Peachtree NORML Public Meeting Recap: Dec 8 2020

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Peachtree NORML's first full public meeting under its newly elected board of directors took place Dec 8, 2020 at our 'home' of 12 years: the freshly rescued Manuel's Tavern in Atlanta.

In a room of old friends and new faces (we think? darn masks) we renewed our commitment to building a support network of reform-minded Georgians toward grassroots goals.

Among our 2021 goals, explained at the meeting is the  #IamNORML campaign, aimed at asking current and former peaceful users of the cannabis plant to tell their stories and 'come out of the closet.' The campaign challenges the unjust stigma of 'drug use' as regards this very safe and beneficial plant, which is commonly enjoyed even by the legislators who fight to keep that act illegal. Through a merch campaign, social media efforts, and storytelling, the #IamNORML campaign will "normlize" cannabis consumption as a part of the lives of successful, law-abiding Georgians, relatively few of whom face criminal penalties. But highlighting the widespread, mostly unpunished use of the plant, we intend to demonstrate that cannabis laws don't follow the plant: they exist as a form of social control and criminalization for less-privileged communities.

Our Executive Director, Ryan Ralston, explains how the #IAMNORML campaign could break down stigma around cannabis consumption and build support for ending prohibition:

Deputy Director Robert Cartree spoke about our plan to aid people arrested for misdemeanor cannabis possession (under one ounce) who refuse to take a plea from prosecutors. By supporting people's rights to a trial by jury (in a state where 70% of jurors think cannabis should be legal) Peachtree NORML hopes to increase the administrative burden and costs of enforcing cannabis laws to unsustainable levels for individual municipalities. We believe this strategy can convince individual jurisdictions to join the 13 in Georgia who've stopped prosecuting for misdemeanor possession.

Secretary Chris Cahill introduced our Harm Reduction Ordinance Strategy. Peachtree NORML will divide-and-conquer the state of Georgia by using regional represenatives to identify jurisdictions that seem ready to consider harm reduction strategies to protect the rights and interests of people arrested for possessing a plant that's legal and profitable in most other states, including some of our neighboring states. If you'd like to be a regional advocate or a strategic business partner moving forward, please reach out to [email protected]

Chris Cahill of Peachtree NORML explains our city-by-city harm reduction strategy.

Communications director Laura Williams reviewed recent improvements to our website and social media presence, explained the bid terms for a new merchandise store to be hosted on Peachtree NORML.com, and reviewed the recent open letter to Georgia's Congressional delegation regarding the MORE Act.

Our meeting was also joined by Marty Schelper, President of Alabama Republicans Against Marijuana Prohibition, and Stormy Bishop, social media director. ARAMP's video of Schelper's 15-minute remarks may be viewed here.

Clockwise from left: Laura Williams of Peachtree NORML, Marty Schelper from ARAMP, Ryan Ralston of Peachtree NORML, Stormy Bishop from ARAMP, Robert Cartee of Peachtree NORML.

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