• by Dan Viets, Executive Director, Missouri NORML September 6, 2018


    Yesterday morning Jeff Mizanskey registered to vote! For the first time in 24 years, after his release from parole late last week, Jeff Mizanskey, an honorably discharged veteran of the United States Air Force, is eligible to vote again.

    Click Here to Register to Vote Today!

    Jeff was arrested in 1993 and sent to prison in 1994 for the very brief possession of a few pounds of marijuana.  He did not own the marijuana.  He did not possess the marijuana for more than a few minutes, but that was caught on camera and was sufficient for the jury to find him guilty.  Because of his two prior very small marijuana felony convictions, his only other criminal convictions in his life, Jeff was sentenced to the maximum term of life in prison, without possibility of probation or parole, as a “prior and persistent drug offender”.  Due in part to the efforts of Missouri NORML, the “prior and persistent drug offender” law has since been repealed.

    After serving more than 21 years in the Missouri Department of Corrections, thanks to the efforts of Missouri NORML Chapters, Show-Me Cannabis and others, Governor Jay Nixon was persuaded to grant Jeff a commutation of his sentence which made him eligible for parole.  I then represented Jeff in his successful effort to obtain parole.

    Click Here to Register to Vote Today!

    Normally, defendants are on parole for the remainder of their sentence.  Therefore, Jeff could have been on parole for the rest of his life.  However, parolees can request release from parole after three years.  Jeff was released from prison three years ago this week.  We expected having to go to court to seek his release from parole.  We were very pleased, however, that the Missouri Board of Probation and Parole chose to terminate his parole late last week!

    Missouri NORML issued a press release about the fact that Jeff was going to go to the office of the Pettis County Clerk in Sedalia this morning to register.  The response was very gratifying.

    Jeff was interviewed urging everyone to register and vote by the Mid-Missouri ABC and NBC television affiliates, as well as by local newspaper and radio stations. Read more from KSIS Radio!

    October 10, 2018 is the deadline to register to vote in the November 6 election where Amendment 2, the medical marijuana initiative endorsed by NORML, is on Missouri’s statewide ballot. So please make sure you register to vote today!

  • by NORML September 5, 2018

    The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) is pleased to endorse Missouri’s Amendment 2, which permits patients, at the discretion of a physician, to obtain cannabis and cannabis-infused products from licensed facilities.

    The amendment is one of three competing ballot measures that seek to regulate medical cannabis use in Missouri. Of the three, NORML believes that Amendment 2 is written in a manner that best provides for the needs of patients and their physicians, and is the measure most likely to withstand scrutiny from lawmakers.

    Share our endorsement on Facebook

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    “This is a patient-centered proposal that puts power in the hands of state-licensed physicians and their patients, not politicians or bureaucrats. Passage of Amendment 2 will create a robust statewide system for production and sale of medical cannabis,” NORML Political Director Justin Strekal said. “Of the three proposals on the ballot this fall, we believe that Amendment 2 is the clear choice for voters.”

    “The Amendment 2 campaign appreciates NORML’s endorsement, as well as many others we have received, including from the Missouri Epilepsy Foundation and Senator Claire McCaskill,” said Dan Viets, Board President of New Approach Missouri – the grassroots group that is sponsoring Amendment 2, and a member of NORML’s Board of Directors.

    If passed by voters this fall, Missouri would become the 32nd state to legalize and regulate patients’ access to medical marijuana.

    Follow New Approach Missouri on: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

    Please consider making a contribution to support Question 2 by clicking here. 

  • by Rick Steves, NORML Board Member September 4, 2018

    Dear fellow freedom enthusiasts,

    Many of our political leaders continue to take regressive actions when it comes to addressing drug policy reform, fighting mass incarceration, and upholding the civil liberty of adults who enjoy smoking pot responsibly. Rather than being frustrated and angry, I want action. That’s why I’m inspired to challenge like-minded citizens (like you, I hope) to join me in an exciting initiative.

    In the coming weeks, I will match dollar for dollar every donation our NORML supporters can give before the midterm elections, up to $50,000 to empower NORML to educate the public on the benefits of legalization and to fight back against our failed prohibition.

    Join me and make an investment in our future now

    With voters in several states deciding on marijuana legalization initiatives this fall, the stakes of this coming election could not be higher. Together, we can raise $100,000 in the coming months to help legalize marijuana in the USA.

    We’re closer to victory than ever before; now is the time to stand together and fight for justice and liberty. Please, double the impact of your gift by joining me in this important initiative.

    Rick Steves
    Travel Host
    NORML Board Member

  • by Kevin Mahmalji, NORML Outreach Director September 2, 2018

    Legalize Marijuana

    Everyday NORML Chapters from around the country invest countless hours in advocating for meaningful marijuana law reforms on the local, state and federal level! Below is a brief rundown of some of their most recent accomplishments.

    2018 NORML Award Recipients

    Every year since 1998 NORML has recognized activists from around the country who are working to advance marijuana law reforms at the local, state and federal level for their outstanding activism, academic study or political and cultural leadership in the field of marijuana policy reform.

    Read more from NORML.org!

    Follow NORML on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and become a member today!

    Access to Marijuana Shows Promise in Combating America’s Opioid Crisis

    In support of International Overdose Awareness Day, NORML leaders from around the country hosted community forums to highlight the growing evidence that regulated marijuana access is positively associated with decrease in opioid overdose fatalities, hospitalizations, dependency and use.

    Read more from NORML.org!

    Follow NORML on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and become a member today!

    Members of Charlotte NORML Educate Attendees of Town Hall Meeting

    During a town hall meeting organized by State Representative Kelly M. Alexander, members of Charlotte NORML educated attendees about medical marijuana, decriminalization, legalization and more.

    Read more from Qcitymetro.com!

    Follow Charlotte NORML on Facebook and Twitter and become a member today!

    Indiana NORML Hosts Largest Event of its Kind in Indiana History

    Members of Indiana NORML recently organized a statewide town hall meeting with lawmakers, veterans, candidates, patient advocates and community leaders to discuss medical marijuana and the need for legislative action in 2019.

    Read more from NUVO News!

    Follow Indiana NORML on Facebook and Twitter and become a member today!

    New York Governor Names Group to Draft Pot Legalization Measure

    Members of Empire State NORML have worked closely with state lawmakers to draft legislation being considered by New York’s Senate Finance Committee, but remain cautiously optimistic about the governor’s work group.

    Read more from The Crime Report!

    Follow Empire State NORML on Facebook and Twitter and become a member today!

    New Approach Missouri Medical Marijuana Initiative Certified for November Ballot

    Members of NORML Chapters across Missouri were instrumental in gathering more than 350,000 signatures in order to qualify the New Approach Missouri Medical Marijuana initiative for this November’s ballot.

    Read more from NORML.org!

    Follow New Approach Missouri on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and donate today!

    Law Reform Group Pushes for City to Stop Prosecuting Minor Pot Crimes

    Virginia NORML’s newest chapter is working with members of the Winchester City Council and officials in Frederick County to convince local law enforcement officers to consider marijuana-related crimes their lowest priority.

    Read more from The Winchester Star!

    Follow Virginia NORML on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and become a member today!

    NORML Leaders in the Media

    Glen Schwarz, Executive Director, Arkansas NORML

    “Schwarz, the 64-year-old executive director of the state chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, supports the decriminalization of marijuana and some other nonviolent crimes to free up resources to take violent criminals off the streets.”

    Read more from the Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette!

    Follow Arkansas NORML on Facebook and become a member today!   

    Dale Geringer, Executive Director, California NORML

    “We’re not too far off his projection, and I think things are heading upwards,” said Dale Gieringer, director of the California branch of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, or NORML. “I am a little worried. There are a lot of kinks in the system that they have to work out, but the regulators are working on it, as is the Legislature, and I think we will get there.”

    Read more from LMTOnline.com!

    Follow California NORML on Facebook and Twitter and become a member today!

    Aaron J. Romano, Board Member, Connecticut NORML

    “Connecticut NORML extends their wishes for a speedy recovery to those who overdosed on the New Haven Green from ingesting synthetic cannabinoids. The sad fact is that these overdoses could have been prevented by the legalization and regulation of cannabis.”

    Read more from the New Haven Independent!

    Follow Connecticut NORML on Facebook and become a member today!

    Rick Thompson, Board Member, Michigan NORML

    “What’s really lost are the patients and families affected by a shutdown,” said Rick Thompson, a board member of the Michigan chapter of NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws).

    Read more from 13 On Your Side!

    Follow Michigan NORML on Facebook and Twitter and become a member today!

    Patrick Nightengale, Executive Director, Pittsburgh NORML

    “This legislation passed the (state) Senate … with no one suggesting there be an opt-out provision for counties or jurisdictions that have cold feet,” Nightingale said. “I cannot imagine that anyone would put their political capital into taking medicine away from Pennsylvanians by making it more difficult for them to access it.”

    Read more from The Times-Tribune!

    Follow Pittsburgh NORML on Facebook and Twitter and become a member today!

    Crystal Oliver, Board Member, Washington NORML

    “She is a member of Spokane County’s Voluntary Stewardship Program Workgroup and Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board Cannabis Advisory Council. She also is a volunteer for Washington NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) and served on the State Building Code Council Technical Advisory Group and Spokane Clean Air Agency’s Marijuana Advisory Committee”

    Read more from the Chewelah Independent!

    Follow Washington NORML on Facebook and Twitter and become a member today!

    For over 45 years NORML chapters have been leading marijuana law reform conversations and continue to be the driving force behind policy decisions on the local and state level. Have you connected with your local NORML chapter? If there isn’t one in your community, please reach out to KevinM@NORML.org for help starting your own!

    Ready to start a NORML chapter in your hometown? Click here to find out how!

  • by Carly Wolf, NORML Political Associate August 31, 2018

    Welcome to the latest edition of NORML’s Weekly Legislative Roundup!

    This week, Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester introduced the Clean Slate Act, HR 6669, along with 22 original cosponsors, to seal the records for marijuana charges one year after the sentence is completed.

    At the state level, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) signed an industrial hemp bill into law, and he also signed legislation allowing people prescribed opioids to use medical cannabis instead. Similarly, Delaware Gov. John Carney (D) signed legislation to expunge some marijuana convictions, as well as a bill to expand the state’s medical marijuana program.

    New Jersey lawmakers agreed on key details for a pending marijuana legalization bill that could be voted on next month, with more provisions yet to be determined. Separately, the NJ attorney general released guidance to municipal prosecutors saying that while they may not adopt categorical marijuana decriminalization policies, they may use their discretion about whether or not to pursue individual cannabis cases.

    The Connecticut legislature’s Regulations Review Committee unanimously voted to add intractable headaches, rheumatoid arthritis, muscular dystrophy and other disorders as medical cannabis qualifying conditions.

    New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced a series of 15 “listening sessions” on marijuana legalization that will be held across the state. The first one will take place on Wednesday, September 5 in Albany, NY. Find a session near you and register to attend here. Separately, New York City police will implement a relaxed marijuana enforcement policy starting this Saturday.

    A coalition of Oregon activists is preparing a 2019 push to allow marijuana social use areas in the state. They will support a bill in the legislature and will also pursue a ballot measure if lawmakers don’t act.

    At a more local level, Denver, Colorado regulators granted the city’s second marijuana social use area license to a vaping bar and lounge set to open this fall. The City Council also approved a plan to use increased marijuana taxes to fund affordable housing.

    The Louisville, Kentucky Metro Council is considering a proposal to make marijuana the lowest law enforcement priority in Jefferson County. The Dayton, Ohio City Commission voted to place an advisory question on the November ballot asking voters if they support decriminalizing marijuana. The Ashland, Wisconsin City Council approved a resolution calling on state lawmakers to legalize marijuana and medical cannabis. A Racine, Wisconsin City Council committee discussed, but deferred action on, a proposal to order police to issue citations for first-time marijuana offenses instead of applying state charges.

    Following are the bills from around the country that we’ve tracked this week and as always, check http://norml.org/act for legislation pending in your state.

    Don’t forget to sign up for our email list and we will keep you posted as these bills and more move through your home state legislature and at the federal level.

    Your Highness,

    Priority Alerts


    In honor of International Overdose Awareness Day today, please join us as NORML chapters around the country take action in highlighting the positive role that marijuana legalization can play in combating America’s opioid crisis.

    Send an email to your members of Congress urging them to acknowledge the role of cannabis in combating the prescription drug overdose epidemic.

    Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands

    House Bill 20-178 would end cannabis prohibition for adults over 21 and create a system of taxed and regulated sales. It would also allow medical marijuana and industrial hemp. The bill was already approved by the House earlier this month.

    Update: On 8/30, HB 20-178 was unanimously passed by the Senate. The bill now awaits action from Governor Ralph Torres (R).

    CNMI resident? Click here to email your Governor in support of legalization


    Assembly Bill 1793 seeks to allow automatic expungement or reduction of a prior cannabis conviction for an act that is not a crime as of January 1, 2017, or for a crime that as of that date subject to a lesser sentence. The bill was approved by the Senate last week.

    Update: AB 1793 awaits action from Governor Brown.

    CA resident? Click here to email your Governor in support of expungement

    Senate Bill 1127 would help students with severe medical disabilities attend school by allowing a parent or guardian to come on school grounds to administer medical cannabis to them in non-smoking and non-vaping forms. The bill was already approved by the Senate earlier this year.

    Update: After failing to gain enough votes for passage in the Assembly on 8/23, a motion to reconsider was granted and on 8/27, SB 1127 was approved by the Assembly with a 42-29 vote. The bill now awaits action from Governor Brown.

    CA resident? Click here to email your Governor in support of allowing students’ medical marijuana at school

    Senate Bill 829 would exempt compassionate care programs from paying state cannabis taxes when they are providing free medical cannabis to financially disadvantaged people living with serious health conditions.

    Update: SB 829 was approved by the full Assembly with a 65-2 vote on 8/29. The bill now goes back to the Senate for concurrence since it was amended in the Assembly. SB 829 is being heard by the Senate Governance and Finance Committee on Friday 8/31, and then will go to the Senate floor for a vote.

    CA resident? Email your senators in support of supporting compassionate care programs

    That’s all for this week!

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