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Advocacy

  • by NORML August 13, 2019

    The American Bar Association (ABA) has passed a resolution in support of ending federal marijuana prohibition and removing the substance from the Controlled Substances Act (CSA).

    In language that does not mince words, the proposal reads: FURTHER RESOLVED, That the American Bar Association urges Congress to enact legislation to remove marijuana from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act

    Commenting on the passage of the resolution, NORML Legal Counsel Keith Stroup said “As a young lawyer, I started NORML in 1970 because the legal case needed to be made that the criminalization of marijuana was wrong, and activist lawyers have always played a key role in the expansion of the NORML network across the country. The approval of this recent motion by the ABA, which calls for marijuana to be removed from the Controlled Substances Act altogether, is welcome vindication of the efforts of NORML and all the attorneys who fought against this unjust prohibition for the past fifty years.”


    There are various pieces of legislation pending in Congress that would remove marijuana from the CSA, including a bill that was recently introduced by the House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler entitled The Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement Act.

    You can contact your lawmakers in support of the MORE Act with NORML’s action alert by clicking here. 

  • by Josh Kasoff, Nevada NORML

    Las Vegas NORML has once again found themselves busy with many types of advocacy for patient and consumer rights, both statewide and federally. Following a rapidly successful Nevada legislative session where the historic AB 132 and AB 192 were passed, Las Vegas NORML has kept the legislative momentum moving. Seeing the sheer willpower of the advocates and people themselves to become politically involved and speaking with their representatives directly, the local NORML chapter has been collecting signatures for a significantly more monumental federal bill that could result in drastic criminal justice reform and further legalization and access to financial services for legal cannabis businesses.   

    Introduced by New York Congressman Jerrold Nadler and California Senator and presidential candidate Kamala Harris, The MORE Act (Marijuana, Opportunity, Reinvestment and Expungement Act) would directly address and provide a remedy to the many troubles and difficulties still associated with cannabis, everything short of stopping Taco Bell from sounding appetizing. 

    For starters, cannabis would be decriminalized on the federal level and therefore removed from the entirety of the Controlled Substances Act. Furthermore, those convicted of cannabis charges on the federal level could apply for expungement of records and apply for re-sentencing if needed. For those who desire to work in the industry, yet have a federal felony record, and are therefore unable to in many states due to felonies being instantly prohibited, this reform may allow that desire to become a reality.  

    Any issues related to receiving public benefits due to cannabis usage will be stopped and a five percent federal tax will be implemented, the revenue of which will be directed to a program called the “Opportunity Trust Fund”. This fund would establish financial services such as grants and loans to “socially and economically-disadvantaged” communities most affected by the life-wrecking failures of the War on Drugs.

    Last Saturday at NuLeaf, Las Vegas NORML collected dozens of signatures from consumers who support such a comprehensively reformative bill. With the consumer’s information, the team will hand-deliver the pre-written letters of support to their respective representative in both Congress and the Senate during our trip to Washington, DC, and show irrefutable evidence of this bill’s popularity and need.

    Our packed August meeting went excellently and we were so thrilled with the number of fresh faces we got to see. Being able to hear Representative Neal and McCurdy’s testimonies about how they championed for the need for AB 132 and 192 spoke volumes to advocates, and Ashley Ciliberti of MA Analytics showed the absolute importance and interest in cannabis lab testing. Countless more signatures were collected in support of the MORE Act, and a good amount of funds were raised for Las Vegas NORML’s Washington DC national convention and lobbying efforts.

    “Our volunteers look forward to our annual trip to DC each year because it provides the one-on-one opportunity to interact with policy makers.” said Nevada NORML Executive Director Madisen Saglibene. “Traveling to the nation’s capital for these meetings sends a strong message to our leaders that constituents care about these developing cannabis policies.”

    Learn more at www.lvnorml.org
    Contributions being accepted at paypal.me/lasvegasnorml
  • by Kevin Mahmalji, NORML Outreach Director

    When NORML was founded in 1970, roughly 12% of Americans supported legalizing marijuana. After decades of hard work by thousands of committed activists around the country, we are gradually winning the hearts and minds of a majority of the public today. Currently sixty-five percent of adults nationwide support ending marijuana prohibition and establishing a regulated market where responsible consumers can legally purchase marijuana. But there’s still plenty of work to do.

    With a network of more than 160 affiliate chapters, NORML offers plenty of opportunities to join the fight to end marijuana prohibition. First, you’ll need to become a member of NORML. As a member you’ll be the driving force behind meaningful marijuana law reform efforts on the local, state and federal levels. Regardless of the policy you’re advocating for (e.g., adult-use, patient access, decriminalization etc.) you’ll find an extensive collection of recent studies and fact-based information that will reinforce your position in NORML’s Online Library.

    Second, get involved with a NORML chapter in your community. As an active member of a NORML chapter, you’ll engage in educational outreach, lobby local and state lawmakers, and work within your community to bring awareness to the failings of marijuana prohibition. If there isn’t a NORML chapter in your community, we can work together to organize a new network of NORML activists to support your efforts. Click here to find the NORML chapter nearest you!

    Third, use NORML’s Action Center to contact your members of Congress in support of marijuana law reform efforts. Priority legislation includes: the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act, the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement (MORE) Act, the VA Medicinal Cannabis Research Act and more! At any given time NORML is monitoring dozens of bills around the country so we’re able to provide our network with legislative updates and relevant fact sheets

    2019 NORML Conference

    Lastly, register for NORML’s 2019 Conference and Lobby Day! You’ll join NORML members from around the country for a three-day event where you’ll learn about effective lobbying strategies, hear the latest scientific and political advancements and meet with Congressional offices to advocate for the end of marijuana prohibition. Get your tickets today!

    Ready to start a NORML chapter in your hometown? Click here to find out how!

    Marijuana policy should be evidence based. Dispel the myths with the NORML Fact Sheets.

    Follow NORML on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and become a member today!

     

  • by Kevin Mahmalji, NORML Outreach Director August 7, 2019

    For the first time since Colorado voters approved Amendment 64 in 2012, which legalized marijuana for adults 21 and up, NAACP Denver has joined forces with Amanda C. Phillips, state director of Minorities for Medical Marijuana, and other thought leaders to host “The Color of Cannabis.” Organizers of the event hope to educate community leaders and other stakeholders about the lack of diversity and need for social equity within the marijuana industry.

    “The most important thing I want to iterate is the cannabis industry is expanding at leaps and bounds, and more states are coming online across the country,” said Phillips. “This is a pivotal moment in time where the conversation should include communities of color that have been disproportionately impacted by the War on Drugs. There should be opportunities for all of us to participate in this growing industry.”

    Support the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement Act Today

    Other panelists include: Bia Campbell, Public Affairs Program Administrator, Denver’s Office of Marijuana Policy, Rosalie Flores, Social Equity and Justice Reform Advocate and Cannabis Marketing Specialist, Sarah Woodson, Social Equity Advocate and CEO, Kush and Canvasses. Panelists will explore the collateral consequences associated with a marijuana-related conviction, which can lead to a lifetime of discrimination when it comes to employment and basic services like housing assistance and student loans

    What: The Color of Cannabis

    When: Saturday, August 10, 2019 from 11am-1pm MDT

    Where: New Hope Baptist Church, 3701 Colorado Blvd, Denver, CO 80205

    As the failed policies of marijuana prohibition continue to disproportionately impact communities of color, we must take the necessary steps to address the damage caused by the criminalization of marijuana. That’s why NORML and Minorities for Medical Marijuana proudly support the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement (MORE) Act. 

    If passed by Congress, the MORE Act will remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act and allow states to set their own policies free from federal interference. The bill would also create a Trust Fund to assist state and local governments in expunging criminal records and setting up regulatory structures for marijuana’s lawful production and distribution.

     The Trust Fund would have three functions:

    1. A fund administrated by a newly created Office of Cannabis Justice to issue grants to communities negatively impacted by the war on drugs for the development of expungement processes, employment programs, reentry guidance, youth resources and more. The Office of Cannabis would be one of the Justice Programs in the Department of Justice. This provision is modeled on the Marijuana Justice Act, by Senator Cory Booker (NJ) and Representative Barbara Lee (CA).
    2. A fund administered by the Small Business Administration to encourage socially and economically disadvantaged people to enter the cannabis industry, similar to legislation introduced by Chairwoman Nydia Velázquez (NY).
    3. A fund administered by the Small Business Administration to create equitable licensing programs in states and local governments that benefit communities most impacted by the prohibition.

    It’s time to end the broken and discriminatory policies of marijuana prohibition. Click here to send a message to your representatives in support of the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement Act.

    Marijuana policy should be evidence based. Dispel the myths with the NORML Fact Sheets. Follow NORML on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and become a member today!

     

  • by Justin Strekal, NORML Political Director August 5, 2019

    Every August, members of Congress head home from the swampland of Washington, DC back to their home districts. That can only mean one thing – town hall season is upon us.

    This provides a unique opportunity for constituents to engage face-to-face with their members of Congress and hold them accountable for their actions in Washington. We are so close to ending prohibition and it is imperative that we keep pushing forward toward a sensible marijuana policy. This means showing up and making our voices heard at every opportunity. 

    Can you commit to attending a town hall in your area this month?

    Yes, I will attend the town hall in my area.

    No, I cannot attend the town hall in my area but will contact them now via email.

    Change can only happen when concerned constituents participate in the political process and fight for what’s right. Our movement wouldn’t have made it this far without you, and NORML will keep fighting alongside you every day to end marijuana prohibition.

    Check out our town hall guide that addresses everything you need to know about getting engaged. 

    Thanks for you do!

    P.S. Have you considered coming to Washington, DC to attend the NORML Conference and Lobby Day in September? I sure hope you do! Click here to find out more.

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