The Time for Action is Now

  • by Kevin Mahmalji, NORML Outreach Coordinator January 20, 2016

    US_capitolWith the Presidential election taking place this November, the majority of us are already being inundated with political propaganda from the political left and the right. In news cycle after news cycle, pundits can be heard offering their thoughts on the most recent poll numbers or political gaffes and rarely venture beyond hot button issues such as immigration or gun control. Some candidates have attempted to discuss drug policy reform, but most have avoided getting into any substantive discussions; ultimately offering a soundbite or two. In short, while most mainstream politicians acknowledge the problem, they by and large remain unwilling to address solutions. For those of us who have dedicated our lives to reforming America’s marijuana laws, this has been a bit frustrating to say the least.

    Even with all the hoopla surrounding the upcoming election, it seem almost impossible to find a politician who is willing to have a meaningful conversation about reforming America’s archaic marijuana laws. Although the issue consistently holds the support of more than half of our country, most candidates continue to treat it as an afterthought. As we close in on the 80th year of marijuana prohibition in America, we can no longer wait for Washington to take action. The days of playing political hot potato with an issue that the majority of Americans support are over. Our time is now.

    Change begins on the local level so be the catalyst for marijuana reform in your community. Start building relationships with city council members, county commissioners, judges and other elected officials. Explore opportunities to elevate the reform conversation through community forums and roundtable discussions. Even something as simple as writing a letter to your local paper will provide a chance to offer an enlightened perspective to a larger audience.

    As marijuana activists, we must work hard to make sure we’re putting our best foot forward as we focus our attention on winning the hearts and minds of politicians and community leaders alike. With efforts to reform local and state marijuana laws ramping up across the country, NORML Affiliates and Chapters are committed to providing our members and activists with all the tools they need to work towards meaningful reforms. From developing helpful talking points and strategic messaging to working with our local organizations to create legislative scorecards, NORML’s national office is prepared to dedicate the necessary time and resources needed to ensure that 2016 is a historic year for marijuana reform.

    If you haven’t already done so, please visit www.NORML.org to familiarize yourself with all of our available resources and other ways you can get involved. With over 160 Affiliates and Chapters worldwide, NORML will continue to be the leading voice for marijuana reform around the globe. For more information regarding NORML Affiliates and Chapters please email KevinM@NORML.org.

    13 Responses to “The Time for Action is Now”

    1. Kevin says:

      Bernie Sanders has been talking about it quite a bit in the debates and on the campaign trail. I think the choice is pretty clear for those of us who care about this issue.

      • Jennifer says:

        Paul Ryan: Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan told a Colorado television station that he thinks the federal government shouldn’t interfere with states that have legalized medical marijuana. Ryan, a Wisconsin congressman,

      • Captain Cannabis says:

        Ditto and that’s why its up to all of us to keep hammering home that message !

    2. Stephen Thomas says:

      I live in New York. Although medical has passed here it is VERY restrictive. Since I don’t qualify for medical, even if I could find a Doctor enlightened enough to prescribe it, I have to choose illegal consumption or not. Will being more open about the issues make me more visible to the police? I don’t need my door being kicked in and all my assets confiscated.

      I guess I may not be as dedicated to the cause as I would like to think. I don’t mind people thinking i’m crazy, but spending my remaining years in prison just doesn’t seem to be what I want to do.

      • Captain Cannabis says:

        Be FREE come out of the shadows and have your voice heard VOTE Bernie Sanders to change the law and make history

    3. Patrick Lucas says:

      I have found that under your outline (which i agree with)Central N.Y. needs the organizations assistance. Seems as though most representatives are very quiet about their position and for me, implies that our representatives are either afraid of losing their positions if they are pro legalization and/or fear of Cuomo’s reaction. While i have spent many decades convincing people of MJ’s usefulness and harmless recreational use, there seems to be a need to expand change in the Syracuse area. There are many reasons for these politicians who want money for other interests to swing with Cuomo and his anti legalization agenda. What can i do here to achieve a more fluid with these representatives ? Please note that there is a majority of people here who are grassroots supporters of your initiatives and are beginning to understand the need for a more comprehensive MMJ program.

    4. Josh says:

      I totally agree. I think Cape Cod is ready,i really wanna make a difference just not sure what my first move would be.

    5. Julian says:

      I too found it odd that Sanders wasn’t mentioned in this article. Did you watch the last Democratic debate? He’s not just pandering, he introduced legislation to deschedule marijuana, which no one has ever done. And he’s poised to be our next president. But I get the message: start local.

      Moving on to the national and international developments in marijuana legalization policy, developments in the Mexican Senate, Canadian parliament, Colombia’s mmj legalization and now Chile, things are developing in light speed compared to a few years ago.

    6. Julian says:

      We are going through a growth spurt. You are correct Kevin; if we ever wish to influence our local marijuana laws now IS the time to visit the city council, mayor, commissioner and so on. It’s time to talk about the birds, the bees and the buds.

      In Maryland, for example, a former exec from Goldman Sachs is investing in medical marijuana dispensary licences:


      Enough to make the “far left” cringe… AND the “far right” for that matter.

      So what? Marijuana legalization is going through puberty. There will be growth spurts, growing pains, a certain number of masturbations and a grand climax as we pass through November elections. It’s all NORM(a)L, right? :-)

      I think the analogy I’m making from puberty to marijuana investments is don’t grow up too fast. There’s work to do. I wonder how many of these Former-Pharma investors really know what they’re getting into? Do they understand the endocannabinoid system and the synergy of marijuana’s “entourage effect?” Or are they just looking at spreadsheets from Colorado dispensaries and following the pharmaceutical patent model of income? Only time will tell.

      Puberty doesn’t happen in one day. It takes a long time to mature as a human being; Marijuana legalization will be no different. Stay healthy my friends. As a new “responsible” corporate America and the rebel underground marijuana movement mature together things might get awkward. NORML chapters might have to start writing the book “Our Marijuana, Ourselves.”

    7. Mark I. says:

      Kicking a door in is LEO’s sop
      Cannabis consumers are more indirect
      Seeking safe access and cultural acceptance
      Putting their best foot forward
      While the fearfilled slams the door on a foot
      Just a foot allowing for a peek at the truth
      Through the cell door of indifference
      And the barred window of intolerance

    8. Oliver Steinberg says:

      A pro-legalization candidate is seeking election to the Minnesota legislature in a special election set for Feb. 9th.
      Zachary Phelps of Ramsey, Minnesota, supported by Minnesota NORML activists and volunteers, will be on the ballot as the candidate of the Legal Marijuana Now Party for the vacant District 35 State Senate seat.
      His website http://www.votephelps.com and Facebook page “Zach Phelps for SD#35″ provide more information. (#ZachPhelpsforSenate)
      Minnesota doesn’t allow voter-initiated ballot measures and therefore can’t follow the lead of CO, WA, AK, & OR, which legalized cannabis by popular vote.
      Minnesota voters can, however, nominate candidates by petition. Phelps secured over 500 signatures in one week to qualify for the ballot.
      Despite sub-zero temperatures, Phelps and volunteer supporters were door-knocking the district last weekend (Jan. 16/17.)
      There are some 12,000 marijuana arrests annually in Minnesota. The state reveals one of the nation’s most severe levels of racial disparity in marijuana arrests, according to statistics analyzed by the ACLU.
      The Legal Marijuana Now party, a recognized minor party, is successor to the Grassroots Party which was founded in 1986 to resist the drug war. Legendary hemp advocate Jack Herer was the Grassroots Party’s Presidential candidate in 1988 and ’92.
      The Minnesota approach could point the way for organizers in other non-ballot-initiative states to test-drive the idea of legalization in this year’s election.
      We have to devise a political strategy for the non-initiative states. The momentum against prohibition isn’t irreversible. The state-level reforms won forty years ago were stymied and overrun by the drug war witchhunt launched under the Reagan administration.
      Drug-war hysteria could triumph again, if too many citizens assume that “legalization is inevitable” and that we don’t need to keep fighting for it.

    9. tony says:

      THIS country is SUPPOSED to be governed by WE the PEOPLE, NOT ME THE GOVERNMENT. DO AS I SAY & NOT AS I DAMN WELL PLEASE! I was in the military for (20) + years & I understand that THC is prohibited. Know that I’m free & retired & draw (3) pensions, over (60) have had (5) back surgeries & knee replacement working DAI, I take enough drugs in a day, well you know. THC would make the pain of (16) screws (12) pins & (3) braces a whole lot tolerable! HELP NORML!

    10. Mike Mark says:

      To all the states that have legalized marijuana to some extent, please be aware. Electing a President that does not truly support the need, will undoubtedly put all those states at risk for increased federal enforcement. I have been a Medical Marijuana user for over 5 years. I have a personal interest I plan to protect. mikemarkforpresident.com

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