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A Vision for a New NORML

  • by Norm Kent, Chair, NORML Board of Directors February 28, 2013

    A Message from the Chair of NORML’s Board of Directors, Norm Kent:

    NORML is the pioneer, the grand patron and founder of the marijuana policy reform movement in America. We are still here and by your side, and we are needed now, more than ever.

    Some have said that as our nation moves towards medicalization, decriminalization, or legalization, our tasks will be diminished, our duties lessened, our essence threatened.

    The truth is that it is just the opposite.

    Now, with cannabis reforms about to blossom in city after city, from small communities to large counties, our nation needs a respected consumer advocacy group more than ever.

    Our nation needs a lobby such as the new NORML, firmly planted, and nationally respected, which will protect the rights of cannabis consumers, as no one else has in the past or can in the future.

    Our nation needs a new NORML, which ensures that the distribution of cannabis to anyone is universally safe, readily accessible and fairly affordable to everyone.

    Our nation needs a new NORML that ensures that the laws which legislatures pass favor freedom and fairness, not moneymakers or mercenaries.

    Our nation needs a new NORML that ensures patients have access to safe medicine, consumers acquire healthy products, and distribution mechanisms protect gender, age, and race, available not just to corporate conglomerates but individual entrepreneurs.

    The new NORML today contains a NORML Women’s Alliance representing the power of feminism and professionalism, bringing passion and gender diversity to the cause of personal freedom and individual choice.

    The new NORML brings vast youth advocacy to the table, with hundreds of chapters in 50 states, young men and women fighting with their heart and soul to ensure scholarships are not revoked, driving privileges are not taken away, and jobs are not lost because they make legal decisions to use cannabis responsibly.

    The new NORML will bring activists and academicians, economists and entrepreneurs, to political forums, explaining how justly taxing cannabis legally today can stop the bleeding of state, city and village budgets tomorrow.

    The new NORML will still need and provide the national canvas with a network of criminal defense attorneys to represent clients who are wrongly arrested and unjustly prosecuted, from patients with medical conditions to adult drivers illegally stopped.

    The new NORML needs to remind Americans that decriminalization in 18 states means we still have a ways to go in 32 others, where nearly a million Americans a year still go to jail for consuming cannabis.

    Thus, the new NORML needs to remind everyone that apathy and inertia has no room for intrusion; that our advocacy must still be engaged, that our voices still be heard.

    The new NORML thus needs to blend innovative social media tools to drive activists with initiatives from coast to coast and in community after community. With hundreds of thousands of followers on Facebook, and millions of cannabis consumers living and supporting our cause all across America, our word must be spread on the web and throughout the country. We must remind Americans everywhere that it is unjust and unfair for adults consuming cannabis privately and personally to get arrested anywhere, anytime, or in any place.

    The new NORML needs to be advocates not just for patients who want access to safe medicine and fair distribution systems, but adults who demand the right to responsible use along with just access for righteous, recreational use, needing no apologies for exercising their individual sovereignty openly and freely.

    The new NORML also needs to be advocates who rectify the injustices of past decades, for individuals whose futures were destroyed by a drug war that failed to do anything but ruin good lives with bad laws.

    The new NORML needs to marshal public policy so that the laws are changed everywhere not in the next few decades, but in the next few years. To achieve national reform, we need to harness the energy and network of drug policy reform organizations throughout this country. We need to speak with a common voice and universal message.

    The message to be shared and the story to be told is not just that prohibition was wrong all along, or that the drug war has been a financial and moral failure. That is a past we have learned all too well.

    The message for the new NORML is to state that Americans citizens have always come to support equal civil liberties for all, from women to African Americans, to our friends in the gay and lesbian community. After decades of pain, that morning has come for cannabis consumers. The new NORML will celebrate the future, not condemn the past.

    For 40 years, NORML has been on the side of those who embraced individual choice and the responsible use of cannabis, as an extension of personal freedom.

    Now, more than ever, the new NORML will remain by your side in order to ensure that as cannabis is distributed and disseminated to consumers from state to state, or coast to coast, it becomes readily accessible, equitably affordable and universally safe.

    Thank you,
    Norm Kent
    Chair, NORML Board of Directors

    Please consider making a donation to NORML today to help support our ongoing efforts to legalize the responsible adult use of marijuana by clicking here.

    71 Responses to “A Vision for a New NORML”

    1. chris says:

      @ Evening Bud
      Im not sure what angle your comming across at , other than it….im guessing..is towards me.
      I try to stick to all related topics on cannabis,but when others have their right to express the right to freedom of speech turned around by grinding on other organizaions that have nothing to do with or want anything to do with the movement of cannabis, I peronaly think like my pre-post to this matter, desrtoies more of our image by tring to mudrake others to make us sound bigger and better.
      cannabis , pot , medical marijuana, or what ever you feel like calling it, to me has got to be brought into the lite as a positive , and valued product. however this sloppy aggravating attitude that is posted on here i agree with you . should be directed towards those sites.
      The United States use to be a place when even the vice presisent could and would show up at “high ” noon for the draw over keeping his good name. now we live in a country were our vice president just says “hey shoot with a shot gun through the front door” the United States have become weak from allowing so many “changes” to our freedoms and the creation of to many bureaucracy’s. I dont think ending the war on drugs is the right answer, but i feel that taking the most inocent drug out of the war is the right start. cannabis is a non life threating, non violent, non hating herb that only hurts people when its put in the hand of the lawmakers who want to keep the lies from having the curtain lifted to show all the lies that make up a failed process.
      as always
      thanks for reading.
      chris

    2. St. Nick says:

      Yeah, that’s like my third out of ~120 postings that were “negative.” I don’t hate the NRA and I think we should have guns but they just represented repugnicants and I thought maybe accurately that they wouldn’t help. Nixon and Reagen were GOP. From them came a drug war that has failed and drug testing-the ultimate invasion of privacy. Drug tests really only work for pot since our body likes it so much it keeps it init. Thank you to anyone siding or sticking up for me and/or cannabis legalization movement. Too bad I only have bad mids atm. It’s gotta be legal in PA or MD(Maryland?). Humans throughout history have been able to legally smoke pot and Jesus could have smoked it in his lost years in India Srinigar. There’s no proof that he didn’t… Anyway, Obviously the drug war is lost and the only success they’ve had is with LSD. Cause the guy got so paranoid he thought he was being watched and turned his partner William Leonard Pickard in and flushed supposedly 90% of world’s supply down toilet. That was the paranoid guys fault anyway. Smoke weed everyday

    3. Evening Bud says:

      @ Chris,

      First, I’ll say that this’ll be my last comment on this thread–I know others are probably already sick of it.

      But, Chris, my friend, I’m not criticizing you personally. All I said is that I (and another person on this message board) have responded to other posters’ promotion of the NRA. I personally disagree with the position of the NRA.

      You seem to be saying that the NRA-promoters are just exercising their free speech, but that we–those who disagree with their views–are “grinding” their message, yes?

      But I feel like I’m exercising my free speech. Why is my opinion any less valid than theirs, or any less protected under the mantle of free speech?

      I’ve had a similar disagreement with someone opposing abortion. I was criticized by someone else on that occasion too, the poster saying the argument was “divisive.” Curious, tho, that he wasn’t concerned with the divisiveness created by the original poster’s comments–you know, ramming his anti-abortion message down our throats.

      My point, I suppose, is that as long as there are posters who feel the need to comment on subjects other than marijuana, there will be those, like me, who will feel equally required to respond. Original posts can be every bit as “divisive” as the responses to them.

      Take care and stay healthy, my friend.

    4. St. Nick says:

      When marijuana becomes legal there would be 400 different varieties and we could mix and match them. A different high each time with nugs mixed with mids and a little schwag and Sativa mixed with Indica. Think green and purple hairs.

    5. Dave Evans says:

      The NRA is suffering from the same malaise as our government: Failure of Leadership. The NRA talks a lot about “responsible gun ownership”, but then insists laws promoting “responsible gun ownership go too far”. Which is it, NRA? Do you support laws letting crazy and/or drugged up people to have and buy firearms or do you support community safety?

      It is the same problem of cops telling each other and everyone else marijuana is dangerous, but their actions are directly making marijuana dangerous by pushing it off into the black market. So which is it you double-speaking jerk-offs? Do you support community safety or do you support violence and other black market crimes?

      I’m not sure these clowns even know what the words “safe and responsible” mean…

    6. chris says:

      @ Evening Bud
      I am still not sure why your posting an arguing angle from me, my comments were nothing to do with you or how you feel about your rights. You can say what you want when ever you want , and as far as your “i get the last word” attitude, i moved out of my fathers house years ago for that view that its your way or no way crap. I only commented from the original post becasue I believe it was st. nick, and i had been having these little disputes of our opinions on many topics and you jumped in with a view of what i believe to be a view from the corner. AS far as the NRA comment you made

      “You seem to be saying that the NRA-promoters are just exercising their free speech, but that we–those who disagree with their views–are “grinding” their message, yes?”

      I dont care what their views are on cannabis and and they dont care what ours is and that is the only thing i was trying to accomplish whith my post. maybe read what people are posting , slow down , exhale and then try to process what others are saying before you decide to go after someone else’s post with your flyswater,,,,ouch,,,,,I think that this conversation is a great example why cannabis is still illegal and will stay there for as long as conversations like this continue.
      Freedom of speach is great and legal, but to you my friend enjoy yours as much as you would like, but maybe slow down, and read others post and process them before you get your blood pressure up. I want to be a part of something bigger than reading and writting post that have nothing to do with any help to the movement of cannabis.
      so to you, thank you for regarding your suport of cannabis and cannabis related issues, we all need to be more positive in the efforts of the release of cannabis of the CSA and not worry so much about other issues.
      Good day
      as always
      thanks for reading
      chris

    7. Voice of the Resistance says:

      Monster man, I’ve thought about this for a copule of the days, and have had the same sort of problems on both sids of the equation. You need some better friends dude. I’ve had my car keyed the paint ruined, and my apartment broken into more then once. In 2005 I was fired from a job after I caught a metal flake in my eye. I was wearing my saftey glasses and dont’t ever get high at work. I broke it of with the little monkey parking lot crew a long time ago. I’m sure Norml is aware of these problems. I want the crime, and criminality taken out of marijuana once and for all. Thanks for supporting Norml Monster man, live simply and by all means follow your heart.

    8. Stone Mountain says:

      “I’ve had a similar disagreement with someone opposing abortion. I was criticized by someone else on that occasion too, the poster saying the argument was “divisive.” Curious, tho, that he wasn’t concerned with the divisiveness created by the original poster’s comments–you know, ramming his anti-abortion message down our throats.”

      Actually buddy that was me, and if you look back to that thread I responded to your question about that, not to mention anyone can see my original comment was directed at all posters in the thread that were engaged in that topic.
      [Here is the thread and my response on feb 21st.]
      http://blog.norml.org/2013/02/08/virginias-tea-party-backed-attorney-general-cuccinelli-evolving-on-marijuana-legalization/#comments

      EveningBud totally agree.

      For instance here for the second time today I see a response from St.Nick that was just unnecessary. It had little to do with the first mention of the NRA just a mini rant about how someone doesn’t like them. Great..how is that constructive when the original post was not about the merits of the NRA but about the success of their methods and reach. By the Chris’s initial response to him was exactly on point and after reading negated my desire\need to respond in kind. St.Nick, while my comments in this post may seem directed solely or personally at you it was just an example, and as Chris said we know you have better in you.

      What I’ve been saying and I think at least both of you for the most part agree is that it looks bad, particularly for newcomers coming into these threads looking for information to start reading though posts that detract or turn off the very people who’s minds we’re trying to change. So while nobody want to restrict speech, I just suggest everyone try and keep the vision Norm Kent just posted about in mind when posting.

      BTW if anyone was wondering for the record I am not a member or have I ever been of the NRA.

      I do however own several firearms, and to the person that commented “pot and guns don’t mix”, well if we’re talking people (and not the implication of getting stoned and going to the range) wise I think you would be quite surprised, at least here in the south at how many firearms owners are open to the cause, if not already occasional (or frequent) tokers.

    9. Stone Mountain says:

      @Norm Kent.
      “The new NORML will bring activists and academicians, economists and entrepreneurs, to political forums, explaining how justly taxing cannabis legally today can stop the bleeding of state, city and village budgets tomorrow.”

      Please tell you me you really meant:
      “”…, explaining how legalization and justly taxing cannabis can aid the bleeding budgets of state, city and village budgets today and tomorrow.”

      The original implies this is going to be sold as primarily as “tax the weed” and solve your budget problems. In many if not most cases the taxation part while it should help it isn’t going to be some miracle budget fix, and it shouldn’t be over-sold that way, least when the eventual #’s aren’t deemed enough it will be called a failure, or an excuse to just up the tax. For example legalization in CA while it will generate net income for the state\locals to the tune of hundreds of millions or more (in total) it isn’t going to solve the overall state budget problems.

      Second besides the tax and regulator revenue streams, more of an effort should be made in my opinion to focus on the potential savings elsewhere that comes with legalization. This means both direct and indirect\intangible monetary costs, not to mention of course the human cost. Granted those politicians who enjoy bloating government and the local bar association who makes a living off the current situation may not appreciate such arguments but I think the average voter certainly would if it was explained well.

    10. Evening Bud says:

      @ Chris,

      I have to go back on what I said before about it being my last post on this thread–if only to clear up something. First, I did not say that it would be my last post on this thread in order to get the “last word,” but only because I didn’t want to waste others’ time on this subject. Okay? Can you accept that?

      Also, I have to admit that I haven’t been following the on-going dispute between you and St. Nick on the various subjects; I honestly didn’t know it was going on. So, I wasn’t jumping in on a battle between you two, from a neutral corner, I assure you.

      I did jump in because it seemed to me in your earlier post that you were criticizing posters who were responding to the NRA-promoters on this board. That was what I perceived. If I was wrong, I apologize–I obviously misunderstood the gist of your post (and didn’t realize that it had more to do with your on-going dispute with St. Nick than the subject of the NRA).

      I don’t agree with your statement that discussions and disputes about other subjects are the reason pot is still largely illegal; I think it has more to do with the older generation’s resistance to, and misunderstanding of pot. (And the resistance of certain elected officials.) But I also think that it’s inevitable that pot will become legal, in many if not all of the states.

      When I first got on these boards, some 1-1/2 or 2 years ago, there were many divisive comments about many subjects from posters–Obamacare, the federal govt, socialists, etc etc etc. (It seemed, honestly, like a libertarian feeding frenzy, and at times I wasn’t sure I was on the right web site.) But none of those discussions stopped me from caring about or supporting the legalization of marijuana. And none of those divisive discussions, I’m even more happy to say, stopped Colorado or Washington from legalizing.

      (It could be argued, sadly, that some of the contentious discussions about taxation and regulation on these boards did play a part in preventing California from legalizing last year.)

      In any case, the way I see it, Chris, we are both brothers for the cause–MJ legalization. I may agree with you or disagree with you on other subjects, but one thing both of us can ultimately agree on–I’m certain–is that MJ should be legal! (I just called the office of my Rep. Michelle Lujan-Grisham this past week, asking her to support legalization, and even initiating legalization in my state. As I’ve mentioned in other posts, it feels sort of creepy giving out your name and address after asking them to legalize pot, but I know it must be done.)

      So, hang in there pal, and hopefully your disagreements with St. Nick will never cause either of you to steer away from your and our true focus.

      So! Now, I assure you this will be my last comment on this thread!!!

      PS–to the editors, sorry for the harangue.

    11. chris says:

      @ evening bud and @ stone mountain.
      were all on the same page, i wish i had more money to donate to this cause, and could atract the right people to the cause of taking the CSA and redirecting it toward the more harmful drugs out there, that seem to becomming more and more synthetic.
      Were all brothers and sisters and I never wanted to take away the place of any ones views or opinions, but i am so glad that evening bud came back to clairify our difference but to be honest we never had any it was just a mis understanding.
      I wake every morning with good intentions and i know everyone who believes in the power of cannbis do as well.
      we will prevail with getting cannabis into every responsible american’s hand (legally) who want to ustilize it potential.
      So thannk you evening bud, i truly believe that when people are willing to try(like you and i still having our conversation on , not giving up) is the right choice, i am proud to know you sir because you are someone who is willing to resolve and regroup to establish common grounds.
      this is the direction all cannabis users need to apply.
      and stone mountain i just realy like your views……they make me think that sometimes even i need to step back and regroup my thoughts.
      its not about “just winning the war” its about applying stratigy and debating this with all the right moves v.s. just taking the appoach of your wrong and were right.
      they want proof then its up to norml to represent the people’s beliefs , but to do this they need a single line of diversity.
      againg thanks for the repost i dont want to loose a brother even before we become one.
      as always
      thanks for reading
      chris

    12. Anonymous says:

      @Norm Kent
      Could those of us needing to contact our representatives and let them know our views, receive from Norml, a “best-how to guide”?? How often, do we contact EVERYONE, or just our elected rep from only the district we vote in. I want my voice heard loud and clear. I’m tired of having to medicate illegally. We in the USA are better than that. (One hopes!)

    13. Anonymous says:

      @Clay
      I knew Jason too. I wish I knew what happened to him. I am not in contact with any of his friends but he was dear to my heart. He was a very giving man and had a HUGE heart. Can you give anymore details of his death?

    14. Anonymous says:

      @ Chris,

      Thanks, brother, I appreciate the kind words. Stay safe and healthy my friend.

      And best to you too, St.Nick.

      And now to watch the World Baseball Classic–with my little friend, bud. The Netherlands–yeah, Amsterdam, vs the mighty Cubans!

    15. Evening Bud says:

      Hey Chris, that was my message above, I keep forgetting to add my moniker, Evening Bud (it used to stay on automatically!). Anyway, take care pal.

    16. Thomas Gray says:

      Yes we need a norml that is as powerful as the pharmaceutical companies money is that they use to buy politicians!!! So who is richer than the pharmaceutical companies???

    17. Evening Bud says:

      @ Stone Mountain,

      Here, I’m going back on my statement again, about it being my last post on this thread!!! (Sorry all.) Anyway, Stone Mtn, what you say is true–your comments weren’t directed at me personally, and I appreciate it.

      I do tend to jump the gun sometimes (so to speak, lol), and I have to keep an eye on that. Just a knee-jerk reaction, I guess. I suppose I tire of reading about issues on this board not related to MJ, and am sometimes too quick to react.

      And I also see your point about giving outsiders the wrong impression on this board.

      I ask only, however, that you do keep in mind that not everyone has the same opinion on all of these different issues; and sometimes simple statements can be construed as proselytizing or espousing certain causes.

      Anyway, take care, and nice talking with you, E. Bud

    18. Stone Mountain says:

      ” I suppose I tire of reading about issues on this board not related to MJ, and am sometimes too quick to react.”

      You and me both. :)

    19. Jason says:

      Virginia, don’t forget Virginia.

      Thank you for everything you’ve done.
      Keep up the good work!

    20. California Carl says:

      A new NORML will be a great thing, But we still have a long fight ahead. So, lets focus on the task of total legalization. Am i the only one who noticed that the richest man in the world is from Mexico. A large portion of marijuana comes from there. Think about that.

      I’m not sure how the NRA has got anything to do with this, But I smoke and own guns and have never threatened or ever wanted to shoot anyone. If everyone would just burn a big fat one, We could all get along better.

      Until we have complete legalization, I will continue to feel like i live in a police state.

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