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2015 NORML Legislative Fly-In

  • by Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director March 16, 2015

    2015 NORML Legislative Fly-In
    Please join NORML on May 20/21 in Washington, D.C. to lobby Congress for passage of cannabis law reform legislation pending before it.

    You’ve probably seen by now the historically important bill to reform medical cannabis laws introduced in the U.S. Senate. There has never been a more exciting and receptive time to be a cannabis law reform activist in America with this political backdrop:

    • 35 states have passed medical cannabis-related legislation (in 23 of these states patients have functional access to the medicine and legal protections)
    • 17 states have decriminalized the possession of cannabis for adults
    • 4 states have legalized the cultivation and sale of cannabis (Washington, D.C. has de-penalized the possession and use of cannabis for adults; allows limited home cultivation; no sales)
    • Every national poll, including the oldest social survey data set, now indicate a majority of Americans no longer favor cannabis prohibition.

    It’s indisputable. Cannabis law reform in America is happening in our lifetimes.

    By the time the NORML Legislative Fly-In convenes in late May, as many as 20 reform bills will have been introduced for us to rally around in our lobbying efforts–and with the new Senate bill, for the first time since the late 1970s, there is good reason to lobby the Senate as hard as the House.

    Also, and of great importance in placing upward political pressure on elected members of Congress and their staff, are the nearly 75 state legislative bills around the country that are now debating cannabis law reform measures–ranging from medical access to industrial hemp to decriminalization to legalization.

    This year upwards of half the states’ legislatures are looking at dozens of reform bills and this clearly positively impacts Congress to see these needed socio-legal reforms bubbling up from their home states and regions.

    For many in Congress, they know the political writing is on the wall for the federal prohibition on cannabis commerce to survive much longer.

    Let’s help make their jobs easier by showing them the necessary public support to hasten cannabis law reforms at the federal level.

    Lastly, there is a strong possibility that we’re going to add another event to the program, in conjunction with High Times…and featuring a famous TV and movie personality who has expressed strong interest in getting involved with the public discussion about cannabis law reform. TBA.

    Please pre-register for the NORML Legislative Fly-In, make your travel and hotel arrangements ASAP to assure lowest possible costs.

    NORML members and supporters get first shot at the low early bird pricing of $50/person.

    Also, there are sponsorship opportunities as well for cannabis-related businesses, services and organizations.

    Below is a brief breakdown of lodging options for the Conference.

    Thanks in advance and hope to see you at the height of Spring in the nation’s capital, being an active participant in an historic public advocacy effort to once and for all end cannabis prohibition.

    Cannabem liberemus,

    -Allen St. Pierre
    Executive Director
    NORML / NORML Foundation
    Washington, D.C.

    10 Responses to “2015 NORML Legislative Fly-In”

    1. Bob Constantine says:

      Wouldn’t life just be easier instead of asking permission, it was an assumption that people have the right to ingest, grow and trade in cannabis without any intervention from unwanted 3rd parties?

      How is a person able to grow say 4 plants with permission, somehow a “criminal” if they grow 5 plants? How does that work?

      Who owns you, is the root question that should be addressed, not who can give you permission and what the permission will allow you to do or not.

    2. Mr D says:

      +Bob Constantine I totally agree with you. In such a (ridiculously) heated topic such as letting adults grow and consume plant matter (in the ‘freest nation on earth’)it really hits me how absurd it is when I go from watching videos where politicians and the media tell me how dangerous and destructive this plant is to watching videos of someone growing cannabis. Maybe my words still don’t do it justice. [shaking head] I just, I mean people must shut down mentally when people say it’s nature and just a plant. (Yay generations of brain conditioning) Every time I watch a time lapsed video of a seed sprouting out of the soil I scream sarcastically in horror. Anyways, I’m done. Thank you NORML for all that you do. We love you.

    3. Julian says:

      Thank you Allen for making it easier for Americans to participate in our Democracy. While hot-shot investors are making privileged licensing for marijuana cultivation in Ohio, I say we crowdsource exclusive tickets with medical accommodations provided for those of us who are sick and most in need of cannabis to go to Washington and lobby our Senators. Epileptics and everyday people with arthritis or diabetes seem to make the most impact when they visit a Congressman’s office.
      For those who can’t make it to our nation’s capitol, as Allen and the rest of NORML often say, your state capitol is a priority destination to lobby your Congressman, ever so politely. My favorite line in Texas has always been, “hemp is conservative: it conserves water.” It appears to be working… because there’s hemp legislation pending in the State House… In Texas… Unbelievable!
      (See TexasNORML)

      I had a great time and was honored to meet you earlier this month, by the way, Allen, as well as Keith and Erik. You guys are true American heroes, and that visit remains a highlight of my spring break vacation. I plan to share our interview with Texas NORML as soon as I get settled from that long road trip. (Fly in people… It’s a LONG drive from Texas, but the Great Smokies are a wonderful place to get high! … I was talking about the altitude… But I like the way you think…)
      …and I think anytime a NORML member has the opportunity to visit Washington, DC you should visit these guys up on H street downtown, pay your respects and maybe even lobby Congress anyway while you’re there. Right now is a beautiful time to visit DC. Except Fridays; stay out of Washington on Fridays if you’re driving. And don’t park anywhere a minute after 4pm. It doesn’t help to tell the meter maid you’re helping to bring revenue to the city by legalizing marijuana. I know; I tried…)
      Well, good luck fellow marijuana lobbyists! If we want legalization to look more like Colorado we have to go to our Congressman and demand it. If we want legalization to look more like Ohio just let other people legalize and fundraise for us. As we said on the take-away of your interview;
      1) Start local,
      2) vote and vote often.
      And I should have added…
      3) Be a monthly donating member of your local NORML chapter.

      Three easy steps to Own your own revolution.

      Thanks guys. We’re almost there.

    4. Eric K. Johnson says:

      The “revolution” is over!…We lost…
      1%er Money won…again.

      Until our right to grow cannabis is legally recognized Nationally, Prohibition remains in effect.

      [Editor’s note: There never was a revolution (citizens have been peacefully organizing and petitioning their government for grievance re cannabis prohibition since 1970…no social revolution sought what so ever), there is no 1% money winning in the past or future and cannabis prohibition comes about where there is a will to reform the laws (be it the will historically coming from ‘do gooders’ or commercial interests, a possible impetus for effective reform efforts in future).

      It is incorrect and too despairing to push the notion that prohibition does not end until every nook and cranny of the US allows home cultivation.

      That’s too grand and politically unachievable of a bench mark.

      Most historians, alcohol companies and the average person would all acknowledge that Alcohol Prohibition ended in the US after a series of laws were passed in the early 1930s first weakening the unpopular prohibition, then passing a new Amendment to the Constitution repealing prohibition. But some states, like Oklahoma chose not to end their prohibition on Alcohol until the late 1950s–twenty five or more years after the federal prohibition ended, and the vast majority of states created state/local alcohol control regulations and taxation schemes on producers, distributors, sellers and users.

      Same too will likely happen with ending cannabis prohibition in America, with western and New England states leading the charge against the federal government’s failed pot prohibition, federal government will be forced to say ‘uncle’ as more states flip prohibition, amend the Controlled Substances Act re cannabis, then, even more states will soon follow. But, however, a few socially conservative states (OK again? KS? NE? IA? etc…) could choose to foolishly not end their prohibition of cannabis. Under the Constitution a state effectively has the right to create and enforce laws that the federal government itself has chosen to no longer enforce, sans where basic civil rights are ill affected or impaired.

      Therefore, in future reformers and/or cannabis business interests will have to petition federal courts to accept premise that access to cannabis is a fundamental right and civil liberty for a citizen to possess that can not be impinged by the government without a strong compelling interest. This will be a challenge as federal court precedent don’t currently recognize patients accessing cannabis for medical needs as a fundamental right, let alone for adults who want to use the herbal drug for non-medical use.

      However, this seems an unlikely winning strategy legally, because while the failed prohibition on alcohol in the 1920s surely brought about major corrective actions in the law and public policy, there is no court precedent or public law that successfully argues that Americans have a fundamental right to produce, sell, possess and consume alcohol products.]

    5. Eric K. Johnson says:

      Catch up?

      On October 14, 1978, President Jimmy Carter signed H.R. 1337, which contained an amendment sponsored by Senator Alan Cranston (D-CA) creating an exemption from taxation of beer brewed at home for personal or family use. This exemption went into effect on February 1, 1979, making homebrewing legal on a federal level in the U.S.

      [Editor’s note: It took nearly 50 years after Alcohol Prohibition ended for consumers to be able to make home brew. It took another 5+ years for the CA-based microbrews (i.e., Anchor Steam, Sierra Nevada, etc…) who lobbied Senator Cranston to breathe more life into the measure, to help create the now modern and highly diversified micro beer industry.

      Cannabis law reformers are having far better success at the onset of cannabis commerce of allowing home cultivation for personal use (CO, OR, AK and DC allow home cultivation; WA state has pending legislation to allow it).

      The legalization of cannabis in the US is largely happening WITH home cultivation, not without.]

    6. Dave Evans says:

      Editor, there is a good reason it took that long: Homemade alcohol used to kill people by the thousands. Even during our marijuana prohibition, marijuana isn’t actually killing anyone, just the criminals and police criminals and their evil policy. Alcohol actually is dangerous and the industry does need to be watched carefully.

      Marijuana industry needs to be regulated for safety differently than the alcohol industry. Marijuana needs to be clean and have a maximum allowed mold/amount limit. Alcohol is inherently dangerous whereas marijuana is dangerous because it was laced with environmental toxins like pesticides via poor land usages.

      Making sure the marijuana is clean and grown well is the most important aspect for marijuana to continue improving its name. The fewer health problems that can be attached to it will continue to promote marijuana’s good name.

      Right now illegal marijuana is causing environmental damage because people plant it anywhere they think they can. Including sensitive, rare habitats that should never be used as a farm. The plants and animals that live in these places are already facing extinction and illegal marijuana is helping kill them off. Simply not growing marijuana is stupid ways is a boon to environment. Probably another reason Rebub’s want to keep marijuana illegal: It puts more pressure on endangered species. The disorder from the War on Drugs seeps into every nook and cranny of this country. We pay to help the environment while paying to hurt it via our taxes. Something isn’t adding up…

    7. Dave Evans says:

      “Simply not growing marijuana in stupid ways is a boon to environment.”

    8. Eric K. Johnson says:

      “The disorder from the War on Drugs seeps into every Nook and Cranny of this country”.- Dave Evans

      Good point ,Dave!

    9. Dave says:

      Why are we not over in St.Johns County? What is the point if no one will stand.

    10. Julian says:

      Interesting perspective on the word “revolution.” While i dont use the word to describe the overthrow of a government, or in the context of conjuring up images of bloody rebellion, the editor mentions “social revolution” not being on the agenda for marijuana legalization.
      But do we need to realize or choose that we are involved in a social revolution to participate in one? For decades now, during prohibition, the rebellious outlaw of marijuana has lured teenagers into smoking weed, which has now declined among younger populations where weed is legalized; once the thrill of breaking bad rules is removed and replaced with education, it appears the marijuana consuming population stabalizes.
      But what about the revolutionary aspect of society treating marijuana consumption as a personal, private or medical choice instead of a fabricated excuse to disproportionately incarcerate minority populations and those with lower incomes? Black Congressman in the 70s surely had no idea, one would like to believe, that decades of just such a nightmare would be the result of their voting tough on crime.
      I would argue that some of the most revolutionary movements in the history of marijuana prohibition have happened as subtly and unintentionally as one wakes up in the morning and looks out the window with a different perspective. When we become brave and peacefully face the fear of unjust laws we are burdened with from an unconstitutional police state and when we vote, educate and legalize with our hearts and minds focused on our families instead of profit, on the value of our individual liberties instead of who we can punish, perhaps the most revolutionary thing about ending prohibition will be raising a family without the fear of our exploitation, deceptive medical practice and arrest. But this all depends on how we define and apply the word “revolution,” and who is being deceived, exploited and incarcerated.
      When I was leaving DC, passing by my old neighborhoods, we stopped downtown at the Jefferson Memorial. I thought it would be a great place to let the kids stretch their legs out before the long trip home. Inside the dome there are four famous speeches by Jefferson that are written in big letters along four walls facing his statue. We all recognize the Declaration of Independence, but I had never read the speech on the south wall. Having just left my meeting with NORML, my thoughts heavy with how to carry on the message home to Texas, I felt compelled by the words that summed up how I feel;

      “I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws ans constitutions. But laws and institutions must go hand and hand with progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barberous ancestors.”
      – Thomas Jefferson

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