Blog

Can We Sustain Our Momentum? – Letter from the Executive Director

Can We Sustain Our Momentum? 

A Letter from Executive Director

Fellow Texans,

When I was hired as Executive Director of Texas NORML in September 2015, after 10 years of activism, I put out a letter to our members and fellow Texans outlining 9 goals and how to be effective during Texas’ 2 year electoral and legislative cycle. I am proud to say that we achieved and exceeded expectations in 8 of 9 goals!

To maintain this level of professionalism, activism and manage our growth, we need your support to be able to remove penalties for possession of cannabis and ensure safe access. Make a donation to Texas NORML! Now available, make a tax-deductible donation today!

  1. Fundraising – We have maintained our membership levels, improved our events by making them even more efficient and cash flow positive. Our annual Fundraiser at Willie Nelson’s Golf Course has become one of our largest and most lucrative events!  However, these revenue streams are not enough to maintain our current actions and needs nor does it adequately supplement for our future growth. Therefore, we have expanded by founding a sister organization, Foundation for an Informed Texas, which is a tax deductible 501c3 that we will diversify our ability to raise sufficient funding. We need to raise $10k by the end of the year to be able to fully implement our interim and 2019 Legislative strategy. If we could raise $20-30K, we would be able to more even faster!
  1. 2017 Legislative Session – We provided blow by blow updates and action alerts, from pre-filing to close of the session. We coordinated educational binders and dropped them off with committee members in anticipation of each hearing and worked directly with legislators and staffers to make sure the hearings were as effective and powerful as possible. These hearings and coordinated direct actions resulted in historic support for medical marijuana (with 79 cosponsors, 28 of which were Republican) as well as sentencing reform being scheduled for the floor hearing for the first time since 1973. In conjunction with our coalition partners, we held the largest Citizen Lobby Day in Texas history with over 400 participants. 

Lobby Day 2017

  1. Texas Compassionate Use Program (TCUP) – The first medical marijuana program in Texas history was passed in 2015. In 2015, we coordinated education on why whole plant is so important, the many conditions that cannabis can help as well as some language flaws in the bill. Once the DPS started working on the regulation for the program in 2016, we worked to push back against some unreasonable fees and restrictions and enabled individuals and businesses to give DPS feedback and testimony at their hearings. We diligently monitor and provide updates on the program. 
  1. Primaries – Texas NORML expanded the Marijuana Policy Voter Guide, that I originated in 2012, to include primaries and we followed up on the results of the elections with our members. We also hosted a candidate forum. 
  1. General Election – We followed up the Primary Voter Guide with the General Election Voter Guide. Additionally, we have created a Voting Record document for all incumbent legislators. 
  1. Voters – We did extensive voter education on how and when to register, including providing voter registrars at our events. We did an educational campaign on voting dates and locations. 
  1. State Political Conventions – Through education and outreach work, the Texas GOP updated their platform to include medical marijuana for the first time ever! Additionally, the Democrats held their first ever Cannabis Caucus and updated their platform. We monitor all parties’ convention processes and platforms. 
  1. Operation Trapped Display in the Capitol

    Outreach – We have many avenues of outreach but we are especially proud of our 3 phases of the veteran initiative, Operation Trapped, which collected over 1400 letters to the Governor and almost 500 pill bottles for display. These pill bottles were displayed for one week in the Capitol. We are currently working on rolling out #StillTrapped for the 2019 Legislative Session. We have stepped up outreach through the Senior Alliance by putting together meetings and educational events as well as statewide conference calls. 

  1. General
  • Texas NORML put on training workshops in 16 cities across the state in just 2 years with our coalition partners. We are in the planning stages of a third season of workshops. We have also held several education seminars, panels, community forums and other events.
  • I also traveled to Washington, DC to advocate for Texans at the Federal level.
  • Texas NORML is listed as an inaugural grassroot organizations
  • I, along with my fellow board members, have done hundreds of interviews that have been featured on the local, state and national levels. We have also participated as guests on panels, given lectures to students and much more! Through these efforts, we have been able to dominate the cannabis conversation.
  • I am exceptionally proud of our Board for being awarded the NORML Chapter of the Year 2017, out of 150 chapters nationwide.

How Can You Help?

In order to help us continue our work, you can do any or all of the following:

Being able to fulfill our plans is contingent on YOUR support! Thank you for participating and being part of the change!

Respectfully,

Jax Finkel Executive Director

 

One Response to “Can We Sustain Our Momentum? – Letter from the Executive Director”

  1. In Texas there are a lot of independent advocacy groups that have no direction and the information is invaluable to us. I know we are not NORML groups but we need to all be on the same page to be most effective. I am grateful for NORML leadership to allow me to post some things. Good leadership comes from being informed. I learned a lot from this post and gained more prospective on the direction. I have been advocating for 4 years and this is the first look at process and what it took. Thank You NORML members

Leave a Reply