Shannon Hammond is the secretary for the new Reno chapter of NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws)—a nationwide marijuana advocacy group. Learn more by attending the group’s monthly meetings on the first Sunday of the month, following the Budtender Fight Club event (1-5 p.m.) at the West 2nd Events Center, 600 W. Second St.
I thought there was a NORML chapter in Reno, or used to be?
There used to be, from what I understand.
The most recent posts on the website I found dated to 2002, but, I suppose, that was before the state of Nevada managed to get legalization in order.
So, what’s the purpose of having a NORML chapter in Northern Nevada when we have dispensaries and easy access to marijuana?
There’s a long way to go yet before we can put it all on the table. The DUI laws treat marijuana just like it’s alcohol. Nevada was one of the first states, the first state, to make it illegal for employers to discriminate against and test you for THC in your system. If you do the pre-employment drug screening and you have THC, in January, they shouldn’t be able to discriminate on that anymore.
But it is still true that—even if you’ve not used recently—that if you have low levels of THC in your system and get into a car accident, you’re likely to get a DUI.
Two nanograms per milliliter of blood. And that was just thrown out. The legislature didn’t even know how to measure it. … You could wake up and have that in your system.
And especially if you’re a regular pot consumer. There are also a lot of national issues, like legislation to allow banks to service state-legal cannabis industries. Will you lobby on behalf of these things?
Yes. One of the big things we’re doing right now is tabling events, where we go everywhere with letters. And one letter—I don’t have it with me—is about the Safe Banking Act … Congress has to vote on it, and then, of course, the president. … It’s to make it so they don’t have to launder their money anymore. … We’re making sure that any registered voter signs all of these so we can give them to our state representatives to represent all of these bills. The Safe Banking Act was one of them. This one gives veterans the right to smoke weed. You know, if you have post traumatic stress disorder? And federal workers are not allowed to smoke.
Let’s see. It’s the Veterans Medical Marijuana Safe Harbor Act?
Yeah. If you’re a federal worker or a vet, you’re not allowed. You’ll lose your benefits right away. … They’ll hand out opioids and prescription drugs all day long, but you’re not allowed to smoke weed or take CBDs, and you know CBDs are a huge, huge push now. And this one is to take it off the controlled substance list as a tier-one drug.
Does it make any sense to you that marijuana is a Schedule I drug alongside potentially equally innocuous drugs like LSD or Psilocybin, whereas opioids are a lower schedule?
It’s just ridiculous that we even have to talk about this. It’s prohibition 100 years later. And if our government didn’t learn anything from that, they’ve realized they couldn’t control it. So, you legalize it, and you tax it. The federal government is losing out on all of this tax money right now. And Trump, being a business owner, you’d think he’d be on the game.