Tomorrow is the great annual unofficial international celebration of all things cannabis, 4/20/2020. Arizona NORML is going to celebrate by launching our brand-new website, ArizonaNORML.org. Our new site, created by Ryan Wilson and Greenfields Solutions, is a state-of-art web presence with all the bells and whistles 2020 technology and ingenuity can provide.
We were well past time for a change. The NORMLinArizona.org website was a revamping of an earlier site in Aug of 2014 by then state director, Daron Babin. Since 2014, the NORMLinArizona.org featured 1442 posts.
The first article on the current URL was posted on August 13, 2014. It is so short I can paste it in in its entirety:
The New NORML in Arizona Website
Welcome to the NEW NORML in Arizona website. Over the past few weeks we’ve undergone some major changes with the new website and its functionality. We’ve streamlined many features that we’ve been eager to get live. Many of these features will enable and foster not only two-way communication…but more of a sense of community.
The NORML community is vibrant and eager to grow and welcomes your participation with open, honest dialogue
Those very words very well embody our aspirations for the new website. But before moving on, I’d like to honor a few of the accomplishments we had made along the way.
The first actual article was also published on August 13th, 2014. NORMLinArizona reported on a speech called, “Your Right to Get High in America!” by renown AZ cannabis lawyer, Jerry Chesler, from that month’s monthly meeting at The Lost Leaf. Chesler would go on to remain a staunch supporter of our work and still joins us for our annual lobby days at the Capitol.
For the next 10 months, Daron Babin would fill the site w literally hundreds of reprints of national NORML news updates or reprints of various interesting cannabis stories from the web including everything from Philly defelonization to Afro Man.
However, when Babin stepped down as the director of NORMLinArizona in June of 2015 and asked me, Mikel Weisser, to take up the reins, I not only changed the name of the organization to ArizonaNORML, but in October that year when I took over the reins of the website, I also shifted our editorial direction in favor of original content and pics.
Changing the chapter name was the easy part. It has literally taken FIVE STEADY YEARS OF WORK BY BETH WEISSER to find the resources and the talent to finally migrate the website to a new name. THX B!
Of course, I had no idea how much I did NOT know about websites. Just the year before, my own blogspot website was condemned by no less than the Washington Post as one of the five worst congressional campaign websites in America. But I was ready to give it a go.
Since then we have created 163 posts, covering everything from our gargantuan 13,000 word voters’ guide to the 2018 general election, to reprints of original 1990s AZ4NORML newsletters, to our battle over Rep Jay Lawrence’s unsuccessful attempt to designate pregnancy as a disqualifying condition for a medical card; to Robert Harding’s recipe for infused tuna steak (yum). The majority of the time we were following AZ cannabis politics. Occasionally we helped shape it.
I am proud of much of that work but want to acknowledge over the years I have spent much time campaigning, for myself formerly and for cannabis a lot lately, and those field efforts reduced my time for posting. More importantly, in 2017 and 2019 I spent most of those years writing cannabis news for others and our own website got scant attention.
I am sorry.
None the less I am thrilled at all we’ve created over the past five years. And, our current covid crisis convinces me more than ever of the importance of maintaining a strong web presence. We cannot be in all places all the time in person, but we can always be available here online.
Though new posts will no longer be added here, this URL will remain available for the next several months for research and ALL the articles from the NORMLinArizona.org website will be searchable on the new ArizonaNORML.org site.
One last thing. NORML was created in 1970 and an AZ chapter has existed since 1990. My work would not have been possible if not for the freedom fighters who went before me. Thank you, Keith Stroup, founder of NORML who put his faith in me in 2015 and has remained my steadfast mentor. To the folks from national NORML who guide my work: Justin Strekal, Eric Altieri, Paul Armentano, Carly Wolfe and our state chapter leader allies Madisen Saglibene, Luke Jones, Kevin Oliver, Jax Finkle, and Ellen Komp.
Great thank yous to my AZ predecessors and mentors Kathy Inman, Nancy Myers, Jon Gettel, AZ4NORML founder Bill Green, early activists like Chuck Hadd, Stan Wirick, Will Van Arsdale, the late Alan Corbett, Daron and Brandy Babin, and my best friend and most important influence this entire past DECADE, 1990s era director, Peter Wilson.
I also want to thank the board members and volunteers who have worked w our office to make our work matter. The irrepressible Tom Dean, our legal counsel, my deputy director, Todd Gilchrist, Allison Stein, Dr Allan Harrison, Don Ream, Jack Wilborn, Cynthia Engstrom, Elaine Newman, Emory Caudell, Chad and April Olshavsky, Andrew Young, Jen Gote, Maddy Grey, Amy Jones, Brad Benson, Greg Fox, Jim Morrison, Demitri Downing, Kirk, Ron Gelber, Tom Gillam, George Griffeth, Richard Tudor, Dave Wisniewski, Jennifer Do, Darlene Padilla, Marisol & Nate, Amanda Garner, Tory Roberg, John Mendibles, John Banks, AJ Jacobs and to many, many others I am already regretting omitting.
As we prepare for the biggest fight of our lives, passing the Smart and Safe Arizona Initiative on the November 2020 ballot, I am excited for all the wonderful tools our new website will provide. But most importantly, I am thrilled for the opportunity to continue working with ALL of you to change the world.
Happy 4/19 2020
See you soon for 420,
Mikel Weisser State Director, Arizona NORML
4490 Sundown Dr.
So-Hi, AZ 86413