We Must Demand Lawmakers Respect the Will of the Voters

  • by Erik Altieri, NORML Executive Director January 31, 2017

    Legalize marijuanaVoters in eight states decided on Election Day to radically amend their longstanding marijuana policies. But many lawmakers in these states still aren’t getting the message.

    Despite these voter mandates, many lawmakers remain reluctant to move forward with the legal reforms that the public has demanded. In some cases, legislators and regulators are outright defying voters’ will by proposing measures to undermine the election’s outcomes altogether.


    For example, in Massachusetts, a handful of political leaders pushed through emergency legislation during an informal legislative session to delay marijuana sales until July 1, 2018. The Boston Globe summarized the event this way, “The extraordinary move, made in informal sessions with just a half-dozen legislators present, … unravel a significant part of the legalization measure passed by 1.8 million voters.” Additional measures before lawmakers seek to further derail several other aspects of the law, including adults’ ability to grow marijuana in their private residence.

    In Maine, lawmakers have similarly passed legislation to delay the enactment of voter-initiated provisions governing the retail production and sale of marijuana until the spring of 2018. The emergency measure also rolls back specific initiative provisions that permitted on site consumption in specially licensed establishments, as well as the possession of marijuana-infused edible products.

    In Florida, where 71 percent of voters endorsed a constitutional amendment providing doctors with the discretion to recommend medical marijuana to patients for whom they believed the benefits “would likely outweigh the potential health risks,” regulators are trying to strip medical marijuana access to those with chronic pain.

    In Arkansas, one lawmaker has proposed legislation to postpone the enactment of the state’s new medical cannabis program indefinitely.

    Even in California, where 56 percent of voters decided in favor of legalizing the adult marijuana market, some lawmakers are warning citizens to expect delays before the new law takes full effect.

    NORML believes that these delays and proposed legislative changes are unacceptable, and we are working hard to assure that the will of the voters is upheld.


    Voters like you made their opinions on marijuana policy clear at the ballot box in November. Lawmakers in these jurisdictions have a responsibility to abide by the will of the people and to do so in a timely manner. Americans have lived with the failings of marijuana prohibition for far too long. The people’s will should not be compromised, second-guessed, or held hostage by politicians who are unwilling to recognize that they are on the wrong side of history.

    In Solidarity,
    Erik Altieri
    Executive Director

    37 responses to “We Must Demand Lawmakers Respect the Will of the Voters”

    1. Damian A. Dimock says:

      I am in Florida and would love to know who these regulators are, and how I can get in contact with them.
      Thanks 🙂

      [Paul Armentano responds: The FL DOH has several public forums scheduled on this issue. You can also contact them directly via their website. Please see NORML’s alert here: http://norml.org/act/florida-public-forums-announce-to-debate-proposed-medical-marijuana-rules for dates/locations/times as well as DOH contact info.]

    2. Julian says:

      Times like these theres too much at stake notto donate.
      Monthly recurring donations, even if only $10 a month, are vital to planning budgets to lobby for marijuana legalization. If every member of NORML donated that way we could have registered lobbyists working in every state during every legislative session… or UnSession…

    3. Rick Rucker says:

      We the people need to stand up and take back our country and only way to do this is to vote them out this should be the cry of the people all across the land not build the wall but vote them out 100,000 people chanting vote them out would definitely get some attention Pass the word our new phrase our mantra vote them out vote them out vote them out

    4. I, live and am dying in the state of Arkansas. I have brain cancer, since Medical Marijuana was legalized a state senator,Senator Rapert has held up any use or our ability to obtain Marijuana. This senator decided for the 56 % of his constituents that voted for Medical Marijuana. He decided that SMOKING MARIJUANA is more hazardous than brain cancer. Thanks for knowing what is better for me. Just in case, that was SATIRE, sir.

      • Julian says:

        Nonviolent civil disobedience. Dont wait to save your own life; smoke it, vape it, consume it when you need it. Your life is your right. And when youre feeling strong enough, walk right into your Reps office, video on your phone in hand, and demand your rights. God bless you.

    5. Joshua P says:

      I just started a petition on the White House Petitions site, We the People. Will you sign it? https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/address-marijuana-legalization-stop-states-vs-federal-law

    6. TheOracle says:

      I just got done giving you $100, and a $5 donation to ActBlue. Use that.

      Pennsylvania needs a lot of work, because the law that MPP was able to get through really sucks. Patients are NOT allowed to grow their own. Nobody is allowed to vape the buds because smoking the cannabis is still illegal–a sell-out to the cops. Vaping is allowed but only from cartridges you will have to buy from some BIG WEED OUTFIT from some out of state carpetbaggers that come in here and elbow out any of the longtime local legalizers.

      • mexweed says:

        Sounds like that Pennsyl “public” situation needs some polite but insistent education on the definition and legitimization of vaping. I haven’t taken time yet to read up on the exact requirements in your state, maybe you can put in some research time and clarify the apparent plot to help big bucks techno carpetbaggers monopolize vaping.
        Meanwhile it is possible to almost 100% vape with a DIY screened one-hitter made from less than $1.29 worth of parts left lying in your Garage by the previous god (plus #40 screen and some pvc hookah hose)– see the free wiki article How to Make 25-mg Single Toke Utensils from Everyday Objects. (Oh dear how will anyone make money?)
        The purposes for the long flexible drawtube are
        (1) to make it possible to heatvape a load of herb in the mini-crater far enough from your face that you can see what you’re doing, and
        (2) to give the flowing vapestream time to cool down before reaching your tender trachea.
        The screen in the 5.5-mm-, 6.0-mm- or 6.3-mm-inner-diameter crater prevents #16-sifted wee(d) particles from getting drawn down into the Innenkanal.
        Latest version of Directions Doggerel Mantra:
        “Hold flametip 2″ below,
        suck smooth, slow,
        don’t start any glow
        till after 19
        seconds or slow.”
        By that time all cannabinoids have been upvaped and if you “smoke for taste” the remainder of tasty cellulose, well, smoking that isn’t illegal, is it?
        Might be too provocative to then “publicly” fasten on your Luftspielhaus (breathbonnet i.e. breadbag) for 30 warm wet W’s in and out, maybe more lobbying will be needed to legalize that? Build in protections against asphyx hazard from 2-year-olds getting hold of it?

    7. Mark Mitcham says:

      When your so-called “elected representatives” all but look you in the eye and say, “Yeah, I’m corrupt, I work for your Overlords, what you gonna do about it?” we must see that brazen abuse of power for what it is, and call it by it’s true name: fascism.

      Our response to a fascist government must be radically different than our response to a democratic government. First, we must acknowledge what we’re up against. I’m no scholar, but I’ll take a swing at it: We’re up against white-supremacist, authoritarian fascism.

      If this is true (and I think it is) then Civil Disobedience, on a grand scale, encompassing a wide variety of strategies and tactics, must be our overwhelming citizen’s response.

      Like what? Well, this fake pr*sident gets thrown by large demonstrations against him, so for one, let’s continue to keep him off balance with massive demonstrations like the Woman’s March.

      Secondly, we must peacefully disobey Trump and his fascist dictates. We are free citizens, and we don’t take orders from Dictators.

      Third, NEVER STOP contacting your representatives.

      We must be non-violent. We cannot become the thugs that they are. This is counter-productive, and morally wrong.

      We must work together — indivisible is the right idea. For example, Jesus Christ, BLACKLIVESMATTER! It’s not hard to understand — don’t give me that “all lives” bullshit. Just get with the fact that BLACKLIVESMATTER, or go join Trump’s team of delusionalists if you can’t see that the statement BLACKLIVESMATTER requires no further qualification. It’s simply true. It’s a fact. That’s also why we stand with the Native Americans, and the Mexicans, and finally… wait for it… fuck yes, the Muslims, too!

      To hell with Trump’s godless religion of hate and persecution. We cannabis legalizers, in all our diversity, must stand up for, and stand with, America in all her diversity.

      It will be People Power that stops Trump and his fascism.

    8. Julian says:

      Its hard to demand respect from the GOP when their Crosscheck program stole 7 million votes and all three branches if government from this election through voter caging:


      Its startles me that I never put this together before; disproportionate incarceration from small, nonviolent posessions of marijuana constitute the number one cause for mandatory minimums and felony records if Democratic voters from the Reagan era and as a result, Democratic voter caging and voter supression from Republican Crosscheck.

      The DNC silence over this issue is equally alarming.

      For those of us that didnt click on the link, I highly recommend it; Greg Pallast is a dying breed of American journalist. The $4 rental or $10 purchase on Vimeo includes an exclusive interview with NORML board advisor Willie Nelson.

      What “voter caging” means as it pertains to the Crosscheck program is that a list of predatory Republican billionaire doners financed a program to eliminate the votes (7 million to be exact) of anyone whose last name is remotely similar to one who has a felony in another state. (No thanks to prohibition, mostly Democrats). Then Drumph announces the outrageous claim that “millions of Americans are voting twice.” (No Drumph, just your racist Chief of Staff, Bannon). The last names of the unjustly eliminated votes are “Jackson, Wong and Martinez,” names of people of color who vote heavily Democratic. 1/2 a million Democratic votes were eliminated this way in Michigan alone where Drumph “won” by only 10,000 votes.

      • Evening Bud says:


        Your comment about the DLC reveals one of the main problems with the Dem Party of today: they’ve become so centrist that they are essentially GOP-lite.

        That explains in part, IMO, their unwillingness to stand up to the draconian policies the GOP is constantly trying to push through. Too many Dems suck from the same corporate teats as their GOP “friends across the aisle.”

        Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and others have exposed this. Not surprisingly, most of these Dem and indy progressives have supported legalization.

    9. Julian says:

      In other words, defense contractors, Big Pharma, and even Sheriffs Associations, as prohibitionist as they are, are not even the biggest threats to marijuana legalization compared to the evil Batman villains behind the GOP voter supression Crosscheck program. Petroleum patent conglamorates Koch brothers, Kansas AG Chris Kobach, unAmerican hedgefund propagandist Robert Mercer, vulture mortgage investors John Paulson and Paul Singer who ate Detroit and GM during the last financial collapse? They are our enemies. While the Koch brothers pretended to be for marijuana legalization and pretended not to support Trump during the elections, they were financing the Crosscheck program which put prohibitionist Republicans in power. Even if we get rid of Sessions, Drumph has Guluani or Christi in hold, because he knows marijuana legalization is a threat to his unsustainable power. (Or at least because Bannon Wormtongue told the weak King so).
      Koch, Paulson, Singer and Mercer are the billionaire predators that dont want to see economic equality, or to stop people of color from getting disproportionately incarcerated. Hence, they dont want marijuana legalization; because keeping marijuana illegal and voter supression is the only hope for the GOP and their predatory doners to survive another election.
      The response? Citizen lobby your State and Federal Representatives and Senators to stop voter caging and legalize marijuana or watch our Democratic Republic fall apart into violent chaos.

      • Mark Mitcham says:

        Mindblowing info. Thank you.

        There’s foxes in every corner of the hen-house! Billionaires — who knew? Well, I should have figured it out when I was in grade school, watching Gilligan’s Island on TV! THE S.S. MINNOW get shipwrecked on an uncharted desert island, and by god, who’s STILL SCREWING THE MASSES? Goddamn billionaires!

        Okay, it’s not funny in real life. But we’re biological creatures with physical limitations for stress and anxiety. I gotta laugh once in a while — for my good health, if for no other reason.

    10. Julian says:

      And before I get any hollow responses from MSimon or some sold out Trump supporter, please check the Congressional Scorecard:


      (Or click on the Act link: NORML we really need to keep this link on the front of this webpage).

      While I advocate often on this blog that we must work with our Reps and Senators, state or federal, face to face, whether they are Republican or Democrat, it is fairly clear from the Congressional scorecard that the GOP is stacked with prohibitionists. Without looking at Republican voter-caging doners, prohibitionist Republicans make no sense, since Republicans voted for for marijuana legalization initiatives in Florida, Arkansas and North Dakota… and yet those same Republican voters also voted failing prohibitionists back into power. (We can vote for both parties down the ballot, but I have a friend who wrote in Willie Nelson for President then left his state reps blank. Is there no hope for humanity?)
      We need to RESEARCH. Hold our Reps ACCOUNTABLE. STOP voter caging. END Prohibition. Personally. Dress professionally. Good luck.