will be the Emcee and Joshua Bauchner of Ansell Grimm & Aaron, PC will moderate the Q&A session.

NORML Responds To Steve Cook Addressing Marijuana Policy At The Department Of Justice

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: In response to the Department of Justice detailing Steve Cook to address marijuana policy, Justin Strekal, Political Director for NORML stated:

“Steve Cook and Jeff Sessions are advocating for the failed policies of the “Just Say No” era — policies that resulted in the arrests of millions of otherwise law abiding citizens who possessed personal use amounts of marijuana. At a time when the majority of states now regulate marijuana use, and where six out of ten votes endorse legalizing the plant’s use by adults, it makes no sense from a political, fiscal, or cultural perspective to try to put this genie back in the bottle. It is high time that members of Congress take action to comport federal law with majority public opinion and the plant’s rapidly changing legal and cultural status.”

The Cole Memo, a Justice Department memorandum, authored by US Deputy Attorney General James Cole in 2013 to US attorneys in all 50 states directs prosecutors not to interfere with state legalization efforts and those licensed to engage in the plant’s production and sale, provided that such persons do not engage in marijuana sales to minors or divert the product to states that have not legalized its use, among other guidelines.

During a Q and A with reporters in Richmond, VA in March, Jeff Sessions  said “The Cole Memorandum set up some policies under President Obama’s Department of Justice about how cases should be selected in those states and what would be appropriate for federal prosecution, much of which I think is valid,”

But while the Justice Department contemplates its next move, state politicians are taking action. Recently, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D), Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D), Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) and Alaska Gov. Bill Walker (I) issued a letter to the new U.S. Attorney General and to Secretary of Treasury Mnuchin calling on them to uphold the Obama Administration’s largely ‘hands off’ policies toward marijuana legalization, as outlined in the Cole Memo.

“Overhauling the Cole Memo is sure to produce unintended and harmful consequences,” the governors wrote. “Changes that hurt the regulated market would divert existing marijuana product into the black market and increase dangerous activity in both our states and our neighboring states.”

“Given that Sessions has recently reiterated that the Cole Memo is valid, Steve Cook would be wise to maintain the current interpretation and not interfere with the right of states to set and enforce their own marijuana policies,” concluded Justin Strekal, Political Director of NORML.

Cannabis World Congress & Business Exposition New York Boasts Strong Attendance

NEW YORK: For three days, the Cannabis World Congress & Business Exposition (CWCBExpo) at the Javits Center in New York, was a hotbed of business activity when nearly 4,000 attendees (almost double attendance from last year) came to learn, network and build relationships in the country’s fastest growing industry.  The leading event for medical marijuana and the legalized cannabis industry, CWCBExpo NY, took place June 15-17 at the Javits Center in New York and garnered major media and audience attention including coverage from ABC News, Associated Press, BBC News, Bloomberg, Business Insider, ESPN, Forbes, Fortune, Huffington Post, MarketWatch, New York Daily News, PBS, Sports Illustrated, Reuters, WealthDaily, and included a special appearance by Gary Johnson, the Libertarian presidential candidate.

This year’s CWCBExpo NY increased its attendance with attendees coming from the tri-state area as well as Canada, New England, and the Rust Belt states including Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Ohio.

“The explosive growth of our audience is testament to the fact that the East Coast is fast becoming a major area of interest and business for the cannabis industry.  People came to CWCBExpo NY to learn, network, and discover new business opportunities in the emerging legalized cannabis industry,” said Christine Ianuzzi, Show Director, CWCBExpo NY.

CWCBExpo NY attendees also came from Asia, Australia, Europe, and South America with all business segments represented including entrepreneurs, private equity, grow sites, dispensaries, medical professionals and service providers including consultants, lawyers, accountants and realtors.

To rousing applause, Gary Johnson said during his special address at CWCBExpo, that if he were elected President, he would completely remove marijuana as a classified drug.

Keynote addresses by Keith Stroup of NORML and Leonard Marshall, Super Bowl Champion, were also well received at CWCBExpo NY, along with a thought-leadership panel on “CTE, Concussion and CBD” featuring NFL greats Jim McMahon, Leonard Marshall and other pro athletes.  “Industrial Hemp:  Made in America” was another thought-leadership panel that was featured along with over 100 speakers and more than 70 sessions with vetted industry experts and innovators in the CWCBExpo NY conference.

The industry’s leading businesses, experts, and advocacy groups participated in CWCBExpo NY including sponsors Brain Unity Trust, Coalition for Access Now, Realm of Caring, CW Hemp, Elixinol, and CannaKorp and product and services companies showcasing everything from cultivation to retail products including greenhouses, grow lights, extractors, containments, CBD oils, business management software, vapes and more.

“With the West Coast being at the forefront of cannabis innovation and acceptance and with forward-moving legalization on the November ballot, we are excited for the next CWCBExpo taking place September 7-9 at the Los Angeles Convention Center,” added Dan Humiston, Managing Partner of CWCBExpo.

The 4th Annual CWCBExpo in New York will return to the Javits Center, June 14-16, in 2017, with strong re-bookings for exhibit space.  For more information on sponsoring or exhibiting at CWCBExpo events in Los Angeles and New York visit www.cwcbexpo.com or contact kgiammatteo@leexpos.com or call 201-881-1602.

The Wink In Weed: Reflections On An East Coast Pot Show

By David Rheins

Summertime is tradeshow season for the cannabis industry, and like all industry participants, I spend a fair amount of my time on the road, carefully choosing from all the events that fill every available weekend between May and October.

This month, I made my way to the sprawling Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York City for the second annual Cannabis World Congress and Business Expo (CWCBExpo), June 15-17.  The Marijuana Business Association (MJBA) was honored to serve as media sponsor, exhibitor at CWCBExpo, and I was invited to serve as featured speaker.

My talk, “The ROI of Professional Cannabis Networking,” stressed the importance of cooperation and community. Using the backdrop of MJBA’s new trade campaign, “The Marijuana Business is Amazing,” which features tiny business folk groping their way through a giant garden maze, I emphasized that the marijuana business is amazing, but it’s nearly impossible to succeed in it without some help.

The marijuana business is Amazing.

The marijuana business is Amazing.

Speaking of mazes, the Jacob Javits is the granddaddy of convention centers  – an enormous, sprawling facility on the banks of the Hudson River on the city’s west side, and there is a certain credibility and significance to hosting a cannabis industry trade show at the giant venue.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B-qLGtxQJzc&w=420&h=315]

As a former New Yorker (I spent 20 years at places like Rolling Stone, SPIN Magazine and AOL Time Warner) who has been living in Seattle for enough years to consider myself a West Coaster, it is always a blast to come back to “the city.” New York is in constant motion and change, with new restaurants, stores and building construction remaking familiar streets into new experiences.

 New York, the epitome of fast-paced, has entered the legal cannabis space slowly.  The Empire State has “legalized” medical marijuana in a very restrictive and limited manner, with only a few doctors who will prescribe cannabis, and then only for the most severe of ailments. There are only a couple of dispensaries that provide very expensive, non-smokeable forms of cannabis, and no participating insurance companies. New York is years behind the legal cannabis marketplaces of Denver, Seattle or Portland.

MJBA Booth CWCBExpo

MJBA Booth CWCBExpo

But legal cannabis is coming, and there was a palpable buzz among attendees at CWCBExpo. Thousands filled the trade show floor to visit some 100 vendors – smallish by cannabis industry standards – and many of them playing in the CBD space.  With more than a whiff of snake oil, many of the CBD products for sale at the show were derived from foreign industrial hemp, and dubious purity and utility.

Heavy on financial, professional services and media exhibitors, this is not the West Coast cannabis marketplace – where we have hundreds of legal cannabis farms producing thousands of branded products sold through hundreds of retail outlets.  Out West, we have a vibrant marketplace, with fine flowers, oils, concentrates, edibles and topicals – while the East Coast still sees cannabis through a narrow medical window.

Evolution begins with education, and CWCBExpo featured a great lineup of speakers – including keynotes from former NFL superstars Leonard Marshall, who along with a panel of professional athletes discussed CTE and CBD, and NORML founder Keith Stroup, who walked us through the history of the marijuana reform movement, and Libertarian Presidential candidate Gary Johnson.

Keith Stroup CWCBExpo

NORML Founder Keith Stroup keynotes CWCBExpo

Attendees tended to fall into one of four buckets – out-of-towners from emerging markets like Ohio, Florida and Pennsylvania, who came looking for tips on how to start their own legal cannabis industry; investors, circling the room looking for undervalued opportunities; media, with everyone from Crain’s NY Business to PC Magazine covering the show, and the pot press – Cannabis Now, Dope, Freedom Leaf and MJ Headline News exhibiting; and newbie’s looking for the on-ramp to the Green Rush.

David Tran and David Rheins

DOPE Magazine CEO David Tran and MJBA Founder David Rheins

NYC is the heart of our contemporary American culture, and while in town I was able to meet with some of my former colleagues from big media and marketing.  The conversations we shared, and their palpable interest in getting involved in the legal cannabis industry, were demonstrably different from the conversations we shared only a year or two ago.  Marijuana was being openly smoked at all the private parties I attended this trip – and not just at CWCBExpo parties, but also at the private gatherings with my media/marketing friends – and everyone I spoke with was exploring ways to get involved.

There is a sense that federal prohibition is dying fast, and that the mainstream is finally ready to embrace legal pot.

Curved Papers Founder Michael O'Malley talks to Crain's NY Business

Curved Papers Founder Michael O’Malley talks to Crain’s NY Business

 

For the past 4 years out West, we’ve been building a commercial marketplace, working out the kinks and logistics and laying the regulatory and tax foundations for a scalable industry.  The keys to resolving our two remaining challenges – establishing financial and the cultural (e.g. mass media) normalcy – lie in the East, in the media and money of New York City, and the legislators and lobbyists of D.C.

 

AK Ventures' Kerri Accardi and MJBA's Stu Zakim

AK Ventures’ Kerri Accardi and MJBA’s Stu Zakim

I see it as my personal mission, and that of the MJBA, to connect the East Coast media and marketing communities  – with their financial resources and business discipline  – to the West Coast’s nascent but fast-growing community of entrepreneurs and subject matter experts.   CWCBExpo was an excellent beginning to establishing these bridges. I look forward to building relationships, and the legal cannabis industry, one professional connection at a time.

 

 

NORML Founder Keith Stroup To Keynote Cannabis World Congress In New York

NEW YORK:  Keith Stroup and his National Organization For The Reform Of Marijuana Laws (NORML) has been  leading the fight against the forces of federal prohibition since 197o.   After more than 40 years in the trenches, the outspoken lawyer is in a unique position to offer his perspective on why America has finally grown tired of its failed “War On Drugs.”

The septuagenerian firebrand will deliver a keynote address at the Cannabis World Congress & Business Exposition (CWCBExpo) entitled,  “Why We’re Finally Winning After All These Years.

“With more and more states legalizing the responsible use of marijuana, including two East Coast states expected to adopt full legalization this November, I am excited to speak to the CWCBExpo NY audience about the history of our anti-prohibition efforts and the current groundswell of support for ending prohibition and removing the stigma of marijuana as a Schedule I drug,” said Keith Stroup.

The CWCBExpo  takes place June 15-17, at the Javits Center in New York.  Mr. Stroup’s address will take place on Thursday, June 16th at 1:50 pm.

The Fiasco In Denver: Putting The Cart Before The Horse

By Keith Stroup

COLORADO:  The embarrassing episode this week in Denver, when the sponsors of a city-wide initiative to legalize marijuana smoking in some bars and lounges withdrew their initiative, even after qualifying for the ballot, reminds us of the need to thoroughly vet these types of projects – especially those with the potential to set-back the legalization movement if they fail – before moving forward. This was an impulsive act that should never have seen the light of day – at least not in 2015.

While I am not privy to the actual discussions that led to the launch of this ill-fated campaign in Denver, one can imagine a couple of friends sitting around one night, smoking some good weed, and convincing themselves that now is the time to expand on the legalization plan in effect statewide in Colorado, by allowing for smoking in bars in Denver. It is a natural next-step for Colorado and the other legalization states.

Most smokers favor the option of bars or lounges where marijuana smokers can gather to socialize outside the home, so the intent of the initiative was admirable. We should not be limited only to smoking in our homes. There is no valid reason for such a limitation, and it really reflects the remaining stigma many non-smoking Americans still associate with the use of marijuana – that it may be tolerated in the home, but is somehow an offense to society to permit smoking in a public venue.

Want To Make A Difference? Get To D.C. In May

by Keith Stroup

NORML will be holding its 2015 Legislative Fly-In in Washington, DC, on May 21 and 22, to lobby Congress on a number of pieces of pending legislation of interest to marijuana users. Please hold those dates and make plans now to join us this year. Registration for the Fly-In, along with the agenda for the two-days, is now available on the NORML website.