Marijuana Activism is on the Move

By Brittany Somerset, Intrepid Reporter, Manhattan, New York.There are a growing number of marijuana activist organizations and they have all had their hands full this month. On Wednesday, May 14th, the most corporate-looking conscientious objectors came together in support of The Marijuana Policy Project’s (MPP) Medical Marijuana Benefit. Even though they gathered at -no pun intended – the Highline Ballroom, this wasn’t the Stony Awards. A mostly white-collar collective of pro-cannabis constituents consorted and caroused with one another, while donating $250-$300 to a noble cause.“It is barbaric that seriously or terminally ill patients should be classified as criminals and incarcerated for using a plant, prescribed by their doctor to alleviate their suffering,” stated party attendee Dr. Thomas H. Haines, a Neuroscience professor at Rockefeller University.After the benefit began, MC Steve Marshall took the stage and told some self-deprecating Jewish Jokes. Then the Marijuana Policy Project’s Executive Director, Rob Kampia, welcomed everyone. John Stossell of American Broadcasting Company (ABC) and MTV News pioneer Kurt Loder addressed the party. Joel Peacock was presented with an Outstanding Patient Advocate award. His epiphany, that pot was more effective than pills for chronic pain, spurred him to appear in MPP’s ad campaign as the poster child for medical marijuana legislation.Senator / Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno was also honored for his tireless efforts to pass a medical marijuana bill. Three years ago, Mr. Bruno announced his support for enacting a medical marijuana law.Additional activists who attended the benefit included Montel Williams, Michelle Phillips (from the band The Mamas and the Papas), Steve Bloom, editor of, and Tony award winning choreographer, Savion Glover.When MPP was founded in 1995, as a lobby organization for legalization legislation, pot was prohibited in the United States. Period. At a median rate of 1 state per year, medical marijuana is now legal in 12 states, however At the rate the MPP is going, it won’t take another 38 years to legalize the entire United States.Similar efforts to support decriminalization legislation are simultaneously spearheaded by the National Organization for the Reformation of Marijuana Laws (NORML), founded in 1971. Incidentally. NORML’s founder, Keith Stroup, a lawyer, was found guilty in a Boston courtroom just yesterday of the crime of possession. Naturally, he plans to appeal. Mr. Stroup was arrested on Sept 15th, just prior to delivering a keynote speech at the Boston Freedom Rally, an annual event which supports legalization of marijuana. Approximately 15,835 people are arrested weekly for weed. Nearly one million people are in jail in the United States for pot possession.Other organizations that believe the reefer madness needs to end, because cannabis is not a crime, are and Safer Alternative For Enjoyable Recreation (SAFER). While MPP wants marijuana to be legal with a prescription for the terminally ill, NORML wants marijuana to be legal for everyone. SAFER believes pot is a better, less risky recreational and social lubricant than alcohol and should be used more frequently. On May 3rd SAFER organized a rally of over 10,000 people for a “smoke-in” in Boulder, Colorado. All of the aforementioned organizations propose to repeal pot prohibition by classifying it in same league as alcohol and taxing it.