On the night of the Culpeper County candidate forum, I listened to all who came on stage to discuss the issues. Afterward, I first went up to Nick Freitas (House District 30 candidate) who I saw at the GOP pig roast and was very impressed. He was very warm towards me and very understanding. I explained to him I really appreciated his hard work in the military and have a great respect for him. Then I spoke with him about medical marijuana reform. I explained to him my situation with pharmaceutical drugs and what it did to me personally and how it could help millions of people.
I then went up to Bryce Reeves (District 17), who currently represents me in the Senate. The look on his face made clear that he wasn't happy to see me. I had no intent on speaking to him about marijuana law reform -- I wanted to talk to him about his political views and policies because I had never heard him speak nor have I ever met him before. He turned his back to me for a good 3 minutes but I patiently waited to tell him I stand with him for his conservative values, however, that backfired. He looked at me like I was a criminal because I wore my marijuana leaf lapel pin. Or that's my guess. I finally said, "Senator Reeves, it's a pleasure to meet you." He looked at me and said, “I don't have time for you, you people have been badgering me" and walked away. I then loudly replied, "Mr. Reeves, I am a Republican voter and you just lost my vote." People got very quiet around me and said what a rude man he was.
Director, Culpeper County NORML
We had a truly tremendous meeting on Oct. 13. Lots of meaty, semi-wonky talk about politics and the political process, courtesy guests Del. Patrick Hope (whose last name describes what he gives our cause here in Virginia) and Tom, the knowledgeable staffer of Candidate for Delegate Paul Krizek.
Both of them informed that we have more support for our issue in Richmond than we realize - albeit still not enough. It was recommended to us that we put our time, energy and money into those races we can do the most about affecting - and most of all, we need to VOTE! (Tues., Nov. 3.)
There was much discussion about one legislator in particular, Mr. Bryce Reeves of the 17th District. He's staunchly against any mode of cannabis reform at all, even medicinal, and he is openly contemptuous of our plight and even ourselves. (Read about our fellow activist Kim Sadler of Culpeper NORML about her recent experience with his rude cold shoulder.) While Mr. Reeves is fairly safe in his ultra-red district, Mr. Hope suggested to us that we mount a Twitter campaign to (politely!) inform him (@ReevesVA) of how out-of-step he is with an increasing majority of Virginia citizens. (Voters reading this from the 17th District, please start your tweeters!)
Furthermore, we were reminded that we have both Democrats and Republicans on our side in Richmond, even if some of them are being quiet about it. That can change, however, if we activists are loud enough. Mr. Hope stressed that reform absolutely is possible here in Virginia in the coming years, but only if we keep pushing for it.
It was a genuinely good, highly useful meeting. We had a great turnout for a new location, and the meeting we have planned for November 10 should be a bit more fun-like, with more focus on effective activism and eventual industry.
Wanna see some pics?...Read more
Pam Novy, Executive Director, Virginia NORML
Virginia NORML endorses House of Delegates candidate Ellen Arthur, but just says NO to Senator Bryce Reeves
Virginia NORML is pleased to endorse Ellen Arthur in the 24th House District. Ellen is exactly the kind of representative we need in the House of Delegates, a candidate from rural Virginia with the courage to publicly state that Virginia should not only decriminalize cannabis possession, but also move toward a regulated market. Ellen wants to LEAD on marijuana policy reform rather than "watch and wait" or ignore the issue altogether. We offer Ellen our strongest endorsement. If we want our representatives in Richmond to end prohibition, we must elect those who will make this a priority. Find out here how you can help Ellen win on November 3rd.
Just say NO to Senator Bryce Reeves! Representing the 17th Senate District, Senator Reeves is a former undercover narcotics officer and a staunch prohibitionist. But it's worse than that. Senator Reeves is the only Virginia lawmaker who voted against the “Affirmative Defense” bill.Read more
by Ed McCann, Policy Director
Cannabis freedom in Virginia depends on you! Even though a few candidates (Ellen Arthur, Mark Levine) and legislators (Dickie Bell, Adam Ebbin) publicly support improving cannabis laws, some still think Virginians aren't ready.
Your job as a concerned Virginian is to visit your representatives and just talk to them. Tell them why cannabis law reform is important to you, and that you will vote based on the issue. Get to know them, and let them get to know you and your story.Read more
On September 3 I spoke to 100-plus people—mostly White male businessmen—at their monthly meeting. The Club had asked LEAP (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition), for whom I am an occasional speaker, for someone to make the case for marijuana. They were gracious hosts, and allowed four other Virginia NORML people to attend and enjoy a free lunch, but it was only a one-hour meeting so there was no time for Q&A and no way to judge their reaction, but the mere fact that they were interested is a good sign.Read more
Fellow NORML Virginians,
On November 3rd, vote. Pretty freaking please. Don't dare not vote. Please.
Most of you will, I know. This is the blog for Virginia NORML - our audience is one of activists and activists vote and get others to vote. I'm choir-preaching. I don't care. I'll say it again: vote. It so very does matter. Especially in Virginia, and particularly especially for Virginia NORML’s single-issue cause.
I vote and I really want you to too. But that doesn't mean dung. You've got to want to get there for a few minutes on a Tuesday (November 3, 2015, between 6am and 7pm) to register your vote, and statistically, very few will. It's your choice not to vote (and I'm not saying anyone reading this won't, but statistically...), but that would be unwise.
Because it really does matter who your Richmond reps are. Oh man it does. Now and in the future. It matters who represents you in your city or county, because they might go on to represent you in your state or country - whether you want them to or not.
It’s tough. It's an off-off-year election, the worst kind to have for anyone with any progressive bents, and we have them all the time in Virginia. But that's why every vote matters, because there probably won't be all that many of them.
Things will change as a result of those very few votes, no doubt. Just how, though, is entirely up to who comes out to VOTE. So let it be us. Please, vote.
My lunch break had begun. I took a few swigs of iced coffee, three bites of a Cliff bar and opened the car door. Pre-Op physical with my doctor was just a few minutes away. I checked in, and before I could sit down a voice chimes, “Mary Holladay...”Read more
New Virginia NORML member Diane Holladay provided this report of her experience lobbying a staffer of Senator Kaine:
Dressed in black slacks, a Tibetan art T-shirt and sandals, I took a seat in the conference room and watched two very talented ladies patiently explain immigration laws and the “simplicity” of filling out the necessary forms.
Sitting in the back row was a young man dressed in a very handsome vested suit, gazing at the speakers and waiting for his turn.
At 12:05 Gaston Riveros rose from his chair and walking to the front, applauded the two ladies for sharing their vast knowledge and precious Saturday morning. It was at this time that Senator Kaine’s assistant & caseworker opened the door to “office hours.”Read more
Are you a Republican or conservative with values that include a desire for marijuana law reform? Maybe you have friends that fit this description? If so, please read on...
We must elect representatives to the Virginia General Assembly that understand basic things: marijuana prohibition is a failed policy, patients need legal access to medical cannabis, legalization and regulation will keep pot AWAY from more kids... and so on. In order to help Virginia elect the right candidates this November, Virginia NORML is endeavoring to ask each of the state’s incumbent representatives and declared contenders a series of five questions on their positions.
We are seeking volunteers to set up a short meeting with a lawmaker, ask the questions, and report back to us the results. It's an action that EVERY advocate of reform should take at some point, since building a relationship with our lawmakers is crucial to gaining their support for our cause. If you can help with this effort, please contact our Policy Director, Ed McCann as soon as possible -- firstname.lastname@example.orgRead more