MDMJ Planning Meeting #4

Our 4th meeting will be mostly consumed with discussion about Andy Harris Overdose action THIS TUESDAY (OCT. 2ND).

Join us at Roadie Joe’s Bar & Grill for our 4th MDMJ meeting!!!!                                  213 W. Main St. Salisbury, MD 21801

-AGENDA-
5:00-5:15pm – Check-In and Introductions
5:15-5:45pm – Overdose Rep. Andy Harris Planning
5:45-6:00pm – Updates Since Last Meeting
6:00-6:15pm – Discuss AJ’s Court Date
6:15-6:30pm – Announcements
6:30pm – Adjourn

CLICK HERE TO RSVP ON FACEBOOK

Demonstrations Planned Against Rep. Andy Harris to Highlight His Callous Attitude Towards DC and Maryland’s Opioid Epidemic

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, September 21, 2018

CONTACT:
ADAM EIDINGER (202)744-2671
Adam@DCMJ.org
KRIS FURNISH (720) 607-8369
Kris@MDMJ.org

Demonstrations Planned Against Rep. Andy Harris to Highlight His Callous Attitude Towards DC and Maryland’s Opioid Epidemic

       “Overdose” at Rep. Andy Harris’ Offices Announced For Tuesday, Oct.  2

BEL AIR, MD – Cannabis reform activists from DC Marijuana Justice (“DCMJ”) and the newly formed Maryland Marijuana Justice (“MDMJ”) will come together for a series of demonstrations against Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD-01) at 12:00 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 2,  2018 at his Washington, DC office at 1533 Longworth House Office Building; and 4:20 p.m. at his Salisbury, MD office at 100 East Main Street Suite 702, Salisbury, MD.

Citizens were incensed by his statements at a recent town hall meeting on Aug. 10 in Salisbury, MD, where the congressman continued to reiterate his staunch opposition to cannabis reform.

“Citizens of Maryland and the District of Columbia are tired of Andy Harris turning a blind eye to a safe solution to the opioid crisis,” said Kris Furnish, co-founder of MDMJ. “Marijuana is a proven pain management alternative to opioids, but in Maryland we have only seen an increase in opioid related deaths since Harris was first elected in November 2010. Members of the GOP Congress led by Congressman Harris remain willfully ignorant and outright hostile to cannabis reform. This MUST STOP!”

Many cannabis reformers have lost friends and family members due to prescription opioid abuse and addiction. Members of DCMJ and MDMJ will be a voice for those people by demonstrating “overdoses” at Harris’s offices. The action will simulate opioid “overdoses” by laying on the ground one person at a time as others read eulogies written by members of DCMJ and MDMJ for loved ones lost to opioids.

Members of DCMJ and MDMJ have repeatedly sought meetings with Harris to discuss the need for cannabis reform. On June 1st, Harris held three consecutive public events and refused to respond to cannabis reformer questions. Members of DCMJ and MDMJ were outspoken at his town hall meeting in Salisbury, Aug. 10. In addition Rachel Donlan and Kris Furnish (members of DCMJ and MDMJ) hand delivered copies of H.R. 6152, to his Washington, DC office with no response. To follow up, Furnish contacted his office Sept. 10, where his staff was unaware of our unanswered requests. MDMJ has informed Harris’s staff that protests are in the works due to his continued unresponsiveness.

“These protests wouldn’t be necessary if someone would just sit down with us advocates. We’ve tried to meet with Rep. Harris and they won’t get back with us,” said Furnish, a constituent who lives in the district Harris represents.

Background

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Maryland is one of eight states that had significant increases in death rates involving prescription opioids, based on analytical data from 31 states and Washington D.C. in 2015.  Moreover, Maryland is among the top five states with the highest rates of opioid related overdose deaths. The death rate in Maryland has consistently been above the national average since 1999, ranging from roughly 1.5 to 3 times the average rate. In 2016, there were nearly 30 deaths per 100,000 persons related to opioids compared to the national rate of 13.3 deaths per 100,000 people. An estimated 650 of the 1,821 deaths in 2016 were a result of synthetic opioid overdose. Deaths related to heroin and prescription opioids have also been increasing rapidly from 173 deaths in 2012 to 650 deaths in 2016 related to heroin and from 52 to 812 deaths in the same period related to prescription opioids.

“We believe medical cannabis can help curb the number of opioid deaths by being used as safe alternative for opioid addicts in Maryland, but Rep. Andy Harris is standing in the way,” said AJ Dawson, a founding member of MDMJ, who is currently facing multiple charges involving marijuana in Wicomico County. Dawson’s Sept. 25 court date stems from a brutal arrest during a June visit to Maryland for political activism. Learn more about Dawson’s fight for freedom by clicking here.

Harris is one the top recipients of pharmaceutical money in Congress.  He currently sits on the board of a drug development company that is making synthetic products for cancer treatment nausea and pain which can also be alleviated more cheaply and safely by marijuana.  Harris, an anesthesiologist by trade, is one of the few medical doctors in Congress and has received over $200,000 from health professionals.

“We are tired of letting Rep. Andy Harris take money from pharmaceutical corporations while simultaneously looking the other way as increasing deaths related to the opioid epidemic devastate the Eastern Shore,” concluded Adam Eidinger, co-founder of MDMJ, who introduced Initiative 71 that legalized home cultivation of cannabis in the nation’s capital.

Another reason Harris will be the target of protests is his interference in local DC cannabis lawmaking. Despite the passage of Voter Initiative 71 in Washington, DC by a majority of 70% in December of 2014, Harris introduced a budget rider that prevents federal and local funds to be used for legalizing recreational marijuana in the District of Columbia. At past public events Harris attended, members of DCMJ and MDMJ have pressed him on his solution to the opioid epidemic in his district, but also on the immorality of one person not elected by by 700,000 blocking an entire jurisdiction from crafting responsible marijuana reform.

“In April of this year I moved my voting residence to Salisbury, MD in Harris’s district so I could convince him he’s got to change on cannabis as his policies are hurting DC and Maryland citizens,” Eidinger said. “So far he’s not listening or even talking to me, so it’s time to take the gloves off and protest.”

Members of the media may contact Adam Eidinger at 202-744-2671 or by email at Adam@dcmj.org with inquiries.  The general public is encouraged to RSVP via FACEBOOK.

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PRESS RELEASE: Salisbury Maryland Cops Pull Black Man Out Of Car With Seat Belt On And Charge Him With Resisting Arrest

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SEPTEMBER 20, 2018
CONTACT: ADAM EIDINGER (202) 744-2671
ALFRED DAWSON (214) 384-1732

Salisbury Maryland Cops Pull Black Man Out Of Car With Seat Belt On And Charge Him With Resisting Arrest

Video Reveals Police Abuse Towards Passenger Of Color – White Driver Is Let Go For Marijuana

In Court Tuesday, September 25, 2018 – MDMJ Co-Founder, Music Teacher, and Civil Rights Activist Suffers PTSD From Police Killing of Friend Sandra Bland

Alfred Dawson is Facing Multiple Charges and Currently Released on $3,000 Bond

Salisbury, MD USA –  When Alfred “AJ” Dawson, a 29 year old black music teacher volunteered to work for the Allison Galbraith for Congress campaign in Salisbury, MD, he never anticipated the heinous and traumatizing incident that would occur four days prior to the Maryland primary election the night of June 22, 2018. After months of waiting, AJ Dawson is scheduled to appear at the Wicomico County District Court on Tuesday, September 25.

Without proper context, AJ Dawson’s traumatic experience can be misinterpreted, so a few prior events must be stated in order to understand the reasons for this incident in the most holistic way possible. During the years of 2011 and 2012, AJ Dawson was previously arrested for possession of marijuana three times, and consequently convicted and served 30 days in the Collin County Jail in McKinney, Texas. When the pro-cannabis Amendment 64 passed in Colorado in November 2012, AJ Dawson saw this as an opportunity to gain liberties not available in Texas and hopefully escape the punishment that he had been previously subjected to by police for being a cannabis user with dreadlocks. Fortunately, AJ Dawson was able to begin an new happy life with family when he moved to Colorado in June of 2013.

In July of 2015, the murky events surrounding the death of Sandra Bland in the Waller County Jail in Waller, Texas were broadcast nationally. One of the most controversial aspects of Bland’s death in police custody was the possibility of police mistreatment. Shortly after Bland’s traffic stop, a healthy 28 year old woman was dead and no one to this day has been held accountable beyond a cash settlement with her family.

Bland’s death in the hands of the police deeply affected AJ Dawson who was close friends and played trombone with her in the Prairie View A&M University’s “Marching Storm” from 2006-2008.  As college friends often do, they shared ideas about how to change and improve black culture in America. The unexplained death of Bland traumatized AJ Dawson and many in the black community to not trust police.  And since her death, coming in proximity with police still triggers intense anxiety, panic attacks, and elevated levels of fear in AJ Dawson.

The Incident

At approximately 11 PM on Friday, June 22, 2018, AJ Dawson was the passenger in a vehicle with Maryland Marijuana Justice (“MDMJ”) co-founder, Kris Furnish on the way to Taco Bell, in Salisbury, MD. At the intersection of Ohio Avenue and Waverly Drive, Kris was alerted by the flashing lights of the police car to pull over, which she did at the nearby Wawa gas station.

The first thing the officer stated when he approached the car was that they were being pulled over because the car was past the white line at the stop sign, which Ms. Furnish disputes happened. The story of Sandra Bland caused AJ Dawson to immediately start video recording the incident with his phone. A portion of this video is being released online with this release (see below). 

Next, the officer asked for identification and they both complied.  At this point, the traffic stop was natural and routine until the officer stated, “Now when I pulled up, I smelled a hint of marijuana, which gives me probable cause to search the vehicle.” Ms. Furnish responded, “It must be my vape you’re smelling, there’s no THC in it”. Within a minute of the first officer’s statement, there were 10 other officers at the scene. The strangest and most interesting part of this incident comes next, and it must be stated that Kris Furnish, is a 5’4″ caucasian female, and AJ Dawson is a 6’3″ black male, approx 170 lbs. Both have long dreadlocks and both refused to have the vehicle searched when the initial officer asked them to exit the car for a search.

The following events can only be seen as a blatant act of racism. Two officers on the passenger side of the vehicle immediately grabbed AJ Dawson’s phone, dreadlocks and legs, without even giving him a chance to remove his seatbelt. The officers dragged AJ Dawson out of the car, slammed him on the ground, and caused him enough bodily harm that he had to be hospitalized. After the hospital clean his wounds on his legs, arms, and left eye, AJ Dawson was immediately taken to the Wicomico County District Court, where bond set at $3,000 and had to be raised by friends while AJ Dawson spent most of the weekend in jail. AJ Dawson was charged with resisting arrest, assaulting a police officer, and possession of marijuana.

Ms. Furnish, a Maryland medical marijuana card holder, whose medical cannabis the police confiscated and charged AJ Dawson with possessing, was briefly handcuffed but ultimately given a warning by the initial police officer and released., Unfortunately could not start her car to leave the gas station and none of the police officers at the scene assisted Kris in trying to jump start her car.

AJ Dawson has filed a complaint with the Salisbury Police Department (“SPD”) and on Wednesday, September 19, 2018, Ms. Furnish provided her statement concerning the incident to the SPD.  AJ Dawson’s initial court appearance is scheduled to take place at 8:30am Tuesday, September 25 at the Wicomico County District Courthouse in Room #2. AJ Dawson will be available to the media prior to and after his court appearance.

Click the image below to view the video of the incident taken by AJ Dawson:

Maryland Marijuana Justice  is an organization dedicated to fighting for cannabis users, growers, and their families in the Free State.

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Click here to download a PDF of this press release.

CANCELLED – DCMJ & MDMJ BEACH DAY

Due to Hurricane Florence, we are cancelling the DCMJ & MDMJ Beach Day! Please sign up for our email list to find out about our latest plans!


Greetings!
Unfortunately, due to Hurricane Florence we are cancelling this Sunday’s DCMJ & MDMJ Beach Day in Ocean City, Maryland. We hope to reschedule it if there is a nice weekend day forecast in the next few weeks. In lieu, of going to the beach, we are ramping up our efforts to the highlight the region’s biggest enemy to cannabis reform: Rep. Andy Harris.

Since we will not meet this weekend, we suggest doing something to support cannabis reform from your home. Please take a few minutes today and call Rep. Andy Harris’ office: 202-225-5311 and tell him to meet with MDMJ!

Over the next few months, we are planning a series of demonstrations to showcase how backward Harris is when it comes to drug reform. We are going to need your support, so stay tuned!

Follow Up Regarding HR 6152 With Andy Harris Staff

We followed up with a phone call today to Andy Harris’s office after hand delivering co-sponsorship packets for HR 6152. Hopefully he will meet with MDMJ, or else we will protest at his office. Be prepared!


If you live in Maryland’s first district, please support MDMJ as well as 5 million Americans that this bill will protect by calling Andy Harris’s office and  urge him to co-sponsor this bill.

Andy Harris Contact Information

1533 Longworth House Office Building Washington, DC 20515

202-225-5311

Click here to email Harris.

Congressman Andy Harris Announces Wicomico County Town Hall

FRUITLAND, Md.- Congressman Andy Harris will host his 69th brick-and-mortar town hall meeting on Friday, Aug. 10 in Wicomico County.

All residents of Maryland’s First District are welcome to attend the town hall to ask questions and voice their concerns about issues under consideration in Congress.

The event will be held 7-8 p.m. at the Black Diamond Lodge in Fruitland.

We plan on attending to ask him questions on his views on DC statehood and his views on legal cannabis. Join us tomorrow night!

For questions about the event, contact Harris’ Washington, D.C. office at 202-225-5311.

DCMJ & MDMJ Beach Day

SAVE THE DATE!! >>>  September 16

On the Sunday, September 16, we’re heading out to Ocean City for a sandy summit! We’re inviting all cannabis activists and candidates for elected office in the DDMV (that’s Delaware, DC, Maryland, and Virginia!) to join us for some sunshine, voter registration, music, swimming, and informal cannabis policy discussion.

Bring your finest cannabis schwag (no, not ditch weed, but tshirts, shorts, umbrellas, flags, etc. emblazoned with cannabis botany) and celebrate the end of summer and the coming end of cannabis prohibition.  We should have more logistical information, like a Ride Share Board, ready soon. If you can drive from DC to OC and have a few extra spots in your car, you should help out!! Please take a moment to invite your friends to the DCMJ & MDMJ Beach Day!

WE Are MDMJ!

A Brief Introduction to the Core Purpose and Principles of An Organization Dedicated to Fighting the Failed War on Drugs and the Opioid Crisis on The Eastern Shore.