Pubdate: Fri, 02 Nov 2012
Source: Columbia Missourian (MO)
Copyright: 2012 Columbia Missourian
Author: Emily Adams


COLUMBIA - The MU chapter of the National Organization for the Reform
of Marijuana will host an event Saturday to encourage votes for
Missouri's marijuana legislation reform.

The conference will be held from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m Saturday in MU's
Allen Auditorium.

Defense attorney Dan Viets, a spokesman for the organization's MU
chapter, said the Saturday event will include a discussion about the
current marijuana reform occurring across the nation and the
organization's tentative plans to push for reform in Missouri's 2014
or 2016 election. Viets said marijuana reform typically fairs better
in presidential elections because more youth and progressives are
likely to vote.

"We need to make ourselves an effective statewide force in order to
accomplish anything nationally," Viets said.

Viets said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy
Alliance, is perhaps the most important figure for marijuana reform
and will speak at the event this weekend.

Other speakers at the event include Doug Fine, a hemp expert and
author of "Too High to Fail," former Winfield police chief Betty
Taylor and Huffington Post columnist and former Reason Magazine writer
Radley Balko.

In 2011, the MU chapter worked in conjunction with the national
organization on an initiative to abolish existing laws prohibiting
medical marijuana use and to legalize marijuana use for individuals
who are 21 and older. However, the activists were only able to get
half the number of signatures necessary to pass the initiative.

However, a number of states will place marijuana law reform on the
ballot this year, including Colorado, Arkansas, Massachusetts, Oregon
and Washington, which spurred the organization to make another attempt
to raise awareness and support for the issue in Missouri.
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MAP posted-by: Matt