Meeting Notes June 1st, 2011June 1, 2011
Get to know your Texas NORML Chapters: Part TwoJune 21, 2011
Good evening, all
We wanted to take this time to let you all know about some of the other wonderful chapters we have here and what you can keep doing to further reform all throughout Texas. We’ll be bringing 3 to 4 you of these chapter posts this year so you can find out what they’re doing to fight for your rights. This past year, we’ve had an incredible level of activity from our local chapter, 3 independent chapters in Houston, Waco and DFW, 2 student led chapters at UNT and SHSU and 1 sub chapter in San Antonio that just began this year. As you can tell, it’s been a busy legislative session and we thank you all from the bottom of our hearts for all that you’ve done for cannabis law reform in Texas. This year, according to National NORML, we had more people active in the legislative process than ever before. Over 3000 calls, emails and letters were received by our representatives this year about house bills 548 and 1491 and though neither bill made it past committee, we Texans sent a strong message to our representatives that we want change in these archaic drug laws. Now, we need to show it at the voter poles and in as many numbers as we can muster. Cannabis use does not have to be a “dirty little secret” anymore. Everyone from the lowest of lows to the highest of highs, no pun intended, has smoked cannabis. Republican or Democrat, Spiritual or Atheist, Gay or Straight, it truly passes through all races, religions and creeds with minimal side effects and an increased sense of well being for most. There are many sad reasons this plant is still illegal, but the most prevalent one is voter turnout. Honestly, if you want law reform, you’re going to have to go get it at the poles. Trying to get the government to admit to basically giving incorrect medical information about cannabis for the past 80 years is no small task, so we have to use the tactics that will allow us to make that change. Voting is that tactic. We have no ballot initiative here, so we have to elect state government officials that are willing to realize that backing cannabis law reform will not harm their aspirations of political office, but could actually help them thrive. It’s not going to be just them, some may not be brave enough unless pushed in the right directions. We have to continue to show them that it is what we want by showing up at the polls informed on who is pro cannabis and proving you’re not afraid to stand up for what you believe in, so they can show you the same courtesy. Remember, the power to legalize cannabis is in your hands. Don’t waste it by not voting in your local elections for the politicians you truly want. The University of North Texas NORML chapter has been one of the busiest this year and their secretary was nice enough to write up some of the things they’ve been doing. These students are the next generation of cannabis activists and we need to cultivate and grow them to bolster our numbers for the fight against prohibition. Cannabis legalization is coming to our nation, be a part of it. Go Vote.
“The NORML chapter at the University of North Texas in Denton has been increasingly active over the past year and plans to ardently continue its efforts to enlighten the masses. Back in October 2010, the UNT chapter conducted a “Halloweed” march throughout the UNT campus in an effort to reach out to students and faculty, and another march is planned for the beginning of the fall semester.
The drug policy of The University of North Texas regarding students living on campus calls for students caught with marijuana on campus to be permanently barred from the residence halls, while underage students caught drinking alcohol (a more dangerous substance) are given a second chance before such action is considered. This is despite the fact that underage students are equally prohibited from doing either of these things. The UNT NORML chapter campaigned vigorously for three weeks to pass a student government ballot that would call for a student vote on this controversial aspect of UNT’s dorm drug policy, to allow for students found in possession of marijuana to be given a second chance before being cast out of their homes. The petition received over 1400 student signatures. The referendum was successfully approved for student vote at the end of the spring semester, with twenty of the twenty-two present SGA (Student Government Association) officers voting yes on it. Despite vast support, the SGA President at the time removed the bill from special elections which were to be held at the end of the semester. UNT NORML plans to reintroduce this bill at the beginning of the fall semester to the new SGA President.
In April, UNT NORML participated in UNT’s annual Shack-a-Thon fundraiser for Habitat for Humanity. Shack-a-Thon is a three day event where various campus organizations construct shacks out of cardboard boxes and proceed to camp out in these structures for the duration of the event, all while competing to raise money for Denton’s Habitat for Humanity. UNT NORML built a “dispensary” shack on campus, fully covered with posters urging activism and jars full of plants found throughout campus. Also in April, the chapter joined in NORML’s outreach efforts at the annual Austin Reggae Festival, selling one-of-a-kind NORML T-shirts and working to inspire the formation of more college NORML chapters with their “Plant a Seed” campaign.
In May the chapter joined with The Grassroots Gazette, a local independent media source, in hosting a concert at Denton’s Simone Lounge to benefit the two organizations. A donation at the door granted patrons access to a delicious nonstop buffet, in addition to an evening of musical entertainment. This fundraiser garnered ample attention and financial support for the UNT NORML chapter and similar events are likely to follow.”
Onward and Upward,
Director of Online Community Outreach