10/1/2009 - Board of Directors
PhillyNORML and PA4MMJ were featured in the most important marijuana reform events in the country last week raising awareness for our local efforts.
On September 19th
we were up north for the Boston Freedom Rally, the largest marijuana reform event on the East Coast, organized by MASSCANN/NORML. With perfect weather and newly relaxed marijuana laws, the event saw 30,000 people gather on the Boston Common to support ending cannabis prohibition.
Derek Rosenzweig and Chris Goldstein traveled to the event as PhillyNORML co-chairs and we enjoyed a prominent location for our vending table. We shared our tent with NORML-NJ and CMMNJ. Keith Stroup, the founder of NORML, stopped by to say â€˜high!â€
The crowd loved our PhillyNORML lighters and T-shirts and our group interacted with hundreds of people at the event.
Massachusetts decriminalized marijuana possession in a 2008 statewide ballot initiative, so this yearâ€™s Freedom Rally was a victory celebration. Almost everyone in the crowd was openly enjoying marijuana. Police issued 103 of the new civil citations for pot and 3 people were arrested for â€œdistributionâ€ but the massive crowd was happy and very well behaved.
At 4:20PM the crowd swelled to the front of the stage as rapper Styles P performed a surprise set. Huge clouds of sweet smelling marijuana smoke filled the Common.
Chris spoke on behalf of PA4MMJ on the main stage of the event with Georgine DiMaria, a former Miss New Jersey who is a Board member of NORML-NJ.
The event featured 6 hours of bands and speakers but also brought together the leaders from reform groups in the region. PhillyNORML and PA4MMJ made a big impact, as many were unaware of the new medcial marijuana bill HB1393.
A freedomisgreen blog
has some more pictures and info about the 20th
annual Boston Freedom Rally and PhillyNORML's appearance there, and more pictures can be found at a PhillyNORML's Multimedia page
Next it was off to California to visit the emerald core of the cannabis reform movement. PhillyNORMLâ€™s co-chairs Rob Dougherty, Derek Rosenzweig, Chris Goldstein and volunteer Casey Goldsmith traveled to San Fransisco for the 2009 National NORML Conference.
The three day event is the only professional gathering of marijuana reform leaders, doctors, attorneys and advocates form around the country. The attendees participate in a series of unique panels, lectures and workshops as well as truly original social events.
PhillyNORML again got some prime parking for our vending table, sharing an exhibition room with Oaksterdam University and Law Enforcement Against Prohibition.
Chris Goldstein spoke on the Pot and Politics: 2009 and Boyond panel. Audio is available on the NORML Show LIVE
The NORML conference is a whoâ€™s-who of cannabis reform and PhillyNORML got to interact with them all. View the pictures to the right and the left.
We also got a chance to visit Oaksterdam and the Bulldog Coffee shop, a state authorized medical marijuana facility.
Overall, significant progress was made to raise awareness within the prohibition reform community for our efforts in Pennsylvania. We encourage all of our volunteers to try to attend one of the NORML conferences. Next year itâ€™s in Portland, OR hometown of our friends Madeline Martinez and Russ Belville!