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2017: A NORML Year in America

  • by Justin Strekal, NORML Political Director December 29, 2017

    revolutionbumperIn the wake of landmark cannabis victories in 2016, there was much momentum to build upon when state legislatures opened up at the beginning of 2017. With NORML chapters in nearly all 50 states, activists took the fight to the halls of state capitals and city councils from Florida to Washington State and everywhere in between. In all, lawmakers in 26 states have passed legislation to advance cannabis reform.

    Victories include: Nevada expediting the implementation of adult distribution of legal marijuana, becoming the first of the newly legal states to respect the will of their voters and come online in 2017; New Hampshire becoming the 22nd state to decriminalize marijuana, making it so that an individual can be in any state in New England without fear of being arrested for a simple possession charge; West Virginia becoming the 30th state to pass a medical marijuana program, which will soon serve patients suffering from a range of conditions including cancer, HIV/AIDS, and chronic pain; In Ohio, the Athens Cannabis Ordinance (aptly named TACO) passed to completely de-penalize marijuana possession; among many other advancements and legislative tweaks around the country.

    Nationwide, with public support for reforming marijuana laws at an all-time high, Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), Jared Polis (D-CO), and Don Young (R-AK) have formed the first-ever Congressional Cannabis Caucus to develop and promote sensible cannabis policy reform and ease the tension between federal and state governments. As of this writing, (December 2017) 96 members of the House of Representatives, or 22% of the legislative body, have either authored or co-sponsored legislation to reform our nation’s outdated marijuana laws.

    This progress has come as a result of years of organizing and conversations with our fellow citizens about the role of government in relation to a plant. The tough conversations about the scope of the government’s right to stop, search, and incarcerate individuals for possessing or consuming marijuana for either personal or medical benefits may not always be easy, but they are necessary in order to advance reform efforts.

    And all said, the public is now strongly with us. The national polling outfit, Gallup, recorded for the first time ever outright majorities of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents supporting the legalization of marijuana, representing 64% of Americans. For context, in 1969, the year before NORML was founded, only 12% of Americans supported legalization.

    2018 is going to be no different. With over two dozen states on the books with scheduled lobby days and more to come, now is the time to take action. To help increase the likelihood of success for these volunteer-led lobbying efforts, NORML has updated our citizen lobby guide, a comprehensive booklet that will assist activists in the 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.

    So use us as a resource – NORML.org has fact-sheets, talking points, and visit our Action Center at norml.org/act to track legislation moving in 2018 and to plug in with a chapter near you or start your own.

    As we look toward an uncertain future, we know we must work to both sustain our existing gains and to win future victories. Thanks for all that you do.

    18 responses to “2017: A NORML Year in America”

    1. For awhile there I was scared that AG Jeff Sessions would roll back all of that hard work we all put in to making progress toward legalizing and decriminalizing cannabis. But boy was I wrong! I want to congratulate NORMAL, it’s donors, and all the active activists(me included) working together with NORMAL and each other for another successful year! May 2018 be THE year to end marijuana prohibition once and for all!

      • Julian says:

        Joseph,
        The Rohrabacher Blumenauer amendment which prevents our tax dollars from being spent by Jeff Sessions from being used to crack down on medical marijuana dispensaries expires on the 19th, unless we contact our Congressman to renew it. Please click on the ACT tab and let your Reps know youre registered to vote and who they work for.

    2. Julian says:

      Happy Weed Year (3)

      Number three’s for companies
      Insurance hypocrisies
      Theyre predators for profit
      Charge what they please, these pharisees
      Are shills for pills and hidden fees
      Make us swallow it and cough it
      Till we can’t afford the peas
      and carrots Got us on our knees
      Like ferrets scratching off the fleas
      All drugged up looking for the keys
      Private Insurance hated plants
      Since back when the Cherokees
      Showed us homemade remedies
      Taught us to breathe the mountain breeze
      And heal with bark from off the trees.
      Canada may have to freeze
      But they have public policies
      Where health has legal guarantees
      Translated from legalese
      “Pass the marijuana, please!”

    3. Julian says:

      Happy Weed Year (2)

      Number two is me and you
      Thinkin the Drug War is through
      We still got you know who
      Selling us to China, Few
      are chosen, so its true
      Rebel soul, the fight is new
      Dropping out will drop you too
      Not the best thing to do
      Why would you let them split our crew?
      We can still change our view
      Just like they regulate our brew
      And if not that’s when we sue
      Like Marvin Washington’s case grew
      Let’s teach the Fed to get a clue
      Take Action, take a toke or two
      Before they take it back from you

    4. Julian says:

      Happy Weed Year (One, Final)

      Number One, Campaign Run;
      We vote down prohibition
      We think were done because they won
      But the fun has just begun
      Black Market/ politi-shun:
      “Do you support weed with a gun?”
      Or “Is recreation
      a form of medicunn?”
      Why so many rebels shun
      To ask them a hard question?
      Cops are not your Congressmun,
      If we don’t have taxation
      Then no representation
      Without an explanation
      There’s no legalization
      We’re turnin Drug Enforcement
      Into Education
      And sending our endorsement
      All across the nation
      In the darkest market
      We bring light from the sun
      If were hot, then we park it
      If were not, then I’m done

    5. Terry Vogt says:

      After the latest move by Jeff Sessions to stifle the growing movement of America dealing with cannabis intelligently, I urge the legal staff at NORML to please draft a letter requesting congress to remove all federal restrictions against cannabis and make it strictly a matter of states rights. Follow by pasting it on every social media outlet so ALL Americans have an opportunity to voice their opinion to their congressional representitive.

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