Martin Mitchell, 1st At-Large Council Member Cannabis Advocate & Patient, Laurel, MD
Written by: LaWann Stribling
Martin Mitchell was the first at-large council member elected with 55% of the votes as a Cannabis Patient and Advocate. During his bootstrapping campaigning you’d find him everywhere there was a need to encourage residents of the City of Laurel and neighboring cities the importance of voting locally. As an at-large council member Martin represents the city of Laurel as a whole.
Martin has resided in Laurel for the past 25 years, a graduate of Laurel High School and Bowie State University. Before winning a seat as a Councilman he served and continues to serve as President of The Prince George’s County Young Democrats (PGCYD). He also volunteers time as a mentor and coach with the youth in his community, the county and state. Martin was appointed by the City of Laurel’s Mayor Craig Moe to the City’s Board of Appeals 4 years back and continues to serve today.
A sit down with Martin:
Q: Can you explain why voting is so important?
A: We all have to identify reasons why we vote. We vote because of our self-interest. We all have things we care about and things we feel strongly about. We can either vote on specific issues like this ballot referendum that will be put forth this year to let the people of Maryland decide on the legalization of cannabis possession and responsible adult use.
Q: Why was winning At-Large Councilman for the City of Laurel so special?
A: I became the youngest person to represent the City of Laurel, At-Large, and only the 6th black person elected in our 150-year history. I told my best friend that imagine if 10 years from now I could lobby for something I truly care about like cannabis. Well last year I told him to remember what I said a decade ago about advocating for cannabis, well now I'm living that dream. I’m a medical patient now but I was an advocate long before being a legal patient. I promoted responsible adult-use and decriminalization long before being sworn in as councilman because the plant shouldn’t have been illegal in the first place, but, more importantly, I will continue to try to change the stigma for cannabis and empower people to advocate for themselves.
I look forward to voting for legalization hopefully in November, but I want to make sure that at the forefront of the conversation that equity and inclusion are paramount and not an afterthought.
I had the pleasure of being introduced to Martin during Mary and Main & PGCYD’s Maryland Cannabis Legalization Town Hall last February. I was intrigued at his transparency in being an Advocate for Cannabis Legalization, Full Expungement Rights for those serving for Cannabis Related Offenses, having the ability for residents to Home Grow, Cottage Businesses and Social Equity, Equality and Diversity of those communities affected by the Racist War on Drugs. From that introduction, Martin has been gracious at attending various voter registration events held in Greenbelt, MD as well as advocating for the former Mayor Byrd’s Just and Policing Act.
Martin Mitchell began campaigning on March 19, 2021 by door knocking, reaching out to family, friends, associates and building up an amazing team and community supporters. Martin hosted Open Mic Meet & Greets where local performers can showcase their talents and for small businesses to set up shop at The Green Life Alternative Care CBD Store in Laurel, MD. From there I learned of his passion for poetry. Martin spoke an amazing poem regarding his love for community and the resources needed to continue to birth individuals like him. Aside from hosting these events, he also hosted various vaccination clinics, community cleanups, food drives and back to school giveaways. Martin held fundraising events at different local small businesses focusing on Black Owned and Hemp Shops. Martin made a point to reach all areas of his community's residents which included Senior Citizens Residencies as well. His 6 months of grass roots, bootstrapping campaigning paid off on November 2nd, 2021. Martin Mitchell received 722 votes which awarded him the position of Councilman At-Large for the City of Laurel, Md.
You can learn more about Martin Mitchell here Martin Mitchell | Martin For Laurel
Deputy Director, NORMLMD
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