NORML Director: Amazing 2009! Awesome 2010 Ahead!

  • by Allen St. Pierre, Former NORML Executive Director December 31, 2009

    Help Support NORML’s End of Year Drive – Donate Now

    Dear NORML Supporter:

    It is not often that I feel compelled to write to NORML’s membership and supporters regarding the day-to-day operations of America’s leading marijuana lobby group. Then again, in my tenure as Executive Director of NORML and the NORML Foundation, there’s never been a time like right now.

    Over the past several months NORML’s public prominence and political influence has grown by leaps and bounds. As I write you today I’m reflecting upon two of the most significant – and productive – weeks in NORML history.  As we close the year 2009 I am proud to say that NORML has galvanized its position as the leading marijuana law reform organization. Why do I say this?  Take a look at the events of these two weeks late this fall, and decide for yourself:

    • Marijuana legalization in Massachusetts? NORML testifies ‘Yes!’
      On Wednesday, October 14, NORML’s Legal Counsel Keith Stroup and NORML Advisory Board Member Dr. Lester Grinspoon testified before the Massachusetts Joint Committee on Revenue in favor of House Bill 2929, ‘An Act to Regulate and Tax the Cannabis Industry.’ Members of NORML’s state affiliate, MassCann, also spoke on behalf of the measure, which was drafted by former NORML Board Member Richard Evans. The well-attended legislative hearing marked the first time that Massachusetts state legislators had ever publicly discussed legalizing marijuana, and the debate earned prominent media coverage throughout the state. 

    • California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger requests marijuana legalization debate
      In May Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger publicly called for a debate on the merits of marijuana regulation. This October NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano and CalNORML Coordinator Dale Gieringer obliged the Governor’s request, and provided his office with a comprehensive action plan for regulating marijuana production and distribution in California.

    • Obama to Justice Department: Back off on medi-pot prosecutions
      On Monday, October 19, U.S. Deputy Attorney General David Ogden issued a historic memorandum to federal prosecutors advising them to no longer "focus federal resources … [on those] whose actions are in … compliance with existing state laws providing for the medical use of marijuana." The directive upheld a campaign promise by President Obama, who had pledged that he would not use "Justice Department resources to try to circumvent state laws." Ever since the President took office NORML and other drug policy reform groups had lobbied the administration to follow through, in writing, with this sensible policy. Tellingly, the administration’s decision was hailed by the mainstream media as a major step toward the enactment of marijuana liberalization in America. Not surprisingly, NORML representatives spent the days immediately following the administration’s announcement speaking with dozens of mainstream media outlets, including CNN, MSNBC, The Associated Press, and The Christian Science Monitor, urging Congress to move expeditiously to make the administration’s policy changes into permanent law.

    • Mainstream media just can’t get enough pot
      Over the past month NORML has fielded multiple requests from producers at mainstream media, radio, and television outlets throughout the nation and the world. Notably, NORML’s staff participated in the production of Fox Business News weeklong series on the cannabis industry (air date October 19-23), Newsweek‘s five-part series on present and past marijuana policy (published October 16), and the October 14 edition of PBS’ News Hour with Jim Leher.  NORML has also recently received prominent coverage in periodicals such as the BBC, The Wall Street Journal, and Fortune Magazine. Unlike in past years – or even past months – the overall tone of all of these high profile features was favorable to marijuana law reform.  The underlying media message: marijuana is a commodity, not a moral threat, and it’s about time for America’s laws to start treating it that way.

    • The Drug Czar’s office comes calling
      On Monday, October 24 – at the request of the White House – I participated in a strategic conference call with Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske to discuss the drafting of the administration’s 2010 National Drug Control Strategy. You read that right: the Office of National Drug Control Policy reached out to NORML and requested NORML’s participation in crafting the administration’s future drug reform strategies. Yes, the same office that just one year ago inflicted the cannabis community with John Walters is now making house calls to NORML.

      My friends, the times are most definitely changing.

    • NORML testifies at California Assembly hearings on legalization
      Finally, to conclude two of my busiest weeks ever as NORML and NORML Foundation Director, on Wednesday, October 28, NORML’s Paul Armentano and Dale Gieringer traveled to Sacramento to testify before the California Assembly on Public Safety to urge legislators to stop arresting responsible marijuana smokers.  "The criminal prohibition of marijuana has not dissuaded anyone from using marijuana or reduced its availability; however, the strict enforcement of this policy has adversely impacted the lives and careers of millions of people who simply elected to use a substance to relax that is objectively safer than alcohol," Armentano told the Committee. "NORML believes that the state of California ought to amend criminal prohibition and replace it with a system of legalization, taxation, regulation, and education." Like in Massachusetts two weeks earlier, the day-long hearing and was the first of its kind to take place before the California legislature.

    So there you have it: two weeks in the life of NORML and the NORML Foundation.  Thank you for being there for us – so we can be there for you.

    As we conclude this momentous year I rest assured knowing that with your continued financial contributions, NORML and the NORML Foundation will be able to maintain its position as the most trusted and respected marijuana law reform organizations in the United States.  That remains our commitment to you – the cannabis consumer – as we look ahead to the success and victories that await us in 2010.

    With your generous support, we are ending marijuana prohibition. With your continued generous support, we’ll end marijuana prohibition once and for all.

    Cannabem liberemus,

    Allen St. Pierre
    Executive Director

    P.S. Please make your tax-deductible donation to the NORML Foundation in support of our national outreach and educational programs.

    If you’d rather your donation be employed for state and federal lobbying purposes, please make sure that the donation is directed to ‘NORML‘, where donations are not tax deductible.

    P.P.S. Donate $50 or more to either NORML Foundation (or NORML) and receive a copy of the new book ‘Marijuana is Safer, so why are we driving people to drink?‘ co-authored by NORML deputy director Paul Armentano.

    38 responses to “NORML Director: Amazing 2009! Awesome 2010 Ahead!”

    1. We here at Greene Acres Caregiver are moving in a new direction! We see the change coming and are ready to face it! We serve patient and caregivers in Montana. We can help patients in non MMJ states get their cards here in Montana. This does not protect patients in a non MMJ state, but it does protect them while they visits the Big Sky state!!!

    2. Andy says:

      I hear wisconsin is getting close to passing the medicinal marijuana bill.

    3. Mr. Fred says:

      Thats right, our message is OUT! There’s NOTHING that can stop people from speaking the truth about this blessed plant!

      Thank you so much, Kieth Stroup, for founding this great organization we call NORML! We must unite! I am so glad I’ve always looked to your organization to be the place where I can donate my time and money to help undue this great injustice of humanity!

      Happy New Year, lets make this one count! 🙂

    4. stompedonmyrights says:

      As I have said all this year, JURY NULLIFICATION! It is the key to getting our liberty back. It is this act that the citizens can use to rule over or overrule their wayward government agents/employees. We/employers must teach this important American concept to every American, young and old alike, if we wish to free those held unujustly by our wayward government.

      We as a society or sub-society must force this wayward government to chance to the will of the people. we can do this peacefully by taking our seeds that we throw in the trash and plant them in the face of this wayward government. By passively and peacefully planting your hemp seed in the face of the unjust will help bring this issue to a head. Media will not be able to ignor the tens of thousands of plants popping up on main street, court house lawns, and other government held property sitting in plain view.

      After this issue is pushed into the main media focus by the two acts listed above we as a sub-culture in this society file a Class Action Writ and a Class Action Title 42 1983-1986 in every Federal Judicial District in the United States. It will not matter if we win these cases or not, we will load down the Court System forcing them into open debate and Jury held cases over this Constructive Fraud placed on the people when our Congress unlawfully abrogated our liberty and misunderstood our Constitution.

      2010 should be the year we set the goal of freeing our brothers and sisters from these unjust acts of government. 2010 should be the year we set to push harder and faster upon the branches of government to correct this injustice.

      2010 is the Year of Jury Nullification on Cannabis. This should be the year we free ourselves from the tyrants who act so unjust and lie about the facts.

      Please send the word out this New Years, let the Americans know that the change is now, this coming year, no more tomarrows, it is today. Lets make the New Years resolution to be not for ourselves but for those unjustly held in our prison system. This year we as a sub-culture of American Society will make space in our overcrowded prison systems by freeing all those unjustly held for their part in the unlawful Cannabis laws.

      Lets make some noise, lets charge down the tracks with the truth in one hand and our Constitution in the other.

      Just think about what I have said here, we can bring this issue to a much needed close and we can and will have our liberty as we define it not how the wayward government defines it. Are you out there? Do you hear this cry for change? Then let US act as one voice and change this situation once and for ALL of US.

      Stomped On My Rights is a Son of Liberty and will settle for nothing less.

      The time is TODAY!

    5. fla activist says:

      this is awesome news folks…..i cant wait for the first minute herb will be legal……it will truly be an assembly and, breakin of the bud…..this has been the worst year without its pleasing benefits. norml will get my c-note….thanks to you all for your work.

    6. Brett says:

      2010 is gonna kick ass, period. bye bye prohibition.

    7. Anthony says:

      Such good news!

    8. Stephen says:

      I love you NORML, I’ts been a great year. You’re my homepage and I check you every day. I can’t wait to see what happens 2010.

    9. Anonymous says:

      I hope Oregon passes the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act. We can’t afford to wait any longer…. http://www.cannabistaxact.org/

    10. James Crosby says:

      I hope Oregon passes the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act. We can’t afford to wait any longer…. http://www.cannabistaxact.org/