• by Allen St. Pierre, Former NORML Executive Director February 2, 2015

    Need another prime example of cannabis prohibition coming to pass in these United States? Look no further than the states of Alaska and Oregon where the voters have ended cannabis prohibition and instead replaced the failed prohibition with tax-n-regulate policies, both states are canceling the use (and expense) of maintaining and employing cannabis sniffing canines.pot_civil_rights

    Up next in states that have jettisoned cannabis prohibition: Canceling law enforcement overflights looking for once illegal cannabis plants.



  • by Allen St. Pierre, Former NORML Executive Director May 21, 2010

    From Missouri NORML:

    Missouri NORML’s and local attorney Dan Viets spoke with Columbia Police Chief Ken Burton yesterday about the need to reform cannabis laws in Missouri and to stop violent home raids (Columbia is where two dogs were recently shot in a marijuana raid that was captured on video, causing great public revulsion and concern nationwide–not only in Missouri).

    In the past Chief Burton has alluded to the need for alternative policies to straight out prohibition. The exchange yesterday between Viets and Burton–where Chief Burton acknowledges the importance of NORML’s advocacy work–was recorded and transcribed below .

    Columbia Police Chief Kenneth Burton Quote:
    “If I had a chance to catch someone breaking into a warehouse and someone with marijuana (Dan and Chief crosstalk) I applaud your effort, I mean, if we could get out of the business I am sure there would be a lot of officers happy to do that.

    Unfortunately, it is still a matter of law. The shooting that happened right after, …  this came to the forefront was over marijuana. And crimes of violence do occur b/c of marijuana.

    You may make the argument that it is because it is illegal, and hey, you may be right.

    I don’t have anything against it except it is against the law.

    And as a police officer I have sworn to uphold the law. So prioritizing, when we can, you are absolutely right. We should concentrate on meth or something more serious, but we come across marijuana it is still against the law.

    I am with you on the fight, and I hope you are successful at some point and we will see how that goes.”

    Thanks to MO NORML and Chief Burton!

    Also, more good news from MO: Mayor Francis Slay of St. Louis, who announced yesterday that another member of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen is working on a marijuana decriminalization ordinance, and Slay seems to like the idea!

    He’s currently doing a poll on legalization, and reformers are winning big time!

    Please make sure you’re working with your local chapter of NORML in MO or nationwide to reform our country’s antiquated cannabis laws.

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director May 11, 2010

    Judge Andrew Napolitano, host of Fox News.com’s Freedom Watch, has long been on the right side of the war on drugs, and his scathing critique of the deplorable police actions in Columbia, Missouri is no exception.

    (To recap for those who have not yet seen the video: under the cover of darkness, a team of militarized SWAT agents enter a family home and immediately engage in gunfire — killing one of two family dogs and wounding the other — and likely inflicting lifelong trauma to the family’s seven-year-old son. Police ultimately seized a small amount of marijuana residue and associated paraphernalia, which resulted in a misdemeanor charge and a $300 fine.)

    In fact, Napolitano’s very first question to befuddled Columbia Mayor Bob McDavid is: “When are the cops who did this going to be arrested and put in jail where they belong?” It’s a valid question that, not surprisingly, leaves the new mayor speechless.

    In less than a week nearly one-million people have watched the graphic and sickening footage from Columbia. It has, quite understandably, inspired public outrage and, apparently, some welcome changes in police procedure.

    Yet as NORML Outreach Coordinator Russ Belville astutely points out on today’s edition of the NORML Stash blog, none of these minor amendments to protocol in any way gets to the heart of the problem, and that is this: Police and politicians still “accept the premise that this level of force is appropriate to keep people from using marijuana.” Ultimately, this societal mentality must change.

    That is why, while on the one hand NORML (obviously) supports cannabis medicalization and decriminalization efforts, we also recognize that these efforts fall woefully short for many Americans. In short, the only way to fully protect all our citizens from these kinds of abhorrent events is through the legalization and regulation of marijuana for all adults. Help us make this a reality.

    Stop the violence. Join NORML.