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Senate

  • by admin July 29, 2014

    connieNORML PAC is pleased to announce its endorsement of Democratic State Senator Connie Johnson in her campaign to be the next United States Senator representing Oklahoma.

    “Sen. Johnson has been an outspoken supporter of legalizing marijuana for medical and recreational use during her tenure in the Oklahoma legislature,” stated NORML PAC Manager Erik Altieri. “Few state legislators have rivaled her passion and acumen on marijuana law reform and, if elected, Sen. Johnson would be an invaluable ally in the fight to legalize marijuana nationwide.”

    “We encourage Oklahomans to support her campaign and send Sen. Johnson to Washington, D.C. to work toward ending our country’s failed prohibition on marijuana.”

    “I’m incredibly thankful for NORML’s endorsement, ” said Sen. Johnson. “After years of stonewalling in the state legislature, I’m taking this fight to the people. It’s time for the people of Oklahoma to speak on this issue.”

    Sen. Johnson began circulating a petition in early July to put marijuana legalization and commercialization on the Oklahoma November ballot.

    “As taxpayers, we’re spending over $30 million each year policing, jailing, and incarcerating our citizens on marijuana-related offenses—often on simple possession. Yet, marijuana is almost universally available,” Sen. Johnson stated. “It’s time for a smarter approach, particularly in regards to how we spend our taxpayer dollars.”

    “We have teacher shortages in Tulsa and Oklahoma City public schools, as well as in our smaller school districts. Why? Because Oklahoma pays teachers some of the lowest salaries in the nation. How many Oklahoma teachers does $30 million a year pay for?”

    While serving in the state legislature, Sen. Johnson introduced measures to legalize marijuana for recreational and medical use and has been the outspoken champion of marijuana reform in the Sooner State.

    The Oklahoma Democratic Primary will have a runoff election on August 26th. You can click here to check the status of your voter registration and to find your polling place.

    To learn more about Sen. Johnson’s campaign, you can view her website here or follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director June 19, 2014

    Senate members are expected to vote imminently in regard to language that seeks to bar the US Justice Department from interfering in activities that are compliant with state medical cannabis laws.

    Senators Rand Paul (R-KY) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) will introduce the bipartisan amendment, which will be similar to language approved by the US House of Representatives earlier this month. As with other legislation, the amendment must be approved by majorities in both legislative chambers before it is sent to the President for approval.

    This will be the first time in recent memory that US Senators have ever decided on provisions specific to liberalizing America’s marijuana policies.

    It is time that we allowed our unique federalist system to work the way it was intended. Patients and providers should be permitted to engage in state-sanctioned, medical cannabis-related activities free from the threat of federal interference or federal prosecution.

    Please write or call your members of Senate today and tell them to stop using taxpayer dollars to target and prosecute state-authorized medical marijuana patients and providers. For your convenience, a pre-written letter will be e-mailed to your Senators when you visit here.

  • by admin February 19, 2014

    shennapacNORML PAC is pleased to announce that it has endorsed Shenna Bellows in her campaign to represent the state of Maine in the United States Senate.

    “Shenna Bellows has been at the forefront of the fight for marijuana legalization even before beginning this campaign,” stated NORML PAC Manager Erik Altieri, “During her tenure leading the Maine ACLU, Shenna has demonstrated she has the skill and determination to fight for sensible reforms and has proven to be a vocal and articulate leader in calling for the end of marijuana prohibition. We believe she will be invaluable in the United States Senate to help move the country away from our failed war on marijuana and towards a new, smarter approach.”

    “We need to end the war on drugs and reform our criminal justice system, and we cannot afford to wait. The United States incarcerates more people in total and more people per capita than any other country in the world, and the racial disparities are alarming,” Shenna Bellows wrote in a recent op-ed, “Even in my home state of Maine, which is the whitest state in the union, blacks are 2.1 times more likely than whites to be arrested for marijuana possession. Government spends billions of dollars each year enforcing counterproductive drug laws, which are truly the New Jim Crow. The economic and human rights costs are enormous.”

    While we have long had support for marijuana law reform in the House of Representative, support in the Senate has long been harder to come by. In a recent interview with ThinkProgress, Ms. Bellows has made clear she looks to kickstart the movement for rational marijuana policy in the upper chamber of Congress.

    “Right now on the Senate side, there doesn’t seem to be a leader who has the courage to move that forward,” Bellows said. “I would be that leader.”

    You can learn more about Shenna Bellows campaign on her website or by visiting her Facebook page.

    You can donate to the NORML PAC to help elect pro-reform candidates nationwide here.

  • by Erik Altieri, NORML Communications Director December 11, 2013

    appleAt a press conference this morning, New York Assembly Health Committee Chairman Richard Gottfried (D-Manhattan) and state Senator Liz Krueger (D-Manhattan) announced their intent to introduce legislation to legalize the possession, cultivation, and retail sale of cannabis.

    Speaking at the press conference, the Assembly bill’s sponsor Rep. Gottfried said, “We really need to move beyond our totally broken prohibition model to a sensible tax and regulate model. I think it’s widely recognized that marijuana is at most nowhere near as potentially harmful as alcohol and our law is dishonest.”

    Added Sen. Krueger, “I don’t believe a drug that is proven to be less dangerous, from a health perspective, than alcohol or tobacco should be under laws that actually criminalize and ruin lives when alcohol or tobacco are regulated and taxed.”

    The proposed Assembly and Senate measures would allow adults over the age of 18 to possess up to 2 ounces of dried marijuana, 1/4 ounce of marijuana concentrates, and to cultivate up to 6 plants. The legislation would also establish regulations for state-licensed retail cannabis outlets throughout the state. Retail sales would be limited to adults over the age of 21.

    New York City Comptroller John Liu estimates that taxing the commercial production and retail sale of cannabis to adults would yield an estimated $400 million annually, just in the city alone.

    According to a 2013 ACLU report, no state arrests more of its citizens for marijuana possession than New York.

    NEW YORK RESIDENTS: Click here to easily contact your elected officials and urge them to support this legislation.

  • by Erik Altieri, NORML Communications Director November 21, 2013

    This morning, the Maine Legislative Council voted 5-5 on whether or not to allow Rep. Diane Russell’s marijuana legalization to be introduced.

    A tie vote means the motion has failed and the legislation will NOT be introduced this session. Included in the ranks of those voting “No” was Senate President Justin Alfond, who represents Portland…a city that just overwhelmingly voted to legalize marijuana.

    Mainers, please take a moment of your time today to contact your lawmakers at the phone numbers below and tell them:

    “I am extremely disappointed with the Legislative Council’s vote this morning on Rep. Diane Russell’s marijuana regulation bill. This issue isn’t just important to Rep. Russell, but to all of us who live in the state. This legislation would have fostered an important discussion on marijuana legalization and laid out a framework for regulation that benefited the people of Maine. The vote this morning is a disservice to the state and the residents these officials are supposed to be representing.”

    Please call: Maine Senate President Justin Alfond: (207) 287-1500 and Maine Speaker of the House: (207) 287-1300 to voice your concerns.

    The bill would have allowed anyone over the age of 21 to possess up to 2 1/2 ounces of marijuana, cultivate up to 6 plants, and purchase marijuana from established retail outlets. It also contained key provisions in place that ensure individuals with several years residency in Maine and experience as a current medical marijuana dispensaries or caregiver are given priority on business licenses, explicitly leaves the current medical marijuana law in place for patients, and directs tax revenue to help low income patients be able to afford their medicine.

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