WA NORML 2017 Cannabis Lobby Day at WA State Capital In Olympia Is March 7th

WASHINGTON: The cannabis community in Washington is activating once again for the annual Lobby Day in Olympia.  This year’s theme is “Building Community Through Relationships” and Washington NORML is doing that by bringing together cannabis consumers and members of our legal industry to meet with lawmakers, according to Kevin Oliver, executive director of WANORML. “We will be discussing medical and recreational cannabis bills as well as industry changes that benefit consumers.”

Screenshot 2017-03-02 11.58.21What: Cannabis community lobby day- “Building Community Through Relationships.” 

When: 3/7/17, 9:30am-5pm 

WA NORML PAC Reception 5-7pm

Where: State Capitol Campus, Olympia, WA. Office Building 2 (OB2) auditorium, 1115 Washington St SE, Olympia, WA 98501 

Who: sponsored by NORML Women of Washington, Washington NORML PAC, S.A.G.E., and The Cannabis Alliance 

Request a meeting with your representatives and state senators now!

Besides meeting lawmakers, you’ll network with other concerned citizens that day then have the chance for some light food with attendees and legislators during a reception following that days events at Olympia’s Governor Hotel.

The Days Events:

– Meet at 9:30am for opening greeting and lobby training. 

– Group photo at noon out front of Pritchard Library followed by lunch on your own

– Meetings with your legislators (Schedule your own, find your elected officials here)

– Wrap-up discussion from 4-5pm, followed by a reception at the Governor Hotel, 621 Capitol Way S Olympia, WA 98501, lite food/drink service*

Four Things You Can Do To Help Legalize Home Growing In Washington

By Bailey Hirschburg, Legislative Associate, Washington NORML PAC

House Bill 1212, in the Washington state house, would legalize personal cultivation of up to six marijuana plants, keep as much as 24 harvested ounces in the home. It defelonizes sharing or gifting of marijuana up to one ounce, and allows patients/adults to have their harvested marijuana tested in professional laboratories. Despite a unanimous committee vote of “do pass” in the house, progress has stalled because of lack of a companion bill in the state senate.

With the help of grassroots activists, calls from constituents, and supporter engagement from emails, Washington’s state house is, for the moment, saturated. But the senate has had less marijuana legislation, and less engagement. Four things you can do to help:

image21.) Call the right Senators

Email is alright, but they get a lot. Calls get more notice. Start with your senator, find them here:

BONUS if your state senator is any of the following, if not, leave a message for them anyway.

State Senate Leadership

  • Majority Leader: Sen. Mark Schoesler, R-9th District, (360) 786-7620
  • Majority Caucus Chair: Sen. Randi Becker, R-2nd District, (360) 786-7602
  • Majority Floor Leader: Sen. Joe Fain, R-47th District, (360) 786-7692
  • Minority Leader: Sen. Sharon Nelson, D-34th District, (360) 786-7667
  • Minority Floor Leader: Sen. Marko Liias, D-21st District, (360) 786-7640
  • Minority Caucus Chair: Sen. John McCoy D-38th District, (360) 786-7674

 Commerce, Gaming & Sports Committee(Deals with marijuana legislation)

  • Committee Chairman: Sen. Michael Baumgartner, R-6th District, (360) 786-7610
  • Vice Chairman: Sen. John Braun, R-20th District, (360) 786-7638
  • Ranking Minority Member: Sen. Karen Keiser, D-33rd District, (360) 786-7664

2.) Call Senator Ann Rivers, R-18th District, (360) 786-7634

Every lawmaker I’ve talked to says some version of “Any Senator can sponsor home grow, if you want it to pass, you need Senator Rivers.”  Rivers was at the center of the 2015 changes to the state’s medical marijuana laws, which were divisive then and haven’t gotten much better. She took a lot of flack for that law, but she’s still the senate republicans cannabis head honcho. If you want it to pass, you need Senator Rivers.

3.) Be nice to staff, and they’ll give your message extra volume

Whatever the senators politics, they believe in them enough to hustle. You’ll be speaking to them through their staff aide. This person is both busy, and has a better relationship with the senator than you. Be to the point, remind them what bill it is, and say thanks. The call doesn’t need to last long, someone else may be calling to support!

Please call your state senator first, and ask that they get back to you about sponsoring the senate companion to SHB1212. Then, let other senators you contact know you’ve already called as a constituent, and are calling them as a senate leader.

For the Commerce, Gaming, and Sports Committee members or Sen. Ann Rivers let them know you’re calling because of their leadership on marijuana issues.

4.) Make the right argument.

The common arguments in favor of SHB1212 have been its benefits to medical patients and the fact that other legal marijuana states have it. Those are good points, but there’s another argument few people make. From Washington’s State Constitution:

“SECTION 7 INVASION OF PRIVATE AFFAIRS OR HOME PROHIBITED. No person shall be disturbed in his private affairs, or his home invaded, without authority of law.”

The state constitution is what lawmakers swore to uphold. Maybe Washington used to have a legitimate interest in busting people for a few plants. But in 2017, if you’re not dealing, trafficking, driving, or endangering kids, then it’s not the state’s business if you want to grow your own.

Call the right senators, stay courteous with staff, and argue the constitution. A few steps can make all the difference in legalizing home growing this year.

WA NORML Pac Lobbyist: Growing Opportunities For Cannabis Consumers

By M. Bailey Hirschburg

WASHINGTON: It’s difficult asking people to get excited about lobbyists. Who can blame them? There are enough examples of lobbyists putting personal gain and access to power ahead of public good, or striking deals on issues they barely care about just to cash a paycheck.

Still, I’m excited to be a lobbyist. I’ve been hired by Washington NORML’s new Political Action Committee (PAC) to represent cannabis consumers interests in Olympia this year. After years of volunteering my time w/ NORML, the Drug Policy Alliance, Students for Sensible Drug Policy, and New Approach Washington’s I-502, this is the first time I’ve been paid to work on drug law reform.

It’s part time. I’m likely one of the lowest paid lobbyists at the Capitol. There are lots of lobbyists dealing with marijuana policies but they often look out for businesses, medical patients, governments or police. What about everyday adult consumers? That’s where I’ll come in.

Strictly speaking, I’m working under the direction of WA NORML PAC’s board of directors. It’s headed by Kevin Oliver, a long time cannabis activist, and a licensed grower from eastern Washington. My proposal to Oliver and WA NORML PAC was based on looking out for cannabis consumers in Washington specifically, and the security of marijuana rights generally. I won’t support bills only to help businesses. I won’t speak for patients or hemp farmers, but I will speak with and stand beside them as much as possible.

WA NORML PAC priorities this session will focus on legalizing homegrow for adults, which every other legal state has in some way. And permitting fair on-site cannabis use policies to make social smoking in licensed businesses and events more common, and use on public streets less common. There’s a lot of cannabis laws already introduced; I’ll be promoting legislation benefiting cannabis consumers while opposing bills that needlessly criminalize or put undue burdens on them. Vigilance is crucial to maintaining the legal system voters enacted.

None of this stops everyday cannabis consumers reading this from contacting their lawmakers and speaking their minds. In fact, NORML.org is a great resource for you. That’s how I got here. You can read up on my required reporting to the state Public Disclosure Commission, beginning next month, here.

And you can learn about the requirements and limitations for lobbyists in Washington here:

NORML is the oldest marijuana advocacy group in the nation, and this year they’re organizing a series of lobbying days nationwide to help put you in front of lawmakers to share your concerns. In Washington, it will be Tuesday, March 7th, headed by NORML Women of Washington and WA NORML PAC, and whatever your canna-policy passion we can help you make your best case to lawmakers.

WA NORML PAC will make all the progress possible, but I hope everyone who cares about cannabis issues will continue to learn and work with legislators so we can secure more rights and enjoy greater benefits across Washington.

M. Bailey Hirschburg is a long time advocate of justice reform with expertise in drug policy and a focus on marijuana law. He is director of Thurston County NORML and was the south sound volunteer organizer for 2012’s Initiative 502 which legalized and regulated adult marijuana use statewide.