A Vision for a New NORML

  • by Norm Kent, NORML Board of Directors February 28, 2013

    A Message from the Chair of NORML’s Board of Directors, Norm Kent:

    NORML is the pioneer, the grand patron and founder of the marijuana policy reform movement in America. We are still here and by your side, and we are needed now, more than ever.

    Some have said that as our nation moves towards medicalization, decriminalization, or legalization, our tasks will be diminished, our duties lessened, our essence threatened.

    The truth is that it is just the opposite.

    Now, with cannabis reforms about to blossom in city after city, from small communities to large counties, our nation needs a respected consumer advocacy group more than ever.

    Our nation needs a lobby such as the new NORML, firmly planted, and nationally respected, which will protect the rights of cannabis consumers, as no one else has in the past or can in the future.

    Our nation needs a new NORML, which ensures that the distribution of cannabis to anyone is universally safe, readily accessible and fairly affordable to everyone.

    Our nation needs a new NORML that ensures that the laws which legislatures pass favor freedom and fairness, not moneymakers or mercenaries.

    Our nation needs a new NORML that ensures patients have access to safe medicine, consumers acquire healthy products, and distribution mechanisms protect gender, age, and race, available not just to corporate conglomerates but individual entrepreneurs.

    The new NORML today contains a NORML Women’s Alliance representing the power of feminism and professionalism, bringing passion and gender diversity to the cause of personal freedom and individual choice.

    The new NORML brings vast youth advocacy to the table, with hundreds of chapters in 50 states, young men and women fighting with their heart and soul to ensure scholarships are not revoked, driving privileges are not taken away, and jobs are not lost because they make legal decisions to use cannabis responsibly.

    The new NORML will bring activists and academicians, economists and entrepreneurs, to political forums, explaining how justly taxing cannabis legally today can stop the bleeding of state, city and village budgets tomorrow.

    The new NORML will still need and provide the national canvas with a network of criminal defense attorneys to represent clients who are wrongly arrested and unjustly prosecuted, from patients with medical conditions to adult drivers illegally stopped.

    The new NORML needs to remind Americans that decriminalization in 18 states means we still have a ways to go in 32 others, where nearly a million Americans a year still go to jail for consuming cannabis.

    Thus, the new NORML needs to remind everyone that apathy and inertia has no room for intrusion; that our advocacy must still be engaged, that our voices still be heard.

    The new NORML thus needs to blend innovative social media tools to drive activists with initiatives from coast to coast and in community after community. With hundreds of thousands of followers on Facebook, and millions of cannabis consumers living and supporting our cause all across America, our word must be spread on the web and throughout the country. We must remind Americans everywhere that it is unjust and unfair for adults consuming cannabis privately and personally to get arrested anywhere, anytime, or in any place.

    The new NORML needs to be advocates not just for patients who want access to safe medicine and fair distribution systems, but adults who demand the right to responsible use along with just access for righteous, recreational use, needing no apologies for exercising their individual sovereignty openly and freely.

    The new NORML also needs to be advocates who rectify the injustices of past decades, for individuals whose futures were destroyed by a drug war that failed to do anything but ruin good lives with bad laws.

    The new NORML needs to marshal public policy so that the laws are changed everywhere not in the next few decades, but in the next few years. To achieve national reform, we need to harness the energy and network of drug policy reform organizations throughout this country. We need to speak with a common voice and universal message.

    The message to be shared and the story to be told is not just that prohibition was wrong all along, or that the drug war has been a financial and moral failure. That is a past we have learned all too well.

    The message for the new NORML is to state that Americans citizens have always come to support equal civil liberties for all, from women to African Americans, to our friends in the gay and lesbian community. After decades of pain, that morning has come for cannabis consumers. The new NORML will celebrate the future, not condemn the past.

    For 40 years, NORML has been on the side of those who embraced individual choice and the responsible use of cannabis, as an extension of personal freedom.

    Now, more than ever, the new NORML will remain by your side in order to ensure that as cannabis is distributed and disseminated to consumers from state to state, or coast to coast, it becomes readily accessible, equitably affordable and universally safe.

    Thank you,
    Norm Kent
    Chair, NORML Board of Directors

    Please consider making a donation to NORML today to help support our ongoing efforts to legalize the responsible adult use of marijuana by clicking here.

    71 responses to “A Vision for a New NORML”

    1. Joel: the other Joel says:

      This vision the best type of seriousness NORML has to offer in maintaining a wholesome lifestyle of self-responsibility and freedom.
      Much better than the prohibitionist vision.

    2. Voice of the Resistance says:

      Yes! for liberty, truth, and most of all justice! Thank you Norml.

    3. Lester Hughes says:

      God is on our side!

    4. wbs 101 says:

      Wow this is a powerful article.

    5. Anonymous says:

      Brilliantly said! Very inspiring. I’m 100% behind you!

    6. MonsterManInMN says:

      Upon arriving home from a long weekend. (A weekend in which my meth using roommates were supposed to have vacated my home) I found my basement door wide open. A door of which I am the only key holder. And had the hutzspa to be standing by that door in my kitchen with a smirk on their faces when I arrived home. They ransacked my personal space, stole irreplaceable family airlumes which included my grandfathers WWII medals along with some other items of value. After an hour or so of calming myself down and contemplating what action to take, I walked upstairs and I slammed that basement door and went to my bedroom. Never said a word to anyone, never threatened anyone. The female roommate called the police and said “she felt threatened” because of the way I slammed the door in my own home. I was arrested for probable cause of domestic assault, spent 3 days in the pokey. She told them I smoked pot. They never found pot in my home, on my person, in my blood, or in my urine and i never admitted using to them. But subsequently ordered me to call a color wheel type random UA program for the last 6 months and pay $15 every time my color gets called. $3000.00 for the attorney. Got me fired from my job by calling them up and telling them I was on drugs. Drugs? I’ll admit I smoke pot. Why they never found any traces of it in my urine or blood is beyond me. To think that so much harm could be done by one person flapping their lips to my employer/cops is unbelievable.

      I joined the MN Norml chapter yesterday. Yeah, I know it was only 25 bucks, so what right? Well I don’t look at it that way. I was smoking pot because it was the only substance I have ever used that gave me an entire new outlook/lease on life. Because i am in so much physical pain from my condition, it manifests itself into a psychological one at times and I need it to stop the spasms, cramping, and pains. I have been suffering 16 years with some type of GI disorder. The Dr. doesn’t even know what condition I have. Something about my gall bladder not functioning properly and my stomach not digesting food properly, In any event. Who is the government of the united states to say what you and I choose to consume? Cheeseburgers, cigarettes and booze are far more harmful that weed. IF CANNABIS ALLEVIATES MY PAIN AND EACH OF THOSE THREE THINGS I JUST LISTED CAUSE PAIN AND SJCKNESS IN MY SYSTEM WHY I AM NOT ALLOWED TO HAVE CANNABIS?

      Please if you are reading this think about donating or somehow trying to get involved with your local Norml chapter. I was someone who would always come to this website and read the articles and use the resources here for free. But yesterday, it dawned on me. This is a fight not just about legalizing a substance that should have never been illegal in the first place. This is fight for standing up for what is right. This is a fight for standing up against the bureaucracy. This is a fight to give all the chance to have a healthy and peaceful experience in this thing called life. Not all of us were created equal. Some of us need cannabis to fix what poor genetics handed us. So be it. And so help me god from this day forward I will do whatever I can to further the cause. Peace and goodwill to all of you, my brothers and sisters of the world!!!

    7. Dave says:

      With our BPD Federal government, we’ll need norml for years and years to come. After all, BPD’s excel at “bringing the drama”. And what is it we’re fighting for? A harmless, but extremely valuable plant. Only folks that “feel” failure as “winning” fight wars against reality.

      The anti-marijuanaros are clearly saying, “Stepping down on someone is better than giving them a hand up. It is what they deserve. You smoke pot, you’re guilty of other people’s crimes.” Marijuana is just one excuse they use to justify anti-social behavior; but they will not let it go as long as they think it has traction with the general public.

      Even the tiniest little bit of traction. And if they don’t have any, they’ll try to create some with more lies.

    8. Samuel Taylor says:

      We need to take a page from the NRA’s playbook and have our own Magazine or eZine at least.

      Has anyone at NORML ever thought about contacting the NRA? The War on Drugs is one of the big things we have in common with them. If we did not had big pharma preventing marijuana based anti-depressants, most of these wackjobs that have been doing copycat killings at schools would be sitting at home, happily and properly medicated.

      Unlikely bedfellows for sure, but we share very common foes

    9. Alain says:

      My hope is that when America decriminalises totally, Canada and the rest of the world will follow suit.

    10. beth curtis says:

      Thank you NORML. Please do not forget the many non-violent marijuana inmates who are serving Life Without Parole for the crime of selling marijuana. There is a continuing need for those who have advocated so valiantly to end the war on drugs.

      We still desperately need you.