We are entering a new era for cannabis law reform in Texas. The 2015 legislative session brought many historic firsts. Texas NORML was proud to be a leader in the efforts at the Capitol and across the state. However, the dramatic increase in activity stretched us to our maximum bandwidth and beyond. Our Board, Members and Activists stepped up to the plate. To each of you, a deep thanks. Your work was most energizing and helped pass the first medical cannabis bill in Texas’ history.
In an endeavor to set Texas up for success, the Texas NORML Board has made the decision to create a full time Executive Director. Read the Board’s Release Statement here. This is going to be instrumental in making sure we keep our head in the game, stay on top of our strategic plans and meet political and legislative deadlines.
As the newly appointed Executive Director, I plan to focus on the following~
Primaries – Expand our General Election Voter’s Guide by adding a Primary Voter’s Guide. Primaries are where the races are competitive in most districts in Texas because of gerrymandering. Encourage and educate Texans on how to be active in Primaries.
State Political Conventions – Actively press forward a cannabis plank on each political party’s platform. Having a strong cannabis plank on the platform ensures that we can hold Legislators’ to their party’s standards.
Voters – Educate voters, get them registered, help them support and engage with cannabis friendly candidates in their area, help voters engage in the primaries and get out the vote. Keep the pressure on elected official to and through the 2017 Legislative Session. Encourage and educate fellow Chapters as to how they can register voters in their area.
General Election – Create and distribute the Voter’s Guide for the General Election. Push to get out the vote. Keep, analyze and publish metrics about results that will affect cannabis law.
2017 Legislative Session – Before the session starts, create a campaign to push constituents to engage their Legislators while they are in their home office. During session, expand on trainings, lobby days (both general and targeted) and press events. Work closely with our coalition, Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy (TRMP) and our lobbyist. Grow relationships and presence with key legislators. Activate constituents in targeted lobbying campaigns. Push for comprehensive law reform for patients and victims of the failed drug war.
Outreach – Work closely with Texas NORML’s different Directors of Outreach to engage with outreach groups. Build new partnerships and relationships with the sponsors, volunteers, donors as well as political and community leaders. Expand avenues for outreach.
General – Work closely with Sister Chapters. Lead, coach, develop, and retain a high-performance team. Develop Texas NORML as an organization. Actively engage with the Cannabis Community. De-stigmatize the THC compound and other cannabinoids. Monitor national events to see how they will affect our state.
Texas Compassionate Use Act – Now that Texas is a medical cannabis state (though the law is severely limited, learn more here), we must work hard to make sure that the law IS implemented so that the estimated 750,000 Texans with epilepsy that would benefit from this program will have safe access. We will also actively work to add conditions and more strains and cannabinoids to the Act.
Fundraising – As Texas NORML and legalization grows and develops, we will need to expand our income streams to fuel projects and the organization. We are looking into new events, programs and ideas to help with our development. You can donate to help us with our endeavors. Find out more ways to get involved below.
You can find the description of the Executive Director position here.
How can YOU get involved?
*Learn More About Becoming an Activist – You can find our Activist Training Information here. These tools will help you become a more active force in your local area and help you engage with your Legislators. You can also fill out our Activist Information Page so we can alert you to actions in your area. Make sure to find out who your Legislators are and start the conversation with them now.
*Register to Vote – In Texas, our drug laws must be changed at the state level where there is no ballot initiative. Therefore, we are fully reliant on our elected State Representatives and Senators to enact changes through the legislative process. Legislative Sessions are held every 2 years for 140 days if there is no special session called. Therefore, an educated voter base that is actively engaged in the issue is the foundation to success. Register here.
*Become a Member – Becoming a Member is integral to helping Texas NORML succeed at our goals. Your dues fund our programs! More Members amplifes the voice that we speak to Legislators’ with as we work to represent you at the Capitol. Become a Member here.
*Become a Sustaining Donor – By becoming a Sustaining Donor, you can give us a budget to plan on and with! When there is a reliable stream of income we can more efficiently plan out the timelines and details of our strategy. With this program, we are also able to include you in District targeted action alerts and aid you in being effective at the local level. Become a Sustaining Donor here.
*Donate – Can you donate money, time or talent? You can make a donation here. You can also reach out to our Volunteer Coordinator to see how you can help expand our organization by emailing Volunteer@TexasNORML.org. You can also contact us here. We will put out more information on our organizational needs and roles needing to be filled in the coming weeks.
*Stay in Touch – Sign up for our Newsletter. We will use this tool to put out updates, action alerts, legislative updates, event information and more. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+. Find our events here and here.
A special thank you to Jamie Spencer, who served as Interim Executive Director since November of 2014. He has served as Legal Counsel since 2012, providing the Board, Texas NORML Members and Texans excellent advice on legal matters. He will be returning to the role of Legal Counsel for another term. We are excited to be retaining him for the team! Thank you, Jamie!
I am excited to start on September 1st! I look forward to working with you more closely in the year to come.
Incoming Executive Director, Texas NORML