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NORML Blog

  • 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  Due in part to the efforts of Missouri NORML, the “prior and persistent drug offender” law has since been repealed.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

    Washington, DC: Senators Bill Nelson (D-FL) and Brian Schatz (D-HI) introduced legislation, The Veterans Medical Marijuana Safe Harbor Act, to expand and facilitate medical cannabis access to military veterans suffering from chronic pain, PTSD, and other serious medical conditions.

    Under existing regulations, VA doctors are not permitted to fill out the mandatory paperwork necessary to recommend cannabis therapy in those 31 states that regulate it. Passage of The Veterans Medical Marijuana Safe Harbor Act ends this discrimination against veterans and prevents sanctions against VA doctors who wish to recommend medical cannabis treatment to their patients.

    Send a message in support of expanding access NOW!

    “The Veterans Medical Marijuana Safe Harbor Act would provide crucial medical and civil protections for the men and women who put their lives on the line to serve this country. It is unconscionable that these brave individuals who protect our nation’s freedoms would be treated as criminals when they return home just for treating their medical ailments with a safe and effective option,” said Justin Strekal, NORML Political Director. “We applaud and appreciate the leadership by Senators Schatz and Nelson in putting forward this legislation.”

    “Historically, veteran and military communities have long been at the forefront of American social change, catalyzing the widespread acceptance of evolving cultural norms and perceptions surrounding racial, gender, and sexual equality. The therapeutic use of cannabis by veterans follows this trend and members of Congress should follow their lead and pass the Veterans Medical Marijuana Safe Harbor Act,” Strekal concluded.

    “Federal law prohibits VA doctors from prescribing or recommending medical marijuana to veterans,” said Senator Bill Nelson. “This legislation will allow veterans in Florida and elsewhere the same access to legitimately prescribed medication, just as any other patient in those 31 states would have.”

    “In the 31 states where medical marijuana is legal, patients and doctors are able to see if marijuana helps with pain management. Our veterans deserve to have that same chance,” Senator Schatz said. “This bill does right by our veterans, and it can also shed light on how medical marijuana can help with the nation’s opioid epidemic.”

    You can read NORML’s Fact Sheet on Marijuana and Veterans Issues HERE.

    A recent American Legion poll found that nearly one in four veterans use marijuana to alleviate a medical condition. A 2017 review of over 10,000 studies by the National Academy of Sciences concluded, “There is conclusive or substantial evidence that cannabis and cannabinoids are effective for the treatment for chronic pain in adults.”

    Similar legislation, The Veterans Equal Access Act (HR 1820) is pending in the House.

    Send a message in support of expanding access NOW!

  • by NORML

    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

    Share our endorsement on Twitter

    “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!

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