“420” events throughout Wisconsin drew participants in from all over the state to come together to celebrate. These activists are networking and planning for the 2011 push to become more organized statewide and lead strong organizations to close out 2012. Just as we gathered locally, the National NORML conference in Denver drew activists from throughout the country, but paid attention to Wisconsin and what was going on back home and the current battle of Wisconsin activist Ben Masel. Gary Storck, the Madison NORML examiner covered the conference from Denver and reported:
Thursday night, Wisconsin marijuana and free speech activist Ben Masel received NORML’s Board of Director’s Special Appreciation Award for “A Lifetime of Outstanding Work in Advancing the Cause of Legalizing Marijuana”. Masel, a longtime NORML activist, currently is being treated for an infection related to recent treatment for lung cancer and was unable to travel. He is recovering but remains hospitalized in Madison. The award was presented by longtime activist and friend, Don Wirtshafter, who then handed it off to a group of seven Wisconsin NORML members who had made the trip to Denver on his behalf.
Wisconsin was again represented when NORML Board member Dan Viets presented Rice Lake WI native Dr. David Bearman with an award he had received last year, but had not had a chance to pick up. Viets presented Dr. Bearman with the Peter McWilliams Award for Outstanding Achievement in Advancing the Cause of Medical Marijuana.
Prior recipients of Dr. Bearman’s award include Wisconsin activists Jacki Rickert and Gary Storck (2005). Dr. Bearman began his medical career at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He returned to Madison in 2007 to testify at an informational hearing on medical cannabis convened by State Sen. Jon Erpenbach (D-Waunakee), who later sponsored the Jacki Rickert Medical Marijuana Act. Dr. Bearman also presented a talk on medical cannabis at UW-Madison’s medical school and did a book signing sponsored by Madison NORML on his visit.