NORML Chapters

  • by Kevin Mahmalji, NORML Outreach Director April 1, 2019

    Everyday NORML Chapters from around the country invest countless hours in advocating for meaningful marijuana law reforms on the local, state and federal level! Below is a brief rundown of some of their most recent accomplishments.

    NORML Chapters are Leading the Way All Around the Country

    Only three months into the 2019 legislative session, with 45 NORML Lobby Days on the books, legalization proposals are swiftly moving forward in states across the country. Irrespective of geographic location or political ideology, lawmakers everywhere are beginning to realize that now is the time to take action on marijuana law reform.

    Read more from NORML.org!

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

    Chicago NORML Continues Push for Diversity in Cannabis Industry

    “Chicago NORML, the Hyde Park-based branch of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, conducts classes to help underserved groups learn more about marijuana-related jobs.”

    Read more from Herald- Mail Media!

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

    Colorado NORML Announces Endorsement for Denver Mayoral Election

    “We caught up with Calderón shortly after her endorsement by the Colorado branch of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) to learn more about her thoughts on the cannabis industry, social pot consumption and more.”

    Read more from the Westword!

    Follow Colorado NORML on Facebook and Twitter and become a member today!

    Delaware NORML Hosted Spring Cannabis Advocate Training

    “Attendees will find out about the network’s Spring Outreach Strategy and learn about the tools and techniques to spread awareness about the urgent need for immediate cannabis policy reform in Delaware.”

    Read more from the Dover Post!

    Follow Delaware NORML on Facebook and Instagram and become a member today!

    Empire State NORML and Start SMART Coalition Highlight Racial Disparities in New York

    “Doug Greene of Empire State NORML and the Start SMART New York campaign coalition, spoke at a news conference at the state Supreme Court in Mineola, regarding a report that Nassau and Suffolk counties have the highest rates of low-level marijuana possession arrests in the state outside New York City, impacting minorities four times more than whites on Long Island and statewide.”

    Watch full Video here!

    Follow Empire State NORML on Facebook and Twitter and become a member today!

    Rochester NORML Continues Push for Equitable Marijuana Legislation

    “If recreational pot is legalized in New York, leaders from local activist groups want some of the expected tax revenue to go back to the communities impacted by drugs.”

    Read more from WWXI News!

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

    Rochester NORML Participates in Marijuana Forum Hosted by Syracuse University

    “Steve Vandewalle, deputy chief of Roc NORML, the Rochester chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Law, attended the Thursday Morning Roundtable. He said he appreciated that Conway was willing to have a conversation about legalization.”

    Read more from Syracuse.com!

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

    NORML Leaders in the Media

    Radio: David Phipps, Communications Director, Indiana NORML

    Radio: Jay Selthofner, Executive Director, Northern Wisconsin NORML

    Aaron Romano, Legal Counsel, Connecticut NORML

    “We know big money is involved here.”

    Read more from the Connecticut Post!

    Follow Connecticut NORML on Facebook and become a member today!

    Chris Goldstein, Board Member, South New Jersey NORML

    “That is huge. No other state has even proposed to do anything like this.”

    Read more from Philly.com!

    Follow New Jersey NORML on Facebook and become a member today!

    Dan Linn, Executive Director, Illinois NORML

    “Unfortunately, I’d be surprised if the state opened up that second application round now that [recreational] adult use is on the horizon.”

    Read more from the Daily Chronicle!

    Follow Illinois NORML on Facebook and Twitter and become a member today!  

    Dan Viets, Executive Director, Missouri NORML

    “Just because they know about licensing in Colorado doesn’t mean that they know how things are going to work in Missouri.”

    Read more from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch!

    “He is in fact encouraging employers to fire sick people because they’re using marijuana as medicine.”

    Read more from KOMU 8!

    Follow Missouri NORML on Facebook and Twitter and become a member today!

    David Sloan, Legal Counsel, DFW NORML

    “I’ve been to states that have legalized, I’ve been involved in full legalization, and I just haven’t seen the harm that they’re talking about. It just isn’t there,”

    Read more from WFAA 8 News!

    Follow DFW NORML on Facebook and Twitter and become a member today!

    David Holland, Executive Director, Empire State NORML

    “I think it’s a drug that had been you know been demonized not only unfairly but without any true scientific basis.”

    Read more from WNYT 13 News!

    Follow Empire State NORML on Facebook and Twitter and become a member today!

    Donte Townsend, Co-founder, Chicago NORML

    “Everything can flourish if we do this the right way.”

    Read more from SaukValley.com!

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

    Doug Green, Legislative Director, Empire State NORML

    “We think it’s premature to opt out.”

    Read more from Newsday!

    Follow Empire State NORML on Facebook and Twitter and become a member today!

    Evan Nison, Board Member, New Jersey NORML

    “We need to make marijuana legal in New Jersey now to stop tens of thousands of unfair arrests a year and to be able to adequately compete with other states that have had legal, regulated cannabis industries for years.”

    Read more from Insider NJ!

    Follow New Jersey NORML on Facebook and Twitter and become a member today!

    Jax Finkle, Executive Director, Texas NORML

    “It’s a real problem that saddles young people in particular with a criminal record, which can affect their ability to get grants, housing. It can also affect your ability to have a concealed handgun license.”

    Read more from KVUE!

    “It can be confusing. Hemp’s been declassified, yet it’s still kind of restricted because the 2018 hemp bill says you have to grow under a state sanctioned program. We don’t have that.”

    Read more from Fox 35!

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

    Jenn Michelle Pedini, Executive Director, Virginia NORML

    “This makes sure that those students, those patients that we initially wanted to provide relief to with these medical cannabis oils, now that they have them, and are able to return to school that they can take their medicine with them.”

    Read more from ABC 8 News!

    “This medicine is not like a regular medicine you can get at CVS where you can just go have your spouse pick it up,”

    Read more from WAVY TV 10!

    “This clarifies the formulation and allows pharmacists to dispense in any way the compounding pharmacies dispense.”

    Read more from The Roanoke Times!

    “But the good news for consumers is that they will have a place to go get safe, regulated medicine.”

    Read more from Richmond Times-Dispatch!

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

    Jennifer Jeppson, Board Member, Hub City NORML

    “That’s what Texas is aiming for – that sweet spot where you have the medical benefits, but you don’t have the psycho active element.”

    Read more from KLBK News!

    Follow Hub City NORML on Facebook and become a member today!

    Jessica Kelly, Board Member, NORML Kansas City

    “Don’t implement any rules and regulations that make it virtually impossible for patients and caregivers to participate in the home cultivation of medical cannabis,”

    Read more from Fox 4 News!

    Follow NORML Kansas City on Facebook and become a member today!

    John Conroy, Executive Director, Canada NORML

    “The illicit market is still thriving in Canada.”

    Read more from Newsweek!

    Follow NORML Canada on Facebook and become a member today!

    Kiana Hughes, Education Director, Chicago NORML

    “So, the question for the black community is not what are we going to do about marijuana legalization, but rather, what are we going to do with it?”

    Read more from the Chicago Tribune!

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

    Kelvin McCabe, Board Member, Illinois NORML

    “We do anticipate that we will need hundreds, and hundreds more licensed producers, different sizes, it’d be nice if they could be spread out to different communities.”

    Read more from Illinois News Network!

    “So right there you’re talking about adding 700,000 customers from just Illinois residents, not counting residents from Iowa, Wisconsin, Missouri, Kentucky.”

    Read more from Illinois News Network!

    “Again, it’s based on scale. The more licenses you have, the more businesses you have, the more jobs you create.”

    Read more from Illinois News Network!

    Follow Illinois NORML on Facebook and Twitter and become a member today!

    Lee Otts, Executive Director, Memphis NORML

    “I started trying cannabis and my quality of life started improving, my medication went down.”

    Read more from 10 News!

    “It’s really only a handful of people with a lot of money don’t want it legal.”

    Read more from LocalMemphis.com!

    Follow Memphis NORML on Facebook and Twitter and become a member today!

    Madeline Martinez, Board Member, Oregon NORML

    “Patients, renters, the poor, people of color and women are still marginalized for their cannabis use, despite legalization.”

    Read more from the Statesman Journal!

    Follow Oregon NORML on Facebook and Twitter and become a member today!

    Madisen Saglibene, Executive Director, Nevada NORML

    “It’s unlikely that President Trump’s new attorney general will spread reefer madness and misinformation to the same extent that Mr. Sessions has.”

    Read more from the Herman Herald!

    Follow Nevada NORML on Facebook and become a member today!

    Mikel Weisser, Executive Director, Arizona NORML

    “I’m not wanting to go down the path of anything like 2016 again.”

    Read more from the Phoenix News Times!

    Follow Arizona NORML on Instagram and Twitter and become a member today!

    Patrick Nightingale, Executive Director, Pittsburgh NORML

    “The heavy-handed tactics employed cannot be justified by the seizure of ten plants. I do not understand why law enforcement couldn’t simply wait.”

    Read more from the Washington Post!

    Follow Pittsburgh NORML on Facebook and Twitter and become a member today!

    Paul Kirchberg, Executive Director, Connecticut NORML

    “Right now the political climate in Connecticut is looking very promising to pass this session.”

    Read more from News 3!

    Follow Connecticut NORML on Facebook and become a member today!

    Rick Thompson, Board Member, Michigan NORML

    “Businesses are being created. Jobs are being created. And there’s redevelopment happening in dilapidated neighborhoods. The advantages of cannabis legalization are far-flung and just now being realized by the state.”

    Read more from the Detroit Free Press!

    “With such few players on the market, anything that unsettles one of the large cultivation centers could have a catastrophic effect on the supply chain.”

    Read more from M Live!

    “We’re going to see a reduced access for medical marijuana patients because of the shuttering of some of those provisioning centers that are in the process of licensing.”

    Read more from Michigan Public Radio!

    Follow Michigan NORML on Facebook and Twitter and become a member today!

    Robert Rudnitsky, Executive Director, Philly NORML

    “I think we’re getting a lot of momentum. I do believe this is finally getting the voice of the people.”

    Read more from YourErie.com!

    Follow Philly NORML on Facebook and Twitter and become a member today!

    Roger Green, Executive Director, Hudson Valley NORML

    “Synthetic marijuana, which has posed dangers to users, could be barred if marijuana was regulated.”

    Read more from The Examiner News!

    Follow Hudson Valley on Facebook and Twitter and become a member today!

    Scott Weldon, Executive Director, Lowcountry NORML

    “The war on marijuana has always stood side-by-side with oppressive and racist policies designed to benefit a few at the expense of many.”

    Read more from the Charleston City Paper!

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

    Steve VanDeWalle, Deputy Director, Rochester NORML

    “We can’t possibly start talking about profiting off this industry, and the economics, and the agriculture, and all the things that come with a thriving cannabis industry, without addressing the people that are sitting in jail.”

    Read more from 13 WHAM ABC!

    “At this point it’s who can make the most noise because there’s people who have committed to push this through and some politicians on the fence.”

    Read more from 13 WHAM ABC!

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

    Tom Dean, Legal Director, Arizona NORML

    “Do we want four-year-olds to have to smoke marijuana, or put a couple drops of tincture under their tongue to alleviate, for example, chronic seizure disorder?”

    Read more from AZFamily.com!

    Follow Arizona NORML on Instagram and Twitter and become a member today!

    Tom McCain, Executive Director, Peachtree NORML

    “It’s just the drug warrior mentality. This is the same county where the helicopters were flying and then they raided a man’s home over okra plants.”

    Read more from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution!

    “I was a little concerned that unless [Kemp] made some kind of statement that he was looking toward being favorable toward it, it wouldn’t get through the senate committee, but this is great news.”

    Read more from the Daily Caller!

    “As of today, Hemp has not been defined in Georgia law.  The Federal definition of Industrial Hemp is cannabis sativa L containing not more than 0.3 (three tenths) of a percent of THC on a day weight basis.”

    Read more from Atlanta Progressice News!

    Follow Peachtree NORML on Facebook and Twitter and become a member today!

    For more than 45 years NORML chapters have been the driving force behind policy decisions on the local and state level. Have you connected with your local NORML chapter? If there isn’t one in your community, please email NORML Outreach Director Kevin Mahmalji at KevinM@NORML.org for help with starting your own!

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



  • by Jax Finkel, Texas NORML Executive Director March 26, 2019

    Fellow Texans,

    Today, I attended a press conference held by the Texas Police Chiefs Association (TPCA) at the Texas State Capitol. They discussed “the myths vs. the facts as they pertain to marijuana sales, production, distribution, possession, usage along with its long-term effects as well as impact on quality of life for all citizens.” While there, I was able to livestream the press conference and ask the Chiefs three questions regarding medical marijuana. (Watch here.) After the press, I was able to talk with Chief Dye for about 15 minutes on policy and real-world implications. I appreciate him taking the time to talk about this and hope he will be open to more conversations in the future.

    These are the people advocating for the status quo in our state.

    Please support our efforts at the Capitol!

    It was disappointing to see Law Enforcement advocating for policy that continues to saddle Texans with criminal records and all those collateral consequences as well as putting fear ahead of regulated patient access to medical marijuana. It is past time for us to update our statues to be inline with both the Republican and Democratic platforms.

    Please take action and let your legislators know that you support common sense policy!

    Support Medical Marijuana in the Senate and in the House.

    Support Penalty Reduction in the House and in the Senate.

    Sign this petition to Lt Gov Patrick.

    Here are a few quotes from today’s press conference:

    “Currently small amounts of marijuana are rarely criminalized as police officers are regularly employing proper discretion and procedural justice in not overcriminalizing someone for possession of a personal use amount. Our research has found that marijuana in legalized states can increase crime, negatively impact public health, place additional strain on social services, fail to eradicate criminal enterprises, and that expenditures often outpace revenue collection. The blueprint for proponents of marijuana legalization is clear and has been effectively used in other states that have now legalized this drug. Phase 1: Achieve passage for limited medical use. Phase 2: Push for decriminalization of small amounts of marijuana and expanded medical use. These first two phases are meant to desensitize the public for phase 3 when full legalization is sought. This is a calculated and systematic approach by a minority of our population that use marijuana and/or stand to gain monetarily from marijuana production.

    As police professionals, our opposition on marijuana is not concern over enforcement as most every agency has not been arresting young adults or casual users for a joint of marijuana for years, but an urgent call for attention to the harm that marijuana has caused in our society and its impact on everyone’s quality of life.

    One ounce of marijuana equates to 100 rolled joints while four ounces fills a large purse, which both far exceed anyone’s definition of a personal or small use amount. Furthermore, many arrests for marijuana in our communities also involve large amounts of packaged marijuana for sale and/or deadly weapons and/or other drugs such as meth, cocaine, and heroin.

    To that end, the Texas Police Chiefs are recommending the following to our lawmakers. Do not expand the use of medical marijuana unless validated, peer reviewed medical research shows a proven medical benefit and that it can be prescribed by a medical profession for a condition that cannot be treated with an existing legal medication. Prohibit the practices at the county level that supersede state law by unilaterally refusing to prosecute less than four ounces of marijuana. Police officer discretion is currently effective for providing procedural justice in terms of each circumstance being evaluated on its unique merits. Create a Class C misdemeanor charge for small amounts of marijuana IE less than one ounce to facilitate the proper level of non-criminalized accountability and treatment opportunity for personal use amounts. And finally, resist the billion dollar pro-marijuana industry’s agenda progressively desensitizing the public to this now very addictive and damaging drug and commit to a continued and thorough review of the data from legalized states to ensure that Texas makes the right decision for all Texans’ quality of life.”

    – Chief Steve Dye – Grand Prairie Police Department

    It is clear that we still have much work to do during this session to get this legislation to the finish line.

    Please support our efforts at the Capitol!

    Please stay tuned for more updates and actions as we progress through this session. Together we will be able to change these laws and help the people of Texas!


    Jax Finkel

    Executive Director, Texas NORML


    This was originally posted on Texas NORML’s website HERE

  • by Justin Strekal, NORML Political Director March 19, 2019

    Chief Petitioners Madeline Martinez, Leia Flynn, and Angela Bacca filed a ballot measure to be known as “The Legalization Justice Act of 2020” at the Oregon State Capitol on Monday, March 18. All three women are longtime West Coast cannabis advocates.

    Madeline MartinezMadeline Martinez is the executive director of Oregon NORML and the only Latina member of the board of directors of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML). She generated international headlines when she opened the World Famous Cannabis Cafe in 2009, the nation’s first public-facing cannabis consumption lounge.

    “This is about equal rights because whenever you pick a certain group and treat them differently that is discrimination. Patients, renters, the poor, people of color and women are still marginalized for their cannabis use, despite legalization,” said Martinez.

    Leia Flynn is a legal assistant at a firm that works with cannabis businesses and the owner of Flight Lounge, a members-only private cafe allowed under the City of Portland’s social consumption guidelines. A former medical cannabis caregiver and member of Oregon Green Free, she has put her voice out into the public in order to create safe spaces for cannabis consumers.

    “We are in a situation where we have legalized it and anyone over the age of 21 can purchase it, but you cannot smoke it anywhere unless you own your home,” Flynn says. “That is discrimination.”

    Angela Bacca is a Portland-based writer and editor who has been covering the national cannabis industry for over 10 years. Having witnessed the early days of medical cannabis caregiving in California as a patient living with Crohn’s Disease, Bacca feels it is imperative to protect patients’ rights to botanical medicine.

    “I would sum up our policy as ‘do the right thing’. Let’s create legal cannabis policy that acknowledges both science and reality,” Bacca says.


    The Oregon Justice League does not believe the State of Oregon has implemented Measure 91 in the spirit under which the law was passed. The OJL seeks to right these wrongs as well as provide a model for other states to implement a more just version of cannabis legalization.

    Legalization was sold to Oregon citizens as a way to grow, develop and sustain our small business economies, end the discrimination of citizens based on their interactions with the cannabis plant and uphold, protect and ensure the right of medical cannabis patients to safe botanical access.

    Therefore, the Legalization Justice Act of 2020 would make the following changes to Oregon law.

    Summary of language:

    Tax Revenues: Redistribute recreational cannabis taxes in a way that promotes the social justice goals of cannabis legalization. Once passed, the LJA would designate 25 percent of tax revenues to funding community development and micro-lending initiatives that promote small businesses in minority and underserved communities disproportionately affected by the failed War on Drugs. An additional 25 percent would be designated to subsidize medical cannabis purchases for low-income patients with qualifying conditions under the OMMP who have lost their access to direct caregiving from growers. The remaining 50 percent can continue to be used at the state’s discretion.

    Changes to Oregon Medical Marijuana Program: Recognizing that cannabis as a botanical substance is recommended, not prescribed, a patient’s right to choose botanical cannabis in their medical care in consultation with a doctor must not be impeded. Patients with incurable or chronic illnesses must be allowed by the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program to be issued a lifetime card if a qualifying physician recommends their cannabis use. Patients awaiting an organ donation cannot be removed from a transplant waiting list for using cannabis. The JA expands qualifying physicians under the OMMP to naturopaths, physician’s assistants and nurse practitioners.

    Producers of recreational or medical cannabis may enter into caregiving relationships with qualifying patients and provide medicine directly. The value of the product can be deducted from state cannabis excise taxes if the patient qualifies for low-income subsidization.

    Social Consumption Spaces: Legalize and regulate cannabis social consumption cafes in a fashion that removes the discriminatory provision under the Oregon Indoor Clean Air Act so that cannabis users can inhale inside. This section does the following (1) The Oregon Indoor Clean Air Act must be amended to allow smoking and vaporization of cannabis indoors. (2) Directs the OLCC to regulate and oversee the licensing and regulation of cannabis lounges. (3) Allows existing cannabis dispensaries to add a social consumption space. (4) Allows for OLCC licensed farms to host tours and tastings, as regulated by the OLCC. (5) Directs the OLCC to license and regulate cannabis social consumption spaces at public events. Allows delivery of cannabis to temporary residents and residents of municipalities that have banned cannabis dispensing storefronts.

    Employment Protection: Create employment protections under the law to protect off-the-job cannabis use and prevent conceptually flawed drug testing from being used to discriminate against cannabis consumers.

    Protect Oregon’s Craft Cannabis Community: Direct the state to directly advocate to the federal government for its craft cannabis community, specifically export of product out of Oregon’s borders.

    For more information, follow Oregon NORML on Twitter.

  • by Chicago NORML March 14, 2019

    This year, on April 8th, the Minority Cannabis Business Association (MCBA) will be returning to our nation’s capital in Washington D.C. and playing a leading role in drafting policy agendas to ensure participation of people of color in the cannabis industry.

    Chicago NORML is very excited to participate in the summit this year. As we continue our work with legislators, businesses, and our communities on cannabis reform and legalization here in Illinois, our attendance and participation in this summit is crucial.

    We could use a little help getting there! Please make a donation which will help defray costs of sending us to this important high-level policy discussion and workshop. Make an investment in our work by donating what you can.

    We expect to engage with industry leaders on important topics that will soon have a direct impact on our communities such as banking, taxation, criminal justice reform, and equity in ownership. Additionally, we expect to address how Federal measures such as Cory Booker’s Marijuana Justice Act, the RESPECT Act, and the States Act will affect us on the local level.

    Never have we been so close to comprehensive reform in Illinois and it’s imperative that we get it right. Help us make legalization a reality in Illinois and ensure that it is done so in a way to build an economy that works for all of us.

    Thanks for all you do,
    Chicago NORML


    You can find out more at www.chicagonorml.org and follow Chicago NORML on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

  • by Jax Finkel, Texas NORML Executive Director March 4, 2019

    In the Texas State Capitol Building, dozens of patients joined us to ask their legislators to coauthor legislation that makes the Texas Compassionate Use Program more inclusive and effective. HB 1365 (authored by Rep Lucio, III) and SB90 (authored by Sen Menendez) would allow patients with debilitating conditions access to medical cannabis to therapeutically treat the symptoms of their condition.

    Ask your legislators to coauthor HB 1365 and SB 90 now!

    Patients met up to learn from our briefing about how the legislative process works, a review of our priority legislation, and an overview of messaging and crafting testimony. Patients then broke out into groups by district and went to visit their legislative offices. Many patients also stayed to register their support of HB 63, which would reduce possession of one ounce to a small, civil fine.

    Make a donation to support our work at the legislature!

    We will be posting live updates from the HB 63: Civil Penalty hearing today. Stay tuned to watch the hearing. We will also keep you posted on the progress of these medical bills.

    View pictures from the event!

    Marijuana policy should be evidence based. Help dispel the myths with NORML’s Fact Sheets!For more information follow Texas NORML on Facebook, Twitter, and visit their website!


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