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EDUCATION

  • by Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director May 28, 2013

    Update: Watch the very interesting panel discussion—where the major take away point from the data and interpretation of it is that it unlikely that the country will return to a time when a majority of Americans support cannabis prohibition law enforcement.

    Watch video here.

    Also and maybe of far greater significance is the white paper by Brookings scholars William Galston and E.J. Dionne, Jr., The New Politics of Marijuana Legalization: Why Opinion is Changing’. It is an extraordinarily well researched and data-rich paper that well demonstrates a very large, and apparently sustainable shift in public attitude about cannabis, moving from one of great intolerance twenty-five years ago to one of seeking alternative public policies to prohibition, such as decriminalization and legalization.

    I highly commend any one serious-minded about cannabis law reform to read and archive the paper.

    Washington, D.C., Wednesday, May 29 from 2:00-3:30 PM (eastern), the Brookings Institute is holding its second in a series of public policy review panels examining the ever-evolving changes of cannabis laws—mainly at the state level, with little-to-no federal reforms—where state legislatures and/or voters have voted to replace prohibition laws with decriminalization, medical access to cannabis or outright legalization.

    The first panel discussion in April co-sposored by Washington Office on Latin America and Brookings examined the stark changes in state law and if current federal laws allow states to in effect experiment with cannabis legalization. See Brookings white paper on state and federal conflict here.

    This second panel in the series looks at the emerging public polling data, along with vote totals in states with binding initiatives, which strongly indicate a profound shift in public attitude about cannabis in favor of it’s reform and what are the political implication for federal lawmakers.

    At no time in previous history is there greater public and political support for legalization than right now. This public policy series at Brookings reflects the need to cast sober and dispassionate policy analysis, coupled with acknowledgement of change in public sentiment, in the fast changing public policy  realm that elected policy makers and their staff; media and academics need to be made fully aware as the country apparently morphs from seventy-five years of cannabis prohibition, to one of ‘tax-n-control’.

    If you can’t attend in person, Brookings and WOLA are making this important public panel discussion on cannabis legalization available via webcast.

    From Brookings’ press release:

    Last November, Colorado and Washington became the first two states to legalize marijuana, and they may not be the last: legalization now has the support of about half the country, up from 25 percent two decades ago. But legalization remains controversial among the public and contrary to federal law and policy. Is a new national consensus emerging, or a new stage of the culture war? Either way, what are the implications?

    On May 29, Governance Studies at Brookings and the Washington Office on Latin America will host a public forum to discuss changing attitudes towards marijuana legalization. Brookings Senior Fellows William Galston and E.J. Dionne will present findings of a detailed study of evidence from opinion surveys, some of it newly available. Two experts on politics and public opinion will comment. After the program, speakers will take audience questions.

    Panelists include: Senior Fellows at Brookings William Galston and E.J. Dionne, Jr.,; Pollster Anna Greenberg and RealClear Politics Sean Trend

    Moderated by Senior Fellow at Brookings Jonathan Rauch

    This event will be live webcast.

    Register here for the live webcast.

    Register here to attend the event in person.

    Follow the conversation at #MJLegalization.

  • by Sabrina Fendrick May 1, 2013

    As our nation edges cautiously toward majority support for marijuana legalization, the millennial generation is leading the way more than any other demographic in history.

    Our generation has experienced as much or more tragedy than any post-WW II generation with the exception of the baby boomers.  The difference is that boomers, who witnessed the assassination of  a president, a presidential candidate and a major civil rights activist and who lived through significant social and political upheavals, also saw huge social progress, the evolution of equal rights, greater consumer protection and the end of the Cold War.  Despite many bumps along the way, the economy remained intact for that generation, jobs were available and college was still affordable.

    Millennials experienced on 9/11, the first major attack on U.S. soil since Pearl Harbor.  We’ve grown up with homeland security threat levels, we’ve witnessed massacre after massacre in our schools and in  public places that used to be considered safe (think Columbine, Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook, the D.C. snipers, Boston, etc).  As young adults, we’ve been confronted with an economy on the verge of collapse, a world plagued by terrorism, an expensive and proliferating drug war, skyrocketing tuition costs and a job market that is barely there.  Yet with all of that, we still believe in the glory of the America we were told about growing up.  That, “America is the richest, most powerful country in the world, where everyone has the opportunity to make money and achieve the American dream,” and despite everything going on now, we believe that it still can.

    So why, you wonder, do so many millennials (65% according to the latest Pew Research Poll) support the legalization of marijuana in light of all these other issues?  It’s because we believe this is a serious national problem with a sensible fix and a positive outcome for everyone.   (more…)

  • by Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director April 27, 2013

    While there is nothing genuinely funny about a seventy-five year prohibition on cannabis that has arrested over 25 million cannabis consumers, making fun of the failed policy never goes out of style, especially when done right, with aplomb, which the NORML staff occasionally highlights on an otherwise serious-minded public policy blog.

    While over a week-old it would seem a crime itself not to share this New York Times so-called OpDoc (where videos rather than guest columns are submitted). The Gregory Brothers, a quartet of video artists from Brooklyn, absolutely skew the disparity between American society’s hypocritical legal vs illegal drug paradigm.

    They accomplish this by very humorous employment of auto-tune and eye-rolling use of politicians’ own words about the now near universally acknowledged failed war on some drugs.

    Check out former Congressman Ron Paul, New York governor Andrew Cuomo and New Jersey governor Chris Christie (with intentional help from Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes of ‘Jay and Silent Bob’ fame) sing in a way, about a subject matter, they surely didn’t intend t00 when they opened their mouths and spoke the truth about an unpopular public policy (which, ironically, is what elected policymakers are supposed to do in democracies).

    You can watch the video here.

    Enjoy!

  • by Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director April 25, 2013

    In another positive sign of the times for cannabis law reform, please find below a new video from the Washington Post’s The Fold looking at a couple of different situations where parents faced the legal-moral dilemma of whether or not to follow a physician’s recommendation for their young child to use cannabis as a therapeutic. Dr. Ben Whalley From Reading University in United Kingdom is interviewed about his recent cannabinoid research into the use of pediatric cannabis medicine for children, for example, suffering from epilepsy. As a twenty plus year reader of the Washington Post, it is very hard for me to imagine prior editors (and publishers) who would have assigned and widely broadcast a piece that looked at the potential health benefits from cannabis (meaning that as the World War II generation, informed by their government-created ‘Reefer Madness’, that largely ran the storied newspaper until recently has had to logically yield and defer to a decidedly more cannabis-informed generation of Baby Boomers and younger).

  • by Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director April 19, 2013

    The NORML Women’s Alliance of Canada announced via Marketwired:
    NWA Canada Prohibition CarTERRACE, BRITISH COLUMBIA–(Marketwired – April 18, 2013) – On Saturday April 20(th) , activists and cannabis enthusiasts will gather in cities across Canada, including Vancouver, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa, Halifax and Yellowknife. It is hoped the events will be a watershed moment for cannabis law reform as Canadians seek to follow their American counterparts and end the social injustice of cannabis prohibition.

    This year, the annual nationwide 420 celebrations are entirely sponsored by lottery winner Bob Erb.

    When Bob Erb started buying lottery tickets in the early 1970s, ending the war against cannabis may have seemed more likely than hitting the jackpot.

    On November 2, 2012, four decades of playing the lottery paid off: Bob Erb won a $25,000,000 jackpot. Two days later, Canadian laws regarding cannabis changed too as mandatory minimum sentencing for cannabis offences came into effect.

    To some, winning the lottery would mean retiring from a life-long career of cannabis activism. But to a man who describes the criminalization of cannabis as the “biggest social injustice” of his lifetime, the money meant a chance to do more.

    Bob Erb has championed social justice issues, including cannabis law reform, for decades. He has seen firsthand the harm and waste caused by cannabis prohibition, and has set about making change. Particularly, he has tried to create change from within: in 2001 he ran as a Marijuana Party candidate in the BC provincial election and the following year he ran for mayor. Both times his message was clear: its time for a change on cannabis.

    Looking to the future, Bob has pledged one million dollars to fund national campaigns to end the criminal prohibition of cannabis and enact positive regulations regarding use, production and consumer safety. His goal is to see a pro-reform party elected in the next Canadian federal election.

    So far, Bob Erb’s contributions to the cannabis reform movement can be felt nationwide. In February he had a conference in his hometown of Terrace, BC. The conference brought together activists and policy experts from across Canada to discuss strategy for the future.

    As a result of the conference, Bob committed one million dollars to legalize cannabis in Canada and pledged support to various reform organizations including Sensible BC, the NORML Women’s Alliance of Canada, NORML Canada, Stop the Violence BC and the 420 rallies.

    This Saturday, tens of thousands of Canadians will gather from coast to coast advocating cannabis law reform. Hopefully, individuals will feel part of something bigger than themselves or the local rally they attended.

    Bob Erb’s generosity has jump-started a national campaign to elect a new government ready to undertake modern approach to cannabis regulation. Advocates are confident cannabis law reform will be an issue in the next federal election. This year’s 420 rallies will be a call to voters and the beginning of a movement in the name of Bob Erb.

    NORML Women’s Alliance of Canada

    Kelly Coulter

    (613) 331-1489

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