NORML brings message to Aspen |

NORML brings message to Aspen

John Colson

A group lobbying for the legalization of marijuana will hold a three-day series of legal seminars in Aspen in early June, convening at The Gant condominiums.And included with the events surrounding the seminar sessions will be a “Tea Party at Owl Farm,” in honor of the late gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson, who was a member and patron of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws and a passionate supporter of the organization’s work.The series of seminars, scheduled for June 1-3, will be the first time NORML has brought its legal seminars to Aspen since Thompson’s death in February 2005, according to attorney Keith Stroup, who is a founder of the organization and now serves as its legal counsel.The last time the organization held an event in the Roaring Fork Valley was in 2001.NORML describes itself as “a public-interest lobby that for more than 30 years has provided a voice for those Americans who oppose marijuana prohibition. We represent the interests of the tens of millions of Americans who smoke marijuana responsibly and believe the recreational and medicinal use of marijuana should no longer be a crime.”The seminars will all be in the morning and early afternoon, Stroup said, to permit attendees some free time in the afternoons to take advantage of the recreational and other activities available locally.Part of the opening ceremony of the seminars will be welcoming talks by Allen F. St. Pierre, NORML executive director, and by Pitkin County Sheriff Bob Braudis. The seminars will deal with a variety of legal issues, including “Cutting Edge Issue for Medical Marijuana Patients,” presented by two Colorado attorneys, Robert J. Corry of Denver and Kristopher Hammond of Steamboat Springs; “Terrorism and the War on Drugs,” presented by Jeralyn Merritt of Denver; “Child Welfare and Custody Issues When the Parents Smoke Marijuana,” presented by Debroah Small of New York and William H. Buckman of New Jersey; and “Fighting with the Press in a High Profile Case,” presented by Hal Haddon of Denver, who was a Thompson’s friend as well as his attorney in several cases.Stroup said the event is mainly for attorneys, who pay a stout fee as part of their continuing legal education requirement. But, he added, the public can attend seminars if they contact him in advance by e-mail at stressed that there is a limited number of spaces available at the seminars.The public, again in limited numbers, also can attend the opening reception for an admission charge of $35, and a benefit party for NORML at the home of attorney Gerry Goldstein for a fee of $75, space permitting, Stroup said.There will be no public admission to the event at Owl Farm, he said.John Colson’s e-mail address is

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