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06-12-2014 Meeting Minutes for Northern Wisconsin NORML

northern-wisconsin-normlThe June 12 meeting of Northern WI NORML was called to order at 5:30 pm.

Board Members Present:  Gene, Jay, Jessie, John   Absent:  Jason

Others in attendance:  Lucas, Christina, Rich, and new member Jared who joined the chapter tonight.

We began with the Treasurer’s report.  The report was approved and seconded by Gene.

At this time we opened the meeting for public comments.

It was brought to our attention by a member in attendance that when they contacted the Madison, WI chapter to ask them for some collaboration regarding fundraising, official representatives of the Madison NORML chapter badmouthed our chapter again. This is an ongoing problem, where untrue statements are being made, which are hostile in nature, with no provocation.  The board members and regular members of Northern WI NORML have made repeated efforts to make peace with the individuals who seem to have a problem.  However we still hear feedback fairly often that indicates they are still bad mouthing our organization.

Lucas mentioned that he has been given permission to paint the side and roof of a barn that belongs to a friend of his, on behalf of another organization he belongs to, Legalize Wisconsin. He will be looking into the local ordinances for painting advertisements on the sides of buildings.  If all looks good and is able to proceed, he said that Northern WI NORML would be welcome to put something on the barn as well.  We look forward to an update on this project.

Gene and Rich gave a report about the Wausau THC Tour event that they organized on June 7th, 2014.  They placed an ad in the City Pages but did not put up flyers or anything.  Although this leg of the THC Tour was organized to celebrate Hemp History Week, they official Hemp History Week group refused to give us the rights to the “Bringing it Home” movie, because we were not 100% focused on hemp. For our next event, it was suggested that instead of tying into Hemp History Week, we might be better off just doing it on a better date for everyone.  However it was a very successful event and had a good attendance.  They used the entire two hours and a local reporter came to the event.    Gene also mentioned that next time, maybe we could spend the extra $100 on making the ad color – the ad was printed in b&w and was not very eye catching.  Gene had a hard time finding it in the city pages.   Jay pointed out that next time we should have one or more people write a letter to the editor ahead of time to tell the community about our event.

The festival guy:  He has a booth and travels to different music festivals and sets up a booth.  He asked us to give him our brochures, flyers, cards, etc and he will put them out at his booths.  He also asked if we could give him a locked donation box, and then he can collect donations, but nobody but our chapter would have the key.  He would just give us the box back when we give him more flyers, or whatever.   We would have to figure out what kind of lockbox system to use and then we could use it in other situations as well.  Lucas has volunteered to look into Lockbox pricing.  If they’re cheap enough, we can give one to every field activist.  Gene also suggested we look into something along the lines of outdoor weatherproof business card holders.

Sarah is re-designing our Brochure.  She discussed this with the group.  First, she went over the Q&A  that we have on the brochure.  She wants to move away from the info we have on the brochure now, and adding more information about the medical cannabis side.  Gene wants to add information about how cannabis is safer than alcohol, as well as tax revenue and other benefits.  It was suggested that she might want to get a quote from Gene’s printer, or possibly from N E W printing in Appleton.  Jay suggested that before we print a bunch of brochures, we decide where we will be meeting in the coming year.  We had been discussing finding a new meeting venue already and we don’t want to print thousands of brochures with our current meeting info.  Perhaps we should just leave the meeting info off of the brochure completely, and tell people to check our website, call or email us for more information.  “Check the website / calendar / facebook for a meeting near you”.  Sarah will continue to work on the brochure with the feedback she received and get back to us at the next meeting or in an email.

John wants to make a list of board members and contact information in case we need to get in touch with each other quickly.  Jay says that we should be using the board and steering mailing lists for this.  We need to get the newer board members up to speed on how to use the system.  I (Jessie) will write up some documentation for them explaining how it works.  Also, Jay has brought up again, that we really should have a board members forum and/or steering forum rather than a mailing list, because it has archival properties.  (Does the mailing list manager I’m using now have archives??  Check into that).  Otherwise, I really do need to look into forum software and get it all set up on the site.

It was brought up that we possibly need a storage unit of some type.   Some of our promotional materials got water damaged where they are currently being stored.  We also need to repair and/or replace the materials that were damaged.

Rich pointed out that the THC Tour events are something that we could get government grants for.

We discussed TV stations.  John mentioned that the Rhinelander, WI channel 12 station recently reported on a marijuana bust and said that the plants had been found before they had become hallucinatory.  Marijuana is not a hallucinatory drug.  He called them and told them that they were reporting incorrect information and asked them to do a better job checking their facts in the future.

We took a brief break at 6:30 so people could feed their meters, etc.

We briefly discussed unity among the different groups and how we need to find some way to have board members from EACH and EVERY chapter form a group that can work together harmoniously.

Regarding future events:  John discussed the Hodag Country Festival July 10th – 13th.   John wants to be low profile and walk around with informational handouts and petitions as well as voter registration forms.  He would like to have 6-8 people walking around in pairs – 4 teams working in 4 directions.  He only wants to hit the parking area and the campgrounds.  Gene wants to call and ask the festival if that is OK with them.  There is no official vendor application and only one owner/operator of this festival.  It costs $250 for a booth, if she would allow us to have one.  Can we get a booth there?  Is a booth more effective than canvassing?  Can we do both?  John said he could make the contact this week. He will let her know that no one will be using any illegal substances and ask if this is acceptable. Sarah is going to work on this project with John. Our next meeting is not until after the festival.  John will get in touch with us when there is more information.

Jay informed us that next month, for our July 2014 meeting, we will be hosting a special speaker from the Ben Masel project (), Dennis Brennan.  He will give us more information about getting an Oregon Medical Marijuana card through the Ben Masel project.  There are only about 62 people in Wisconsin who have their Oregon cards.

Gene plans to do an event in September 2014 and will keep us posted  that.

Gene also discussed wanting to do a booth at The Energy Fair in Stevens Point that is coming up June 20-22.  There is not enough time this year.  But we should keep this in mind for next year. The deadline for registering for this event is in Feb or March.   Gene knows some of these people on the board and/or involved in the event, and he thinks that they will let us in as a nonprofit group. He doesn’t know if they would let us have a speaker, though.  (https://www.midwestrenew.org/energyfair)

Gene pointed out that summer is the best time for events in our state.  So, this summer when you are out and notice events in your community, please make a note of these events, and perhaps we can look into having a booth at them in the future.  Find out the deadlines for vendor applications, fees, and other information.

Harvest Fest 2014 will be held at a different venue this year, since Library Mall will be under construction.  When the HF planning meetings start happening in Madison, we need to have someone go there and attend and coordinate with them.

Big Green Festival is August 16th – we want to do a booth there as well.

Gene discussed Speakers.  He wants to make a wish list of nationally known speakers that we would want to have at our events. Perhaps we could find speakers that will be passing through Wisconsin for another event, and try to get them to speak at our events at a discounted price?  The national NORML office has a list of cannabis speakers and their approximate prices.. this is not a comprehensive list of ALL speakers but at least is a start.

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