Dear Editor: The Wisconsin and Madison affiliates of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) salute Mayor Paul Soglin and the Madison City Council for honoring the late Madison activist Ben Masel at their May 17 meeting. In addition to other pursuits, Ben was a longtime NORML activist and served as a board member and officer in our group.
Madison alders voted unanimously to adopt a memorializing resolution titled, “Honoring the life of Bennett ‘Ben’ Masel, his contribution to our community and declaring April 20th as ‘Ben Masel Day’ in the City of Madison.”
As many know, April 20 is, not coincidentally, the date on which those who respect cannabis take a day to celebrate the plant and work for its legalization. Celebrating Ben’s life and contributions will make future 4/20s even more special.
Special thanks are due to Ben’s alder, Bridget Maniaci, and District 6 Ald. Marsha Rummel for sponsoring and crafting the inspiring wording of the resolution, as well as council colleagues Mark Clear, Shiva Bidar-Sielaff, Anita Weier, Mike Verveer and Lisa Subeck for cosponsoring.
But while decades of efforts inextricably linked Ben with cannabis and hemp legalization, his advocacy went beyond, including free speech, privacy and the right to assemble. The best way for all of us to honor and remember Ben’s contributions is to make every day Ben Masel Day by joining in continuing his advocacy.
Gary Storck, co-founder