• by Allen St. Pierre, Former NORML Executive Director April 20, 2012

    Celebrate 4/20 and End Marijuana Prohibition

    Dear NORML Supporters from far and wide,

    [Update: Today’s media coverage of ‘4/20’ is both wide and extensive: The otherwise staid and anti-cannabis Washington Post has 4/20 entertainment recommendations for the DC area; the Wall Street Journal, the newspaper of record for business and finance, has a well written piece on the growing cultural and commercial acceptance of 4/20; Politico gives a nod to 4/20 by citing examples of what pols say about pot; the University of Colorado is trying to stop a traditional 4/20 ‘smoke out’ by wasting funding on fencing, fish fertilizer strewn across the campus and an alternative concert featuring Wyclef Jean (who has been told by university officials that he can’t mention ‘marijuana’ or ‘4/20’) and the city of Austin is honoring America’s most beloved cannabis consumer and advocate Willie Nelson @ 4:20 today by unveiling a new ‘Willie Nelson’ statue in the downtown area. Lastly, the Huffington Post informs readers today about 4/20 and their #1 suggestion on how to change America’s cannabis laws: “Stand with NORML!” ]

    Despite nearly three quarters of a century of government-imposed Cannabis Prohibition, it is, again, that oh so magical day that cannabis consumers celebrate … and prohibitionists loathe:

    April 20

    A day (and a time of day) that signifies the ever increasing cultural and commercial acceptance in America (and internationally) of millions of consumers’ and medical patients’ want and need for Cannabis Prohibition to end.

    As in the previous twenty years, there is a fast growing acknowledgement that on April 20 … all things in America are cannabis-related in that major newspapers like the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Los Angeles Times now provide major coverage to this day’s significance; radio networks like National Public Radio deign to point their mics toward the issue of Cannabis Prohibition; and even major TV networks such as G4, SpikeTV, Comedy Central and Showtime will all devote blocks of time to ‘4/20’ programming with the rebroadcast of ‘stoner movies’, comedy specials and documentaries.

    Can you just imagine what the good folk at the DEA and the Drug Czar’s office think of this clear cultural defeat annually? One can almost be sympathetic on this day to them for their championing such a lost cause. Well, maybe for a nanosecond.

    This year, NORML is focusing on four 4/20 related projects for cannabis consumers and patients:

    NORML 4/20 Fundraiser

    Join and support NORML during this 4/20 weekend for these special prices and donor premiums:

    Donate to NORML

    • $4.20 (receive two NORML stickers)
    • $42 (receive the new DVD ‘It’s a NORML Life’ autographed by NORML founder Keith Stroup)
    • $420 (receive an odorless backpack from Stealth Products, which will have included inside both a NORML nug jar and NORML emblazed crystal glass astray)
    Listen to NORML’s Daily Podcast Live on 4/20 from San Antonio’s ‘Fweedom’ Fest

    4/20 from San Antonio’s Fweedom Fest, beginning at 4pm Eastern and running all night long. We’re celebrating 4/20 at 4:20 in every American Time Zone with correspondents in New York, Atlanta, San Antonio, Des Moines, Denver, Boise, Portland, Los Angeles, and Honolulu. Fweedom Fest coverage includes performances by Chief Greenbud and “Radical” Russ.

    420day.org Project

    Filmmaker E.J Vaughn and writer Steve Wishnia contacted NORML asking for help soliciting videos from cannabis consumers and patients about why they use cannabis and why they want the laws reformed as soon as possible. They will use some of these user-generated videos in their upcoming documentary production. While there is much to celebrate about regarding cannabis (as well as to lament about the failed prohibition) on April 20 at 4:20, this project is forward-looking regarding the further normalization of responsible cannabis use by adults.

    CafePress 4/20 Clothing Special

    NORML’s longtime online apparel partner CafePress has a ‘4/20’ special running this weekend for some newly designed products that let the world know what your three favorite numbers are. Use the promo code: 20OFF420 to receive 20% off shirts and gear from the NORML Store on CafePress. Some restrictions apply.

    I have to admit that I’m already getting excited at the prospects for next year’s 4/20 celebrations, that, for the first time in years, will be occurring on a Saturday!

    From everyone at NORML, please have a safe and very hempy 4/20!

    Cannabem liberemus,

    Allen St. Pierre
    Executive Director

  • by Allen St. Pierre, Former NORML Executive Director December 26, 2011

    There is something inherently communal about cannabis. When used in groups, unlike with alcohol and tobacco products, cannabis is shared among willing participants (and where hogging something to oneself is frowned about: "Don’t Bogart that joint!").

    A NORML Life DVDA smoke circle–not a square, triangle or pentagon, comes to mind.

    With nearly forty one years of cannabis consumer advocacy in NORML’s rearview mirror, and fast approaching a momentous presidential election cycle–which will most likely include up to four state initiatives to either medicalize or legalize cannabis–NORML’s large grassroots network again will be relied upon to rally supporters from coast to coast to continue to advance these long overdue cannabis law reforms forward.

    With Gallup polling now indicating the long awaited the fifty percent mark in public support for full cannabis legalization having been crossed, the long-sought public effort to end Cannabis Prohibition is more politically viable than at any previous time, in any of our lifetimes.

    With no major endowment, billionaire supporters or sufficiently large enough membership base (NORML is not the NRA, AARP or Girl Scouts) to provide the necessary funding to run nationwide ad campaigns, commit a legion of lobbyists in Washington, D.C. and the state capitals or lard incumbent political campaigns with loads of cash contributions, NORML’s central base of support is from folks like you, your like-minded friends and family.

    From folks–like me–who responsibly use and enjoy cannabis for whatever reason, and hardly see ourselves as criminals. From folks who both care about cannabis law reform as well as share some of their resources to make these important public policy changes happen as soon as possible.

    This is the essence of NORML.

    100% hemp backpack from Rick Steves and NORMLRecognizing this, a documentary producer and director independent of NORML have recently released a DVD entitled "It’s a NORML life", which was filmed over nearly three years to produce a compelling and inspired view of both the political momentum of cannabis law reform these days, but also the can-not-be-denied spirit ever-present among cannabis law reformers.

    Please make an end of the year donation to NORML or the NORML Foundation (where donations are fully tax deductible) for at least $20 and we’ll send you a copy of It’s a NORML life. Make a generous donation of $100 or more and we’ll include a 100% hemp backpack from Rick Steves and NORML!

    Gather some friends around, maybe in a circle, and inspired on a few levels (if you know what I mean), enjoy the DVD as a great motivational vehicle for 2012, a year like the previous forty one, which will be the busiest one ever for ending Cannabis Prohibition.

    Thanks again for both caring and sharing!

    Cannabem liberemus,

    Allen St. Pierre
    Executive Director
    Washington, D.C.