Political activist, a marijuana advocate and former congressional candidate Mikel Weisser has died at the age of 61.
Weisser died Thursday after suffering from a heart attack, according to a post on his Twitter account signed by his wife, Beth Weisser.
He was the state director for Arizona NORML, an activist group trying to legalize marijuana for recreational use, according to a post by the organization about Weisser’s death.
After quitting his teaching job in 2012 to become a full-time activist, Weisser became the state director for Arizona NORML in 2015, according to NORML’s post. NORML said he was proud of the progress the organization made towards medical-marijuana reform and towards legalization of recreational marijuana in Arizona.
Medical use of marijuana was legalized in Arizona in 2010. Last September, signature gatherers began seeking support from registered Arizona voters to place the issue of legalizing marijuana on the 2020 ballot.
Weisser was passionate about marijuana reform and always advocating for it — in one 2016 Arizona Republic interview, he smoked marijuana and let a retired officer perform a field sobriety test on him.
He also ran for Congress in Arizona’s 4th Congressional District in 2012, 2014 and 2016, losing to incumbent Rep. Paul Gosar in 2014 and 2016.
Several Arizona politicians Tweeted about Weisser’s death, including Sen. Kyrsten Sinema.
“Sending you my love today @BethWeisserAZ. I remember meeting you & Mikel for the first time over 20 years ago via @ArizonaEA. He had a passion for life and justice and a happiness that spread wherever he went. He is missed already,” Sinema said on Twitter.
Democratic state Rep. Athena Salman also tweeted about Weisser.
“I’m completely heartbroken!! I’m so sorry Beth. Mikel was loved by so many!” Salman said on Twitter.
Republican state Rep. T.J. Shope wrote “Beth, I think we only met a few times but I want you to know that @mikelweisser was a great guy, even to those he disagreed with. I always enjoyed seeing him in the courtyard or bringing him to the office with folks who had stories to share with me. I’m sorry for your loss.”
Reach the reporter James Carr at James.Carr@arizonarepublic.com or on Twitter @JamestheCarr
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