Kathy Inman from NORML in Arizona – Show 36

This episode we were lucky enough to have Kathy Inman, the State Director for NORML in Arizona on the show. To hear the interview, check out show 36!

Kathy Inman From NORML in AZ

Kathy Inman From NORML in AZ

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Here is Kathy’s Bio in her own words….

Born and raised in rural New Jersey, I have been on the west end of America since I was 19. I love the southwest, but then I love most of nature – desert or green. I began speaking out as a activist for women’s issues, public education, worker’s rights, and as a voice for animals about a decade ago. I found the truth about marijuana in 2008 and have found it hard to work on anything else since.

My daughter and I loved to travel to Venice Beach for the weekend and noticed how much freedom California had in regards to marijuana rights. One of those weekends, we came home to Arizona and I researched the current status in our state. I could not believe that it was a Felony to possess as much as a seed in Arizona. Outrageous when California had rights just a hundred or so miles away, and that lives could be saved with the option of a safer alternative.

I decided we needed to make a statement, so we organized the Global Marijuana March of 2008 at Steele Indian School Park. Over 1000 folks came out and enjoyed freedom that day in the park and we will never forget it. We decided to start a NORML group, Phoenix NORML, in June of 2008. We organized a voter registration float trip down the Salt River, and I was taken off of the river by swat team for five marijuana laced cookies. I faced one year in federal prison for the charge, my first month as Co-Director of our NORML group. Our founder, Keith Stroup, talked me through it and I paid a $1000 fine for my freedom. I now have a misdemeanor possession charge which I wear like a badge.

I wanted to be sure this never happened to anyone for choosing the safer choice. I wanted to save lives with the truth about marijuana. We wanted to help change laws as a NORML group, and for Arizona. I then looked around the country to see who was making change happen. That was the Marijuana Policy Project. I saw that four out of five of the states surrounding Arizona had obtained either medicinal rights or decriminalized (or both) and I wondered how we could make this happen in Arizona. So I, like many others curious about change must have, called the Marijuana Policy Project in hopes that they had a plan for Arizona. They did have us on the roster- in 2009.

When the campaign manager for Prop. 203 arrived in Phoenix, they contacted us at NORML first, and launched the campaign from our Phoenix NORML meeting. It was a very exciting time and I am proud to have supported Proposition 203. I still stand behind the AZMMA 100%, because I believe in change and working with the current system. In the last three years, I have realized the value of this miraculous medicine, I have seen lives transformed, and I am proud of the progress Arizona has seen. Ultimately, I do believe in the eventual legalization of marijuana for all and do hope to be able to purchase at Walgreen’s in a cigarette pack or pouch before I am too old to fight this prohibition. I do not want my grandchildren to feel the stigma or the glare of judgement should they choose to use natural medicine. I do not want to have to swallow my tongue when I see the police in the rear view mirror, and I never want to see another person go to jail for possessing a healing herb.

I am a volunteer for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, and have been off and on (mainly on) since 2008. I ran Phoenix NORML with my daughter from June 2008- September 2009, when she left to intern for the Marijuana Policy Project and I left to concentrate on earning some college credit, which I have about 40. While I am not a learned scholar, I do understand the truth about marijuana and prohibition.

I returned to Phoenix NORML in August 2010, by request. I remained in support and as Co-Director from August 2010- August 2012. I left to enjoy being a newlywed with my husband Dave, to cultivate my women’s outreach, Phoenix March, and to put more time into our local NORML chapter in Gilbert. While I was on the board at Phoenix, I felt that if all of our downtown board members were to concentrate in their hometown, we could be more effective activists for the metro area.

In December of 2012, I applied to Washington, D.C. to open a state chapter for Arizona, now incorporated as NORML in Arizona.

With the partnership, input, skills, and support of my husband, I have found the time to begin making a name for the organization I love. I support NORML because it is not my name but one recognized by people all around the globe as a community project for those who are willing to lay personal interest and monetary goals aside for a common purpose. NORML is a grass roots organization rooted in consumer advocacy, which is very close to my heart. I believe in people and the power we have when we work together.

With my experience as an activist and former political newshound, plus what I’ve witnessed in our community these past five years, I know we can build a stronger community. This experience has also allowed me to see that politics are prevalent anywhere there are people- and that people must reconcile differences in order for progress to occur. If you take a look at our two party system- both fight each other constantly and nothing ever seems to materialize. We must settle our differences in an open and organized forum to get past misunderstandings that stymie progress and work together as a reasonable, fair, and universally appealing voice for marijuana consumers.
We must create a strong mandate for our future by improving voter awareness. My first major project that I would like to put more time into is our Voter’s Guide for 2014. I want our community to be excited to vote and aware of the candidates who can effect our freedom.

My goal has been to erase the stigma and stereotypes that have kept our community from obtaining the rights we deserve. I believe this is propelling the true mission of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws- to move public opinion about marijuana in our favor.
I believe in order, rules, and organization- I believe NORML is an American tradition, and a voice for the average everyday NORML person who feels they cannot speak out because they could lose their home, job, or freedom. NORML is the only place where you can go all around the US and the world and find a network of marijuana consumers.

I am Kathy Inman, State Director of NORML in Arizona, and I cannot tell you how proud I am to represent an organization that brings people together the way this one does.

By rubylexi • November 15, 2013 • 12:00 am • Leave a comment
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