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NORML Chapters Organize State Lobby Days for Marijuana Law Reforms

  • by Kevin Mahmalji, NORML Outreach Coordinator January 25, 2017

    chapter_spotlightOn the heels of the 2016 election – where four states voted to approve adult-use marijuana initiatives, and four more voted to approve medical marijuana initiatives – NORML Chapters across the country are lobbying their state legislators for additional reforms. In the coming weeks, NORML Chapters around the country, such as California NORML, Connecticut NORML, Wyoming NORML, and Virginia NORML, will be focusing their time and energy in support of dozens of statewide reform bills seeking to amend various aspects of their state’s marijuana policies.

    To help increase the likelihood of success for these volunteer-led lobbying efforts, NORML has created a citizen lobby guide. This comprehensive booklet will assist activists in planning and execution of a successful lobby day. It also provides organizational checklists and a legislative questionnaire so that marijuana activists, regardless of the state they’re located in, will be fully prepared to meet with state lawmakers to discuss meaningful marijuana law reforms and to most effectively communicate NORML’s message of ending the prohibition of marijuana on the local, state and federal level.

    Citizen Lobby Guide: http://norml.org/pdf_files/NORML_CitizenLobbyGuide.pdf

    In addition to offering support through NORML’s Citizen Lobby Guide, we have created more than 30 action alerts targeting state lawmakers across the country urging their support for marijuana legislation being considered in their state. Simply click on the link below and enter your information to join the fight!

    take_actionTake Action: http://norml.org/act

    We hope that with these tools, along with the direct support of NORML staff, marijuana activists will have the resources needed to effectively lobby state lawmakers in support of marijuana law reforms.

     

    Here’s a list of scheduled NORML Chapter Lobby Days below:

    • Virginia NORML – Jan 30
    • Arizona NORML – Feb 2
    • Texas NORML – Feb 8
    • Houston NORML – Feb 8
    • DFW NORML – Feb 8
    • Waco NORML – Feb 8
    • New Mexico – Feb 21
    • Missouri NORML – Feb 28
    • Kansas City NORML – Feb 28
    • Greater St. Louis NORML – Feb 28
    • Mid-Missouri NORML – Feb 28
    • Springfield NORML – Feb 28
    • University of Missouri NORML – Feb 28
    • North Carolina NORML – Mar 1
    • Charlotte NORML – Mar 1
    • Denver NORML – Mar 7
    • Colorado NORML – Mar 7
    • Monterey County NORML – Mar 7
    • NORML Women of Washington – Mar 7
    • Washington NORML – Mar 7
    • Portland NORML – Mar 7
    • Michigan NORML – March 30
    • Illinois NORML – May 17

    To get involved or to find out more information about a lobby day in your state, please email: KevinM@NORML.org.

    27 Responses to “NORML Chapters Organize State Lobby Days for Marijuana Law Reforms”

    1. Matt says:

      About time, we need more states!

    2. Julian says:

      https://www.texasnorml.org
      https://www.texasmarijuanapolicy.org

      Click on the links to register for training. Plan a doctors appointment or a day off for your state lobby date now to free up your day (and smoke a bowl when youre day is done… dont do what my little brother did and forget to leave your weed in the car before walking towards security…) Read the laws that have been introduced in your state Senate and state House. Identify where your Rep and Senators office is. Be clear, concise and respectful. If you speak to a staffer dont be discouraged. Youll find most offices are small enough your Rep or Senator can hear you anyway. And these staff members will probably stay in politics and be influenced by your message later on. Sign in the books at their front desk. Make it personal but stay on topic of the bill you are trying to pass. Dress professionally. People listen to us that way. 😉
      Citizen lobbying is a gratifying public service to participate in whats left of our Democratic Republic, and the single most important thing we can do as marijuana legalization activists. Its ok to feel empowered, but these are real people so follow the Golden Rule.
      Dont let the perfect be the enemy of the good: If you ask your reps staff member and they say they support decriminalization but not legalization, dont be discouraged: work with them to stop arrests and create jobs. There will be time to improve the law later; lets improve now to a better option than prison for sick people.
      Remember: they work for us and we can vote both Republican and Democrat down the same ballot. Use that leverage! Good luck!

    3. Troy Barbeau says:

      I live in Wisconsin. Is it going to take voting in a new governor or will Scott Walker move to put our state in the legal zone? I know there are slight medical easements now but lets get on with it.

      • NORML Nate says:

        Wisconsin/Madison NORML will have their Lobby Day March 1 all day at the state Capitol in Madison.

        We encourage you to schedule a meeting with your legislator.

        We won’t get legal under Scott Walker, but we’re making progress locally and have some very promising bills being introduced by the Republicans this session.

        Hope to see you there.

    4. Angel Acevedo says:

      I’m excited to see Charlotte, NC is on the list. Gotta email KevinM@NORML.org so I get more information. As a person with MS for 17 years this is important…well to me.

    5. Friend of Donna says:

      How about you stoners getting out and about and demonstrating. Put down the weed and get out in the streets! Here is an idea, with all that’s wrong with today’s society how about putting all that pent up energy into other worth wild endevors. I agree weed should be free of government and commercial regulation but seriously there are more important matter at hand.

      • Julian says:

        Worth “wild” endeavours aside, my recent post at top should answer your question. Protesting is necessary when done peacefully with education: But you are attempting to distract a blog prioritizing organized citizen lobbying, and Im curious: is it your intent to distract us from citizen lobbying? Or would you not agree that speaking directly to our state legislators takes priority?

      • Jeedi says:

        Friend of Donna,

        I see Donna’s and your problem. You folks think that marijuana smokers are stupid lazy people who need an escape mechanism? Right?

        Obviously you are NOT familiar with marijuana. Marijuana amplifies reality for the user. Some folks find marijuana uncomfortable because the experience takes a person inside themselves to see what is going on in there. If you are a person who lies to themselves, or has a distorted view of reality, you will NOT like pot. The folks who get the most out of marijuana are those who have an open mind and loving attitude about themselves and the world around them. It is no surprise then that marijuana users often are for “peace and love.”

        To the experienced marijuana user, the heightened reality is like a lens for creativity and innovation. There is no question that the marijuana psychological experience has fostered some of the greatest music, art and even science. So many including myself cherish marijuana for her mind expanding qualities. In the future, marijuana will be used in business for example to spur new ideas and break old traditions.

      • Blake says:

        Hey “Friend of Donna”, thanks for the suggestion. Here is a suggestion for you- You have absolutely no standing to tell me, or any of us on this website, what our priorities should be. To most of us, legalization of Cannabis is THE #1 priority, to some of us it is the ONLY priority. To us it is a “worth wild endeavor.” Oh yeah, spell check before you preach, it almost makes you look worse than preaching. Almost. I have to ask, why are you posting on the Norml website if legalization isn’t a “worth wild endeavor” as you so eloquently stated?

      • Anonymous says:

        I agree marijuana is a trivial issue,, but you know the other side takes it quite seriously. I’s really no big deal until you have to pee in a cup.. spend the night in jail.. spend a lot of nights in jail.. have your money seized, have your property seized, lose your scholarship, be denied an organ transplant, lose your job, have a paramilitary death squad complete with machine guns and hand grenades bust into your home at 3 a.m.

        • Mark Mitcham says:

          That’s right! You nailed it. The issue isn’t marijuana; the issue is marijuana prohibition.

          Since I’ve been a very young man, I’ve been going through an education process myself, with regard to cannabis. I had been making the case IN FAVOR OF MARIJUANA for years, based on all the wonderful things about the species, including a safety profile second to none. I thought, if people only understood how wonderful and safe and effective cannabis truly is, then prohibition would just come tumbling down.

          But, it was Rob Kampia, through MPP, who turned on the light bulb for me, a couple decades ago: WE’RE AGAINST MARIJUANA PROHIBITION. That’s the issue.

          Sure, all those positive things about cannabis are still true, and we need to continue that education process, as a society, until “reefer madness” is nothing but a barbaric, ancient mindset.

          But part of that education is understanding that the staying-power of marijuana prohibition is the money. Of course, it’s all about the money: the asset forfeitures, and profits for the law enforcement/prison-industry complex.

          It’s marijuana prohibition that is doing the damage. That’s what makes marijuana a “big deal” — the prohibition.

          • Barry M says:

            I agree. And I believe a grass roots effort, coordinated through Norml, could take the form of a post card campaign. Whether it is directly to Lyin’ Trump or to Jeff Sessions, everyone sends a postcard on a specific date.The postcard should read: PROHIBITION DIDN’T WORK WITH ALCOHOL; IT WON’T WORK WITH MARIJUANA EITHER.
            Write your first name and last name initial, your date of birth and your zip code.

    6. Howard says:

      What about Indiana

      • Mark Mitcham says:

        Pence country. Gonna be tough there. Take heart from Julian, in Texas. If he can kick ass in Texas, you can do it in Indiana!

      • Mark Mitcham says:

        Can’t resist taking another swipe at Indiana — the powers that be are trying to ramp UP marijuana prohibition there. There are no lengths to which these sick scumbags won’t go to taste your urine.

        Case in point: here’s another tidbit by Phillip Smith of stopthedrugwar.org 1/30/17:

        “Indiana Legislator Files Bill to Criminalize Fake Urine. State Rep. Greg Beumer (R-Modoc) has filed a bill that would make it a misdemeanor crime to distribute, market, sell or transport synthetic urine with the intent to defraud an alcohol, drug or urine screening test. The measure is House Bill 1104.”

    7. Julian says:

      Another thing: look up your state Rep and state Senator’s website, read up on their policies and join their campaign before you contact them.
      It doesnt matter if they arent your party or dont agree with you in every policy. I just found out my new Senator is a doctor, mother, Christian and wants to “improve the doctor patient relationship in our heakth care system.” These facts become important tools to shape my message to pending legislation during a lobby day.
      If youve never been to your state capitol before give yourself some time to navigate the labrynth. Theres parking, security, bodies and misleading hallways to contend with. If you go with time, information and feel presentable you will feel confident and convincing. Breathe. Its our time to light it up. :-)

      • Ray says:

        So I met and spoke to my state legislator tonight (after a town hall meeting) about the benefits of medical marijuana and how it helped my cancer and phantom limb pain. We were both in agreement that we need more qualifying conditions in New York. Then she hugged me and said she was glad to hear my story.

        Thanks Julian for your encouragement.

        • Julian says:

          That’s fantastic news Ray! Thats what NORML is about; encouraging eachother to engage our legislators. Some politicians (we’ll leave nameless) may live in alternate realities, but most politicians would love to hear from their voting constituents if they could just get away from fund raising for one second! A personal story is so much more effective than an email. Good work catching your rep at a Town Hall!

          Our state legislators are where we need to focus our resistance. (And let’s not give up on our federal Congressman either; hence, call Senators and block Sessions… Act link). From here to 2018 we need to use the NORML scorecard and vet every candidate to teach everyone how much more important our state and federal Congress is than the presidency.

    8. Julian says:

      Maine legislature passed LD88! If the governor signs it (or doesnt and lets it pass) Maine gets NO delay and legalizes Monday!
      Congratulations to everyone who called and met their state Congressman! THIS is how we do it NORML!
      Meanwhile thats revenue while we have a short delay on Sessions confirmation… keep calling your federal Senators on that too. Link on the Green Act tab now!

      • Blake says:

        Julian, is the Maine bill you are talking about full adult use legalization? I can’t believe I didn’t know about it.

        • Julian says:

          http://patch.com/maine/augusta/marijuana-will-be-legal-maine-monday

          Blake, while the law goes into effect Monday the 30th, unfortunately after reading the fine print there is a three month delay on retail shops. What I am looking further into is if any revenue can be generated from permitting before Sessions tragically takes office. We are really racing the clock to add revenue so that state and federal legislatures can see the money in time before Drug War III. Hold your reps accountable. Watch their votes. Let them know we are watching them.

    9. Max Riben says:

      I live on 2 acres in Bushkill PA. and would like to know who I could work with or what I could do to make it legal for me to grow marijuana on my own property. (I have already been growing it for a number of years). I am 71 years old, recently retired and a military veteran of Vietnam, also having served as a Drill Instructor in the Army Reserves for a number of years. Most recently certified as a health coach in Transformational Nutrition

    10. Max Riben says:

      Thank you. I look forward to hearing from you. I don’t know if your records show it but in the mid 1980s NORML referred me to a lawyer while I was being ‘separated’ from the Army Reserves because of marijuana.

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