Houston marijuana advocacy group standing tall after almost a quarter century of efforts
Marijuana reform groups have been popping up all over Texas in recent times, others are still standing strong after decades. For Houston NORML, they’ve been around for almost a quarter of a century.
Founded in 1989 by Rick Potthoff and Richard Lee, the group has been organizing education and reform efforts in the Houston area through a myriad of ways.
Among their endeavors they have provided information tables and speakers to the various local schools and organizations such Sam Houston State University, Baker Institute – Rice University, University of Houston, St Thomas High School, and The Junior State of America statewide conference.
They’ve also participated in Caravan for Peace 2012, Cannabus Tour 2013, Lobby day march on the capitol with Texas NORML, Art Car Parade with DFW NORML, Houston Mediasource TV shows “Drugs, Crime and Politics” and “The Unvarnished Truth,” Dean Becker’s Cultural Baggage radio program on KPFT 90.1 FM and have provided programming for KUVM TV in Missouri City.
Cultural Baggage has seen a lot of success, winning Best FM Radio Talk Show in 2004. Cultural Baggage is broadcast on more than 90 community stations around the country as well as a few stations overseas.
The group keeps pumping information to the local news outlets and also gets the word out on the Polar Effect show which is broadcast on internet radio at locallivehouston.com.
They also keep a steady supply of Letters to the Editor, most recently a piece entitled “Children, economy, states rights” which was featured in the Houston Chronicle.
Involvement in community events has been a great focus for the group, most recently participating in The Toughest 10k Kemah-Seabrook Bridge, Tough Mudder, Hooping for Hemp, and also holding End Mass Incarceration rallies. They try to participate in all community walks.
Houston NORML also airs documentaries, most recently featuring The House I Live, which is an excellent documentary about the War on Drugs. They followed with a round table discussion on what they can do to change drug laws.
The group often gets together to help promote bonding within the organization. One such way is their fantasy football league which they’ve held for the past four years. They also have an athletic group which participates in various ways with local sporting events, very similarly to Team Hope through Cannabis, which is an Austin based organization.
Upcoming events for the month of October the group will be involved with include:
October 4th – 6th
11335 Sheldon Rd, Houston, Texas 77044
October 5th – 5 PM
Walking Away from Violence
Miller Outdoor Theatre
100 Concert Drive, Houston, Texas 77030
October 9th – 7:30 PM
North Houston NORML monthly meting
The Concert Pub North
2470 FM 1960W, Houston, Texas 77068
October 12th – 7 PM
Light the Night
1500 McKinney, Houston, TX 77010
Register FREE online at : http://www.lightthenight.org/txg/register
October 14th – 6:30 PM
ARIA- Abandoned Tour
Darkside Body Art
13214 West Little York, Houston, TX 77084
October 17th – 7:30 PM
Houston NORML monthly meeting
Midtown Bar and Grill
415 west Grey, Houston Texas 77019
On the political front the group is very involved with all of the local political parties. They’ve urged members to become precinct chairs for the various parties and have also participated in a project called Republicans Against Marijuana Prohibition (RAMP) where they had a packed house last month at the Houston Young Republicans meeting.
Steve Nolin, the executive director of Houston NORML, was very involved in the process of getting the regulate marijuana like alcohol plank on the Democrat’s state platform.
Notable accomplishments by founder Richard Lee include founding dispensaries and Oaksterdam University after Prop 215 was passed in California. He was also one of the major backers for Prop 19, which was narrowly defeated in 2010.
The non-profit organization is currently in search of sponsors for their athletic department as well as their Art Car entry. Like most non profits, the organization runs on a shoestring budget and is always in need of volunteers and sponsors.
They encourage everyone to come out to their public meetings, which are family friendly. Monthly meetings are held on the third Thursday of each month at 7:30 pm at the Midtown Bar and Grill, 415 West Grey, Houston, Texas 77019.
As the efforts of long time proponents such as Houston NORML combine with an ever increasing amount of new voices pouring in from all over Texas to demand an end to cannabis prohibition, it is not a matter of if, but when the state follows the lead of Texans in embracing marijuana reform.
By: Stephen Carter
Contact Stephen via email at TXCann@gmail.com