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ACTIVISM

  • by Keith Stroup, NORML Legal Counsel February 9, 2015

    The last few weeks have brought a number of policy announcements from the Obama administration — incremental changes, admittedly, but positive steps nonetheless — that appear to set the stage for a more realistic federal marijuana policy looking forward. Once again we are reminded of the important role of the current administration in the gradual ending of “reefer madness” as the guiding principle of our federal marijuana policy.

    To read the balance of this column, please go to Marijuana.com.

  • by Erik Altieri, NORML Communications Director February 3, 2015

    austinAs we get further into 2015, state legislatures are convening all around the country and the issue of marijuana law reform is a hot topic in many of them. From full legalization to decriminalization to medical use, marijuana is being debated in state houses across the nation. A key component of making these reform efforts successful is the mobilization of citizens like yourself. Only so much can be done by top down lobbying and lawmakers often base their votes off of the will of their constituents.

    To make this process as pain-free as possible, NORML has collected all of the currently pending legislation and provided tools for constituents to contact their elected officials in our Take Action Center. Bills currently pending in 2015 include:

    • Federal: Members Of Congress Move To Exclude Hemp From the Controlled Substances Act
    • Arizona: Measure Introduced To Defelonize Marijuana Penalties
    • New York: Measure Introduced To Legalize Cannabis Commerce
    • Delaware: Lawmakers To Debate Marijuana Decriminalization Measure
    • New Mexico: Senate Lawmakers to Consider Decriminalizing Marijuana
    • Kentucky: Medical Cannabis Legislation Filed In Both Chambers
    • And many more!
    • You can view the full list of pending legislation here. This list is continually updated as new measures are introduced so be sure to keep checking back to see what legislation will be debated in your state this year. Be sure you take a moment of your time to use these action alerts to quickly and easily contact lawmakers in support of pending legislation in your state and share them with your friends and family!

      Help us keep the GRASS in GRASSROOTS and together we will legalize marijuana nationwide.

    • by Keith Stroup, NORML Legal Counsel February 2, 2015

      6_8_NORMLK.StroupPortrait_zThe drug warriors — led principally by law enforcement and their handmaidens in the state legislatures — continue to do everything within their power to prolong marijuana prohibition, even in those states in which the voters have approved full legalization.

      I am referring specifically to a legislative proposal introduced last week in the Alaska state legislature, allegedly to implement their recent legalization initiative, under which possession of one ounce of marijuana and the private cultivation of six plants was legalized for everyone over 21 years of age. Recreational marijuana use will be totally decriminalized effective February 24, although the state has until the end of the year to implement the regulations for licensing recreational growers and dispensaries.

      Senate Bill 30, and it’s House companion bill, HB 79, initially considered by the House and Senate Judiciary Committees last week, would have kept any amount of marijuana illegal, causing users to be arrested and brought to trial, when they could then raise an affirmative defense by proving they were over 21 and their conduct was protected under the new initiative.

      To read the balance of this column, please go to Marijuana.com.

       

    • by Keith Stroup, NORML Legal Counsel January 26, 2015

      marijuana legalizationYou don’t have to look too hard to see marijuana legalization efforts in several states that have a good chance of being approved by the voters in 2016. But many of those efforts are mired-down with competing proposals and competing proponents that could easily undermine the ability of supporters in those states to actually change public policy and end prohibition.

      The inability to accept compromise in the interest of building a winning coalition threatens to turn some of these political opportunities into losing efforts. And that would be a disaster.

      Specifically, different factions with different political demands are competing for control of the issue in Massachusetts, Ohio and California, three large and important states that would add enormous legitimacy and political credibility to the legalization movement, were they to approve legalization in 2016.

      Click here to read the balance of this column.

    • by Keith Stroup, NORML Legal Counsel January 19, 2015

      Want Legalization in Your State?How do we move from prohibition to legalization in my state?

      That’s one of the most asked questions we hear every week at NORML.

      With national media attention focusing on the favorable experience with legalization in Colorado and Washington, and on the not-yet-implemented legalization programs recently adopted in Oregon and Alaska, anyone living in a state that continues arresting and jailing marijuana smokers would naturally wonder why their state seems to have missed out on the drive to end marijuana prohibition.

      More accurately, many of those states are lagging behind in the legalization movement, but that, too, will change. As we continue to gather data demonstrating these new laws are working as intended, with few unintended consequences, the drive to end marijuana prohibition will soon reach every state in the union, and beyond. We are no longer debating theory and conjecture; we now have real-life experiences that can be evaluated, and that data resource will grow with each new state.

      Patience and persistence still required

      We all need to accept the reality that changing public policy is a complex process that requires financial resources, re-education and political organizing. Following more than 75 years of criminal prohibition, and “reefer madness” propaganda by our state and federal governments, many Americans — especially older Americans — hold a negative view of marijuana and marijuana smoking, believing it presents a risk to health or public safety.

      Since all but a few of us have lived under prohibition for our entire lives, it is understandable that many would presume there must have been some justification for those tens of millions of marijuana arrests. Surely our own government would not needlessly wreak havoc on all those lives and careers without a good reason.

      To Read the Balance of This Column, please go to Marijuana.com.

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