FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 16, 2021
Luke Jones, Maryland NORML director
(202) 285-3199 firstname.lastname@example.org,
Kris Furnish, MDMJ co-founder
(720) 607-8369 email@example.com
‘51 Foot Joint to Show Up In Annapolis’
In a Last Ditch Effort to Demand Cannabis Legalization in Maryland, Patients and Activists Will Show Up To The State House With 51ft. Joint 3/18/21
ANNAPOLIS, MARYLAND — Rally for marijuana legalization to feature the fifty-one foot inflatable joint.
Activists will rally at Lawyer’s Mall at 12:00 Noon on Thursday, March 18, 2021 in a last-ditch effort to legalize cannabis use and possession by adults before the Maryland General Assembly legislative session wraps up.
“The legislative process has failed us, so the people have to stand up and demand that our representatives protect our interests,” said veteran marijuana legalization advocate Luke Jones, Director of Maryland NORML – the prolific state chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. “We’ve been going to Annapolis year-after-year, with the same message, and they haven’t listened to us. We had more than 15,000 marijuana possession arrests in 2019 alone while the medical cannabis industry sells more than $45 million to consumers every month. Marijuana prohibition is bad public policy and it needs to end this year, not next year.”
Advocates are demanding an end to police encounters and arrests and the right for medical cannabis patients to cultivate cannabis at home for their own personal, non-commercial purposes.
“Being able to grow cannabis for myself not only allows me to save hundreds of dollars each month that I use for other essential expenses, but I love the feeling of being completely self-reliant and in control of my medicine and the process in which it’s grown,” said Kris Furnish, co-founder of Maryland Marijuana Justice, (MDMJ) and former resident of Salisbury who moved to Washington, DC, in order to legally grow her own medical cannabis.
“I’ve been living in DC now for almost a year and during that time I’ve not had to spend one dollar at a dispensary. I do not cultivate cannabis to make untaxed profits, I cultivate cannabis for my own personal use. I take pride in the fact that I don’t spray chemicals on my cannabis and that I’m using natural sunlight instead of negatively contributing to our carbon footprint,” Furnish added.
Fiftyone-foot inflatable joint
According to the March 2021 Goucher College public opinion poll, 66% of Marylanders support legalizing recreational cannabis – with a whopping 77% of Democratic Party voters supporting the policy.
In a dramatic effort to bring attention to the urgency of the issue from the standpoint of the cannabis consumer, rally organizers say they will bring a 50-foot inflatable joint to the rally and march with it down Bladen Street.
“Policy makers tend to make consumers a silent part of the equation – a part of the formula that’s already figured out. They focus on the regulators, the license holders, the investors, and the bankers, and accommodate everyone’s interests, meanwhile, there’s a parent right over here who can’t see her children because the cops came in and found a bong sitting on the table, so she lost her job behind some stupid criminal justice charge. This is something that can’t wait until next year – they have to take care of this now,” said Jones.
“We have people – the police come right through their front door, they find a bong on the coffee table. Can you imagine that life? I’m not running from the police in my affluent neighborhood, but poor people are actually running from the police because of cannabis. We have more than 15,000 arrests each year for marijuana possession alone – and that’s not counting the encounters. We demand freedom from fear – that’s part of the reparations. I hope people can understand that. We deserve it. We’ve been living with the pressure and stigma for too long, and we don’t want to wait another year. We don’t want to have another 15,000 potential George Floyd incidents,” he said.
“Some legislators won’t like seeing the big fiftyone-foot joint, I guess because they like to pretend that people don’t actually use marijuana. We’re saying – we are past that point now. Cannabis consumers are obviously here, and are obviously going to fuel the tax revenue legislators are so excited about, so we might as well call it what it is. It’s a joint – legalize it for goodness’ sake already!” he said.
“We are coming to Annapolis with a fiftyone-foot inflatable joint. There’s nothing wrong with it, and if it makes people feel uncomfortable, what do they think they are legislating for? This is the same joint they had thousands and thousands of years ago, and it’s the same joint they sell in the dispensaries in Maryland right now, and it’s the same joint we will have under a responsible, regulated adult-use market,” said Furnish.
“We are not going to arrest people this summer, then turn around and figure out how to pay to expunge the arrest records next summer – we are not that stupid. We need to stop arresting people this legislative session, and that also means ending the encounters – cannabis consumers don’t want to answer intrusive questions from the police,” said Jones. “This policy ruins people’s lives.”
Marijuana is legal for adults to buy and use in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, South Dakota, Vermont, and Washington. Marijuana is also decriminalized in the District of Columbia.
March 22 is crossover, the last opportunity for the Maryland House of Delegates to send the Senate House Bill 32, a popular cannabis legalization proposal sponsored by Delegate Jazz Lewis (D-Prince George’s County).
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