Want Legalization in Your State?

  • by Keith Stroup, NORML Legal Counsel January 19, 2015

    Want Legalization in Your State?How do we move from prohibition to legalization in my state?

    That’s one of the most asked questions we hear every week at NORML.

    With national media attention focusing on the favorable experience with legalization in Colorado and Washington, and on the not-yet-implemented legalization programs recently adopted in Oregon and Alaska, anyone living in a state that continues arresting and jailing marijuana smokers would naturally wonder why their state seems to have missed out on the drive to end marijuana prohibition.

    More accurately, many of those states are lagging behind in the legalization movement, but that, too, will change. As we continue to gather data demonstrating these new laws are working as intended, with few unintended consequences, the drive to end marijuana prohibition will soon reach every state in the union, and beyond. We are no longer debating theory and conjecture; we now have real-life experiences that can be evaluated, and that data resource will grow with each new state.

    Patience and persistence still required

    We all need to accept the reality that changing public policy is a complex process that requires financial resources, re-education and political organizing. Following more than 75 years of criminal prohibition, and “reefer madness” propaganda by our state and federal governments, many Americans — especially older Americans — hold a negative view of marijuana and marijuana smoking, believing it presents a risk to health or public safety.

    Since all but a few of us have lived under prohibition for our entire lives, it is understandable that many would presume there must have been some justification for those tens of millions of marijuana arrests. Surely our own government would not needlessly wreak havoc on all those lives and careers without a good reason.

    To Read the Balance of This Column, please go to Marijuana.com.

    74 responses to “Want Legalization in Your State?”

    1. Miles says:

      “Surely our own government would not needlessly wreak havoc on all those lives and
      careers without a good reason.”

      Of course that is what we would all like to believe. We should all be able to trust our government and our law enforcement but the reality is that many of them care only for themselves and they consider their victims to be collateral damage. In many, if not most, cases, the kind of people they have incarcerated are less of a criminal than they are!

      For example, a congressman takes bribes and cheats on his wife all the while endorsing filling private prisons with cannabis users. It is utterly disgusting and more Nazi-Like than anything remotely resembling America-The Land of the Free I was brought up to believe in.

    2. I am working hard as an advocate here in Florida pushing for legalization. We are PRAYING it happens this YEAR, we patients can’t wait until another 2016 ballot!!!!

    3. Debora says:

      Florida, Made it perfectly CLEAR. LEGALIZE IT AS AN AGRICULTURAL CROP, just like CORN BUT without GMO.

    4. TheOracle says:

      Cannabis prohibitions will soon end in more and more states and beyond.

      I especially like the beyond part. Great Britain is taking notice. Hence, this article in The Telegraph from January 19, 2015, which entertains the notion that institutional investors on Wall Street are ready to give the green light (pun intended) to the new American green rush:


    5. phrtao says:

      We all know legalisation is on the way (where ever we live in the world) but we all want to know how we can make our town/state/country the next place to legalise!
      For some people they will just have to realise that they will need to move to a place that is more tolerant or wait a long time. So the real question for most people is should I leave for a more tolerant place to live; stay and campaign for legalisation; or just put up with overpriced, poor quality weed and forget about it.

    6. Evening Bud says:

      I’ve believed for years that age demographics has and will continue to play a major role in potential national legalization. However, along with the changing of the population, must come the continued re-education of that population.

      That is a one-two punch the prohibitionists will not be able to endure for too many more years. With each passing year, they grow weaker, certainly in numbers, and our side stronger.

      I’m positive that most people who visit this NORML site try to advance our cause in their own ways. Keep it up folks, let’s see this through all the way.

      Hopefully, 2015 will usher in more good news.

    7. Rep. Johnny Bell is a wonderful man who will end Marijuana prohibition here in Kentucky! I’m sure that fully legalized Marijuana would earn a hell of revenue for the third most Marijuana producer.

    8. Julian says:

      Thank you Keith,
      For adding words to our vocabulary such as “re-education,” reminding us that we have to take at least twice as long to re-explain current drug policy to someone who has already been washed-in-the-brain compared to someone who is prepared to admit they know nothing at all.
      I, for one, am continually astounded by the depth at which prohibition takes our hard earned tax dollars and spends them on pure evil. But as former Mexican President Vicente Fox once said on this blog;
      “If God had told Eve the apple was full of worms, she would not have eaten it. But God did not say that; God said ‘Do not eat the apple for it is prohibited.'”

    9. vickia52 says:

      i’m in ohio , and there’s so much activity to get something done for legalization. so many signatures needed by our pig headed gov and ag. any suggestions on how this can be acompplished?

    10. Galileo Galilei says:

      “So our experience teaches us that the incremental approach is the only successful strategy we have seen. The time between those different incremental steps will get shorter and shorter, as our successes continue and the public becomes more comfortable with marijuana. It is always most difficult for the trailblazers who go first.

      We currently have no choice but to follow the incremental strategy, but the benefits of a younger demographic over the coming years — one less concerned and more comfortable with marijuana smoking — suggests our path to victory will become increasingly easier from year to year.”

      We would never have come this far with reform without NORML and these kind of insights. Keep up the good work folks.

      I just watched a bizarre video of a FOX news discussion on marijuana–the ignorance strikingly on display. We are down to the last die hards, folks, the people who think marijuana should be illegal because,…., well, just BECAUSE. If there’s still any steam left in prohibition’s boiler by 2016 presidential election, the FOX News GOP mouthpiece will flood its viewers with anti-pot propaganda — they’ve already started.

      Last night I had a nightmare about President Andy Harris in 2020. He was elected with over 70% of the popular vote.