Join us Saturday 11am-6pm at Pioneer Square for Global Cannabis March

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A note from the Executive Director:

The picture featured with this post is from May 7, 2005. It was the Global Cannabis March and it was the first marijuana reform event I ever attended.

Million Marijuana March 038

There at the march in 2005, we were still living in a country with just ten medical marijuana states. The General Social Survey’s most recent level of national support for marijuana legalization was just 33% (Gallup later that year would find 36% support.)

What an amazing decade it has been! We now have 23 medical marijuana states plus Washington DC, 14 CBD-only states (Oklahoma signed on today), and 4 legal marijuana states plus Washington DC. All five national polls taken this year and eight of ten taken last year show majority support for legalization.

That all happened because people like you and me banded together and got involved in fighting for our natural rights. I wouldn’t be fighting for legalization as my career if I hadn’t met Oregon NORML’s Madeline Martinez and Anna Diaz at the March that day. In turn, they got me introduced to Allen St. Pierre and Keith Stroup at National NORML, and later to Chris Goldstein, the man who invented my radio show. The rest is history.

But why march now, when we have won legalization? Because now the fight is on for equalization!

Part of our festivities will be a celebration of our hard-fought win, of course, but we march because we still do not have our full civil rights. I liken our position in marijuana civil rights now to the position of black civil rights after the Emancipation Proclamation; that is, there’s still a long way to go.

Beer drinkers have public houses where they can gather and enjoy beer, even though statistics show how much of a drain that is on law enforcement resources and public safety… where’s our adult marijuana use venues?

Beer drinkers can drive their cars to these public houses for the express purpose of altering their perceptions and reaction time, and we trust them to not get back into their cars and drive home while too impaired, and we even presume a little bit of the active impairing ethanol in their bloodstream isn’t cause enough to prove they’re impaired… but we’re all freaked out about the notion of a joint smoker later getting behind the wheel?

Beer drinkers can throw festivals in the park and rope off areas where they’re allowed to consume beer in full public view… where’s our marijuana Octoberfest?

Beer drinkers can get absolutely passed-out drunk any day of the week they choose and so long as they show up for work sober, they keep their jobs… why are we fired for inactive metabolites of marijuana on a workplace drug screen? For that matter, why is alcohol that leads to impairment, illness, and poor judgment not tested for at all?

Beer drinkers can sit in front of their kids while watching TV and drinking a six-pack… but child protective services will seize a child from a marijuana-using parent?

Beer drinkers can go to a store and buy multiple kegs of the stuff if they like… but we have to be limited to just an ounce of marijuana per purchase?

Beer drinkers can home-brew up to 100 gallons of their drug… but we must be limited to just four plants in a household?

Beer drinkers can not only buy guns and ammunition, some of them enjoy the beer and the guns at the same time for recreational purposes… but guns and ammo can’t be sold to us “drug addicts”?

I’ve always been wary of the phrase “treat marijuana like alcohol”, because that’s an insult to marijuana. What we’re really looking for is to “treat marijuana consumers like alcohol consumers.”

See you at the march!

–“Radical” Russ Belville

You'll certainly be able to find us on the square in our new Portland NORML Booth

You’ll certainly be able to find us on the square in our new Portland NORML Booth

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Russ Belville

Executive Director: Russ Belville has been active in Oregon marijuana reform since 2005, when he was elected second-in-command of the state affiliate, Oregon NORML. After four years with Oregon NORML, Russ was hired by National NORML in 2009, working as Outreach Coordinator and hosting the NORML Daily Audio Stash podcast until 2012. Since then, Russ launched the 420RADIO marijuana legalization network and is the host of The Russ Belville Show, a live daily marijuana news talk radio program. Russ is also a prolific writer, with over 300 articles posted online and in print in HIGH TIMES, Huffington Post, Alternet, The Weed Blog, Marijuana Politics, and more.

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