RFT Founder Ray Hartmann to Speak at Missouri NORML Conference on Saturday


If you see smoke wafting out of the Randall Building at 3022A Cherokee Street on Saturday don't call the fire department. It's probably harmless.

The Missouri chapter of NORML -- the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Law -- is holding its annual spring conference in the space, which is normally occupied by CAMP (Community Arts and Media Project).

One of the featured speakers at the gathering will be Ray Hartmann, the founder and former publisher of Riverfront Times.

Hartmann founded the RFT in 1977 and sold the paper in 1998 to New Times, the RFT's current parent company, which merged with Village Voice Media in 2006. Hartmann's publishing company also owns St. Louis Magazine.

Other guest speakers at the NORML conference will include:
  • Redditt Hudson, ACLU of Eastern Missouri and former city police officer
  • John Coffman, ACLU lobbyist
  • Travis Noble, defense attorney
  • Dan Viets, national NORML board member and defense attorney
  • Don Yarber, mayor of Cottleville, MO
  • Mark Pedersen, director of the Cannabis Patient Network
  • Joseph Welch, defense attorney

The event is free and the public is encouraged to attend and discuss "marijuana reform, medical marijuana, marijuana patient's groups, civil rights, industrial hemp/biodiesel, and other issues key to ending the drug war."

Those hoping for a wild weed party should heed the warning on  the event's Facebook page: "St. Louis has not yet decriminalized marijuana, and the local authorities are still prosecuting even responsible marijuana users."

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