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  • by Kevin Mahmalji, NORML Outreach Director April 18, 2018

    Following tradition, marijuana consumers and advocates from around the globe are organizing rallies, marches and other acts of political expression or civil disobedience in advance of this year’s celebration of 4/20, an annual protest against the prohibition of marijuana. While these public events are often effective at generating some buzz and raising public awareness, they are rarely organized to directly influence or appeal to those elected officials who continue to oppose common sense marijuana law reform efforts.

    To increase the political effectiveness of these events, NORML chapters are planning to combine these traditional events with a robust presence on social media that includes a call-to-action urging federal lawmakers to support HR 1227: The Ending Marijuana Prohibition Act. If passed by Congress, this legislation will eliminate federal criminal penalties for possessing and growing marijuana, give states the power and flexibility to establish their own marijuana policies free from federal interference, and remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act, which would allow for more marijuana research both recreationally and medicinally.

    NORML Chapters will continue to use these public events to demonstrate that our culture is a growing part of the broader community, and to raise awareness and support for marijuana law reform efforts.

    A couple examples of which are:

    Members of Chicago NORML have a lot to celebrate after voters in Cook County, Illinois voted to approve, “the cultivation, manufacture, distribution, testing, and sale of marijuana and marijuana products for recreational use by adults 21 and older,” through a non binding referendum earlier this year. Organizers are planning a 4/20 celebration that will help fund educational & outreach efforts in their community.

    In South Carolina, members of Lowcountry NORML are hosting a 4/20 rally in downtown Charleston to raise awareness about marijuana’s proven medicinal benefits, its hundreds of industrial uses, and the obvious need to end the mass arrest, stigmatization, and incarceration of nonviolent marijuana consumers. To help spread the word, supporters will be wearing t-shirts, holding signs, sharing stories, and asking others to join the fight to end marijuana prohibition.

    Below is a list of events that are taking place around the country:

    Alabama

    Alabama NORML – https://www.facebook.com/events/144416092932869/

    California

    Humboldt NORML – https://www.facebook.com/events/176073716520697/

    Monterey County NORML – https://www.facebook.com/events/150183702470495/

    Colorado

    Denver NORML – https://www.facebook.com/events/2137082429854938/

    Southern Colorado NORML – https://www.facebook.com/events/165225564129646/

    Delaware

    Delaware NORML – https://www.facebook.com/events/420211771762876/

    Florida

    Northeast Florida NORML – https://www.facebook.com/events/2049355575350535/

    Illinois

    Chicago NORML – https://chicagonorml.z2systems.com/np/clients/chicagonorml/eventRegistration.jsp?event=503&

    Indiana

    Indiana NORML – https://www.facebook.com/events/1964672153792901/

    Purdue NORML – https://www.facebook.com/events/353749958430389/

    Iowa

    Iowa NORML – https://www.facebook.com/events/1173742189395622/

    Kentucky

    Kentucky NORML – https://www.facebook.com/events/155608048425043/

    Minnesota

    Minnesota NORML – https://www.facebook.com/events/582709222121912/

    Minnesota NORML Women’s Coalition – https://www.facebook.com/events/121504848551480/

    New Mexico

    New Mexico NORML – https://www.facebook.com/events/1546743615424372/

    New York

    Western New York NORML – https://www.facebook.com/events/1983972578530607/

    North Carolina

    North Carolina NORML – https://www.facebook.com/events/1568205869881130/

    Charlotte NORML – https://www.facebook.com/events/296119900919588/

    NC NORML of the Triangle – https://www.facebook.com/events/457312888018481/

    South Carolina

    Aiken NORML – https://www.facebook.com/events/146375166036064/

    Lowcountry NORML – https://normlsc.org/pages/420-rally

    Tennessee

    Memphis NORML – https://www.facebook.com/events/1673604129371656/

    Texas

    DFW NORML – https://www.facebook.com/events/185597428714345/

    El Paso NORML – https://www.facebook.com/events/1779571042339535/

    Houston NORML – https://www.facebook.com/events/556580421390187/

    Hub City NORML – https://www.facebook.com/events/1893685727608368/

    Hub City NORML – https://www.facebook.com/events/576627839344019/

    Southeast Texas NORML – https://www.facebook.com/events/221071241791222/

    Texas NORML – http://www.austinreggaefest.com/

    Virginia

    Hampton Roads NORML – https://www.facebook.com/events/217136348839688/

    Roanoke NORML – https://www.facebook.com/events/158436751510406/

    Wisconsin

    Southeastern Wisconsin NORML – https://www.facebook.com/events/1894312693920769/

  • by Erik Altieri, NORML Executive Director May 5, 2014

    On Saturday, over two thousand Texans joined DFW NORML in Ft. Worth to rally against the prohibition of marijuana.

    dfwrally

    The rally was part of an all day event hosted by the Dallas-Fort Worth NORML chapter. The day’s activities kicked off at noon with a festival style atmosphere featuring vendors, speakers, and musical entertainment. At 4:20pm the crowd marched from their location to the Tarrant County Courthouse (pictured above).

    Similar rallies were held nationwide, with many being hosted by NORML affiliates, both regionally in locations such as Austin and El Paso and as far away as Newark, Delaware.

    You can become part of the grassroots movement that is sweeping the nation. Join your local NORML chapter and get active in reforming marijuana laws in your own state. Click here to find the group nearest to you.

  • by Erik Altieri, NORML Executive Director March 12, 2014

    Tomorrow, the Maryland House Judiciary Committee will be holding a public hearing to discuss House Bill 880 (legalization) and House Bill 879 (decriminalization) at 1:00pm in Annapolis.

    Maryland residents can click here to contact their legislators in favor of decriminalization and here to contact them in favor of legalization. It only takes a few minutes, so please take a moment of your time to let your voice be heard.

    Please also consider calling both House Judiciary Committee Chairman Delegate Vallario and Speaker of the House Delegate Busch to let them know that Marylanders support reforming the state’s marijuana policies. These two will be key in seeing these measures advance and have had prior history of opposing such efforts. Their contact information is below:

    House Judiciary Committee Vallario
    P: 301-858-3488

    Speaker of the House Delegate Busch
    P: 301-858-3800

    Prior to the hearing, marijuana law reform advocates will be rallying at Lawyers Mall outside of the state house at 11:00am to show support for these important pieces of legislation. They will be joined by legalization and decriminalization bill sponsor, and NORML PAC endorsed candidate for Maryland Governor, Delegate Heather Mizeur. More information on the rally is available here.

    Thank you for supporting our efforts to legalize marijuana in Maryland. Together, we can bring about great change in the state this legislative session!

  • by Erik Altieri, NORML Executive Director September 19, 2013

    ssdp9The monthly protest of draconian federal cannabis laws continues in front of the Liberty Bell with the ninth Smoke Down Prohibition Rally on Saturday September 21st.

    PhillyNORML, comedy activism crew The Panic Hour and marijuana legalization advocates from around the country will peacefully gather at 5th& Market Streets on The People’s Plaza at Independence Mall National Historic Park to seek redress from our United States government.

    Speeches will begin at 3:30PM with scheduled speakers: Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate John Hanger, PA medical marijuana advocate Louanne Speese-Stanley, registered New Jersey medical marijuana patient Rowyn Capers, NJ medical marijuana activist Jim Miller, PhillyNORML Co-Chairs Mike Whiter and Chris Goldstein along with some light comedy and acoustic music.

    The rally comes just after organizers received information on the costs of the police presence at previous events:

    In April 2013, the last “Smokedown” event held without police interaction, the cost of overtime for National Park Service Police totaled $1,522.43. The very next month, when NPS Police decided to start making arrests, costs increased to $5,350.62 worth of overtime. Keep in mind these events last generally from 2 to 3 hours at most.

    On June 30th, 2013 the Park Service decided for reasons unknown to dramatically up their presence and brought in even more police, some dressed in full riot gear. On this date, the cost of overtime combined with travel expenses shot up to an astounding $21,563.64. Over twenty-thousand dollars were wasted to police a group of peaceful pot smokers, expressing their right to petition the government and engage in free speech.

    However, the costs are barely even scratching the surface. On June 30th, multiple police agencies were present in sizeable numbers. Among the NPS Park Police were the Department of Homeland Security Police, Philadelphia Police Department, SEPTA Police, and the US Fish & Wildlife Services. Also present in June, and at every event held since, was Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Goldberg. It would be interesting to know how much a U.S. Attorney gets paid to stand around and watch potheads get ticketed on a weekend.

    These are the costs for just one of the agencies present. Future FOIA requests are forthcoming to determine exactly how much was spent in total across all the agencies involved. However we do know how much the NPS earned for their $20k+ investment in June, roughly $1700. Only 10 citations were made at that event, some of which have since been thrown out.

    Source: The Daily Chronic

    You can RSVP to Smoke Down Prohibition IX, being held this Saturday in Philadelphia, by clicking here.

    John Hanger, candidate for the Democratic nomination for Pennsylvania Governor and scheduled speaker, commented on the police activity stating that it is a “ridiculous use of federal resources … it makes no sense whatsoever to have that kind of law enforcement present at a peaceful protest.”

  • 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!

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