A thing that I value a lot in the marijuana industry is when a person or business strongly supports marijuana activism in addition to their pursuit of profits. There are FAR too many people and companies in the marijuana industry that don’t do enough to support activism, or don’t support it at all. I get that people need to make money to pay their bills and to pay for food, but there needs to be a balance. People that are in the marijuana industry but don’t donate to reform defy logic in my eyes. It’s because of activism and activists that those people are able to own a business in the marijuana industry to begin with.
I would like to see people in the industry donate to reform because it’s the right thing to do, but if that doesn’t work, they should at least be doing it out of self preservation. Marijuana opponents are working hard to keep prohibition in place where it exists, and are working even harder to roll back reform victories where they have been achieved. I don’t see that stopping anytime soon. One person that I think absolutely ‘gets it’ is Michigan attorney Matthew Abel from Cannabis Counsel PLC.
Matthew Abel has been a criminal defense lawyer in Michigan for well over 20 years, and founded a law practice devoted entirely to marijuana clients and cases. That’s very impressive. Matthew Abel also serves as Executive Director of Michigan NORML. I have seen his work appear on The Compassion Chronicles, which is one of my favorite marijuana websites by far, and has a very heavy focus on activism. Below is a bio about Matthew Abel from NORML’s legal counsel webpage:
Matthew R. Abel has been a criminal defense lawyer in Michigan for 27 years. He founded Cannabis Counsel, P.L.C., a Michigan law firmentirely devoted to cannabis clients and cases, providing both business advice and legal counseling as well as criminal defense of marijuana cases throughout Michigan. Since passage of the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act in 2008, the practice has rapidly grown to include not only business clients and issues, but also employment, drug testing, probation, family law and landlord-tenant issues surrounding cannabis.
The firm’s client list includes patients, caregivers, clubs, collectives, dispensaries, garden suppliers, physicians, publishers and other entrepreneurs in the medical marijuana field.
Matthew Abel is a lifetime member of the NORML Legal Committee and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and a member of Criminal Defense Attorneys of Michigan, the National Lawyers Guild, Americans for Safe Access, and the legal committee of the ACLU of Michigan. Mr. Abel is former legal counsel for Michigan NORML, and is currently the Executive Director of Michigan NORML. He has lectured on Michigan Medical Marihuana Law for Oaksterdam University inMichigan, the Michigan Cannabis College, MedGrow Cannabis College and for the Michigan Institute for Continuing Legal Education, and to bar associations throughout the state. Mr. Abel has stood for public office seven times in Michigan, and was theDirector of the Committee for a Safer Michigan, the sponsor of a 2012 Michigan Constitutional Amendment Ballot Question Committee, to repeal marijuana prohibition in Michigan for adults 21 and over. www.repealtoday.org
Matthew Abel will be speaking at the 2015 Spring Marijuana Business Conference and Expo next month in Chicago, hosted by Marijuana Business Daily. I will be there and he is one of the top speakers I’m going there to see. Michigan is in an interesting place when it comes to public policy and the state of the marijuana industry there, and I want to hear what he has to say. Michigan is also on the verge of legalizing recreational marijuana. If you want to join me, click on the banner below to find out more about the conference: