Help Us Reach the Marijuana Tipping Point

  • by Keith Stroup, NORML Legal Counsel August 6, 2014

    Dear NORML members and supporters,

    Donate to NORMLIt is nearly impossible to detect the precise moment when support for a change in social policy reaches the "tipping point", but for the marijuana legalization movement, that time was likely July 26, 2014, when the editorial board of the New York Times published their editorial entitled Repeal Prohibition, Again.

    For those who may have missed it, here an excerpt; it is one of the strongest endorsements I have ever read.

    "The federal government should repeal the ban on marijuana." …

    "The social costs of the marijuana laws are vast. There were 658,000 arrests for marijuana possession in 2012, according to F.B.I. figures, compared with 256,000 for cocaine, heroin and their derivatives. Even worse, the result is racist, falling disproportionately on young black men, ruining their lives and creating new generations of career criminals."

    "There is honest debate among scientists about the health effects of marijuana, but we believe that the evidence is overwhelming that addiction and dependence are relatively minor problems, especially compared with alcohol and tobacco. Moderate use of marijuana does not appear to pose a risk for otherwise healthy adults. Claims that marijuana is a gateway to more dangerous drugs are as fanciful as the "Reefer Madness" images of murder, rape and suicide."…

    "Creating systems for regulating manufacture, sale and marketing will be complex. But those problems are solvable, and would have long been dealt with had we as a nation not clung to the decision to make marijuana production and use a federal crime."…

    "it is long past time to repeal this version of Prohibition."

    And that is only beginning. The Times editors, with whom NORML’s staff and board have been assisting for some time, are now publishing additional editorials, dealing with different aspects of marijuana legalization on a daily basis. The editors of America’s most influential newspaper have not just changed their position; they are now determined to lead the change from marijuana prohibition to legalization.

    Their new position on marijuana policy reflects a gradually evolving perspective, going back to 1966, when the paper warned readers that marijuana "for a considerable number of young people who try it, it is the first step down the fateful road to heroin."

    By 1969, they were calling for some "distinction between soft and hard drugs," and by 1972, with the release of the Marijuana Commission report, the Times acknowledged "the dangers inherent in smoking marijuana appear to be less than previously assumed," and called for the elimination of penalties for possession and use.

    But it was not until early 2014 that they heralded the opening of the first licensed marijuana shops in Colorado, noting that the experiences in Colorado and Washington "will serve as test cases for full-on legalization."

    And now they have taken the crucial, final step to endorse full legalization for all adults, the position NORML has advanced since 1970.

    New York Times

    • 1966 – "for a considerable number of young people who try it, it is the first step down the fateful road to heroin."
    • 1969 – "distinction between soft and hard drugs,"
    • 1972 – "the dangers inherent in smoking marijuana appear to be less than previously assumed,"
    • 2014 – "The federal government should repeal the ban on marijuana."

    So we trust you will understand if, to those of us at NORML, who have been fighting for full legalization for 44 years, we see this latest endorsement by the New York Times as the unofficial tipping-point for legalization.

    Sure, there remains a great deal of work to move legalization forward in the remaining 48 states. But with the favorable reviews coming out of Colorado and Washington, and with the national polling demonstrating that we currently enjoy the support of between 53% and 58% of the American public, we think it is fair to say we have turned the corner politically, and victory will be ours within just a few years.

    And that is why we are writing today, to ask that you please make a generous contribution to NORML so we can expand our lobbying activities, and media and educational outreach efforts so that we can continue to build on this momentum. Without question, we are finally winning this struggle, but nevertheless marijuana arrests continue unabated in most states today, and seriously ill patients still do not have access to medical marijuana in more than half of the states.

    Let us take a well-deserved moment to celebrate the enormous progress we have made, but then let’s get back to work to stop the senseless arrests of marijuana consumers. We must stop destroying the lives and careers of so many otherwise law-abiding citizens, simply because they prefer to use marijuana when they relax in the evening, just as tens of millions of Americans enjoy a beer or a glass of wine at the end of the day. And we need to put in place regulations for licensed marijuana growers and sellers, to bring the black market above ground.

    NORML was the first marijuana legalization lobby in America–with over 1.5 million supporters and members we’ve been the voice for marijuana consumers now for more than four decades.

    Please make a tax-deductible donation to NORML Foundation (for public education and mass communications) and/or a regular charitable donation to NORML (in support of our direct lobbying and other political activities).

    With your generous support, we can continue to lead the charge for full legalization, both state and federal, all across this country.


    Keith Stroup
    NORML Founder and Legal Counsel

    39 responses to “Help Us Reach the Marijuana Tipping Point”

    1. Fed-Up says:

      Its just that,i think cannabis is leading me to experiment with carbohydrates….I know,i fell really bad!

    2. Galileo Galilei says:

      I’m really enjoying watching prohibition collapse. I’m particularly enjoying NORML’s masterful steering of the movement through the choppy waters to legalization.

      Vote, people. Success is NOT guaranteed.

    3. Miles says:

      For those of you that haven’t already done it, sign up for the Amazon Smile program so that every time you buy anything from Amazon, NORML gets a portion of the transaction. Click the link I’ve provided to learn more.


      If you don’t use Amazon for your purchases, please make a donation. We can’t let this slip through our hands! California let legalization slip by thinking it would just happen. It didn’t!

      I really don’t want to be considered a criminal any longer (since my first puff right around 1970). I’m not a criminal in any other way except for my choice to use cannabis and I’m just disgusted with our Govt with regards to this issue.

    4. Eric says:

      I started with cigarettes. So I guess tobacco is the worst gateway drug.

    5. Usernameisused says:

      Honestly, keep pushing on this momentum, and the whole damn thing will snowball.

      This needs to be accelerated, now more then ever.

      I honestly believe that if legalization is to occur anytime soon, it will coincide with the run up to the 2016 presidential elections/the final election of the next president.

      To that end, we have roughly 2 years to push on this issue harder than ever. If we are to be taken seriously enough to have this issue become a real agenda on the next presidential race, then we need to make it occur in time before then.

      This is honestly our best bet to get this reform change within the next 2 years.

      Now or never people.

    6. TheOracle says:

      I’d like to see the NYT come up with the plan politicians use to steer the U.S. out of cannabis prohibition and out of the Single Convention on Narcotics of 1961 and any other treaties politicians are using as an excuse not to legalize.

    7. gstlab3 says:

      I think it is just a matter of sheer numbers and the passage of time more than anything else.,

      The old school money is spent and the conservative and more religious Right and other old monied big populations are and have been in a steady decline and are now being replaced with a more worldly and broadly educated people who are not so ridged in their thinking.

      The “Babyboomer” generations were about 50/50 when it came to the Left., Right.,
      Pro and Con about major societal ideals and those big shifts and with it all things like ending drug prohibition were thrown into the mix especially with concerns about the situation on marijuana prohibition.

      That generational shift soon had children and those children saw first hand from their own experiences and that of their friends who had grown up with an alternative view on things.

      They lived amongst them and saw that they were not bad people and thus the shift and major societal experimentation again took off.

      A societal shift such as this was pushed along to where we are today with the usual corrupted politicians and their thug class criminals having made big money on the backs of many dead and addicted people.

      These influences came from the outside sometimes bad influence from big business and government but now many more people are alive today who have seen first hand what this insane drug prohibition has wrought upon our planet and our individual societies.

      I support you 1000% and I wish I had money to fill your coffers buy I am on disability and I can’t spare a dime right now. sorry

    8. It will take all of us for this to happen. They’re not going to lay down and go away.
      This has been a jobs program for law enforcement.

      The legalization bonus is in Hemp and has the potential to refurbish and rebuild the middle class beyond anything we could imagine.

      We need to push hard with all together and make the “legalization of marijuana and hemp” a reality, while at the same time putting an end to an immoral drug war against American citizens.

      This should be a daily prayer.
      BTW Thanks NYT!!

    9. Miles says:

      @Oracle and all other interested, here is a document written by the DPA that could be used to kickstart our politicians if only they’d bother to take a look at it…


    10. TheAntiProhibitionist says:

      I just purchased an item via Amazon Smile. The price of my order was about $2.50 or something so NORML will probably get less than one cent, but if everybody who visits this webpage (I’ll spread the word via other forums as well) uses the Smile medium to purchase their items while donating just a little of their money to this worthy cause, we can help turn things around before the 2016 elections. I refuse to donate to organizations that regularly resort to fear-mongering such as the NRA, but in this case I think it’s safe to say that the gains we’ve made this year alone might be in danger if the wrong people get elected in the coming elections, and in order to help people make good choices we need to do much more towards educating our fellow citizens. Print out flyers and staple them to telephone poles/leave them in public areas, give them out at school-there’s so much more we can do to help out.