For the majority of the past months, Arizona NORML has invested our time and energy into helping create the largest cannabis experience in Arizona thus far, the Southwest Cannabis Conference & Expo, Oct 26-28. Arizona NORML was one of the principal organizers and key sponsors in promoting and staffing the event. At a time when our organization is just getting back on its feet, some may wonder why we spent so much effort on this specific project. Well, the simple answer is that I could have spent a year putting on bake-sales and carwashes and still not raised the awareness of the importance of marijuana to Arizona’s economy and society as we did in three days last month.
I know and you know that we will not end prohibition by staying within our own little segregated marijuana bubble. We put pot right in the PHX public eye and the public LOVED it.
One of the most exciting things for me was the opening day veterans’ march for PTSD awareness. We staged the event with SWCCExpo feature sponsors, Weed 4 Warriors and PHX area veterans.
(Ryan came from Oregon to attend. Those pill bottles are the Drugs he was shackled to by the VA when he returned wounded. THX to cannabis he is pain-controlled & in the industry, instead of controlled by pain killers and in an institution. )
Weed 4 Warriors’ Jose Martinez marched the entire 8 block route, despite being a triple amputee.
For more info about Weed for Warriors, click here.
The attendance was fantastic. More than 3700 people attended, 131 exhibitors, 75 speakers and dozens of curious onlookers got their first real taste of the kind of industry legal cannabis can become.
Our new office assistant, Elaine Neumann, was a volunteer at the booth and signed on to do more because she was so inspired.
Arizona NORML & National NORML were two of the key sponsors of the expo and had a great double booth that attracted 100s of old and new friends.
Also on-hand was NORML founder, Keith Stroup, who presented on legalization and the role of non-profits in the 21st cannabis community. He got to meet the leaders of both cannabis legalizaton citizens’ initiatives. Here he is with AZFMR leader, Jason Hein.
The 2nd day I got to host two panels, one on non-profits and the 21st century cannabis community.
& one on MPP and their initiative (Matt Schweich shown)
With my sweetie, Beth Weisser:
and is now back on the state board.
After-Party Day 2, w the Black Bottom Lighters
Easily the most important aspect of the expo was the impact it had in the media. Take a second to learn more on any of the dozens of articles written about the event:
(As of October 30, 2015 – Prepared by Proven Media)
media statistics courtesy of Kim Prince and Proven Media
—mikel weisser writes from the left coast of az