Joplin NORML prepares to celebrate 3 years

Jah Roots saxophone player performs during last years Cannabis Revival.

Jah Roots saxophone player performs during last year’s Cannabis Revival.

With its three year anniversary coming up this month the local chapter of National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws is ready to do the two things it does best, celebrate and recruit.

The doors will open at nine, on September 27 at Kitchen Pass. The acts set to play are Jah Roots, a dance hall reggae band teamed with a rapper; McGill, a rock band from Springfield and One shade of Grey, an acoustic folk band.

But music won’t be the only thing going on at the event. There will also be raffles, including a glass tobacco pipe, literature from the organization, an information booth, a place to register voters, and a commemorative speech highlighting the history of the Joplin chapter of NORML.

There will also be a vendor booth selling NORML merchandise including a series of six limited edition Joplin NORML posters. Kelly Maddy, president of the organization, will give a speech thanking everyone for their help over the last three years and outlining the plans for the future.

He said his biggest plans involve planning educational events, team-building exercises for key members of his organization, recruiting new members, and building a stronger, more effective chapter. He is also planning to set up several events to get people registered to vote because when the election comes up in 2012 he wants to be ready to get his issue on the ballot.

This go round the Sensible Sentencing Initiative fell 531 signatures short, or 1.7% of the voters in Joplin away from being put on the ballot in November. But that hasn’t kept Kelly Maddy or his brother Kyle from keeping the hope alive.

“We’ve made significant progress by putting this issue in front of the people,” Kyle Maddy said. “And how close we came shows that it is possible to get it on the ballot in Joplin.”

NORML also plans to help get a medical marijuana bill passed in Missouri. The bill has been introduced each of the last three years and gets closer every year.

“Last year we had 13 sponsors,” Kelly said. “That’s the most yet. Next year we think we can double that.”

The organization plans include talking to constituents and getting them to call their representatives to ask them to sponsor the bill. But the first hump is to get the bill assigned to the committee.

“The last speaker of the house, Ron Jetton, refused to assign the bill to a committee and essentially assassinated the legislation single handedly,” Kelly said.

But besides all of the things the group wants to do the biggest thing this month is to celebrate its progress during the last three years and to have a good time.

“This is a night of fun and a way for people to get familiar with our organization,” Kelly said. “Smoking may not be for everyone. But at the very least people shouldn’t have to face arrest for a safer alternative to drinking.”

Even students who are not interested in smoking are invited to the night of music.

“You don’t have to agree,” Kyle said. “Just come out and enjoy the music. Worst case scenario you pay six bucks to listen to three of the best bands in Missouri.”