February 2017 NORML KC Newsletter and Events

Hello activists!

We have a lot of information to share with you about cannabis law reform in KCMO and Missouri and how you can get involved.

NORML KC’s January chapter meeting with local neurologist Dr. Matthew Markert was extremely well attended! The doctor showed an informative powerpoint presentation filled with facts and data. He gave us a glimpse into how the minds of doctors work and what types of scientific studies are still needed to advance the cause of cannabis as a medical treatment. The only way these doctors can thoroughly study cannabis as medicine is for it to be legal.

Our chapter is supporting the legalization of medical cannabis in Missouri by hosting New Approach Missouri petitioner trainings to teach volunteers how to gather signatures correctly and how to effectively advocate for this healing plant. Our next volunteer trainings in the KC Metro area are:

  • Sunday, February 12th at 7PM we are hosting a NAM petitioner training event in Lee’s Summit at Tiff and Jay’s. RSVP and get more details here.
  • This Valentine’s Day we are hosting the NAM and NORML KC Lonely Heart’s Petitioner Training and Notary Event at 6PM at Tapcade. RSVP here.

In addition to the petitioner trainings, we are hosting several fundraising social events in support of NAM in February and March, along with a Bingo Fundraiser in support of our NORML KC chapter, and a Game Night Fundraiser in support of Project 22.

  • Sunday, February 19th at Side Pockets in Blue Springs we have a Bingo Fundraiser in support of NORML KC. There will be raffle prizes from local businesses and awesome food and drink specials. Bring your friends! RSVP here.
  • Friday, March 24th at Opera House KC, starting at 5PM and going until 9PM, we are hosting a Game Night Fundraiser with Level One Game in support of Missouri Veterans educational program Project 22. Project 22 is raising funds to send 22 MO veterans to CO to attend an educational conference at the Colorado State University- Pueblo. Encourage your friends to join you in playing fun games like Cards Against Humanity and Stoner Fluxx while contributing to this important cause. RSVP here. Learn more about Project 22 by watching this short video.

These social events will be a lot of fun and a great way to get to know the activists working hard alongside you to bring MO patients much needed relief. Please share these events with your friends and online via social media to help this cause reach the largest possible audience. Together, we can make a difference in the lives of those who are suffering and in need of medical relief.

Learn more about some of the patients in Missouri who desperately need access to legal medical cannabis by visiting The Missouri Patient Project.

Our next chapter meeting will be held on Saturday, February 25th, 3PM at the Westport Branch Public Library, with special guest speakers from The League of Women Voters.  The League of Women Voters will teach us what it will take to get people registered and out to vote for our local cannabis decriminalization initiative on April 4th, and in support of the NAM medical bill on the November 8th  ballot (once it reaches the required amount of signatures for placement). 

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The brother of NORML KC and NAM activist Adam Johnston will also be speaking at our February meeting. Adam tragically passed away recently and his life possibly could have been prolonged if he had safe and legal access to medical cannabis.

NORML KC takes advocating for cannabis law reform very seriously, and one of our most important jobs is to educate our lawmakers about the need for reform. One of those opportunities is coming up soon:

  • Tuesday, February 28th, at 10AM is the statewide Missouri NORML Lobby Day in Jefferson City. NORML KC will be attending. Contact us for more information and to plan rides. You are the experts they need to hear from.

We also support law reform for hemp – which has industrial use as a fiber, biodegradable plastic, fuel, food, and more, but which is still illegal to grow in Missouri simply due to it being in the same family as the cannabis plant. National NORML, MO NORML, and Show-Me-Cannabis board member and activist Dan Viets recently attended a hearing in Jefferson City in support of two hemp bills introduced to the Missouri House Agriculture Committee. One of those bills, HB 170 was approved and is headed to the House Rules Committee. To learn more read the article here.

Be sure to save the date for March 3rd and 4th for the Missouri NORML and Show Me Cannabis Spring Conference with New Approach Missouri fundraiser, hosted by NORML KC. The day of the conference, March 3rd, will be a full day of informative talks from health care providers, including Dr. Markert, and activists around the nation. More details coming soon!

Thank you for your continued support in local activism. We couldn’t do it without you! To volunteer, donate, and purchase cool NORML KC themed t-shirts, click here.

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We look forward to seeing you at an upcoming event. Together, we will be the change we want to see in our communities. To contact us, email us or visit us on Facebook, Twitter, and our website

MAC Rejects Prohibition

The Missouri Association of Counties (MAC) held their annual meeting at the end of Novemer at Tan-Tar-A Resort in Osage Beach.  At the meeting, four topics were brought up for resolution, including a key issue, marijuana reform.  MAC Resolution #4 was the request of Amy Fite, president of the Missouri Association of Prosecutors, to examine the counties’ stance on cannabis and continue its support on Prohibition.  The resolution spelled out in extreme terms that marijuana was a dangerous drug and must be kept illegal.  

During the meeting, however, vocal opposition to the resolution was resounding.  Several members of the MAC shared personal stories of friends and relatives who have been significantly helped by cannabis.  Jackson County Sheriff Mike Sharp, President of the Missouri Sheriff’s Association, fervently voiced his support for medical marijuana legislation, breaking with the official MSA stance.  Outgoing Boone County Commissioner Karen Miller also discussed several medical refugees that relocated from her county to Colorado in search of treatment. Still others brought up the tax revenue the state has foregone through Prohibition.  These stories created a pro-cannabis atmosphere that was impossible to ignore.

Following the sharing of these stories, and seemingly unanimous agreement in what MAC president-elect Wendy Nordwal called “a clear vote”, a count wasn’t even necessary to defeat the resolution. The resolution, which contained several outdated and inaccurate “facts”, was seen for the propaganda it was, and real stories of real people helped by cannabis won out.  This is a major step for Missouri cannabis reform.  The overwhelming support for ending Prohibition in Missouri has led to an official rejection of the status quo for cannabis in our state.  With opposition at its lowest, now is the time to step into the 21st century and end marijuana Prohibition.  The Missouri Association of Prosecutors, which just prior to the conference blamed the St. Louis K-2 overdose epidemic on medical marijuana, continues to look both outdated and out of touch with what its constituents want. With this resounding defeat, the Missouri Association of Prosecutors is left with a clear directive–get out of the way of marijuana reform! We, as their constituents, will be holding them accountable if they continue to interfere.

NORML KC to decriminalize cannabis in KCMO

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Local Marijuana reform group submits required amount of signatures for Spring 2017 ballot

Kansas City, MO – Marijuana activists with the Kansas City chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML KC) submitted over 4,200 signatures on Tuesday, Nov 15th, to clerks at City Hall. NORML KC’s executive director Jamie Kacz said she was thrilled that the group had gathered far beyond the required amount of signatures needed to be included on the April 4th 2017 ballot.  “I am extremely proud of all of our volunteers- with their help we surpassed our goal of 2,300 signatures.  We have received great support from our community.  A lot of people are ready for this to happen, especially after New Approach Missouri did not make it on the state-wide ballot this November.”

The New Approach Missouri initiative would have allowed for medical use of cannabis for qualified patients in MO, authorizing doctors to recommend the plant to treat serious health conditions such as chronic pain, epilepsy, cancer, and MS, to name a few.  The initiative failed to meet the required amount by just 23 signatures, dashing the hopes of thousands of sick patients and caregivers in the state.  “I want them to have hope,” Kacz continued.  “Attitudes towards cannabis are changing nation-wide, as well as here in Kansas City.  I have received positive feedback from members of the City Council, and we will be working closely with them going forward to ensure that the decriminalization efforts are successfully implemented if their constituents choose to vote the initiative in.”

Kacz stated that members of NORML KC believe strongly that law enforcement should be allowed to focus their time and resources on stopping and solving violent crimes such as rapes, instead of locking up people for utilizing a medically safe, non-toxic plant.  As of January 1st 2017, marijuana will be decriminalized state-wide in MO, but only for less than 10 grams, and only for a first time offense- all other offenses are considered criminal and could result in jail time. Under that law, the fine for under 10 grams is $250.  NORML KC’s initiative is modeled after the ones passed in Saint Louis and Columbia.  It would allow for up to 35 grams of cannabis (in all forms) to be considered a city ordinance violation, penalized with a $25 fine or community service, based on the judge’s discretion.  That means no jail time, and no record. Between now and the Spring vote, NORML KC will continue their monthly educational chapter meetings at local libraries and will be registering people to vote.  Their next meeting is Nov 19th, 2pm at the Waldo Branch Library, all are welcome to attend.  To learn more visit their website http://www.normlkc.org and follow them on Facebook and Twitter @normlkc

Jessica Kelly (Secretary) and Jamie Kacz (Executive Director) can be reached at newnormlkc@gmail.com NORML KC is a nonprofit advocacy group and is sanctioned by National NORML

NORML KC STORMS THE POLLS

On Tuesday, November 8, Americans went to the ballot box and demanded change. Four states ended marijuana prohibition, as voters in Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, and California all voted to legalize marijuana for adults. Medical marijuana initiatives also passed in Florida, North Dakota, Montana and Arkansas.

The New Approach Missouri campaign for Medical Marijuana in the Show Me state failed to attain enough valid signatures for the 2016 ballot by a heartbreakingly narrow margin (23 signatures overall), but that isn’t stopping the Kansas City Chapter of NORML from moving forward to end Prohibition.  On Election Day, NORML KC volunteers took to the polls in full force to collect signatures for its Kansas City Decriminalization Initiative.

NORML KC Executive Director Jamie Kacz organized volunteers to various polling locations around Kansas City, where the large voter turnout worked in favor of the NORML team. Long lines at polling booths allowed for team members to reach out on a personal level to citizens, explaining the detriments of the War on Drugs and the details of the decriminalization initiative.

The team, dispersed to over 20 polling locations throughout the day, met at Tapcade after the polls closed, notarizing the collected petitions. The haul? Over 2,300 signatures, almost all certain registered voters. The current threshold to reach the ballot in April is 1,708 signatures.

Kacz was thrilled after the petition count. “I knew I had a great team, and I was hoping for the best. We were already very close to the required number of signatures, but they really got out the message today and surpassed any expectations that I had. I really think the number of voters who want to see Kansas City marijuana reform will speak volumes.”

NORML KC will be turning the validated signatures in to the city clerk on Monday, November 14, ending the signature gathering stage of the process, and embarking on the next steps for marijuana reform in KCMO.  Kacz has been in discussion with City Council members and has been garnering support for the initiative, which should appear before voters in the April election.

Meet the Team Part II

Three facets that make a good volunteer are time, talents, and treasure. Ian Spomer has

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Ian Spomer

graciously given all three of these. He was the kick starter for our merchandise section of our website; an important component because it takes money to educate the masses. But he has given more than that. Often times we look at a volunteer or a community leader and forget that life is happening to them just as much as they are contributing to the lives and livelihood of those around them. Through personal turmoil of his own, he has still committed the time and energy into writing decriminalization legislation that we can all benefit from.

Jessica, is a strong voice for patient and doctor advocacy. This responsibility has turned into her own personal Mount Everest. There is a lot of hesitation from doctors and patients who should be openly supporting medical cannabis consumption but choose to opt out due to fear. It is a scary world to know that the one medicine that hasn’t failed your chronic pain can be the same thing that can take everything away from you. If caught by law enforcement, police have the right to take away your personal possessions, your freedoms, as well as your future successes. As a person labeled with cannabis convictions, it is a challenge to get employment and garner public trust. Can you imagine risking all of that just to escape a chronic ailment? Despite all this public stigma and fear she is the loudest patient and advocate to stand up and say, “HEY! This needs to change… we need to freely talk about this and be willing to change!”

There are others who understand the risks of this pro cannabis community and still give of their time, talents, and treasure but do so with a respected sense of anonymity. These volunteers are just as courageous, strong, and dedicated to our missions and values as everyone else on the board. So let me take this moment to ask of you? What can you give? What can you do or contribute to our mission of safe access of cannabis and ending marijuana prohibition?

Then there is myself, Stephanie Oxley. Your deep thinker, observer, writer, calculated risk taker, and humble servant. I have worked a number of years in the death care industry. I feel like I have walked down both sides of the shadows of life and death. Having ushered in two beloved daughters and ushered hundreds of families past the door of the Great Beyond. My heart pounds in moments of sadness and in moments of joy for those who

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Stephanie Oxley

grieve and celebrate life. Whichever juncture you are at, I implore you to wonder. Question, discuss, agree, disagree, but I also implore you to take action. No matter what your cause is, do something. Neglect the hours on Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter. Ignore the mass opinions of people who never justify their reasons with action, but instead take up your media devices in arms of whatever battle you choose. Are you passionate for animals? Volunteer, donate, walk a dog… Are you passionate for children? Give of your assets to Big Brothers & Big Sisters, half way houses, or even just take your grandchildren out for a good time… Are you eager to make a difference? DO SOMETHING…. Because if there is only one thing I have learned in life is that it really is too short. We are blind to believe that there is always a tomorrow to really do something about some thing. I tell you the truth when I say, “Maybe not.” I have buried enough young people whose light has been snuffed out in the blink of an eye to know that tomorrow isn’t promised. We only have today. So I ask again… What are you wondering? What will you do? What are you waiting for?

I firmly stand next to this board of directors eagerly awaiting the next juncture in our journey; will you come with? Because I can’t wait to see what more this alliance can do!

Meet the Team

What does it take to run a good non-profit organization? An amazing team…

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Jamie Kacz

First there is Jamie Kacz. She’s a homemaker by day and a cannabis vigilante by night. When I first met her she was this tiny thing announcing the presence of the “Amazing Dan Viets” at one of the first NORML KC gatherings (before the second coming of NORML KC was truly in action.) Strangers from all over our community gathered to hear about opportunities in the marijuana industry in Kansas City. Quickly she was deemed the most appropriate person for Executive Director of this new outfit. Behind that small stature is a bold personality who freely gives of her time and talents, who educates everyone to the turmoil of prohibition, and calls others to action against the evil Dr. Marijuana Prohibition…. Muah hahahaha… (Are you picturing her in spandex and a cape yet? I do.)
Beside her in what we prefer to NOT be spandex is Dave Shuck,

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Dave Shuck

Deputy Director Extraordinaire. He has a history with police officials and the judicial system that ignited his passion for serving those who have been wrongly convicted due to prohibition. He diligently works towards legislative changes that can positively impact not just the industry but also the people: the families, the wives, the daughters; who all hurt when someone is convicted of the crime of possession. His hope is to change people’s views on the negative stigmas of cannabis consumption. So far his dedication to learning and action has made a huge impact. I can’t wait to see what more he can do.

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Trevor Goodwin

Trevor Goodwin, Communications Director, is a soft spoken advocate from Blue Springs (Howdy Neighbor!) who is a cannabis novice but thirsts to learn more. He takes a lot in before commenting on what he believes to be righteous and justified. Because of that we have learned to shut up and listen when he speaks. He can very rarely be wrong. He is the anonymous face behind our FB page and the talented artist behind some of our graphics.  He may be quiet but he will give the shirt off his back for the cause… literally, check out some of his t-shirts here.

Ryan Flowers is the political backbone of our organization. We lean on his guidance and direction for tactful and intentional political actions when supporting medicinal marijuana options or when writing new

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Ryan Flowers

options for deregulation within Kansas City, Missouri. He speaks frankly and candidly when it comes to tactics in addressing changes in law. He’s a natural political leader and I greatly admire him because he is never willing to ask of someone something he isn’t willing to do himself. When New Approach Missouri was gathering signatures for their petition he was the first on the ground and the last to go home every night. He is gracious when thinking of his volunteers and inspires all of us to do more and to do it better.

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Jen Shockley

If any organization had cheer leaders, Jen Shockley and Julita Latimer would be ours. They are bold personalities who are confident in our mission and vision and they are courageous in asking others for their fidelity. Never a moment or opportunity passes them by where they aren’t asking people to commit to our cause. You will see them both planning tabling events, talking to patrons, and encouraging over all fun. Let’s face it, any time you commit to an organization as strictly a volunteer (and our volunteers carry a

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Julita Latimer

LOT of burdens and
responsibilities) your cup can easily run empty. Burn out is one of the top reasons why non-profit organizations fail. Jen, as Membership Outreach Chair and Julita bring a continuous spark of energy that is the blood source of our organizations body.

 

 

Join us next week for the second half to our team introductions…

 

NORML KC Events

Volunteers for local non-profit NORML KC have been out in full force raising support, and awareness for Cannabis Law Reform in Kansas City, Missouri.  KC NORML tabled an event at The Uptown Theatre for the Re:Creation Shpongle and Alex Grey show.  Close to 2,000 fans attended, and an overwhelming majority who stopped by the NORML KC table turned out to be adamant supporters of our cause.  Intrigued by the appealing display, many of the party-revelers took time out from the festivities to pick up informational brochures, purchase t-shirts, and sign up with their personal contact information to become active, supporting members of the chapter.  Our volunteers heard many touching personal stories that night of lives unfairly destroyed by the Drug War, and even more stories of ill-patients forced to emigrate to Colorado in order to medicate properly and safely.Recreation table

The positive momentum carried over into Tuesday, as NORML KC hosted a very successful first fundraising Bingo and raffle event at Hamburger Mary’s, located next door to The Uptown Theatre.  Over 70 people attended and generously donated.  Up to $1,000 was raised for Dolores Halbin, widow of Gene Halbin, and local Drug War victim.  The atmosphere was riotous and upbeat as supporters enjoyed their food and drink, many while playing multiple bingo cards at once.  Hamburger Mary’s Drag Queen announcer did a spectacular job of rallying the crowd!  Each Bingo winner took to the stage to choose from an array of prizes donated by local businesses and restaurants.  One lucky raffle winner walked away with $187 cash prize!

NORML KC’s Executive Director, Jamie Kacz, gave a very moving speech in support of Dolores and the importance of legislative reform in Missouri to prevent more families from being destroyed by the Draconian laws currently in place.  Dolores herself, despite grief and the impending court case against her, spoke strongly and resolutely to the attentive crowd.  She shared her inspiring message of finding purpose and taking ownership of this cause that was thrust upon her.  “I will not give up!” she declared with gusto and assurance.  The crowd applauded and hollered in agreement.

The overwhelming consensus from our recent events points to an exciting future- one where the local community stands strong together, turning passion into action in order to create positive change in Kansas City.  We look forward to each and every person’s support as we move forward in this endeavor.  Be on the look-out for the NORML KC table at more upcoming local events!