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NORML Blog

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director July 25, 2016

    oil_bottlesMore than two in three military veterans say that medical cannabis should be legal, and 75 percent believe that VA physicians should be able to recommend marijuana therapy to eligible patients, according to the results of the 7th annual membership survey of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of American (IAVA).

    Sixty-eight percent of respondents said they “support the legalization of medical marijuana in their state.” Only 20 percent oppose legalizing medical cannabis access.

    Seventy-five percent of veterans “believe the VA should allow medical marijuana as a treatment option where warranted.” Fourteen percent of respondents disagreed.

    Founded in 2004, the IAVA states that it is “the leading post-9/11 veteran empowerment organization with the most diverse and rapidly growing membership in America.”

    In May, majorities in both the US House and Senate voted to include language in the 2017 Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations bill to permit VA doctors to recommend cannabis therapy. However, Republicans sitting on the House Appropriations Committee decided in June to remove the language from the bill during a concurrence vote.

  • by Keith Stroup, NORML Legal Counsel

    C1_8734_r_xWith the country so divided right now along party lines, as well as within each of the two major parties, it would be easy for voters to say “The hell with them all,” and sit this election out. Both of the major party candidates have record-setting voter disapproval ratings, assuring that our next president will be starting off their first term knowing that more than half the country did not like them, and would have preferred someone else for president.

    But there really is no other choice this year.

    History of Third Party Candidates

    The reality is third party candidates have a terrible track record in this country, so a vote for the Green Party or the Libertarian Party is, in effect, throwing away your vote. Those who insist on exercising this option may get some emotional satisfaction out of rejecting the two major party candidates, but they are also helping Donald Trump.

    The election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860 established a Republican-Democrat duopoly that persists even today. Since then we have seen third-party candidates on the presidential ballot in two dozen elections, without success. In fact, most – including Ralph Nader in 2000 and Ross Perot in 1992 and 1996 – have failed to win a single electoral vote, do to the winner-take-all nature of the electoral college.

    The last such candidate to secure any electoral votes was segregationist candidate George Wallace in 1968, who won five Southern states in his fight against the civil rights movement. And the most successful third party presidential candidate was Teddy Roosevelt, who bolted the Republican Party to run as a Progressive Party (aka “Bull Moose Party”) candidate in 1912, who won six states and came in second with 27% of the vote, but lost badly to Democrat Woodrow Wilson.

    It Matters

    Despite the continuing complaints of dissatisfaction being heard from the cadre of enthusiastic Bernie Sanders supporters, in fact Sen. Sanders himself has now acknowledged the inevitable and endorsed Hillary Clinton. Sanders used his popularity with millions of American voters to nudge the Democratic Party platform, and the Democratic candidate, to the left. And that’s a positive development.

    But Sanders also realized the most important priority at this time is to assure that Donald Trump is not elected president.

    Both Hillary Clinton and her vice-presidential running mate Sen. Tim Kaine support the right of the states to continue to experiment with different versions of marijuana legalization, without interference from the federal government. While Donald Trump said he too holds that position, that was not apparent from the language in the Republican platform, that appeared to be heading in the other direction. And with Trump, who could guess what his position will be tomorrow or the next day.

    But more importantly, Donald Trump is a bigoted, racist, ignorant candidate whom no one with a whit of common sense would want running our country, or having his finger on the nuclear button. Merely having him as a major party candidate is an embarrassment for the country, and has sent shockwaves throughout our allies in NATO and other strategic alliances. He is obviously unfit to be president.

    So don’t waste your vote making a political point, knowing it would make it more likely that “the Donald” might somehow squeak through and win this election. Every progressive voter who sits out this election, or who votes for a third party candidate, helps Donald Trump.

    We can all fight among ourselves about specific issues and how best to achieve more progressive policies in this country. But none of us can afford the risk of a Trump presidency.

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director July 22, 2016

    legalization_pollSixty-five percent of Americans ages 18 and older believe that “government efforts to enforce marijuana laws cost more than they are worth” and 55 percent of respondents say that the plant’s use ought to be legal, according to national polling data compiled by YouGov.com.

    Those living in the western region of the United States (65 percent), Hispanics (64 percent), Democrats (63 percent), and those under 30 (63 percent) were most likely to endorse legalizing marijuana use. Republicans (45 percent), African Americans (44 percent), and those over the age of 65 (40 percent) were least likely to be supportive.

    By contrast, a majority of respondents of all ages and political persuasions agreed with the notion that marijuana law enforcement costs more than it’s worth.

    In response to a separate polling question, respondents agreed by a margin of more than 2 to 1 that the government should not enforce federal anti-marijuana laws in states that have legalized its use.

    A majority of those polled also disputed the allegation that cannabis use is a ‘gateway’ to other illicit drug use. Of those under the age of 60, only 25 percent believed the claim.

    The YouGov.com survey polled 1,000 US citizens and possesses a margin of error of +/- 4.5 percent.

  • by Danielle Keane, NORML Political Director

    take_actionThe DEA announced that they will amend their quotas for 2017 regarding the cultivation of research-grade marijuana and hemp legalization bills in Pennsylvania and Rhode Island have been signed into law! We also have updates from Illinois, Florida, and Ohio. Keep reading to learn the latest in marijuana law reform news from around the country and to find out how you can #TakeAction!

    Federal:

    In a notice published in the Federal Register, Acting DEA Administrator Chuck Rosenberg proposed amending the amount of marijuana that may be produced under federal license in 2017 to approximately 1,041 pounds. The agency alleges that this quantity will be sufficient to provide for the “estimated medical, scientific, research and industrial needs of the United States.”

    The US Drug Enforcement Administration is also preparing to respond to an administrative petition calling for the reclassification of marijuana as a schedule I prohibited substance. Their determination was originally expected in the first half of 2016 but it has yet to be released.

    State:

    Florida: Next Tuesday, the state’s first state-licensed medical marijuana dispensary will open to the public. Trulieve, a licensed cannabis cultivator and distributor, will provide a high CBD, low THC strain of the plant to patients that are registered with the state. However, as of today not a single eligible patient is registered with the state to legally access the product. This is because Florida’s law, initially passed in 2014, is among the strictest in the country. Under the law, patients diagnosed with cancer, seizures, or intractable muscle spasms are eligible for CBD-dominant cannabis, while those diagnosed with a terminal illness are eligible for THC-dominant cannabis. To date, however, only 15 physicians in the state are participating in the program.

    Illinois: Two months ago lawmakers voted in favor of Senate Bill 2228, legislation to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana. But Governor Bruce Rauner has yet to sign the measure into law. The bill makes the possession of up to 10 grams of marijuana a civil violation punishable by a fine of $100-$200 — no arrest and no criminal record. Currently, those caught possessing that amount could face up to six months of jail time and fines of up to $1,500. The bill also amends the state’s zero tolerance per se traffic safety law.

    #TakeAction  and contact Governor Rauner to urge him to sign this legislation into law.

    Ohio: Governor John Kasich has signed legislation so that certain drug offenses are no longer punishable by a mandatory loss of one’s driver’s license. Under previous law, any drug conviction carried a mandatory driver’s license suspension of at least six months, even in cases where the possession offense did not take place in a vehicle. Senate Bill 204 makes such suspensions discretionary rather than mandatory. The law will take effect September 13th, 2016.

    industrial_hempPennsylvania: On Wednesday, July 20th, Governor Tom Wolf signed legislation, House Bill 967, to establish “a pilot program to study the growth, cultivation or marketing of industrial hemp.” The new law took immediate effect. Twenty-eight states have now enacted similar legislation.

    Rhode Island: Governor Gina Raimondo has signed legislation, H8232, to establish rules for the commercial, licensed cultivation of hemp in the state. The legislation creates the “Hemp Growth Act” to treat hemp as an agricultural product that may be legally produced, possessed, distributed and commercially traded. The Department of Business Regulation will be responsible for establishing rules and regulations for the licensing and regulation of hemp growers and processors.

  • by Keith Stroup, NORML Legal Counsel July 20, 2016

    11863500_10154119506728032_5435735672135739216_nTHE NATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR THE REFORM OF MARIJUANA LAWS (NORML)

    NORML has advocated on behalf of cannabis consumers since 1970.  The past 20 years have seen the adoption of medicinal marijuana programs in more than two dozen states, and the adoption of full marijuana legalization for all adults in four states, including the establishment of a legal retail market. NORML’s Board of Directors anticipates more states will be legalizing adult consumption this November by ballot initiative.

    With fewer states criminally prohibiting cannabis, NORML’s consumer protection advocacy will be focusing more on products and services in the cannabis market. Further, as the nation continues to engage in this ongoing narrative regarding legalization, there will exist a greater need for politicians, media, and policy analysts to seek guidance and expertise from NORML with regard to the benefits of regulation as well as the health and societal effects of responsible cannabis consumption.

    OUR OPPORTUNITY

    The Board of Directors seeks a dynamic and innovative Executive Director to lead our national organization based in DC, with more than 100 active, volunteer state, local, and student chapters in the U.S., as well as chapters in nine other nations.  NORML also has an affiliated PAC, Legal Committee, and 501(c)3 Foundation. The Executive Director is responsible for the smooth operation and growth of the national organization, and maintaining NORML’s well-earned reputation as a trusted resource for accurate information about cannabis.

    PRINCIPAL RESPONSIBILITIES

    Advance NORML’s relevance to cannabis consumers in a rapidly-changing cultural and political landscape.

    Oversee the everyday operation of our DC office and our Denver office, recruit staff and volunteer interns, hire, manage and dismiss staff.

    Manage the finances of the organization.

    Play a key role in advocating for and tracking ongoing and forthcoming legislative efforts to reform marijuana policies and penalties at the state and federal level, and at the ballot box.

    Develop the means for the organization to become financially self-sustaining, with a predictable minimum annual income.

    Publicly represent NORML in the media, in testimony to legislative bodies and in amicus briefs, to our chapters and members, and at conferences, conventions, and other events, requiring extensive travel.

    Oversee NORML’s social networks and advise on strategies to increase NORML’s social media presence, and seek ways to harness revenue from these networks.

    Ensure legal compliance with the requirements of both a 501(c)4 and a 501C3 nonprofit organization, an affiliated NORML PAC, including the timely filing of all taxes and reports.

    Maintain a collegial, respectful relationship with the Board of Directors, staff, and Chapter leadership including transparency and open communication about NORML’s goals and achievements.

    Develop alliances and strategic relationships between NORML and other drug policy advocacy groups, nonprofit and for-profit entities.

    SKILLS AND ABILITIES

    Deep knowledge of cannabis prohibition, politics, and current policies, both in the U.S. and globally.  Familiarity with cannabis consumers, their values, and their cultures.

    Demonstrated leadership working with and guiding nonprofit and/or volunteer organizations, including staff management.

    A record of organizational development, budgeting and fundraising.

    Effective verbal and written communication with experience in public policy advocacy, public relations, grant writing, and public speaking.

    Social media fluency.

    Planning and execution of public events.

    QUALIFICATIONS AND EXPERIENCE

    At least a Bachelor’s Degree or the equivalent, with ten (10) or more years experience working in nonprofit, public advocacy, or public policy fields, and a proven record of increased responsibilities and achievements.

    A record of participation in cannabis or other drug policy advocacy is strongly preferred.

    TO APPLY

    Please forward a Vision Statement for NORML and its role going forward into the 2020’s, your Resume, and Salary Requirements to: Randy@norml.org.

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