Ben Masel and Mason Tvert speaking at Madison Hemp Fest Saturday Oct 2, 2010

Ben Masel of Madison NORML speaking to the crowd at the 40th Annual Great Midwest Marijuana Harvest Festival on Saturday Oct 2, 2010. A couple minutes in to the video, he introduces Mason Tvert, Executive Director of Safter Alternative For Enjoyable Recreation(SAFER).

Ben Masel
Harvest Fest owes its endurance to Ben Masel, who took over organizing the festival after its second year. Ben is the VP of Madison NORML and an officer of Wisconsin NORML. Ben has shepherded the festival through four decades and many changes in Madison. Ben was also the organizer of Weedstock, a cannabis and hemp educational music/camping festival that was held in various Wisconsin locations. An expert on the history of industrial hemp cultivation in Wisconsin, Masel has also been active in fields outside of marijuana law reform.

He is a longtime free speech First Amendment activist who has filed and won many test cases over the years in courts across the nation. Ben is also a perennial candidate having run for assorted offices over the years including Dane County Sheriff. He ran against Herb Kohl for the Democratic nomination for US Senate in 2006 and is running again in 2012. When not organizing Harvest Fest or litigating Constitutional rights, Ben may often be found at local coffee shops enjoying a cup surfing Daily Kos, Facebook and other interesting web venues.

Mason Tvert
Mason Tvert is executive director and co-founder of SAFER (Safer Alternative For Enjoyable Recreation) and the SAFER Voter Education Fund, a national marijuana policy reform organization based in Denver, Colorado.

Mr. Tvert appears frequently in national, local and college media to discuss the relative safety of marijuana compared to alcohol and the irrational nature of laws and policies that steer people toward drinking and away from making the safer choice. He has been featured on Fox News Channel, MSNBC, Air America Radio, NPR and BBC Radio, as well as in the New York Times, USA Today, the Washington Times, the Chronicle of Higher Education, and Rolling Stone, among many others. He has contributed columns to various publications, including the Denver Post, Rocky Mountain News, High Times and Cannabis Culture, and he is co-author of the forthcoming book, Marijuana is Safer: So Why Are We Driving People to Drink?, to be released by Chelsea Green Publishing in July 2009.

Mr. Tvert currently resides in Denver where he serves as a member of the city’s Marijuana Policy Review Panel appointed by Mayor John Hickenlooper. He is president of the alumni board for the Colorado Center for Progressive Leadership, where he completed the Colorado Political Leaders Fellowship.

This was the second year in a row Mason spoke at Harvest Fest.

Video by Jessica Franke, treasurer, Friends of Jay Selthofner ( and Secretary, Northern Wisconsin NORML (

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