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  • by Erik Altieri, NORML Communications Director February 24, 2014

    Polling data released today by Quinnipiac University revealed that a majority of Ohio voters support legalizing marijuana for recreational use and nearly 9 out of 10 support legalizing marijuana for medicinal use.

    When asked if they supported or opposed allowing adults in Ohio to legally possess small amounts of marijuana for personal use, 51% said they would support this policy and only 44% were opposed. Support was strongest amongst voters age 18-29 (72%), Independent voters (61%), and Democrats (54%) and weakest among Republicans (33%) and voters over the age of 65 (31%).

    Essentially all voters stated they supported legalizing marijuana for medicinal use. 87% said they supported allowing marijuana for medical use and just 11% were opposed. No demographic had less than 78% support.

    Rob Ryan, Ohio NORML President, is not surprised by the favorable Quinnipiac poll response. In his experience speaking to various non marijuana groups, even the most conservative citizens in south west Ohio, where Mr. Ryan lives, readily agree that marijuana is not a deadly, addictive drug with no medical use as it is defined by to be in the same class as heroin by state and federal law.

    You can view the full results of the poll here.

  • by Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director December 23, 2013

    (If you already think NORML is kicking pot prohibition’s butt, skip director’s note below and join NORML or make an end-of-the-year donation.)

    Dear NORML members and supporters,

    NORML: 2013 Annual ReportFor all and intent purposes since the good people of California voted in the majority in 1996 to create legal access for qualified medical patients to cannabis, the pace of public advocacy work in support of cannabis law reform at NORML has been, in a word, manic–with one political victory after another piling up at the state level.

    As we turned the calendar from 2012, where voters in the states of Colorado and Washington had just elected to end cannabis prohibition, to 2013, I was confident that the then coming year would be the busiest and most productive in the organization’s forty-three year history.

    Thankfully for cannabis law reform in America (and the world), I’ve been proven correct.

    The Future of Marijuana Legalization is Happening Right Now, Finally!

    This annual report briefly summarizes the many advances gained by NORML in 2013, and the progress made in general by the ever-increasing popularity for cannabis law reform in the country.

    When NORML was founded in 1970, Gallup polling indicated less than 10% support for legalizing cannabis. Today, Gallup polling reveals that 58% of the American public favor cannabis legalization over its continued prohibition. The prestigious Brookings Institute commenced an educational policy series in 2013 on cannabis prohibition laws, and concluded that the massive change in public attitude in favor of cannabis legalization is likely irreversible as the reforms are increasingly popular with nearly all demographics.

    NORML: 2013 Annual ReportMost of the substantive cannabis law reforms today are affected at the state level–with 21 states having medical cannabis access laws, 16 states have decriminalized cannabis possession for adults and 2 states have crossed the legalization Rubicon. This is placing terrific upward political pressure on a recalcitrant federal government, who otherwise would try to maintain the untenable status quo of cannabis prohibition.

    Federal Government Says ‘Uncle’, More States and Countries To Soon Follow

    In September, federal officials and leaders in the Senate pushed forward with memos and public hearings making it clear that the Obama Administration was not going to interfere with states adopting cannabis legalization, and were in fact publishing criteria allowing pro-reform states to move forward with implementing full legalization schemes for cannabis.

    This monumental decision by the Department of Justice was historic in every sense of the word, and likely marks the death knell for cannabis prohibition in America (and around the world).

    To wit, seeing American voters chuck now unwanted cannabis prohibition laws, replacing them with ‘tax and control’ laws that allow retail access for adult consumers, in mid-December, following America’s lead, the country of Uruguay became the first country in modern history to replace prohibition laws with legalized sales of cannabis.

    Today, more and more elected policy makers, as well as those ascending into politics, are contacting NORML at record levels seeking public endorsements, asking the organization to prepare reform legislation and campaign funding.

    The number of actual legalization bills offered for passage demonstrates another prime example of how mainstream politicians from both major political parties are increasingly embracing cannabis law reform. In 2007, no American politician was willing to work with NORML on a cannabis legalization bill. In 2014, NORML’s lobbying staff anticipates fifteen states will be debating cannabis legalization bills (up from ten states in 2013).

    NORML By The Numbers

    NORML: 2013 Annual ReportWhen I was hired in 1991 to work at NORML, the organization had five basic revenue streams, was in chronic financial dire straits, had numerous liens on bank accounts, rent had not been paid in over a year and the IRS was raking it over the coals in a particularly harsh financial audit.

    I was asked to "help right the ship". My parents thought I’d lost all my senses forgoing opportunities to work in corporate America for a then struggling and politically-lost-in-the-woods non-profit organization.

    Keeping the organization fiscally sound, compliant with non-profit regulations, and transparent (financial tax forms are posted annually to NORML’s webpage) for the public have been organizational priorities for over twenty years.

    In 2013, the budget for the organization is nearly four times the size of the one I inherited in the early 1990s. The organization now has over twenty five revenue streams, 150 chapters, 600 lawyers on the NORML Legal Committee, the staff conduct well over 2,000 media interviews annually and NORML’s online presence, as well as size of its opt-in social network have no peer in the drug policy reform movement. Despite having larger annual budgets secured by a few billionaire donors, NORML’s webpage traffic and number of Facebook and Twitter followers dwarfs most all of the other pro-drug policy reform groups’ online footprint, combined.

    In a recent Zogby poll, when the American public is asked ‘what does the acronym N.O.R.M.L stand for?’, 25% percent responded with an answer like ‘NORML is the marijuana lobby group.’ So well known in American culture, the organization was featured as a question on the December 13, 2013 broadcast of Jeopardy! (So too in 2005 edition of Trivial Pursuit). Annually, NORML signs numerous trademark agreements with major TV networks and movie production companies who want to employ NORML’s apparent cachet in their film and TV productions.

    NORML’s Unique Role and Vexation

    For NORML, America’s most recognized and respected cannabis law reform organization, these are heady days witnessing and helping to end cannabis prohibition. Especially serving as public representatives for cannabis consumers, to help shape what legalization is ultimately going to look like in our country.

    Also unique to the organization is NORML’s dual mission of not only advocating for policy changes to occur post haste, we provide help and legal assistance to the victims of these long misguided cannabis prohibition laws as well. We lend support to many of the millions of men and women busted, prosecuted and incarcerated for what never should have been crimes in our freedom-loving, free-market oriented democracy.

    Bittersweetly, NORML’s staff is viciously whipsawed between phone calls from citizens in states with legal cannabis laws seeking help on procuring a permit to sell or cultivate the herb, while the very next phone call is from a fellow cannabis consumer busted in a pot prohibition state for a minor amount, facing serious, life-altering consequences.

    For forty-three years NORML has been standing loud and proud, publicly favoring cannabis law reform. The American public is now squarely in NORML’s corner. We’ve helped change our country (and the world) for the better.

    Please help us finish the job at hand.

    Sincerely,

    Allen St. Pierre
    NORML Executive Director

  • by Erik Altieri, NORML Communications Director October 22, 2013

    Gallup released new polling data today that shows an overwhelming majority of Americans want marijuana to be legalized. According to their survey, 58% of Americans support legalizing marijuana, while only 39% are opposed. This is up significantly from the last time Gallup polled the question in 2012, when only 48% of Americans were in favor and 50% were opposed. For historical perspective, the first time they surveyed this question in 1969 a paltry 12% of Americans were in favor of legalization.

    The support for marijuana legalization has seen unprecedented momentum in the past several years. Gallup observes, “Whatever the reasons for Americans’ greater acceptance of marijuana, it is likely that this momentum will spur further legalization efforts across the United States. Advocates of legalizing marijuana say taxing and regulating the drug could be financially beneficial to states and municipalities nationwide.”

    “The American people have opened their eyes to the failure that is marijuana prohibition and there is no putting the genie back in the bottle. Following the successful passage of marijuana legalization initiatives in Colorado and Washington in 2012, the people of this country see that a new approach to marijuana policy is both required and possible,” stated NORML Communications Director Erik Altieri, “The majority of Americans now agree that it is time to legalize and regulate. The issue can no longer be ignored or sidelined. Legalization is now the mainstream position and supporters of perpetuating our war on marijuana will continue to be further relegated to the fringe.”

    The strongest support was coming from those ages 18-29 (67%), ages 30-49 (62%), Democrats (65%), and Independents (62%). The only major demographic groups lacking majority support are those 65+ (45%) and Republicans (35%).

    Full poll results can be viewed here.

  • by Erik Altieri, NORML Communications Director October 8, 2013

    normlpollban

    They say things are bigger in Texas and, according to new survey data just released by Public Policy Polling, that includes support for marijuana law reform.

    PPP’s polling found that 58% of Texans support regulating marijuana like alcohol and only 38% were opposed. This change in policy was supported by 59% of women, 70% of Democrats, 57% of Independents, a majority of all racial demographics, and a majority of all age demographics.

    The survey also reported that 58% of Texans supported medical marijuana and 61% supported the decriminalization of possession of an ounce or less.

    You can read the full survey here.

    With a high profile governor’s race shaping up between Senator Wendy Davis, the only declared
    Democrat, and a Republican challenger (Attorney General Abbot seems to be leading in current polls) the time is ripe to make marijuana law reform a major issue in America’s second most populated state.

    TEXANS: You can contact the announced candidates for Texas governor by clicking on their links below. Send them a quick message telling them:

    “Public Policy Polling found that 58% of Texans support ending our costly war on marijuana and replacing it with a system of regulation similar to how we deal with alcohol. This majority support was spread across all age and ethnic demographics. It is time we consider a new approach to marijuana. As a Texas voter, I am very concerned with your position on the issues of marijuana law reform and would greatly appreciate if you could inform me of your stance on the taxation and regulation of marijuana, as well as allowing for its medical use and decriminalization of personal possession.”

    DEMOCRAT:
    State Senator Wendy Davis

    REPUBLICAN:
    Attorney General Greg Abbott
    Tom Pauken
    Miriam Martinez
    Larry Kilgore

    (If you receive a response please forward it to erik@norml.org)

    CANDIDATE RESPONSES:

    Miriam Martinez (posted in response to a question on her Facebook page): “I support the medical use of marijuana and decriminalization of personal possession.”

  • by Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director September 25, 2013

    normlbowlThanks to NORML members and supporters who pushed NORML’s proposed Super Bowl ad in an ongoing Intuit ad contest to the number one position. This morning, Intuit informed us that we have advanced to Round 2 of the contest. Entries who are deemed finalists from this round will be informed on October 29th.

    We can put marijuana legalization before the masses at this year’s Super Bowl, but we still need your help. You can click here to vote for NORML’s entry (Note: You can vote once a day).

    Click here to vote for NORML’s Super Bowl Ad!

    “NORML would like to thank everyone who voted for our entry in Intuit’s contest. Millions of Americans now believe that it is time to legalize and regulate marijuana, winning this contest will help put that message in front of millions more,” stated NORML Communications Director Erik Altieri, “As a non-profit with a small staff and limited budget, we would greatly benefit from this contest just the same as any of the other small business entries. One would argue that NORML would benefit even more so than many, as our brand is looking to broadcast a truly national message and bring to light an issue that directly and adversely impacts countless thousands in our country every year. We hope Intuit will give NORML the same fair chance as any other entrant. Our victory would be a win for all parties involved: Intuit gets lots of media coverage and good will for themselves and their contest, FOX would bring in hundreds of thousands of new viewers who would otherwise not watch the Super Bowl, and NORML gets to take our message about the tragic failings of marijuana prohibition to the masses. Keep voting and we can make marijuana law reform the topic of discussion at watch parties across the nation during the big game.”

    Our entry has caught the attention of mainstream media around the country. NORML staff have conducted dozens of media interviews in the last week about Intuit’s Super Bowl Small Business Ad Contest, to wit:

    USA Today 

    Time

    BusinessWeek 

    Advertising Age

    San Francisco Chronicle

    Seattle Pi

    Including this humorous (and spot on) news video that is being shown nationwide on selective TV stations:

    “One of the organizations competing in the online vote, NORML, a national lobbying organization working towards the legalization of pot. Yep, we can see the first commercial for the legalization of marijuana during the Super Bowl.

    How dare they right? The Super Bowl is an American institution, a family friendly event, brought to you the makers of beer and junk food and male enhancement pills. How could they let such an atrocity happen? Well, it’s quite simple hypocrites…alcohol induced deaths in 2010? More than 25,000 people, heart disease? Over 780,000. Erections lasting over 4 hours…the jury is still out. But pot? Zero, nada, zilch, zip. Ever.

    It is time we stop wasting an estimated 10 billion dollars per year on the enforcement of marijuana laws. It’s time we stop putting people away for the recreational use of a natural product that has legitimate health benefits.”

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