Happy New Year! 2020 is going to be our year – and we’re so excited to kick off the year with a bang.
We have tons of events planned for the year and need every bit of your support you can give – because we were so close to fully legalizing cannabis for medical and adult-use last year, but we have a lot more work to do to make it happen this year.
Of course we all remember what didn’t happen in 2019 – fully legalizing cannabis for medical and adult-use. We are ready to get to work with you all in 2020 to make sure this happens this year, but there was SO MUCH that we did get done last year. So before we get too ahead of ourselves with this year, let’s start this new year off by looking back at all we did…
Started the year off working with the Rochester City Council to unanimously sign a letter in support of legalizing cannabis for adult-use, specifically in support of the MRTA (Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act, the bill we are trying to pass), which was sent to Governor Cuomo and our local Senators and Assembly Members. We’re grateful to have a positive relationship with the city and are especially thankful to Council Member Mitch Grueber (and newly elected Council Member Mary Lupien!) for their support and allyship.
Went to Albany and had dozens of meetings with Senators and Assembly Members from across the State. Even though the bill didn’t pass last year, we were able to gain support an cosponsors from several Senators and Assembly Members, including our Assembly Member Harry Bronson.
Released a brief with Start SMART-NY highlighting the gross racial disparities in arrests and prosecutions in Monroe County for low-level marijuana possession related offenses. This brief led us to be able to work with Monroe County District Attorney Sandra Doorley to end prosecutions of low level marijuana possession related offenses in Monroe County (effective prior to this going into effect at the State level later in the year.)
Worked on revisions to the MRTA, addressing the concerns of stakeholders, specifically those of law enforcement and PTA in regard to road safety and youth access to cannabis after legalization, along with other improvements that were evidently needed. Ultimately the MRTA didn’t pass in the 2019 session for a number of reasons, but a Pseudo “Decriminalization” bill was passed last minute. [link to read more] We’re excited to get to work in 2020 and get it done this year!
Some of the Roc NORML Directors headed to Washington, DC for the annual NORML Conference and Lobby Day, where our Executive Director and Founder, Mary Kruger, was one of two recipients awarded as the NORML Activist of the Year! With over 150 NORML chapters around the world and thousands of activists working to reform marijuana laws, Mary was humbled to receive this recognition and is inspired to keep fighting harder than ever for marijuana justice in Rochester and New York!
Spoke at local and national conferences and workshops about the activist work we’re doing, like the CannaBusiness events hosted by NY HempLab and the Rochester Chamber of Commerce, the National NORML Conference in Washington, DC, and CBD.IO in LasVegas, Nevada! We also attended dozens of smaller local events doing outreach and presentations!
Naz NORML was founded by Katelyn Garside, a Roc NORML Director and student at Nazareth. This is the first (of many!) college chapters in Rochester and we’re so proud of the work this chapter is doing!
Appeared in local and national media dozens of times about all things cannabis in 2019! It is critical we have representation of advocates and responsible cannabis consumers in the mainstream media, to counter the Reefer Madness-era misinformation that is still stated as fact, and we’re grateful to be featured by the media so often. And when the mainstream media wouldn’t cover an important story, we made our own media to make sure you knew what was going on and how you could get involved!
Partnered with NY HempLab and OWN Rochester in Communities & Cannabis and hosted a series of listening sessions across the city. We’re excited to continue growing this partnership and to host more events in 2020 to continue engaging more communities in Rochester in these conversations.
Hosted dozens of events providing education around responsible cannabis consumption and advocacy, and continued building the best cannabis community with all of you!