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Community Organizing

  • by Kevin Mahmalji, NORML Outreach Director December 10, 2018


    Up until a few years ago low-income housing that received federal subsidies were required to maintain a “drug-free” environment. This meant that if anyone living in subsidized housing was caught possessing and/or consuming marijuana onsite, everyone living in the property was at risk of being evicted.

    Fortunately, in 2014 the Obama Administration amended this policy to no longer mandate evictions which provided some discretion to housing management. As a result, the decision is now left to property management so they can insist on a “drug-free” environment, but are not required by law to impose such restrictive policies.

    Unfortunately, due to inconsistencies in the different policies adopted by property management companies and limited knowledge of the law, marijuana patients residing in subsidized housing are losing their homes. A situation that is becoming all too common. Most recently, John Flickner, a 78-year-old wheelchair bound medical marijuana patient, was evicted from his low-income senior housing facility in Niagara Falls for using medical marijuana that was recommended by his physician.

    In response, Lynne Patton, a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) regional official announced that she is working to resolve the ongoing conflict between federal and state marijuana laws as it applies to tenant rights in federally-subsidized housing.

    “State & federal law needs to catch up with medicinal marijuana usage & require private landlords to legally permit the same. Period,” Patton wrote. “Regardless, my team is already working with Mr. Flickner & a local grantee to place him in permanent housing again, as anyone else in his boat.”

    Read more here: https://www.marijuanamoment.net/trump-official-wants-to-legally-permit-medical-marijuana-in-federally-subsidized-housing/

    That’s why NORML is supporting the Marijuana in Federally Assisted Housing Parity Act, which would prohibit property owners of federally assisted housing from establishing standards to prevent access to federally assisted housing to anyone who engages in the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of marijuana as long as they are in compliance with state laws.

  • by Kevin Mahmalji, NORML Outreach Director December 1, 2018

    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.

    Members of  NORML Chapters in Missouri Host Community Discussion About Amendment 2

    “MU NORML, the Mizzou chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, hosted a cannabis conference Saturday with Missouri NORML and Show-Me Cannabis.”

    Read more from ABC 17!

    Follow University of Missouri NORML on Facebook and become a member today!

    NORML Leaders in the Media

    Abner Brown, Executive Director, North Carolina NORML

    “We’re going to set ourselves up for the best chance possible,” Brown said. “We’ve sent letters out and have contacted all of our elected officials in North Carolina, and those that were running, to get their responses about how they felt about cannabis reform.”

    Read more from WSPA 7 News!

    Follow North Carolina NORML on Facebook and Twitter and become a member today!

    Alan Robinson, Communications Director, Madison NORML

    Robinson could not be happier about Walker’s election defeat, since he historically has not supported legalizing marijuana and in May referred to it as a “gateway drug” during an interview on WISN-TV.

    Read more from The Badger Herald!

    Follow Madison NORML on Facebook and become a member today!

    Ali Nagib, Deputy Director, Illinois NORML

    Nagib said regulations might include limits on the potency of marijuana. And he wonders whether the “number of licenses will be limited and if there’ll be something favoring small businesses.”

    Read more from the Rockford Register Star!

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

    Chris Goldstein, Executive Director, South Philly NORML

    “Goldstein, however, said the new bill is part of a blinkered mentality that will prevent the city from taking full advantage of the medical marijuana industry and, he claims, eventually full-scale legalization.”

    Read more from WHYY Public Media!

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

    Andy Lee, Communications Director, NORML Canada

    “A diverse cannabis sector will, ultimately, provide the most innovation, establish high-quality products and a better experience for consumers,”

    Read more from The Province!

    Follow NORML Canada on Facebook and become a member today!

    Christeen Landino, Deputy Director, Michigan NORML

    “Landino recalls getting busted for pot in 1968 and attending her first demonstration about marijuana in Detroit in 1974. That one was in support of a decriminalization effort that never made it to the ballot.”

    Read more from the Detroit Metro Times!

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

    Dan Viets, Executive Director, Missouri NORML

    The measure will officially go into effect Dec. 6, according to Dan Viets, president of New Approach Missouri. But it could be as much as a year later before patients will have access to cannabis.”

    Read more from KOMU 8!

    Follow Missouri NORML on Facebook and become a member today!

    Dan Viets, Executive Director, Missouri NORML

    “Prices will reflect the content of cannabidiol (CBD) and tetryhydrocannabinol (THC), both active compounds found in marijuana, said Dan Viets, president of Amendment 2’s campaign committee and president of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws Foundation, or the NORML Foundation.”

    Read more from the Missourian!

    Follow Missouri NORML on Facebook and become a member today!

    Dan Viets, Executive Director, Missouri NORML

    “‘Certification’ is the correct term,” Viets said. Doctors will provide patients with a document allowing marijuana use if the patient has been diagnosed with one or more of a list of diseases listed in the amendment.

    Read more from Springfield News-Leader!

    Follow Missouri NORML on Facebook and become a member today!

    Dan Viets, Executive Director, Missouri NORML

    “Viets has been working with Missouri NORML to answer as many questions as possible about the new laws, and admits that there are still a few things that are still coming together but said they’re working to get everything in motion as quickly as possible.”

    Read more from ABC 17 News!

    Follow Missouri NORML on Facebook and become a member today!

    David Holland, Board Member, Empire State NORML

    National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) lawyer David Holland was recruited by Tesoriero to explain the impacts marijuana arrests can have on people.”

    Read more from The New Paltz Oracle!

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

    David Phipps, Communications Director, Indiana NORML

    “Some marijuana advocates downstate, meanwhile, think Michigan’s legalization could spur Hoosier legislators — maybe within the next year or two — to take action on the issue of medical marijuana, which has gradually gained attention over the last decade.”

    Read more from News Bug!

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

    Doug Greene, Legislative Director, Empire State NORML

    “New York — which already allows medical use of marijuana — will legalize its recreational use next year. He noted that the newly elected senators headed to Albany in January include a number of young progressives who will support legalization.”

    Read more from Times Herald-Record!

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

    Eric Marsch, Executive Director, Southeastern Wisconsin NORML

    “It’s clear that its popularity is overwhelming. It’s even more popular than many of the candidates who were elected in those areas.”

    Read more from WISN 12 News!

    Follow Southeastern Wisconsin NORML on Facebook and Twitter and become a member today!

    Eric Marsch, Executive Director, Southeastern Wisconsin NORML

    “Both are very supportive of medical cannabis and open-minded on recreational cannabis,” Marsh said in an interview. “The close margin in those statewide races means they both owe their jobs to the hundreds of thousands of cannabis voters who came out to support the referendums.”

    Read more from the Daily Cardinal!

    Follow Southeastern Wisconsin NORML on Facebook and Twitter and become a member today!

    Jax Finkle, Executive Director, Texas NORML

    “I don’t think that’s going to be a conversation this session,” Finkle told the Dallas Observer. “Texans like to consider themselves their own nation state. We like to do things our own way, and that means that [recreational legalization] will probably be later.”

    Read more from Civilized!

    Follow Texas NORML on Facebook and become a member today! 

    Kandice Hawes, Executive Director, Orange County NORML

    “Hawes founded Orange County NORML in 2003 after losing her college financial aid due to a marijuana possession charge. OC NORML has been instrumental in getting recreational marijuana legalized in California, organizing the Medical Cannabis Conference for Seniors in Laguna Woods Village, and working to end the lengthy incarceration of nonviolent marijuana prisoners.”

    Read more from The Indy!

    Follow Orange County NORML on Facebook and become a member today!

    Luis Nakamoto, Executive Director, San Antonio NORML

    “San Antonio NORML, the local chapter for reform on marijuana laws, is hopeful this go-around in terms of the next legislative session. State Senator Jose Menendez filed S.B. 90. He hopes to expand the Texas Compassionate Use Program.”

    Read more from KENS 5!

    Follow San Antonio NORML on Facebook 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 Las Vegas Review-Journal!

    Follow Nevada NORML on Facebook and become a member today!

    Mary Krueger, Executive Director, Rochester NORML

    “It’s already in our communities, kids are already getting it. When you regulate it, you take it out of the black market, you put it into a store and then you can go after the people who are giving it to kids.”

    Read more from News 10 NBC!

    Follow Rochester NORML on Facebook and become a member today!

    Mary Krueger, Executive Director, Rochester NORML

    “She and other justice advocates urge lawmakers to vacate or seal records of low-level possession and sale charges brought in the past. They also push for people who are currently incarcerated for such crimes to be released or have their sentences reduced to time served.”

    Read more from The River Reporter!

    Follow Rochester NORML on Facebook and become a member today!

    Matthew Able, Executive Director, Michigan NORML

    “I expect a rush on the grow stores in December because people are going to be getting lights and fans for Christmas.”

    Read more from the Detroit Free Press!

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

    Matthew Able, Executive Director, Michigan NORML

    “It has not been a smooth roll out on the part of the state,” Abel said. “You’d think Michigan would learn from other states — simple things, like license growers first.”

    Read more from Revue!

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

    Michael Ford, Executive Director, Minnesota NORML

    “Michael Ford and lifelong marijuana activist Oliver Steinberg, offers a moralistic wish list that includes home growing, release of nonviolent offenders, retroactive expungement, public consumption, and a purchasing age of 18.”

    Read more from City Pages!

    Follow Minnesota NORML on Facebook and become a member today!

    Mya Smith, Board Member, Purdue NORML

    “I have no doubt in my mind that it would become legal if they put it on a ballot.”

    Read more from WLFI 18!

    Follow Purdue NORML on Facebook and become a member today!

    Rick Thompson, Board Member, Michigan NORML

    “This isn’t done. Just because we passed legalization we have many more hurdles to accomplish. expungement is one, federal banking is one, criminal justice reform on the national scale.”

    Read more from NBC 25 News!

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

    Rick Thompson, Board Member, Michigan NORML

    “A person who may have consumed cannabis several days ago might still test positive for the presence of cannabis,” said Thompson. “That does not indicate they were using their automobile in an impaired way.”

    Read more from WSBT 22!

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

    Rick Thompson, Board Member, Michigan NORML

    “It was very predictable that this would happen and just underscores that there needs to be a change in federal law.”

    Read more from the Detroit Free Press!

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

    Pam Dyer, Executive Director, Eastern Washington Women of NORML

    “Dyer says consuming raw cannabis has also relieved a friend’s rheumatoid arthritis symptoms. While she doesn’t get high from eating the leaves and stems, Dyer does say that she has to reduce how much cannabis she ingests through other methods.”

    Read more from The Spokesman-Review!

    Follow Eastern Washington Women of NORML on Facebook and become a member today!

    Paul Kirchberg, Executive Director, Connecticut NORML

    “We know it’s safer than alcohol,” he said “If we can honestly have an open conversation about cannabis, we can realize that right now there are 30,000 people in Connecticut who are living proof that it’s not something to fear. Adult consumption, however, requires a certain level of responsibility.”

    Read more from the Connecticut Post!

    Follow Connecticut NORML on Facebook 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 Madisen Saglibene, Executive Director of Las Vegas NORML November 14, 2018

    Members of the Nevada NORML chapters, alongside representatives from Denver NORML, Arizona NORML and the National NORML Board of Directors, participated in Las Vegas’ first Business-to-Consumer Cannabis conference this weekend at the Rio Hotel & Casino.

    The Herban Expo opened its doors Friday as a free convention available to the public. While there are a vast array of emerging expos and shows within the cannabis space, Herban Expo’s unique focus on consumers and free entry certainly set it apart. With nearly 50 vendors from across Nevada regions and nationwide, the show floor remained a steady source of valuable education and networking all weekend.

    It was a great honor that Las Vegas NORML was asked to organize the panels and educational content, for all three days on the main stage. The Las Vegas NORML stage ended up featuring almost 30 panels and presentations, composed of over 60 experts! The feedback from attendees regarding their experiences were overwhelmingly positive. Topics of panels included, “CannaParents”, Criminal Justice Reform, Cannabis is Medicine, Social Use Lounges, How to Start a Cannabis Support Business, and more.

    As part of NORML’s call to action over the weekend, members from the various chapters led efforts to collect letters to Congress in support of marijuana reform. Though the goal for the weekend was 500, nearly 600 letters were signed to demonstrate support for the STATES Act, SAFE Banking Act, the Marijuana Data Collection Act and expansion for Veterans’ Access! Attendees of the event were eager to participate in the letter writing campaign and found it to be a great opportunity to familiarize themselves with current federal legislation.

    This past weekend hundreds of marijuana related businesses arrived early in Las Vegas for MJ BizCon, the largest Marijuana conference to hit the states, but entry costs nearly $700 for the general public. Herban Expo will return again in 2019 and NORML chapters are excited to remain an active part in the educational aspects in order to bring consumers the most valuable experience possible. 

    More about this year’s expo and upcoming info for future events can be found at www.HerbanExpo.com. Thank you everyone that attended! See you in 2019! Follow Las Vegas and Nevada NORML on Instagram (@lasvegasNORML & @NevadaNORML) for more information about upcoming events.

  • by NORML November 13, 2018

    Prohibitionist Pete Sessions has been ousted from office by Collin Allred and a huge number of volunteers, voters and cannabis activists! Cannabis was a huge part of this race’s conversation. We are hopeful that this huge shake up will help marijuana bills move more expeditiously at the Federal level as Sessions has been a huge roadblock for change.

    Support our mission in Texas!

    “Texans has re-affirmed that they are no longer satisfied with the status quo for marijuana laws in Texas. Many advocates in North Texas and across Texas worked hard to remove Sessions, who has been an major impediment at the Federal level,” said Jax Finkle, Executive Director of Texas NORML. “Session’s stance was not based in science, constituent opinion, common sense policy making nor the Texas GOP platform. We are hopeful for the upcoming Legislative Session here in Texas and hope that we will see more movement at the Federal level as well.”

    We also had some important changes in Texas. At the state level, we have 12 incumbents that have been replaced with Freshman in the House, 2 in the Senate and 2 at the Federal level. These are important changes before our legislative session that kicks off in January 2019.

    Become a sustaining donor and support our work during the session!

    The 86th Texas Legislature will convene on January 8th, 2019, but the pre-filing period began yesterday. Lawmakers have begun introducing legislation for consideration during the upcoming legislative session. (Learn more about preparing for the session here.)

    Several marijuana related bills have been introduced:

    HB 63 (Rep. Joe Moody) — Relating to the civil and criminal penalties for possession of certain small amounts of marihuana and an exception to prosecution for possession of associated drug paraphernalia; creating a criminal offense. Participate in our action alert!

    SB 156 (Sen. Jose Roriguez) – Relating to the civil and criminal penalties for possession of certain small amounts of marihuana and an exception to prosecution for possession of associated drug paraphernalia; creating a criminal offense.

    SB 90 (Sen. Jose Menendez) — Relating to authorizing the possession, use, cultivation, distribution, transportation, and delivery of medical cannabis for medical use by qualifying patients with certain debilitating medical conditions and the licensing of dispensing organizations and testing facilities; authorizing fees.

    HB 186 (Rep. Terry Canales) — Relating to the determination of the weight of marihuana and other tetrahydrocannabinolsfor the purpose of the prosecution and punishment of the offense of possession of those substances.

    HB 122 (Rep. Gina Hinojosa) — Relating to the medical use of marihuana; providing an affirmative defense to prosecutionfor possession of marihuana.

    SB 116 (Sen. Jose Menendez) — Relating to industrial hemp; requiring an occupational license; authorizing fees.

    HJR 21 (Rep. Ron Reynolds) — Proposing a constitutional amendment to authorize and regulate the possession, cultivation, and sale of cannabis for medical use.

    HB 209 (Rep. Ron Reynolds) — Relating to authorizing the possession, use, cultivation, distribution, transportation, and delivery of medical cannabis for medical use by qualifying patients with certain debilitating medical conditions and the licensing of dispensing organizations and testing facilities; authorizing fees.

    Become a sustaining donor and support our work during the session!

    For future updates on marijuana law reform efforts in the Lone Star State, follow Texas NORML on Facebook  and Twitter and become a member today!

  • by Keith Stroup, NORML Legal Counsel November 6, 2018

    The test should be, “Is it better than Prohibition.” Does the proposal stop the arrest of smokers and establish a legal market where consumers can obtain their marijuana?

    I want to take the opportunity today to personally thank you for being a marijuana policy reform supporter. Whether you are new to the cause or an old hand like myself, we at NORML both appreciate and rely upon your continued support.

    When I founded NORML in late 1970, only 12% of the country supported legalizing marijuana; 88% were opposed to our goals. After decades of hard work by tens-of-thousands of committed supporters like you, together we have gradually won the hearts and minds of a majority of the public. Today, some two out of three adults nationwide support ending marijuana prohibition and establishing a regulated market where consumers can obtain marijuana in a safe and secure setting.

    Election Day is a time when we can make our collective voices heard. That is why I am personally asking you to share NORML’s voter guide so that your friends and neighbors can be as informed as you are when they go to cast their ballot.

    Click here to share our scorecard on Facebook

    Click here to share our scorecard on Twitter

    Click here to share our scorecard on Instagram

    We are certainly proud of the enormous progress we have made toward ending marijuana prohibition nationwide, and we are especially proud of the gains we have made over the last several years. Today, over 30 states have legalized the medical use of marijuana; and nine states and the District of Columbia have legalized the recreational adult use of marijuana.

    Our friendly neighbors to the North have also been busy. Canada has become the second nation to explicitly legalize the social use, possession, cultivation, and retail production and sale of marijuana. It’s important to note that Prime Minister Trudeau was not always in favor of legalization, in fact, for many years he opposed it. That was until he met face-to-face with NORML Canada advocates Kelly Coulter and Andrea Matrosovs in 2012. They presented Trudeau with pro-legalization arguments that he’s still using today as prime minister. That is why we must all continue to raise our voices and advocate for change.

    Frankly, I have been smoking marijuana for more than 50 years, beginning when I was a first-year law student at Georgetown Law School in 1965. I enjoy my marijuana when I am relaxing in the evening, just like millions of other Americans enjoy a beer or a glass of wine at the end of their workday. But this issue is only incidentally about marijuana; it is really about personal freedom.

    Most Americans don’t want the government intruding into our homes in order to learn what books we read, what music we listen to, or how we conduct ourselves in the privacy of our bedroom. Neither does the government have the right to know whether we consume marijuana or drink alcohol.

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with the responsible use of marijuana by adults. It  is time for our lawmakers to recognize this fact and to act to make this policy a reality. That is why I am asking you to share NORML’s voter guide so that this election day we can elect reform-minded candidates up and down the ballot.

    Click here to share our scorecard on Facebook

    Click here to share our scorecard on Twitter

    Click here to share our scorecard on Instagram

    With your dedication, diligence, and continued support, together we will win to fight for personal freedom.

    Regards,

    Keith Stroup, Esq.
    NORML Founder and Legal Counsel

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