Loading

Victory

  • by Erik Altieri, NORML Executive Director November 9, 2016

    Election Day dealt another body blow to our nation’s costly, failed, and discriminatory policy of marijuana prohibition. If anyone thought our victories in 2012 and 2014 were a passing fad, it is now clear that they were mistaken. With adult use measures being approved in four states (CA, MA, ME, NV) and medical marijuana initiatives passing in another four (AR, FL, MT, ND), the era of marijuana legalization is upon us. By standing together and fighting for our shared beliefs, we spread the seeds of the cannabis revolution far and wide.

    But now is not the time to become complacent. As we celebrate our recent successes, we must remind ourselves that legalization is not inevitable. It is dependent upon maintaining the fight. Our opponents are not going away. They remain well funded and ready for battle. So should we.

    DONATE TODAY TO CONTINUE THE REVOLUTION

    blogsticker

    From day one, NORML’s mission has been to shape public and political opinion so that the responsible use of cannabis by adults is no longer criminalized and stigmatized. NORML does so by standing up for the rights of the responsible cannabis consumer, and by presenting credible, evidence-based information about marijuana and marijuana policy reform to the general public, the mainstream media, pundits, and policymakers. And I firmly believe that nobody does it better.

    That is why I’m honored to be named NORML’s new Executive Director.

    I’m no stranger to this cause or to NORML itself. From 2007 to 2015 I served as NORML’s Communications Director, PAC Manager, and chief lobbyist. Following a brief sabbatical, during which I fought to decrease the influence of big money in our political system, I am honored and excited to return to lead NORML during one of the most exciting and critical times in the group’s forty year history.

    I urge you to stand with me, NORML’s staff, and with our nationwide network of chapters. We must capitalize on our newly minted successes and seize upon our growing public support. No one person or organization can win this fight alone. We must come together as advocates in a unified force so that we can make our desired policy reforms a reality.

    Even with these victories, most Americans are still living under the specter of marijuana prohibition. Obviously, there is much more work that needs to be done. We need your help to finish the job.

    NORML only exists and succeeds because of the support of passionate and dedicated individuals like you. With you standing shoulder to shoulder with us, we will continue to take our fight to city councils, state legislatures, and to Congress. Together, we are unstoppable. Together, we WILL legalize marijuana nationwide.

    The revolution continues,

    Erik Altieri
    NORML Executive Director

    JOIN THE FIGHT TODAY

     

  • by NORML November 5, 2014

    All seven of NORML PAC’s publicly endorsed candidates for the US House of Representatives won decisively in yesterday’s midterm election.

    These include:

    Rep. Alan Grayson for Congress (FL-09)
    Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman for Congress (NJ-12)
    Rep. Earl Blumenauer for Congress (OR-03)
    Rep. Steve Cohen for Congress (TN-9)
    Rep. Beto O’Rourke for Congress (TX-16)
    Rep. Denny Heck for Congress (WA-10)
    Rep. Jared Polis for Congress (CO-02)

    These candidates all endorsed the full legalization of marijuana and are dedicated to championing reform at the federal level in the 114th Congress. We fully expect these individuals to be instrumental in introducing and advancing important legislation when they begin their new session in January.

    “What is really worth noting,” stated NORML PAC Manager Erik Altieri, “Is that all of our endorsements for the US House of Representatives happened to be Democrats and all won by large margins in a year where others in their party were getting handily defeated nationwide. Perhaps this, coupled with solid wins for legalization in Alaska, Oregon, and the District of Columbia, will send a message to Democratic Party members across the country that it is not only good policy to support marijuana legalization, but good politics.”

    Also winning their elections were NORML PAC endorsed New Jersey Senate candidate Cory Booker and Maine State Representative Diane Russell.

    Want to help us continue to elect pro-reform candidates across the country? DONATE to NORML PAC today!

  • by Erik Altieri, NORML Executive Director June 25, 2012

    The New Jersey General Assembly this evening voted 44-30 in favor of Assembly Bill 1465, which removes criminal penalties for the possession of approximately one-half ounce of marijuana. Members of the state Assembly Judiciary Committee had previously approved the measure by a unanimous vote.

    Presently, the possession of this amount of marijuana carries a penalty of up to a $1000 fine and six months in jail. A conviction also results in a criminal record that cannot be expunged for at least five years, the loss of driving privileges, and other penalties.

    The measure now awaits action from the state Senate. If you reside in New Jersey, you can click here to contact your state Senator and urge them to support this important legislation.

    If the bill obtains Senate approval it will still face a major hurdle, as Governor Chris Christie publicly stated he intends to veto the bill should it reach his desk. (An override of the Governor’s veto would require 54 ‘yes’ votes in the Assembly and 27 ‘yes’ votes in the Senate.) It is unfortunate that the Republican Governor and former federal prosecutor refuses to listen to the will of the voters, as a November 2011 Eagleton poll found that 58 percent of New Jersey residents believe that penalties regarding the use of marijuana should be decreased and 55 percent of them believe that marijuana possession penalties ought to be be eliminated entirely.

    Just days earlier, Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee enacted a similar marijuana decriminalization measure into law, amending pot possession penalties from a criminal misdemeanor (punishable by one year in jail and a $500 maximum fine) to a non-arrestable civil offense — punishable by a $150 fine, no jail time, and no criminal record.

    Eight states – California, Colorado, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New York, and Oregon — similarly define the private, non-medical possession of marijuana by adults as a civil, non-criminal offense.

    Five additional states — Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada, North Carolina, and Ohio — treat marijuana possession offenses as a fine-only misdemeanor offense. Alaska imposes no criminal or civil penalty for the private possession of small amounts of marijuana.

  • by Erik Altieri, NORML Executive Director May 30, 2012

    In early May, Ellen Rosenblum rode to a landslide victory in the Oregon Democratic Attorney General Primary with marijuana law reform being a central plank in her platform. It looks like it has happened again, this time in the Lone Star state.

    In the Democratic primary for the House seat representing El Paso, eight-term incumbent Silvestre Reyes faced an unexpected challenger in Beto O’Rourke, who formerly served on the El Paso city council. The race garnered media attention, largely focusing on O’Rourke’s support for marijuana legalization.

    O’Rourke had been vocal in his critique of the drug war, telling the Huffington Post in April that, “you have 10,000 people killed in the most brutal fashion in Ciudad Juarez in the last 10 years, without a single word from the congressman about what we can do to change the dynamic and stop the bloodshed.” He also stated that, “it is clear to me that what we’re doing is a failure.”

    During his second term on the city council, O’Rourke championed a resolution that urged the re-examination of the drug war and went on to author a book on the subject.

    Beto’s support of marijuana law reform became the focus of attacks from his opponent, Reyes, in the final days of the campaign. Reyes lambasted O’Rourke’s position as soft on crime stating that “my opponent seems to think that recreational use of marijuana is okay with him, and that’s the group he hangs around with — but it’s not for me, it’s not for my grandkids.”

    Reyes feared ending prohibition would lead to widespread use around schools and children. “I don’t want to live in a community where people think that it’s okay to light up a joint and parade around elementary schools and junior highs,” he said.

    Despite these attempts to turn O’Rourke’s rational support for the reform of marijuana policy into a political liability, the voters decided otherwise. Last night, O’Rourke claimed victory, with 50.4% of the vote. Silvestre Reyes, despite the advantage of holding the office for eight terms, only received 44.4%.

    Let’s hope this is just another in an ongoing wave of pro-reform candidates being elected into office, replacing those who employ tired drug war rhetoric to continue the costly failure that is cannabis prohibition. The people want it. If the politicians aren’t willing to take a stand and change the policy, it is time we start changing the politicians.

  • by NORML April 3, 2008

    Below is this week’s summary of pending state legislation and tips to help you become involved in changing the laws in your state.

    Minnesota: Minnesota’s House Ways and Means Committee may soon be voting on a medical cannabis bill, Senate File 345, along with its companion bill, House File 655. From Ways and Means, it would go to the House floor, and if passed there, the Governor’s desk. If passed, this legislation will help to ensure that medical marijuana patients in Minnesota will no longer have to fear arrest or prosecution from state law enforcement. However, Governor Pawlenty has indicated that he is inclined to veto this bill if it gets to his desk. Minnesotans can urge their Representatives and the Governor to support these bills via NORML’s online advocacy system.

    California: In another victory for cannabis law reformers, Assembly Bill 2389 – which sought to require drug testing for recipients of state benefits and welfare – was defeated in the Assembly Committee on Human Services with six members voting no, and only one yes. AB 2389 drew opposition from a wide range of groups, including the ACLU, NOW, the California Nurses’ Association, the California State Association of Counties, and the County Alcohol and Drug Program Administrators Association. It was supported by the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s office. California NORML Director Dale Gieringer submitted testimony against the measure, available here.

    Hawaii: House Bill 2675, which would set up a medical marijuana task force to examine and make recommendations to correct the problems facing medical cannabis patients in Hawaii, passed the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously unamended. If passed, this task force would examine issues regarding adequate supplies of medical marijuana for qualified patients, distinguishing between mature and immature plants under current law, the feasibility of constructing secure growing facilities for medical marijuana patients to use to produce their medicine, and study inter-island travel issues related to medical marijuana. Hawaiian supporters can email their state senators via NORML’s online advocacy system.

    Rhode Island: The Rhode Island Senate Committee held a hearing on Senate Bill 2693 on Thursday, April 3. SB 2693 would set up a dispensary system for Rhode Island’s state-qualified medical cannabis patients. The committee heard testimony in favor of the bill from Buddy Coolen of Warwick, who was recently robbed at gunpoint while attempting to obtain the cannabis he is permitted under state law. Rhode Islanders can write their Senate and House members in support of this bill and its companion, House Bill 7888, through NORML’s online advocacy system.