Freedom Fighter of the Month
April 2010 – Madeline Martinez
Oregon NORML, World Famous Cannabis Café
By Russ Belville, NORML Outreach Coordinator
In the two decades of the Freedom Fighter of the Month, only eleven activists have been named twice. We’re proud to announce our latest Freedom Fighter, Madeline Martinez, who is our twelfth double-winner.
Martinez won her first FFOM in March 2003 for her work as executive director of Oregon NORML. She organizes the largest NORML chapter in the country and produces three public cannabis events in Portland: the Global Cannabis March, the Portland Hempstalk festival, and the Oregon Medical Cannabis Awards. Her chapter also holds twice-monthly patient-only meetings, distributing cuttings and medicine to the needy. She also lobbied in Salem to protect Oregon’s medical marijuana act from terrible restrictions offered by business, construction, and law enforcement lobbyists.
Martinez receives this Freedom Fighter award for opening the first of its kind Cannabis Café, garnering worldwide media attention, including the New York Times, the Times of London, Al Jazeera, and the front page of USA Today. While some dispensaries and head shops in medical marijuana states have had areas to medicate, the Cannabis Café is the first to offer free medicine to patients in a purely social atmosphere. “This café primarily serves patients’ social needs,” she explains, “not their medicine or paraphernalia needs. This is a café where people can use cannabis, but it is never bought or sold; it is all given away freely. ”
Martinez runs the café with volunteers and stocks the café with excess cannabis donated by registered medical marijuana growers. Oregon law only allows growers to store 24 ounces, but they may grow six mature plants, often leaving growers out of compliance at harvest time. Since Oregon’s law allows cardholders to exchange medicine and to use “out of public view”, the private club is perfectly legal as long as the medicine is freely given “for no consideration”.