Pubdate: Sun, 27 Apr 2014
Source: Columbia Daily Tribune (MO)
Copyright: 2014 Columbia Daily Tribune
Note: Prints the street address of LTE writers.
Author: Ashley Jost
Bookmark: (Decrim/Legalization)


Attendees at the Missouri Cannabis Conference, held Saturday at the 
University of Missouri campus, agreed that simply by talking about 
marijuana they are benefitting the legalization movement.

The daylong conference - sponsored by several groups, including 
Show-Me Cannabis, NORML and the MU student chapter of NORML - 
included speakers ranging from a state legislator to national 
marijuana legalization advocates.

Mason Tvert, communications director for the Marijuana Policy 
Project, offered the keynote address. He said multiple times during 
his address that his experience is that the more people talk about an 
issue, the easier it is for them to understand and come to accept change.

Tvert has been part of the marijuana legalization effort in Colorado 
and continues to advocate for legalization in other states through 
talks such as the one he gave yesterday at MU. Tvert also has 
appeared on multiple cable news networks, including MSNBC, HLN and 
Fox News, advocating for the cause.

During his talk, Tvert explained that he and the Marijuana Policy 
Project channel the discussion "solely on pot being safer than 
alcohol." He said the majority of people who agree with that idea 
also agree with legalization.

So, the discussion starts with what Tvert calls "education" on 
viewing marijuana as a "safer alternative."

One of the most important places those types of discussions should 
take place is in college, he said.

"It's the perfect setting because binge drinking is a huge thing," he said.

Tvert also noted marijuana legalization would generate tax revenue 
and do away with the black market, but he said although "those are 
great arguments, those can't be the first argument you make."

"The places that are having these discussions are where the support 
is growing," he said.

Rep. Paul Curtman, R-Pacific, spoke before Tvert. Curtman chairs the 
House Downsizing State Government committee, which has heard from 
Show-Me Cannabis and other pro-marijuana groups multiple times during 
a statewide tour last year gauging issues that matter to the public.

Curtman spoke about his involvement as a co-sponsor of a bill about 
the production of industrial hemp, which received a stamp of approval 
from the House Economic Development Committee this week.

John Payne, executive director of Show-Me Cannabis, said he 
considered the conference to be successful, and he hopes everyone who 
attended shares what they learned with others.

"Obviously, we don't need to communicate to the people in this room 
the importance of what we're doing," Payne said. "They know it. But 
they need to tell others."
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom