Marijuana laws may be loosening up in various regions around the country, but what kind of effect does that have on places like Tennessee where they're not? Lee Otts, executive director for the Memphis Chapter of the National Organization for the Reformation of Marijuana Legislation (NORML) says there's a propaganda campaign happening, if you know where to look. That's one of the reasons Otts organized Hydro at the Hi-Tone. "We need to stop the reefer madness and misinformation that's been getting out," he says.
Otts shares a news article from ABC affiliate WKRN in Nashville. Set in dark alleys where the threat of violence always looms, it tells a terrifying story of big money and potent pot. "Agents are concerned because they are seeing an increase in marijuana coming from the West Coast states like Colorado and Washington, where pot laws are more relaxed and the pot more potent," the report states. "The pot [that] used to come to middle Tennessee from Mexico is being replaced with marijuana hydroponically grown." (Insert Dragnet theme here).
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The article Otts shared describes how the quality product commands higher prices. More money means more violence. Well, in places where it's not legal, anyway.
"A lot of money stands to be lost with legalization," Otts says, specifically addressing law enforcement and the issue of forfeiture.
In some regards, Hydro at the Hi-Tone is just a regular monthly meeting for Memphis' Norml but with a twist. Laws will be addressed, elections will be considered, chapter business will be discussed. Also, hydro rigs will be on display, and there will be a demonstration comparing hydroponically and soil-grown plants.
"We're trying to come up with different events for monthly meetings, and we had a lot of success with our class on how to make edibles," Otts says, hoping Hydro at the Hi-Tone will have a similar appeal.