Lubbock marijuana group’s inaugural festival draws over 500
It turns out that Lubbock is down with the movement to legalize marijuana, if Hub City NORML’s recent event is any indication.
A new non-profit established under the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, it’s the only group within 350 miles advocating that our outdated cannabis laws be changed.
After forming just three months ago, the group took on the endeavor of throwing a big get-together in order to raise awareness of their presence, raise much needed start-up funds, and demonstrate the need to get serious about changing the law.
The Hub City NORML Conference and Music Fest which took place on August 23rd and 24th at the Depot District Obar was a success far beyond what the group had imagined, drawing over 500 attendees through both nights.
When the doors opened at 6 p.m. Friday evening they had 75 registered members, by the time the dust settled they had over 225. At one point during the night a 76-year-old man came up to the membership table and requested a membership for himself and his two adult grandchildren. The membership drive was so successful that they ran out of cards.
Featuring 17 bands, 5 guest speakers, Paul Bullock as Emcee and glass blowing demonstrations from Dirt City Smoke Shop, the word impressive doesn’t even begin to describe what went down.
Fundraising was not their primary objective, but it wasn’t issue. With a goal of $1,500 in mind, the group hauled in more than $1,000 over their goal.
Colt Smith, executive director of the group, said the welcome was great, stating “the response received by Hub City NORML was encouragement, gratitude, support, and excitement for Lubbock to finally have an event of this magnitude.”
Smith and Terry Nelson who is the Vice Chairman of LEAP “Law Enforcement Against Prohibition” made the rounds talking with elected officials and news outlets prior to the event, speaking with the staff for their district’s Texas House representative and Texas senator, and four Lubbock City Council members. They interviewed with KLBK, Lubbock Avalanche Journal, and Fox News Lubbock.
The news coverage was very positive and mostly accurate, with the conference and festival being the lead story on Fox News Lubbock’s 9:00 p.m. broadcast.
Upon arriving to get everything setup for the event, the Chief of Police for Lubbock met Smith at the door and wanted to have a talk with him.
Smith talked about the encounter, saying “He was notified of the event the day prior, and wanted to know more about what our goals are for this event. He was concerned that we were going to promote or encourage cannabis use at the event. I assured him that I understand his concerns, and we had safe guards in place to deal with that, if it may come up. We hired event security to help us keep the event both safe and legal. Our mission for the event included exercising our first amendment rights, while ensuring a future for our chapter by adhering to law. A few minutes after he drove away, he emailed all of LPD to let them know our intent to keep the event both safe and legal, and asked any officers concerned about the event to please contact Colt Smith by phone, and linked my phone number. This officer seems like one of the ‘good guys’ to me. He told us that personally he supports our cause, and professionally cannot have a stance. I wanted to hug him.”
Several other organizations had members attend the event and as a result of their hard work, Smith has been invited to speak with a few different organizations in Lubbock including the Lubbock County Democratic Party’s Executive Committee on Sept. 17. The group has also been invited to table a big concert being held in Lubbock this upcoming weekend. Plans to reach out to every organization possible are in the works.
What’s an event with a big surprise? Smith got just that when at one point everyone stopped to sing happy birthday to him on Friday as he turned 30.
Smith was very happy when all was said and done, saying “I see that we have a future as a chapter of NORML. This is only true because of the support we gained from other NORML chapters in Texas, our sponsors, vendors, bands, and speakers, but most importantly our members. I am grateful to the Lubbock community for their overwhelming outpouring of support. Keep Kind.”
By: Stephen Carter
Contact Stephen via email at TXCann@gmail.com