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  • by Erik Altieri, NORML Communications Director February 26, 2013

    Legislation has been introduced in Oregon by the House Committee on Revenue that would legalize and regulate the adult use of marijuana.

    House Bill 3371 would establish a regulatory system, similar to the one in place in the state for alcohol, for the cultivation, production, and sale of cannabis to adults over 21. Adults would be allowed to possess up to 24 ounces of usable marijuana and grow up to six plants in their homes, in addition to purchasing it from regulated retail outlets. You can read the full text of the legislation here.

    If you needed any further proof that elections have consequences, we now have a total of seven legalization bills pending in state legislatures, whereas we rarely had even one in previous years. The voters in Colorado and Washington set the ball of legalization rolling down hill and it seems unlikely to slow down anytime soon.

    If you live in Oregon, please click here to quickly and easily contact your elected officials in support of this legislation. If you don’t live in Oregon, click here and see if there is any pending marijuana law reform legislation in your state.

    OREGON: CLICK HERE TO CONTACT YOUR REPRESENTATIVE IN SUPPORT OF HOUSE BILL 3371

    In November 2012, two states legalized marijuana. Help us win the rest. Consider making a donation to support NORML’s advocacy work today.

  • by Erik Altieri, NORML Communications Director October 31, 2012

    We are entering the final week before Election Day and our efforts to educate Americans about marijuana law reform have never been more important. Polls show that victory is within grasp with Colorado’s Amendment 64, Washington’s I-502, and Massachusetts’ Question 3 all recently tracking towards a win, but it will still be a close race to the finish in all states.

    Help us raise awareness for these important initiatives and Smoke the Vote next Tuesday by helping us take the message viral in the final stretch. Below you will find one simple action you can take each day before the election to help promote marijuana legalization. Let your friends and family know that you stand for rational reforms to marijuana policy and remind them to get out and vote!

    1 – Wednesday, October 31st

    Help Make Prohibition a Memory! To start off, set this as your Facebook cover image and encourage those following you to do the same.
    (Click for full size)

    2 – Thursday, November 1st

    Share these images on your Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and more! (Use hashtags such as: #SmokeTheVote #LegalizeIt)

    SMOKE THE VOTE

    3 – Friday, November 2nd

    Spend a Friday night in, preferably with friends and family, calling voters for Amendment 64 and Measure 80. You can either call voters in support of these initiatives by yourself, from anywhere in the country -or- you can pool your efforts and set up a phone banking party. At your disposal are SSDP and NORML’s phone bank to dial voters under 30 for Amendment 64 and JustSayNow‘s phone bank to call voters over 30 (also allows for dialing for Oregon’s Measure 80!)

    CALL VOTERS OVER 30 FOR AMENDMENT 64
    CALL VOTERS UNDER 30 FOR AMENDMENT 64
    CALL VOTERS FOR MEASURE 80

    4 – Saturday, November 3rd

    Share the latest campaign ads! Post them to Facebook, tweet them at celebrities, email them to your grandparents, post one to your blog…just spread them as far and wide as you can. If you live in one of the states voting on an initiative or can directly target people you know who are, all the better.

    WASHINGTON I-502: It’s Just Common Sense

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    COLORADO Amendment 64: Veteran’s for Amendment 64

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    OREGON: MEASURE 80

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    ARKANSAS: VOTE YES ON ISSUE 5

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    MASSACHUSETTS: YES ON QUESTION 3

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    5 – Sunday, November 4th

    Share NORML’s Smoke the Vote Guide with your social networks. Remind everyone to confirm their voter registration and to check their current polling location, as it may have changed since they last cast a ballot. They can also get caught up on all the marijuana related voter initiatives and view the presidential candidates stances on cannabis.

    Post something like:

    Did you know the election is on Tuesday?! Check out this page to confirm your registration, find your polling place, and learn if you can vote on marijuana law reform on November 6th. Smoke the Vote!
    www.norml.org/about/smoke-the-vote

    6 – Monday, November 5th

    Pledge to make some final “Get Out The Vote” calls! You can RSVP for a specific time slot here and get an email reminder when it is almost your scheduled time. These final calls are crucial to reminding our supporters to get to the polling booth and they are our final chance to persuade them to support our efforts! If you can’t make phone calls, can you at least pledge to personally email or facebook message 10 of your friends about the election? Anything you can do to help in the final hours of the campaigns take us another step towards legalization.

    7 – Tuesday, November 6th ELECTION DAY!

    Get out the vote! Share all the above images and videos. Tweet reminders to your friends to #SmokeTheVote (#YesOn64 #YesOn502 #YesOn80). If you live in a state with in-person election day voting, offer to drive your friends, family, and coworkers to the polls. Turn out is extremely important, we have to make sure everyone knows to get out and cast their ballot and to vote YES on the marijuana law reform initiatives.

    After you’ve nagged everyone who will listen, dragged your last friend to the polling station, and cast a ballot yourself, come home and tune into www.blog.norml.org – we will be having live election night coverage giving you the latest from our contacts on the ground, exit polling, first results, and more!

    Together, we can do this. Together, we WILL legalize marijuana. Let’s start on November 6th.

  • by Erik Altieri, NORML Communications Director October 30, 2012


    With just one week left until the election, there have been some recent news to report on, including two new campaign ads and several new polls.

    WASHINGTON

    New Approach Washington, the campaign behind the state’s I-502 to regulate marijuana, has released a new television ad focusing on the ways regulation will help control youth use. In the ad, a Washington mother discusses the issues of the black market and how cannabis legalization can help protect our children. “Young people have easy access to marijuana, and of course drug dealers don’t check IDs,” she states of the current system of prohibition. Regulating marijuana would help solve these problems, she says, it is “just common sense.”

    You can view this new advertisement below:



    Polling data released last week by Strategies 360 had I-502 at 54% support with opposition trailing at 38%.



    COLORADO

    The campaign in Colorado supporting Amendment 64 has also released a new television ad, this one focusing on the issues facing our veterans suffering from PTSD. The commercial features a father and returning veteran who is unable to procure the cannabis he needs for his condition under Colorado’s medical marijuana laws. Under the current law, patients suffering with PTSD do not qualify for access, but Amendment 64 would remove criminal penalties for possession and would provide them places of safe retail venues at which to procure their medicine.

    “Please vote YES on Amendment 64 so that other vets don’t have to suffer.”

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    In other news from Colorado, the latest polling from PPP had Amendment 64 leading by ten points, 53% support to 43% opposition. Help us take Colorado to victory by utilizing our online phone banking programs and begin calling Colorado voters from the comfort of your home today! Each dial results in a person that is more likely to vote, and more likely to vote YES. You can use SSDP and NORML’s phonebank to dial voters under 30, or the JustSayNow phonebank for voters over 30.



    OREGON

    New polling data out of Oregon shows the number of undecided voters is diminishing. Data just released by The Oregonian has support for Measure 80, which would end the state’s marijuana prohibition, at 42% with 49% opposed and 8% still undecided. Previous polling had Measure 80 with 37% support and 41% opposition with 22% undecided. You can help push Measure 80 to success by using JustSayNow’s online phone bank to call voters in Oregon by clicking here.

    MASSACHUSETTS

    The latest polling out of Massachusetts still has their medical marijuana initiative, Question 3, with a strong lead over its opposition. In data released this week by Suffolk University/7NEWS, Massachusetts voters support Question 3 by a margin of 55% to 36%. This is a slight drop in support from polls earlier in the year, but still very much on the track for passage.

    ARKANSAS
    The latest polling data coming out of Arkansas shows a rough fight ahead for their ballot initiative to legalize the medical use of marijuana. In a poll conducted Thursday, October 18th, by TalkBusiness and Hendrix College had support for Issue 5 at just 38%, with opposition at 54% and 8% are undecided.

    For more information on the initiative and on how you can help legalize medical use of cannabis in Arkansas this November, please visit the campaign’s website at www.arcompassion.com

    MICHIGAN
    Learn more about the local initiatives up for vote in Michigan here.

    Don’t forget to get out and vote! Find your polling place, check your registration status, and read about all the state and local initiatives by using NORML’s 2012 voter guide, Smoke the Vote.

  • by Erik Altieri, NORML Communications Director October 11, 2012

    Guest Blog by Joshua Schimberg, Executive Director of Texas NORML

    2012 Election is the Most Important in Marijuana Law Reform History

    This year could likely be the most significant in marijuana law reform history. In case you hadn’t heard, three states, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington, will be voting on some form of marijuana legalization on November 6th, and two states, Arkansas and Massachusetts, will be voting on medical marijuana.

    Perhaps even more significant than all of these proposals, are the recent nationwide polling numbers regarding marijuana legalization. In October, 2011, for the first time ever, Gallup reported a plurality of Americans, 50%, were in favor of legalizing marijuana, with 46% opposed. Then, in March, 2012, Rasmussen also reported a plurality of Americans in favor of “legalizing and taxing” marijuana (47% favored, 42% opposed) in order to “help the nations financial problems.” However, the biggest news came just a few months later when Rasmussen, again, asked the question, but with a slightly different slant. In May, Rasmussen asked Americans if they were favored legalizing and regulating marijuana “in a manner similar to alcohol and tobacco,” and the answer was overwhelmingly yes, with 56% in favor and just 36% opposed. Considering the polling trend over the past decade, this most recent poll seems to suggest that we are nearing a point where Americans support marijuana legalization at a two to one margin. This is huge news, but it doesn’t necessarily mean an easy or quick victory.

    The last time any state voted on marijuana legalization was in 2010, when California’s Prop. 19 was voted down in what many people viewed as an upset. That defeat, despite widespread support of marijuana legalization in California, demonstrated the complicated nature of voter ballot initiatives, and also highlighted fault lines in the activist community. Marijuana law reform activists and supporters are not a monolithic group. More than fifteen years of legal medical marijuana in California, brought about by the passage of Prop. 215 in 1996, have changed the activist landscape there and, more broadly, the west coast. Subgroups and alternate factions of activists, with different goals and agendas, have popped up not just in California, but in many states which have seen years of legal medical marijuana access.

    Differences between activist groups were highlighted prior to California’s vote on Prop. 19. Some medical marijuana activists feared it would harm their access, and some legalization activists feared it didn’t go far enough, or still included too many restrictions. The problem with that logic is medical marijuana has been increasingly under attack, and even in California, according to the California Criminal Justice Statistics Center, misdemeanor arrests for marijuana have sharply increased over the past 20 years to record levels of nearly 55,000 per year, comprising 22% of all drug arrests. Marijuana possession arrests in California have increased more than 100% since 1990. Nationwide in that same time, marijuana arrests have increased more than 250%, going from 326,850 to more than 850,000, and nearly 90% of those arrests are for possession. What conclusion should activists take from this?

    Despite the success of medical marijuana laws, there is much more work to be done in order to end the massive number of marijuana arrests nationwide. And if history is any indicator of how to accomplish that, states like California will have to take the lead as they did with medical marijuana. Since California legalized medical marijuana in 1996, 16 other states, and Washington D.C., have followed suit. Even with more than one third of our country having passed some form of medical marijuana, our Federal government has not yet moved on the issue.

    Enactment of marijuana prohibition didn’t happen overnight; neither will its end.

    Consider that the first state to pass a law against marijuana was Massachusetts in 1911, 26 years before Congress passed the Marijuana Tax Act. During the 26 years between Massachusetts’ law and the Tax Act, nearly 20 other states passed anti-marijuana laws. Solidification of marijuana prohibition came more than thirty years after the Tax Act, when it was listed as a Schedule I Controlled Substance under 1970’s Controlled Substances Act, after which marijuana arrests began to balloon. The lesson here is that changing established public policy is not something that can be accomplished uniformly, quickly, or easily. But, nationwide policy is more likely to change as more states join in, and this November could very well bring about the first state to vote for legal marijuana. If so, it will likely be the first in a long line of states to do so before the Federal government.

    For that reason it is imperative for marijuana law reform activists in Colorado, Oregon, and Washington, to put everything into passing their respective legalization initiatives.
    The sooner we can get the first “domino” to fall, the quicker more broad changes will happen. Activists fighting against activists are delaying progress, and they should keep in mind that public opinion plays a vital role in voter initiatives. If 56% support legalizing and regulating marijuana “in a manner similar to alcohol and tobacco,” it’s highly likely the number will significantly drop without sensible regulations. Even many in the legalization community agree with some sensible regulations, especially if that expedites an end to hundreds of thousands of marijuana arrests every year.

    Ending those arrests is the goal of organizations like NORML, and that is why we support any and all steps in that direction. Whether it’s a decriminalization bill, an affirmative defense medical bill, (both of which NORML has supported in Texas for years) or if it’s a legalization bill (with regulations) in Colorado, Oregon, or Washington, NORML supports any and all chances at protecting responsible, adult marijuana consumers from arrest and imprisonment.

    Election Day 2012 is November 6th, so keep an eye on Colorado, Oregon, and Washington to see who will be first to legalize. Keep an eye on Arkansas and Massachusetts to see who will be the next medical marijuana state.

    This is the biggest Election Day in the history of marijuana law reform.

    For more information on marijuana law reform around the country, visit:
    www.norml.org/about/smoke-the-vote

  • by Erik Altieri, NORML Communications Director September 18, 2012


    A new statewide poll, just released by SurveyUSA, shows many Oregonians still undecided on this fall’s ballot initiative that would legalize and regulate cannabis, Measure 80. In a survey of 633 registered voters, 37% said they were definitely voting yes on the measure, 41% said they were definitely voting no, and 22% remain undecided. Unlike the other two initiatives in Colorado and Washington, which are showing strong leads, many voters seem to have not made up their minds yet about the Oregon initiative.

    If you live in Oregon you can learn more about Measure 80 by visiting the campaign’s website here. You can also learn more ways to help pass marijuana legalization in Oregon this fall by visiting the website for pro-Measure 80 PAC, Oregonians for Law Reform here.

    Be sure to check out NORML’s 2012 voter guide, Smoke the Vote, here and find out all the ways cannabis comes into play in this fall’s election. Get informed, get educated, spread the word, and help us smoke the vote in November.