September 10th, 2010 | by Jason Slotkin News | Posted In: Politics, Cops and Courts

More Tokers than Texans and Other Odd Gems from the National Pot Conference

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There are more tokers than Texans! So declared Russ Belville, outreach coordinator for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws during a session called "Using Data to Make Your Case for Legalization." The occasion was NORML's 2010 national conference. And the setting was the 100-year-old Governor Hotel, better known as the home of City Club's Friday Forums.

Until Saturday, long- and short-haired activists, lawyers, and other pro-legalization enthusiasts will gather at the staid Portland hotel where a "medication lounge" offers licensed medical marijuana users a place to smoke pot and mingle with other smokers.

On Thursday afternoon, as Belville addressed about two dozen conference-goers, a much bigger crowd listened to experts named SubCool and MzJill talk about proper marijuana growing techniques. Others listened to a legal-advice panel during which John Lucy IV, a Portland lawyer and medical-marijuana user, pulled out a jar of marijuana buds, while declaring it's not "illegal for me to have this."

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Portland) attended yesterday's session of the conference. Rick Steves, the well-known author of travel guides, starts today's events at 9 am. The PBS television host is a member of NORML's advisory board.

A final footnote for the curious: Texas has 25 million people, according to the U.S. Census.

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