Today is the first day of NORML's 2010 conference in Portland, OR. I am attending and will be providing updates and highlights from the event. The who's who of marijuana policy will be in attendance so if you have a chance, come down and check it out.
We just got done hearing from Congressman Earl Blumenauer, an avid non-smoker who truly supports our cause. He had a fairly optimistic message, stating the he believes this is the decade of change and the issue of marijuana legalization can not be ignored. Many times he was interrupted by applause from the very supportive audience. He also told us to continue to press our politicians for change, then answered several questions from the media on hand. He quickly becoming one of my favorite politicians. We will post highlights from his speech as they are availible.
The rest of the day consisted of more speakers from the different pro-marijuana groups, such and L.E.A.P., Voter Power and the Reason Foundation, among others. The speakers that stuck out included Neill Franklin from L.E.A.P., Micheal Whitney from Firedoglake.com and Madeline Martinez from NORML.
My overall impression is that this movement needs a true leader. Allen St. Pierre is a great speaker and has some great ideas, but I spent most of my day waiting to hear some sort of actual strategy or at least a plan on getting a bill to re-examine marijuana's classification as a schedule I substance progressing on a federal level.
I have to say NORML has done a great job getting some of the loudest voices in the movement together for this year's conference. I'm looking forward to tomorrow's line-up, which includes an ex-governor and a Doctor.