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  • by NORML April 20, 2017

    Happy 420 to all!

    420 Marijuana Day of ActionNever in modern history has there existed greater public support for ending the nation’s nearly century-long experiment with marijuana prohibition and replacing it with regulation. The historic votes on Election Day 2016 — when a majority of voters in California, Massachusetts, Maine, and Nevada decided at the ballot box to regulate the adult use of marijuana, and several other states passed medical marijuana legalization laws — underscore this political reality., as do just-released polling data from CBS finding that a record high 61 percent of Americans say marijuana use should be legal.

    It is time for the Congress, and your elected officials, to respect the will of the majority of American citizens.

    Email your members of Congress and demand an end to federal prohibition.

    At NORML, we started working to legalize marijuana in 1970, when only 12 percent of the public supported marijuana legalization. For several decades, as we gradually built support for our position, our political progress was modest at best. We decriminalized minor marijuana offenses in 11 states in the mid-1970s, following the release of the report of the National Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse. But then the mood of the country turned more conservative (think Nancy Reagan, “Just Say NO,’ and the emergence of the parents’ movement) and we made little further statewide progress over the next 18 years. The tide turned in 1996 when California became the first state to legalize marijuana for medical purposes. Today, a total of 30 states now recognize medical marijuana by statute and eight states have legalized its adult use.

    We’ve achieved these successes solely for one reason: the hard work and struggle of you and so many others

    We need to continue the fight until no American is subject to arrest for responsibly consuming marijuana, so tell your member of Congress to end prohibition now.

    Happy Holidays to you and your friends and family,

    The NORML Team

    P.S. Our work is supported by thousands of people throughout the country as we work to advance marijuana reform in all 50 states and at the federal level. Can you kick in $4.20, $10 or $20 a month to help us keep going?

    P.P.S. Have you picked up your NORML gear? Check out our store today

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director January 10, 2014

    Marijuana laws are changing across the nation. They are changing because stakeholders are becoming actively involved in their own liberation by joining groups like NORML, forming NORML chapters, and making their voices heard.

    NORML has always relied on the efforts of our regional affiliates – people like you – to personally spread the NORML message to local and state lawmakers. On Saturday, members of one such regional NORML affiliate, the northern Virginia chapter of NORML, presented an articulate, persuasive, and coordinated message to their elected officials: ‘It’s time to stop arresting responsible adults who consume cannabis.’ Their efforts are commendable – and necessary.

    As we begin the 2014 state legislative session, a session that promises to be the busiest session for marijuana law reform in our history, it is vital that stakeholders play and active and participatory role in the legislative process. You can do so by joining any one of the dozens of NORML chapters nationwide or by starting your own. You can also do so by regularly logging on to norml.org/act to learn about the latest pending marijuana law reform measures pending in your state. By visiting this page, NORML will also identify your local elected officials and provide you with the tools to contact him or her in support of marijuana law reform. By visiting NORML’s facebook page, following NORML on Twitter, and/or by signing up for NORML’s newsletter, you will also receive timely e-mail alerts informing you of when legislative hearings and key votes are taking place in your state.

    Today, the mainstream media, pundits, and elected officials are all talking about marijuana policy in unprecedented numbers. They are doing so because of people like you. Make your voice heard. Make your voice count. Get active; get NORML!

  • by Erik Altieri, NORML Executive Director November 20, 2013

    On Thursday, November 21st, the Maine Legislative Council will be voting on whether or not to allow the introduction of LR 2329, a measure sponsored by Rep. Diane Russell (D-Portland) which would legalize the cultivation, possession, and use of marijuana by individuals over the age of 21 in addition to establishing retail outlets to sell marijuana and marijuana products.

    It is extremely important that we cross this first hurdle at the Legislative Council tomorrow. We have a very real chance of passing this legislation if it is introduced. This is why we are asking all Maine residents to please take a minute of your time to contact the members of the council and urge them to support the introduction of this legislation.

    Maine: Click here to contact the Legislative Council in support of LR 2329

    Final language will be released soon, but you can see an overview of the legislation below. NORML believes this legislation presents a smart approach on marijuana for the state of Maine. It would allow anyone over the age of 21 to possess up to 2 1/2 ounces of marijuana, cultivate up to 6 plants, and purchase marijuana from established retail outlets. It also has key provisions in place that ensure individuals with several years residency in Maine and experience as a current medical marijuana dispensaries or caregiver are given priority on business licenses, explicitly leaves the current medical marijuana law in place for patients, and directs tax revenue to help low income patients be able to afford their medicine.

    LR 2329: An Act To Align Maine’s Marijuana Laws with the Guidelines
    Governing Taxation and Regulation Issued by the Federal Government

    Overview

    LR2329, “An Act to Align Maine’s Marijuana Laws With the Guidelines Governing Taxation and Regulation Issued by the Federal Government” is presented in light of the remarkable shifts in culture, events and momentum clearly moving Maine toward a model that regulates and taxes marijuana in a similar manner to the way we do alcohol. The Portland voter initiative answered the question for many, “Is Maine ready?”

    Now, it’s time for a responsible, pragmatic policy. In short – a Maine approach. Here are some key elements of the bill, as well as the context or rationale where appropriate:

    -The policy is focused on the responsible adult market and does not rewrite, recreate or in any way restrict the medical marijuana laws already on the books. Patients will continue to be able to procure medicinal marijuana from their current registered caregiver or registered dispensary provider without disruption. Further, the taxation structure currently in place for patients will remain in place going forward. The bill creates an entirely new chapter of law.

    -The bill does allocate 5% of the excise tax revenue to a new fund to help low-income medical marijuana patients afford their medication.

    -Adults over the age of 21 are allowed to possess, purchase, and consume cannabis.

    -The department will be set up under what is currently BABLO – Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages and Lottery Operations. This department already oversees tightly regulated products and is most capable of overseeing the start-up of a similar set of rules for running a vice business.

    -There are four types of licenses: Retail, Cultivation, Products and Testing. The cultivation licenses are divided up into tiers, allowing people to start small and scale up as appropriate to a maximum cultivation facility of 10,000 square feet – or, roughly a quarter of an acre. This addresses concerns about putting “the little guy” out of business.

    -To obtain a license under the bill, applicants must have been a resident of Maine for a minimum of two years. This ensures that Maine people benefit from the industry directly.

    -There will be a 10% sales and 15% excise tax with a minimum excise tax of $1.50 per gram.

    -The revenue allocations include, but are not limited to: public school construction, addiction treatment services, youth marijuana prevention, Drugs for the Elderly, research, underage sales prevention, increased number of Drug Recognition Experts (DREs), Fund for a Healthy Maine, liquor and marijuana inspectors, etc.

    -One of the key requirements from the DOJ was to avoid diversion, either to minors or to out-of-state locations where cannabis remains illegal. Further, they seek to stop rewarding cartels and drug dealers. The best way to meet both of these concerns is to ensure supply meets demand. If there is too much supply, the product will be diverted. If there is too much demand, dealers will step in. By extrapolating market data, we have estimated the production capacity should be a total of about 400,000 square feet to meet demand. We have authorized the bureau to allocate licenses at their discretion based on the number of applicants.

    -Colorado is experiencing difficulties in setting up its regulatory structure because they did not set aside revenue for the process, and their licensing fees have not met the revenue needs. LR2329 gives discretion to the bureau to determine the cost for setting up the program, and adjusting application and licensing fees to ensure they have adequate resources to do so responsibly.

    -Youth prevention is a big issue for the Coalition, but also for addiction counselors and law enforcement. The bill includes restrictions on advertising, strict guidelines against furnishing to minors, security requirements for farmers, and the creation of a funded Youth Marijuana Prevention advisory council. The Council’s primary objective will be to reduce youth consumption of marijuana throughout Maine.

    -The bill authorizes “home grow,” a popular expectation for individuals – and a check against industrial marijuana. Municipalities may sell twist tie tax stamps to adult consumers who must attach the tie to the plant demonstrating they have the right to grow it. This does a few things. It allows individuals 21+ to do so while providing an easy way for law enforcement to know whether the plant in question is legal. Further, it ensures revenue for the state. The home cultivation license would prohibit the licensee to sell their product. We also outlined specific notifications that must be presented to the licensee, ensuring they are aware of their obligations and responsibilities under the law.

    -At every opportunity, we have worked to protect the civil liberties of individuals who naturally fear reprisal from the federal government should policies change.

    -There is no referendum in this bill.

  • by Erik Altieri, NORML Executive Director July 24, 2013

    sdpvii2This Friday, Philly NORML and The Panic Hour return to Independence Mall in Philadelphia for the seventh installment in their monthly protests against marijuana prohibition.

    From the organizers:

    “After six successful rallies, The Panic Hour and Philly Norml return with the seventh edition of Smoke Down Prohibition.

    We ask you to join us and peacefully sit-in at The Liberty Bell to stand up against cannabis prohibition.

    This time the rally will be on Friday, July 26th and we will be gathering for the event at 4:20pm. Meeting location is Independence Mall at 5th St and Market St.

    Click here for more info and to RSVP”

    Speaking on the evolution of the Smoke Down events, one of the primary organizers, The Panic Hour’s NA Poe stated, “Although I will not be able to attend the protest in person, it brings me great joy that so many people are planning to stand up against marijuana prohibition by sitting in with us at the liberty bell. As Smoke Down grows and evolves, we will continue to use a blend of comedy and direct action to combat the absurdity of Cannabis prohibition.”

    Chris Goldstein, writer for Philly.com and Philly NORML Board Member, encouraged legalization supporters to join the protest and push for an end to the war on cannabis. “Marijuana will be legal when everyone who consumes it for medication or recreation raises their voices to the federal government,” Goldstein said, “It is a privilege to participate in ‘Smoke Down Prohibition’ at historic Independence Hall in Philadelphia. This is the only monthly event in America focused on legalizing cannabis and keeping pressure on the federal government. We will keep it growing.”

    Learn about the new “sit-in” format and what to expect from the seventh Smoke Down Prohibition by watching this video created by the organizers:

    YouTube Preview Image

    We hope to see all of you by the Liberty Bell this Friday!

  • by Erik Altieri, NORML Executive Director June 9, 2013

    On Friday, marijuana reformers recorded the closest vote for a legalization measure on the floor of a state legislature in recent history.

    Rep. Diane Russell’s LD 1229, which would place the question of legalization before Maine voters this fall, was narrowly rejected in a 71 to 67 vote. We only managed to get this vote so close because of the outpouring of support via phone and email that Representatives heard from their constituents. Never doubt the power that making you opinion known to your elected officials has a very quantifiable effect.

    The good news is that the fight for legalization in Maine still isn’t over for this year. Representative Russell just informed us that she intends to continue the fight for legalization to the floor of the State Senate. The Senate will vote on LD 1229 as soon as Monday.

    [UPDATE: Unfortunately, Monday’s Senate vote fell short: http://bangordailynews.com/2013/06/10/politics/state-house/maine-senate-opposes-sending-recreational-marijuana-question-to-voters/. The Senate defeat ends the legislative effort for this year.]

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