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Grassroots

  • 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  Due in part to the efforts of Missouri NORML, the “prior and persistent drug offender” law has since been repealed.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 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 Kevin Mahmalji, NORML Outreach Director August 31, 2018

    In recognition of International Overdose Awareness Day, NORML chapters around the country are taking action to highlight the positive that marijuana legalization can play in combating America’s opioid crisis. Many NORML leaders are hosting community forums to highlight the growing evidence that regulated marijuana access is positively associated with decrease in opioid overdose fatalities, hospitalizations, dependency and use.

    To amplify these efforts, NORML has created action alerts targeting local, state, and federal opioid task forces and committees — urging them to make marijuana regulation a part of their discussions and strategies.

    Please take just two minutes to use our prewritten letters and send a message to each target.

    The Office of National Drug Control Policy: Contact the ONDCP Commission: Medical Marijuana as an Alternative to Opioids

    Federal lawmakers: Urge your members of Congress to acknowledge the role of cannabis in combating the prescription drug overdose epidemic

    State lawmakers: Urge your state lawmakers to acknowledge the role of cannabis in combating the prescription drug overdose epidemic

    Opioid-involved overdose deaths have increased five-fold since 1999 and were involved in over 40,000 deaths in 2016. Deaths involving benzodiazepines, a family of anti-anxiety drugs, have increased eight-fold during this same time period.

    Several observational studies — such as those here, here, and here — find that medical marijuana regulation is correlated with reductions in opioid-related use, drug spending, abuse, hospitalization, and mortality. Separate data evaluating prescription drug use trends among individual patients enrolled in state-licensed medical marijuana programs is consistent with this conclusion, finding that many chronic pain subjects reduce or eliminate their use of opioids following enrollment.

    The available data is consistent and clear. For many patients, cannabis offers a viable alternative to opioids. It is time for lawmakers to stop placing political ideology above the health and safety of the American public, and to acknowledge the safety and efficacy of marijuana as an alternative medical treatment.

    You can review many more published studies on the NORML factsheet Relationship Between Marijuana and Opioids.

    Help us raise awareness by using our Social Media Tools below:

    Click here to share on Facebook
    Click here to share on Twitter
    Click here to share on Instagram

    Is there an active opioid commission or task force in your community? Email me at KevinM@NORML.org and we’ll create an action alert to engage and educate your elected officials about the role access to marijuana can play in reducing opioid-related deaths, hospitalizations, and total number of opioids prescribed.

     

     

     

  • by Kevin Mahmalji, NORML Outreach Director August 24, 2018

    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. This year’s awards were presented during NORML’s 2018 Conference and Lobby Day that took place in Washington DC.

    Michael J. Kennedy Social Justice Award

    The award, named after the late Michael J. Kennedy, the legendary civil rights and criminal defense attorney (and general counsel for High Times magazine from its inception in 1974 until his death in early 2016), was established, with the blessing of the Kennedy family, to honor those individuals who, like Michael Kennedy, dedicate their lives to advancing the cause of social justice in America.

    This year’s award was presented to Michael E. Tigar in recognition of his unwavering commitment to social justice and advancing human rights around the world.

    The inscription on the award reads as follows:

    “To Michael E. Tigar, in recognition of your lifetime commitment to achieving social justice for all people, including especially those without the resources or social standing to achieve justice on their own. Your willingness to speak for the underdog, the disenfranchised and the unpopular, like Michael Kennedy himself, has defined your exemplary personal and professional life.”

    Mr. Tigar was a professor at American University’s Washington College of Law where he helped found the UNROW Human Rights Impact Litigation Clinic and professor emeritus at Duke Law School. Throughout his distinguished career, Mr. Tigar also made several trips to South Africa, where he worked with African lawyers who were fighting to end apartheid.

    Outstanding Chapter Award in Recognition of the Important Role Of Volunteer Activists Organized as Local and Regional NORML Chapters in the Fight to Legalize Marijuana

    This year’s Outstanding NORML Chapter Award went to Chicago NORML, an organization that truly hit the ground running. Immediately following the approval of their affiliate application, several board members traveled to Washington DC to attend NORML’s 2017 Conference where they lobbied their members of Congress in support of pending marijuana law reform legislation. Since then, Edie Moore and her colleagues have focused their time on expungement and elevating the conversation concerning the disproportionate impact the war on marijuana has had on communities of color and the ways Chicago NORML can make sure they have a seat at the table.

    Outstanding Cannabis Advocate Award for Advancing the Cause of Marijuana Law Reform

    Selecting NORML’s Outstanding Cannabis Advocate Award recipient for 2018 was not an easy decision. As NORML’s Outreach Director and “chapter guy,” I have the pleasure of working with some of the marijuana law reform movement’s brightest and most dedicated volunteers from all over the country. But in the case of Jeff Reidy, executive director of Lehigh Valley NORML he has certainly worked hard to set himself apart.

    Since re-establishing Lehigh Valley NORML in 2017 Jeff has formed strong alliances with the many marijuana-related nonprofits operating across Pennsylvania, such as Philly NORML, the Keystone Cannabis Coalition and Pittsburgh NORML. He has also forged strong, long-lasting relationships with local and state lawmakers that has resulted in marijuana law reforms in Allentown, Bethlehem and York.

    Pauline Sabin Award in Recognition of Exceptional Community Organization Dedicated to Repealing Marijuana Prohibition

    This year’s Pauline Sabine Award went to Cynthia Ferguson, executive director of Delaware NORML. In a state like Delaware, that has no voter initiative or referendum process, Cynthia has spent years lobbying local and state lawmakers in support of ending marijuana prohibition. Recognizing her passion and dedication to the issue, Cynthia was invited by Delaware Governor John Carney to participate in a roundtable discussion about the Marijuana Control Act, which would have legalized the possession of up to an ounce of marijuana for adults over the age of 21.

    With a strategy that combines fact-based arguments in support of social justice and economic opportunities, and keeping pressure on lawmakers by attending town hall meetings and hosting lobbying opportunities, Cynthia is doing her part to win the hearts and minds of Delaware  lawmakers.

    Lifetime Achievement Award in Grateful Recognition of A Lifetime Dedicated to Reforming Unjust Marijuana Laws and Advancing the Cause of Personal Freedom

    NORML’s 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Dr. Dale Geringer of California. For more than three decades Dr. Gieringer has served as the Executive Director of California NORML and continues to be a prominent voice and respected thought leader on marijuana policy and harm reduction. Dale also serves as the Vice-Chairman of NORML’s National board of directors, Director of the California Drug Policy Forum (DPFCA) and Treasurer of the Oakland Civil Liberties Alliance (OCLA).

    In addition to his work with various advocacy groups, Dr. Gieringer has published research on medical marijuana usage, marijuana smoke harm reduction, potency testing, marijuana and driving safety, and drug urinalysis. He’s also one of the original co-authors of Prop. 215, California’s medical marijuana initiative that was approved by voters in 1996, and lead proponent of Oakland’s Measure Z cannabis initiative in 2004.

    Peter McWilliams Memorial Award for Outstanding Achievement in Advancing the Cause of Medical Marijuana

    For those of you who have been following NORML’s work over the years, especially in the state of Missouri, it should be no surprise that this year’s Peter McWilliams Memorial Award for Outstanding Achievement in Advancing the Cause of Medical Marijuana was presented to New Approach Missouri Campaign Board Chair and Executive Director of Missouri NORML Dan Viets.

    As a result of his leadership and overall influence, the New Approach Missouri campaign worked closely with Missouri NORML and other active NORML Chapters across Missouri to gather more than 372,400 signatures to place the measure before voters. The Initiative was recently certified by the Missouri Secretary of State’s Office and will appear on the November 6, 2018 ballot. Polling suggests support for medical marijuana in Missouri is well above 60%.

    Dan also serves as the Secretary of the National Board of Directors of NORML and has been recognized by, among others, Best Lawyers, Missouri and Kansas Super Lawyers, and America’s Top 100 Criminal Defense Attorneys.

    Rufus King, Sr. Award For Outstanding Public Leadership in the Field of Marijuana Law Reform

    This year’s Rufus King, Sr. Award For Outstanding Public Leadership in the Field of Marijuana Law Reform was presented to Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) who shared the following with attendees of NORML’s 2018 Congressional Lobby Day after introducing the Marijuana Data Collection Act:

    “For decades, bad data and misinformation have fueled the failed War on Drugs that has ruined people’s lives, torn families apart, and wasted billions of taxpayer dollars incarcerating Americans for nonviolent marijuana charges. In 2016 alone, nearly 600,000 people were arrested for marijuana possession. Our laws must be informed by facts — not emotion, manufactured stigma and myths. Our bipartisan legislation, the Marijuana Data Collection Act, will lay the groundwork for real reform by producing an objective, evidence-based report on current marijuana laws that exist in 31 states across the country, and their impact on our communities.”

    Click here for Video of the Press Conference

    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! 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.

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

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