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High Times

  • by Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director June 17, 2013

    There are four new videos worth checking out, two provide comic relief…two provide contrasting views about cannabis prohibition.

    The same day last week I caught a CNN news piece about high school science students sending and recording an egg with a smiley face launched into space, I received something way cooler:

    The first earth-grown cannabis launched into space (unless the US and Russian governments have been ferrying cannabis into space all these years…).

    From our friends at High Times:

    *Proviso: While ‘space’ cannabis is neat, driving while consuming cannabis is an unwise safety and legal decision in all 50 states.

    In what you knew would be a confrontational interview, former Congressman and SAM spokesman Patrick Kennedy bravely goes into the wheelhouse of one of America’s most ardent pro-cannabis supporters: comedian, TV host and NORML Advisory Board member Bill Maher.

    The results. As expected. Kennedy came on larding his advocacy with a plethora of old and/or taken out of context ‘science’ claiming that he used to think ‘pot was not a big deal’, but now has learned otherwise. When confronted by Maher that Kennedy’s anti-cannabis advocacy is misplaced and that his rhetoric sounds like a barely warmed over “Just Say No’  rant from the 1980s, Kennedy claims newly gained insights:

    Really? If this is true–Mr. Kennedy used to think cannabis no big deal and he possess new insight into why prohibition should go on another seventy five years?–the long-serving former state representative and congressman from Rhode Island, with no public or legislative record record indicating anything other than rote support for cannabis prohibition, certainly never conveyed to his constituents or media that he thought cannabis was ‘no big deal’.

    And this new insight that he claims to have gained…might this have come from the ardently anti-cannabis legalization drug rehabilitation industry that Mr. Kennedy is not only had a client of because of his own alcohol and prescription drug abuse, but that he has always been closely associated with this rarely observed side of the pot prohibition perpetuation machinery in Washington,  D.C.?

    Currently, probably living with the real fear that the government will stop bring clients to them forced with the Hobson’s Choice of ‘rehab’ or to get criminally prosecuted, and to often have the government pick up the financial tab, one of the last (and obvious) proponents for the status quo to maintain the government’s failed cannabis prohibition are some active quarters of the ‘drug rehabilitation’ industry.

    Where this newly formed SAM gets its funding (the group appears to be mainly a front group for drug rehabbers and anti-tobacco advocates) will help largely answer the questions: Who likely benefits from cannabis prohibition? Who wants to keep the prohibition policy going, when a majority of the American public no longer does?

    A now nearly regular featured anti-prohibition satirist who specializes in using popular music video parodies to make fun of pot prohibition (and advance his political career in Miami Beach, Florida), Steve Berke has forwarded NORML another of his unique takes:

    Also, Steve is trying to now produce a documentary movie. If you like his style and how is he is trying to shake up Miami Beach’s political scene, check out his new KickStarter campaign here.

    Lastly, and appropriately, the TV originator of the “Last Word’ (a nightly segment on MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell Show), gets the last word on the absurdity and inevitable collapse of cannabis prohibition in America.

    Watch O’Donnell’s powerful indictment against the federal government’s continued support for the failed public policy of cannabis prohibition here.

  • by Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director December 14, 2012

    [Editor's note: Along with signing the below White House petition encouraging the president to grant clemency to these federal prisoners with life sentences for cannabis-only related offenses, please take a moment to do something even more important and write letters of support to the clemency petition to both the President (1600 Pennsylvania, NW, Washington, DC, 20500-0004) and the Office of Pardon Attorney (1425 New York Ave., NW, Suite 1100, Washington, DC 20530) asking for immediate commutation of these prisoners' sentences.

    Additionally, please mention each man by name: John Knock, Paul Free, William Dekle, Larry Duke and Charles Cundiff.]

    Cannabis Prohibition is ending in America (and likely soon around the world too). It is not going to end without prolonged legal, political and regulatory battles. This is well known and anticipated by reformers.

    Social justice movements take decades to build up credibility, social impetus and political saliency. There are, necessarily, many angles by which cannabis prohibition laws can be assaulted: legislation, binding voter initiatives and impact litigation.

    Recently, the law office of Michael Kennedy (the principle behind Trans High Corporation, publishers of High Times Magazine; lifetime member of NORML Legal member) filed an historic legal petition with the federal government seeking clemency for five elderly prisoners serving lifetime sentences for cannabis-only related crimes. In the many hundreds of debates and discussions I’ve had with law enforcement officials and elected policymakers about the need to replace cannabis prohibition laws with logical alternatives, I’m vexed to no end when they make the ridiculous claim: ‘no one gets arrested for marijuana anymore and certainly no one is incarcerated for the stuff!’

    To wit, 1) there are over 750,000 annual cannabis arrests (90% for possession-only) that generate many tens of thousands of cannabis-only offenders sent to jail or prison, and 2) these five men are serving lifetime sentences, for a product that is no longer contraband in two states, decriminalized in fourteen states and eighteen states (and the District of Columbia) now have medical cannabis laws (with six states allowing commercial retail access to the herb with a physician’s recommendation).

    This federal petition to release these men back to their loving families and to get off the tax roll is born out of the non-profit organization called Life For Pot (where the groups is tracking at least twenty prisoners serving life sentences for cannabis-only related offenses), the heart felt project of volunteer Beth Curtis.

    Mr. Obama indicated to ABC News that ‘he has bigger fish to fry’ when asked about what if anything the feds are going to regarding Colorado and Washington voters recently approving cannabis legalization measures. Whether the president is going to expend any political capital at all in actually advancing cannabis law reforms in his last four years remains to be seen, but, the man should act post haste, giving a nod to the new legal era America has entered regarding cannabis prohibition, on this well researched and written petition by granting clemency to these former and now elderly pot cultivators and smugglers.

    We can all help place greater public focus and attention on this federal petition by letting the White House know that President Obama should ‘do the right thing’ and pardon these lifetime prisoners for growing and supplying cannabis to a willing and wonting population of cannabis consumers while unpopular (and largely unenforceable) prohibition laws were still in place.

    Please help Mr. Kennedy’s petition for clemency, Beth’s life’s work and these five cannabis prisoners by signing the White House petition to act favorably upon it. You can review the petition here.

     

  • by Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director August 16, 2012

    Seattle, WA: Event organizers are expecting to break attendance records this weekend for the 21st annual Seattle Hempfest, taking place this Friday through Sunday at Myrtle Edwards Park along the downtown Seattle waterfront.

    Hempfest has drawn crowds in excesses of 250,000 people over the three day ‘protestival’.

    One of the main focuses of this year Hempfest is Washington’s legalization voter initiative, Initiative 502. Washington is one of three states where voters this fall will have the opportunity to substantively reform their state’s personal use cannabis laws. Oregon and Colorado voters also have limited marijuana legalization measures appearing on their statewide ballots this fall.

    The latest public polling regarding I-502 (Read a full description of the measure here.) shows that it is supported by voters by a margin of 50 percent to 37 percent.

    Over 60 musical acts and over one hundred speakers — including NORML Founder Keith Stroup, I-502 sponsor, NORML Advisory Board member and travel expert Rick Steves, numerous NORML board members and chapter coordinators, members of Seattle’s City Council, former law enforcement officials and dozens of cannabis law reform activists will participate in the event from numerous stages and at the ‘Hemposium’ educational tent.

    A list of speakers is found here.

    A complete line-up of this year’s scheduled events, musicians, and speakers is available online at: http://www.hempfest.org/.

  • by Sabrina Fendrick, Director of Women's Outreach July 16, 2012

    Follow the NORML Women’s Alliance on Facebook and Twitter

    (more…)

  • by Russ Belville, NORML Outreach Coordinator February 10, 2012

    NORML SHOW LIVE streams every weekday at 4pm Pacific / 7pm Eastern on The NORML Network, where it's 4:20 / 24 / 7 / 365

    If you’re not able to attend this weekend’s HIGH TIMES Medical Cannabis Cup in Los Angeles, here at The NORML Network we’ve got the next best thing.  Tune in Saturday and Sunday from Noon to 7pm Pacific Time at http://live.norml.org for all the panels, presentations, interviews, and floor tours from LA Center Studios.

    We’ll also be presenting our “It’s 4:20 Somewhere” raffles.  At every 4:20 in America – Eastern, Central, Mountain, Pacific, Alaska, and Hawaii Time – we’ll be raffling off a prize package of NORML buttons, stickers, pins, books, DVDs, t-shirts, and backpacks for those in attendance.  (That’s 1:20pm – 6:20pm Pacific.)  For those of you watching online, follow our NORML Network Twitter feed @NORMLNet for your chance to win, too.

    If you miss the live coverage, video on-demand will be available at the http://live.norml.org over the weekend and permanently at our NORML Network YouTube Channel at http://youtube.com/NORMLNet.

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