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Community Organizing

  • by Kevin Mahmalji, NORML Outreach Director August 13, 2019

    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.

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

     

    Every day 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.

    2019 NORML Conference

    NORML Announces Plans for 2019 Conference and Lobby Day 

    “This September, we invite you to join NORML members from across America to learn effective strategies, hear the latest scientific and political advancements, and meet in person with influential members of Congress.”

    Read more from NORML.org!

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

    NORML Chapters in the Media

    NORML KC Continues Push to Expand Patient Access 

    “Members of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws pushed to reduce the buffer zone to only 300 feet, something Mayor-Elect Quinton Lucas had proposed earlier.”

    Read More from Fox 4 News!

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

    Memphis NORML Refocuses Efforts to End Marijuana Prohibition

    “The end goal is always recreational. We believe in responsible use of cannabis, period. For consenting adults over 21, they should have no problem being able to go purchase cannabis.”

    Read more from the Memphis Flyer!

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

    NORML Leaders in the Media

    Alan Robinson, Executive Director, Wisconsin NORML

    “The decriminalization and legalization of cannabis is one of the ways this country can undo some of the systematic and intentional racism.”

    Read more from ISTHMUS!

    Follow Wisconsin NORML on Facebook and become a member today!

    Dan Viets, Executive Director, Missouri NORML 

    “They’ll compromise the hell out of anything if it’s in the least controversial.”

    Read more from Riverfront Times!

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

    Jamie Kacz, Executive Director, NORML KC

    “We want patients to be able to have access to their medicine so they don’t have to have any unnecessary burden.”

    Read more from KSHB-TV!

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

    Jamie Spencer, Legal Counsel, Texas NORML 

    “This is good news for everyone in Texas — not only those who want to smoke marijuana, but the other majority of Texans that don’t use marijuana but think it’s ridiculous that it’s still a crime at all.”

    Read more from the Statesman

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

    Jax Finkle, Executive Director, Texas NORML 

    “People are just having a conversation of where should our tax dollars be spent on crimes and clearly low-level offenses, where people aren’t really bothering anyone, have really become not a priority for the general public.”

    Read more from Your Basin

    “HB 3703 will ensure more patients have access to medicine which will have a positive impact on their lives.”

    Read more from the Statesman!

    “Many more patients are still being left behind, however, and will now have to wait until the next legislative session in 2021 for their next opportunity to find relief.”

    Read more from Alice Echo News Journal!

    “This is a real-world test run for what it will be like if we don’t prosecute for marijuana. We’ll see that it’s not worth the resources or testing cost.”

    Read more from The Austin Chronicle

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

    Jenn Michelle Pedini, Executive Director, Virginia NORML

    “Now, the million dollar question is when will we get more?” Pedini said of the processors. “And that’s really up to Virginians and who they elect to represent them in the General Assembly.”

    Hear more on WCVE!

    “Virginians overwhelmingly want a fine, not a crime, for marijuana possession.”

    Read more from The Washington Post!

    “The Commonwealth now spends over $100M annually enforcing marijuana prohibition, at time when over three quarters of Virginians favor fines not crimes for simple possession and six in ten support legalizing and regulating responsible adult-use.”

    Read more from Weed News!

    “It really comes down to the Senate Courts of Justice Committee and the House Courts of Justice Committee. That’s where marijuana reform goes to die.”

    Read more from RVA Magazine

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

    Mary Kruger, Executive Director, Rochester NORML

    “It leaves us asking many questions about how the complicated/costly process of expungement is going to be covered and done automatically by the State,”

    Read more from Forbes!

    “If someone has a misdemeanor level drug charge on their record, that has collateral consequences throughout their life.”

    Read more from WHEC TV!

    “Actual decriminalization would be it’s okay to grow the plant, it’s okay to sell the plant, it’s okay to consume the plant in spaces that are designated for consumption. None of that is happening with this bill.”

    Read more from WHEC TV!

    “We know we’re moving in the right direction, and we’re not going away.”

    Read more from City Newspaper!

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

    Paul Kirchberg, Executive Director, Connecticut NORML 

    “It’s very liberating here to be among other people in the cannabis industry, to be in a large venue like MassMutual and be able to be free of any prosecution or persecution. We hope Connecticut will follow suit quickly.”

    Read more from West Hartford News!

    Follow Connecticut NORML on Facebook and become a member today!

    Rick Thompson, Board Member, Michigan NORML

    “There remains concern that the initial recreational demand will strip out the supply and cause market disruption.”

    Read more from M Live!

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

     

    Legalize marijuana

    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 Kevin Mahmalji, NORML Outreach Director July 26, 2019

    The City of Jacksonville, Florida could join a growing list of cities around the country that have embraced a more pragmatic approach for dealing with marijuana-related offenses on the local level. Currently more than a dozen Florida municipalities have decriminalized the possession of 20 grams or less of marijuana including: Alachua County, Broward County, Cocoa Beach, Hallandale Beach, Key West, Miami Beach, Miami-Dade County, Orlando, Osceola County, Palm Beach County, Port Richey, Tampa, Volusia County, and West Palm Beach County.

    Jacksonville Residents Click Here to Send a Message to your Council Representatives 

    Citing concerns about the collateral consequences of a marijuana charge and the disproportionate impact marijuana prohibition continues to have on communities of color, Council Member Garrett Dennis recently introduced the, “Jacksonville Civil Citation for Small Quantity Marijuana Possession Ordinance.” If approved, the ordinance would impose a $100 fine for possessing 20 grams or less of marijuana instead of jail time. 

    “During my reelection campaign, I spoke to many citizens whose lives were thrown into a downward spiral due to possessing minimal amounts of marijuana. Families were in debt because of legal issues, loss of employment or the inability to secure gainful employment; based on these misdemeanor arrests,” said Council Member Dennis. 

    Read more from First Coast News

    To support this effort, Council Member Dennis has announced a series of community meetings. Each meeting is free to attend and open to the public. 

    Date:  Saturday, July 27, 2019                                         

    Time: 10:30 a.m.

    Location: South Mandarin Library, 12125 San Jose Blvd., Jacksonville, FL 32223

    Date: Monday, July 29, 2019

    Time: 6:00 p.m.

    Location: Bennie Furlong Senior Center, 281 19th Ave S, Jacksonville Beach, FL 32250

    Date: Tuesday, July 30, 2019    

    Time: 6:00 p.m.

    Location: Legends Center, 5130 Soutel Drive, Jacksonville, FL 32208

    Date: Monday, August 5, 2019  

    Time: 6:30 p.m.

    Location: Webb Wesconnett Library, 6887 103rd Street, Jacksonville, FL 32210

    Click Here to Review NORML’s Decriminalization Report

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

                                                                                                                              

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