The first Teapot Party Meetup took place on Wednesday December 15th, 2010. According to CelebStoner More than 500 were scheduled and nearly 1,000 people signed up. Northern Wisconsin NORML, along with folks as far north as Wausau and south as Madison were expected to participate and dozens of more were trying to gain enough momentum to get off the ground. Founded by Willie Nelson, the Teapot Party "leans a little to the left" and supports taxing and regulating marijuana, which maybe difficult for some right leaning activists in the area.
The last election cycle the Republicans stole the show. Our group discussed the recent elections and also the National Teapot Party movement spawned by Willie Nelson's recent arrest. The chapter meets on a weekly basis, so the announcement of a Dec 15th and Jan 18th kick off dates only re-enforced the principals of what we communicate with our legislators and general public on a consistent basis. Our hope is that the additional attention spawns new activists to join the already growing marijuana movement in Wisconsin. As our chapter has maintained, marijuana is not a issue that leans left or right and knows no party lines. All more encouraging that reform is coming was the announcement that Senator Luther Olsen (R-Ripon) will be addressing the chapter at their December 21st meeting.
Not only is the Teapot Party brewing but Change.org also has a petition for you to sign asking Willie Nelson Please Hold a Benefit Concert to Promote Pot Legalization.
With marijuana legalization initiatives expected to be on the 2012 ballot in states like Colorado and California, the next year will be crucial in building momentum for reform. And Willie Nelson can help: just as he founded Farm Aid 25 years ago to support struggling farmers in the U.S., he should launch a benefit concert in 2011 aimed at drawing attention to the struggle to end pot prohibition.
Unfortunately the Wausau area only saw one hard core activist brave the cold (we have been thinking of having a "Cannabis Activist" of the month award starting in the new year, I think the Wausau guy gets the nomination for sure!). Northern Wisconsin NORML ended up participating in the party with four members setting aside 20 minutes to talk about hemp and cannabis with truth, honesty and compassion. In the end, we look forward to the next month and seeing what the January 18th meeting date produces for Wisconsin Teapot Party enthusiasts.