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Friday, March 4, 2011

Bill Downing, Candidate for MassCann/NORML Board of Directors

I have voluntarily dedicated a large portion of my waking hours to MASS CANN/NORML and the moderation of marijuana laws since 1990. I was President of the MASS CANN/NORML (MC/N) for 14 years and am now a Director. 

I was one of two operations managers for the Massachusetts Coalition for Medicinal Cannabis (MC2) and managed a team of volunteer petitioners who, in 1990, gathered over 13,000 signatures in support of a Cambridge City Council home-rule petition supporting medicinal marijuana. MC2 kick started a chain of events that culminated in:
• The December 1991 passage of the “Cannabis Therapeutic Research Act”,
• Our Commonwealth’s very open request to the federal government for either access to, or permission to grow, marijuana, and
• Passage of the “Joe Hutchins Act: A medical necessity defense for the possession of marijuana”, which was signed by Governor Weld in August 1996. 
Since 1991 I have been the primary organizer of MC/N’s annual Fall Freedom Rally on Boston Common which has generated donations of over $200,000. The Freedom Rally was the largest annual marijuana related rally until the Seattle Hempfest grew larger in the late 1990s. I worked with ACLU attorney John Swomley to bring three suits against the City of Boston winning immediate injunctive relief and eventually judgments totaling over $30,000. These suits have helped to assure the City of Boston cannot limit public assembly on America’s first public grounds, where blood was first shed in the fight for American liberty, because of the politics avowed.
I maintain the MC/N library and, partly as a result, have detailed knowledge regarding many aspects of the subject. I have been High Times Activist of the Month twice, once as an individual and one as a MC/N board member, and was the very first subscriber to DRCNet. 

In  2007, I was awarded the MASS CANN/NORML Lifetime Achievement Award. 

In 2008, I was appointed to the Board of Advisors for the Committee for Sensible Marijuana Policy, which ran the successful ballot initiative that decriminalized marijuana in Massachusetts. 

In 2010, I was honored as an MASS CANN/NORML Activist of the Year.
My training as a professional marketing/salesperson and entrepreneur combines well with my experience as a leader of a marijuana law reform organization. I am quite at home speaking publicly and have:
• Lectured and published writings on many aspects of cannabis for many years
• Spoken repeatedly on request at Kiwanis and Rotary Clubs, Harvard University, Clark University, MIT, Babson College and Wellesley High School
• Done about thirty radio shows and a dozen television shows and
• Participated in about twenty debates.

Otherwise, I am partner and co-owner of Willy’s Foods, a BBQ sauce company and I sell bulk TV and Internet service to large multi-dwelling complexes. I graduated from Babson College with a Bachelor of Science degree in Management and Communications in 1980. I am happily married for 19 years with sons 14 and 15 years old and am a Reading, MA homeowner and elected Reading Town Meeting Member. I have over 25 years of experience with hardware and software systems. I've never been hospitalized nor out sick on a work day. I'm a peak bagger and have climbed over 125 mountains over 4,000 feet tall. As a youth I was an Eagle Scout with two palms, a Boy Scout camp counselor, a press room and dark room worker for a local newspaper and a multi-operational high-speed lathe operator.

Bill Downing, Director


1:00 PM to 4:00 PM
UNO CHICAGO GRILL (Pizzeria Uno) 287 Washington Street Newton, MA

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