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ending federal marijuana prohibition

  • by Kevin Mahmalji, NORML Outreach Director January 5, 2018

    Jeff_Sessions_(29299022521)

    Following yesterday’s announcement by the DOJ that Attorney General Jeff Sessions had rescinded the Cole Memo, an Obama-era memorandum issued by Attorney General James Cole in 2013, federal lawmakers on both sides of the aisle quickly denounced the decision.

    Reject AG Sessions’ Efforts to Revert to the Failed Criminal Policies of the ‘Just Say No’ Era

    In addition to taking to the floor of the Senate to express his frustrations, Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) continued to vent on Twitter. He had this to say:

    “This reported action directly contradicts what Attorney General Sessions told me prior to his confirmation. With no prior notice to Congress, the Justice Department has trampled on the will of the voters in CO and other states.”

    Sharing some of the same frustrations as her counterpart in the Senate, Representative Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) shared the following in a email to supporters:

    “Sessions’ actions to protect the bottom lines of the for-profit private prison industry, and Big Pharma whose opioids and drugs flourish in part due to the marijuana prohibition, while trampling on states’ rights and turning everyday Americans into criminals, is the latest injustice that the Attorney General has suffered on the American people.”

    Being the cosponsor of pending legislation, that if passed by Congress would stop AG Sessions in his tracks, Representative Gabbard also took a minute to encourage support for her bill, HR 1227:

    “I am calling on every member of Congress to take up the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act to remove marijuana from the list of federally controlled substances.”

    With prominent Democrats and Republicans promising a fight and threatening to derail DOJ nominations, and thousands of calls and emails from activists asking lawmakers to reject Mr. Sessions’ misguided plan, it appears that political courage comes in many forms.

    To join the fight, take a few minutes to contact your representative and encourage their support for HR 1227: The Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act: http://norml.org/action-center/item/federal-bill-introduced-to-end-federal-marijuana-prohibition and email Chapters@NORML.org for a list of upcoming meetings and lobby days.

  • by Kevin Mahmalji, NORML Outreach Director October 3, 2015

    11863500_10154119506728032_5435735672135739216_nState and Local

    Excitement filled the air at this year’s Boston Freedom Rally as Massachusetts voters consider two initiatives aimed at legalizing recreational marijuana in 2016. The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol and Bay State Repeal are both working to collect the signatures needed to qualify for next November’s ballot.

    Bay State Repeal, a measure backed by MassCann NORML was a big hit at the Freedom Rally

    California NORML’s partnership with ReformCA will guarantee responsible marijuana consumers an opportunity to have their voices heard as stakeholders continue to weigh in on the various initiatives currently being proposed.

    California NORML partners in ReformCA 2016 initiative effort

    With legalization on this November’s ballot, Ohioans will have a chance to not just end the arrest of thousands of marijuana consumers, they’ll be able to bring relief to people seeking the medicinal benefits of marijuana to treat their ailments.

    Eleanor Ahrens, president and founding member of Southeast Ohio NORML awaits relief

    Since July, Florida NORML has seen a lot of success with marijuana decriminalization efforts. From Miami-Dade County, to municipalities such as Hallandale Beach and Miami Beach, local governments have embraced this current trend. Several other cities are looking to take action in the months ahead.

    Florida NORML pushes local reforms ahead of 2016 legalization efforts

    Dan Viets, executive director of Missouri NORML and member of NORML’s National Board of Directors, fought hard to bring justice to Jeff Mizanskey and his family. Mr. Mizanskey is scheduled to speak at Springfield NORML’s next meeting on Wednesday, October 7, 2015. Click here for more details!

    Missouri man freed after 21 years in prison for marijuana

    Activists with Northwest Ohio NORML earned the support of each of Toledo’s 24 wards to pass an ordinance aimed at eliminating penalties for possessing up to 200 grams of marijuana. Lawmakers are currently meeting to discuss the implementation of the new law.

    Northwest Ohio NORML spearheaded a successful effort to weaken local pot laws

    Federal

    Allen St. Pierre, executive director of NORML, took a minute to share his thoughts on the peculiar progression of America’s marijuana laws. From the early acceptance of medical marijuana in the west and the legalization of recreational marijuana in four states, to a pending ballot initiative in Ohio, it’s obvious American’s are ready to end the the government’s senseless war against marijuana consumers.

    Allen St. Pierre, executive director of NORML, reflects on America’s evolving marijuana laws

    In a recent interview, Paul Armentano, deputy director of NORML, commended the State of Oregon for their rollout of their new recreational marijuana program. He attributes the success to state regulators paying close attention to the implementation of similar laws in other states.

    Paul Armentano, deputy director of NORML discusses Oregon’s rollout of legal marijuana  

    New Chapter Spotlight

    Denver NORML recently held their first public meeting to discuss the need for consumer advocacy in a post-legalization environment. Close to twenty-five marijuana consumers packed the room to show their support and share a few concerns about pesticides, social use and high taxes.

    Denver NORML is off to a great start

    Events

    DFW NORML marijuana march, October 17, Dallas

    Virginia NORML fall conference, October 17, Richmond

    NORML of Waco Halloween party, October 30, Waco

    Missouri NORML fall conference, November 7, St. Louis

  • by Kevin Mahmalji, NORML Outreach Director May 18, 2015

    Summary:

    2015 NORML Legislative Fly-InFor those not able to attend NORML’s Legislative Fly-in, I have put together a list of marijuana-related bills currently pending in Congress as well as the names and Twitter accounts associated with members of specific committees that we plan to target during our social media campaign. By using social media, we will be able to add another layer to our lobbying efforts and will also provide each and every one of our members a chance to have their voice heard on these issues. I encourage all of you to start promoting our Twitter campaign to your networks as soon as possible.

    Objective:

    Apply pressure on members of the House Subcommittee on Health, the Senate Committee on the Judiciary and the House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations by engaging them through a coordinated social media campaign using specific messaging and hash tags to track our activity. Using the #NORML hash tag gives us the power to bring attention to and mobilize a larger and more diverse coalition of social media activists to support and/or join our efforts. Also, it’s important that we stay on message so please avoid altering the language provided. By maintaining a consistent message, we will be able to present a coordinated and disciplined effort.

    Directions:

    Simply cut and paste the Twitter handle and language provided below into your Twitter account and hit send. Please make sure that you use the directory so that you contact each representative directly. I’ve provided an example of what each tweet should look like for each bill. I recommend coordinating specific times with your organization and its membership to maximize our efforts.

    Language:

    H.R. 1013: “[Insert Twitter  Handle] I urge you to support House Resolution 1013, the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act. It’s time for a new approach! #NORML

    S.683: “[Insert Twitter  Handle] I urge you to support the Compassionate Access, Research Expansion, and Respect States Act. America is ready! #NORML

    H.R. 667: “[Insert Twitter  Handle] I urge you to support House Resolution 667, the Veterans Equal Access Act. America’s veterans deserve better! #NORML

     

    1. H.R. 1013: Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act                                       

    Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations

    Members & Twitter Accounts:

    Example:

    Screenshot_2015-05-15-18-21-23

     

    2. S. 683 – Compassionate Access, Research Expansion, and Respect States Act

    Committee on the Judiciary

    Members & Twitter Accounts:

    Example:

     Screenshot_2015-05-15-20-40-06

     

    3. H.R. 667: Veterans Equal Access Act                                                                          

    Subcommittee on Health

    Members & Twitter Accounts:

    Example:

    Screenshot_2015-05-15-20-40-32

  • by Erik Altieri, NORML Executive Director July 9, 2011

    HR 2306: End Federal Marijuana ProhibitionIt has been a few weeks since a bipartisan coalition of legislators introduced HR 2306, the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2011, into the House of Representatives. This legislation would prohibit the federal government from prosecuting adults who use or possess personal use amounts of marijuana by removing the plant and its primary psychoactive constituent, THC, from the five schedules of the United States Controlled Substances Act of 1970. Similar to the ending of alcohol prohibition, the federal government would get out of the business of arresting responsible marijuana smokers and allow states to set their own policies.

    HR 2306 was assigned to both the House Judiciary Committee and the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. The bill currently sits in legislative purgatory and how long it will stay there is entirely dependent on two men. The chairmen of these two committees have thus far refused to schedule the bill for a hearing. Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), who chairs the Judiciary Committee, has made it clear he has no intentions of hearing the bill. Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), who chairs the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, has yet to take a strong public stance.

    Stand up for states’ rights and civil liberties by joining NORML in telling these two elected officials that we believe HR 2306 is sound public policy that deserves discussion.

    Click here to sign our petition and tell Representatives Smith and Upton to schedule HR 2306 for a hearing!

    In better news, we are pleased to announce that HR 2306 now has a new co-sponsor! Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA) has contacted Barney Frank’s office and declared his intention to co-sponsor this legislation. He explained his support in a letter to a constituent:

    Thank you for contacting me about repealing the federal laws prohibiting the possession of marijuana. I appreciate you taking the time to write, and I welcome this opportunity to respond.

    I have contacted Representative Barney Frank’s office and requested to be added as a co-sponsor of H.R. 2306, the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2011. I share your concern about the problems associated with marijuana in regards to enforcing drug laws, creating a black market for illegal drugs, and punishing drug users who need treatment. Federal law enforcement should concentrate its efforts on measures that truly protect the public, and I do not believe that prosecuting those found in possession of small amounts of marijuana should be a federal priority.

    Law enforcement agents are forced to operate under scarce resources and I believe it is irresponsible to spend those resources prosecuting the personal use of marijuana. Far more pressing problems demand attention. I think marijuana use for non-medical reasons is a bad idea, and I would discourage anyone from using it, but I don’t believe making it a crime has been a useful or just policy.

    If you are interested in following a particular piece of legislation through the legislative process, the website hosted by the Library of Congress at http://thomas.loc.gov is extremely helpful. It provides a wealth of information about legislation under consideration in the current Congress as well as bills introduced in earlier sessions. The site is called Thomas to honor President Thomas Jefferson and his belief in public access to the workings of government.

    Again, thank you for contacting me. I welcome your views, and look forward to hearing from you in the future.

    Source

    You can keep up to date on HR 2306 by visiting its Facebook page. If you haven’t done so already, be sure to visit NORML’s Take Action Center and contact your elected officials and encourage them to support HR 2306.