Community Organizing

  • by Jax Finkel, Texas NORML Executive Director April 12, 2019

    Many Texans spent a long day at the Capitol to offer thoughtful and powerful testimony on the seven bill addressing medical cannabis, including our priority legislation HB 1365 authored by Rep Eddie Lucio III. The Subcommittee heard from pain specialists, Rice’s Baker Institute, Republican Liberty Caucus of Texas, Republicans Against Marijuana Prohibition, and more – all in support of medical freedom for Texas patients. Patients and caregivers passionately shared their personal experiences.

    Ask your Representative to coauthor HB 1365 today!

    Texas NORML Executive Director, Jax Finkel, submitted the testimony of over a hundred of our fellow Texans to the members of the Subcommittee. It was our honor to bring the voices of those that could not attend into the hearing room.

    Make a donation to support our work at the legislature!

    Right now, we have strong bipartisan support for reform in the Texas Legislature and a record setting number of bills have been introduced for consideration. There’s a very small window to make this happen before the session ends in May. It will take all of us doing this important work to get across the finish line!

    Now that the Medical Marijuana Subcommittee has heard HB 1365, what happens next?In the Texas Legislature, committees tend to leave bills pending after the hearing. They will typically vote on bills in batches. This means that it can take about 2 weeks for a bill to be voted on, though this can vary. This means that we can expect a vote on HB 1365 in the near future. Once the committee votes, they will issue a report on the bill that will be distributed to every member in the chamber. When HB 1365 progresses, it will be sent to Committee on Calendars to be place on the floor calendar. Learn more about the process.

    What can you do to help today?

    Representative Eddie Lucio III has expressed the need for Texans to reach out the their Representatives and ask them to support HB 1365. Ask your Representative to coauthor HB 1365 today! This will help continue to solidify the strong bipartisan support as the bill progresses.

    Next Steps…

    Please consider making a donation to our legislative crowd funding campaign.

    View pictures from the hearing.

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


  • by NORML April 2, 2019

    The 2020 Democratic Presidential Primary is already heating up and we wanted to reach out to our supporters to take an early straw poll of who they think voters who prioritize marijuana law reform should support in that primary. We will be taking many more in-depth looks at the 2020 race as it progresses, including potential primary challengers on the Republican side, but first we wanted to provide an overview of all the currently announced Democratic candidates, along with their record and policy statements when it comes to marijuana legalization. Please review the information below and then cast a vote in our 2020 Democratic Primary Straw Poll!

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    The Senators

    Amy Klobuchar

    Current Office: Senator from Minnesota
    2018 NORML Congressional Scorecard Grade: B
    Co-Sponsored Legislation: STATES Act (2017-2018)

    Summary: During her tenure in Congress, Senator Klobuchar did not sponsor her own marijuana law reform legislation and did not seem to make changing marijuana laws a priority. Senator Klobuchar did sponsor both the STATES Act and the MEDS Act in the last Congress, but has yet to sponsor any legislation that would deschedule marijuana at the federal level. She remained generally opposed to legalization, while supporting states having the right to reform their own policies, until she clarified her stance as being in support of it after announcing her 2020 presidential campaign.

    Quote: “I support the legalization of marijuana and believe that states should have the right to determine the best approach to marijuana within their borders.” – 02/22/19

    Bernie Sanders

    Current Office: Senator from Vermont
    2018 NORML Congressional Scorecard Grade: A+
    Sponsored Legislation: Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act (2015-2016)
    Co-Sponsored Legislation: Marijuana Justice Act of 2017 (2017-2020), Marijuana Freedom and Opportunity Act (2017-2018)

    Summary: Senator Sanders has a long history of supporting reforming our nation’s drug policy. While serving as mayor of Burlington, Vermont in the 1980’s, he called for decriminalizing drug possession and treating substance abuse as a public health issue. When elected to Congress in the 1990s, he co-sponsored legislation that would have allowed for access to medical marijuana. In recent years, he has campaigned heavily on ending federal prohibition and expunging past marijuana convictions while campaigning for president in both 2016 and 2020. Senator Sanders was also the lead sponsor on the Senate version of the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act in 2015 and is a co-sponsor of numerous marijuana-related bills including the Marijuana Justice Act. NORML endorsed his campaign for re-election to the Senate in 2018.

    Quote: “Prohibition doesn’t work. Studies show over half of Americans smoke marijuana. It is insane to be arresting some 600,000 people a year for using marijuana. States are moving forward on decriminalization and legalization. The time is now to say that we are not going to punish people for smoking marijuana, states want to go forward and legalize it. That is their right…The issue that really hits me here, is you have thousands and thousands of people whose lives are wrecked for possession of marijuana.” – All In With Chris Hayes, 04/20/18

    Cory Booker

    Current Office: Senator from New Jersey
    2018 NORML Congressional Scorecard Grade: A+
    Sponsored Legislation: Marijuana Justice Act of 2017 (2017-2020)
    Co-Sponsored Legislation: STATES Act (2017-2018)

    Summary: Senator Booker has prioritized marijuana law reform since his time serving as mayor of Newark, New Jersey. He has made ending federal prohibition a central plank in his current presidential campaign and has prioritized the issue during his Senate career, serving as lead sponsor of the Marijuana Justice Act and the CARERS Act. NORML endorsed his campaign for New Jersey’s Senate seat in 2010.

    Quote: “Descheduling marijuana and applying that change retroactively to people currently serving time for marijuana offenses is a necessary step in correcting this unjust system. States have so far led the way in reforming our criminal justice system and it’s about time the federal government catches up and begins to assert leadership.” – Announcing the introduction of the Marijuana Justice Act of 2017, 08/01/2017

    Elizabeth Warren

    Current Office: Senator from Massachusetts
    2018 NORML Congressional Scorecard Grade: A
    Sponsored Legislation: STATES Act (2017-2018)
    Co-Sponsored Legislation: Marijuana Justice Act of 2019 (2017-2020), Marijuana Freedom and Opportunity Act (2017-2018)

    Summary: Earlier in her career, Senator Warren was cautious on issues surrounding cannabis descheduling and legalization. In recent years, she has embraced the issue and is one of the lead sponsors of the STATES Act, that would create an exemption from federal incursion for states that have legalized marijuana for adult or medical use, and is a co-sponsor of the Marijuana Justice Act. She has highlighted issues of the inequities caused by marijuana prohibition while on the trail for her 2020 presidential campaign. NORML endorsed her campaign for re-election to the Senate in 2018.

    Quote: “Outdated federal marijuana laws have perpetuated our broken criminal justice system, created barriers to research, and hindered economic development. States like Massachusetts have put a lot of work into implementing common sense marijuana regulations – and they have the right to enforce their own marijuana policies. The federal government needs to get out of the business of outlawing marijuana.” – Press Release Announcing the STATES Act of 2017, 06/07/18

    Kamala Harris

    Current Office: Senator from California
    2018 NORML Congressional Scorecard Grade: A
    Co-Sponsored Legislation: Marijuana Justice Act (2017-2020)

    Summary: Kamala Harris has a complicated history with marijuana law reform. While serving as district attorney in San Francisco and as US Attorney in California, she enforced laws that saw many go to jail for marijuana offenses and oversaw a period where raids on medical marijuana dispensaries spiked. During her campaign for District Attorney in 2016, she laughed off the question when asked about support for legalization. However, she began to embrace legalization more around 2016 and upon entering the 2020 presidential race, she has become a more vocal advocate and often discusses legalization as a criminal justice reform issue. She said she believes marijuana is a thing that “brings people joy” and supports ending federal prohibition to combat mass incarceration. She was an initial co-sponsor on the Marijuana Justice Act of 2019.

    Quote: “We need to legalize marijuana and regulate it. And we need to expunge nonviolent marijuana-related offenses from the records of the millions of people who have been arrested and incarcerated so they can get on with their lives.” Sen. Harris wrote in her book The Truths We Hold.

    Kirsten Gillibrand

    Current Office: Senator from New York
    NORML 2018 Congressional Scorecard Grade: A
    Co-Sponsored Legislation: Marijuana Justice Act (2017-2020)
    Summary: Kirsten Gillibrand did not initially support legalization when serving in the House of Representatives. In the Senate, she became a vocal supporter and signed on as a co-sponsor of numerous pieces of marijuana related legislation. On the campaign trail she has often spoken vigorously against our failed war on drugs and the harms caused by marijuana prohibition. She was an initial co-sponsor of the Marijuana Justice Act of 2019. NORML endorsed her reelection to the Senate in 2018.

    Quote: “Millions of Americans’ lives have been devastated because of our broken marijuana policies, especially in communities of color and low-income communities. Just one minor possession conviction could take away a lifetime of opportunities for jobs, education, and housing, tear families apart, and make people more vulnerable to serving time in jail or prison down the road. The reality that my 14-year-old son would likely be treated very differently from one of his Black or Latino peers if he was caught with marijuana is shameful. Legalizing marijuana is a social justice issue and a moral issue that Congress needs to address, and I’m proud to work with Senator Booker on this legislation to help fix decades of injustice caused by our nation’s failed drug policies.” in a press release on 2/14/2018

    The Representatives

    Tulsi Gabbard

    Current Office: Representative for Hawaii’s 2nd Congressional District
    NORML 2018 Congressional Scorecard Grade: A+
    Sponsored Legislation: Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act (2017-2020)
    Co-Sponsored Legislation: The RESPECT Resolution (2017-2020), Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2017 (2017-2020), Responsibly Addressing the Marijuana Policy Gap Act (2017-2018), Marijuana Justice Act (2017-2020)

    Summary: Tulsi Gabbard has largely been a vocal supporter of ending federal marijuana prohibition for her full tenure in the House of Representatives. She has twice been the lead sponsor of the End Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act and continues to discuss the need for reform while campaigning. This has been a major part of her political platform, in addition to serving as the lead sponsor on End Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act, she is a co-sponsor on numerous other pieces of marijuana-related legislation. NORML endorsed her campaign for re-election to the House of Representatives in 2018.

    Quote: “We must pass The Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act to ensure that marijuana consumers and state-licensed marijuana businesses are protected from undue federal interference. It will help reduce the strain on our criminal justice system, amend federal law to agree with cannabis’ changing cultural status, recognize the plant’s therapeutic benefits, and reduce contradictions and confusion between federal and state marijuana laws.” in a message to NORML supporters on 03/07/2019

    Beto O’Rourke

    Current Office: None
    Previous Office: Representative for Texas’ 16th Congressional District
    NORML 2018 Congressional Scorecard Grade: A
    Sponsored Legislation: The Better Drive Act (2017-2018)
    Co-Sponsored Legislation: The Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act (2017-2018)

    Summary: Beto O’Rourke has been a long-time supporter of abolishing the federal prohibition on marijuana since the start of his political career as a city council member in El Paso. While serving in the US House of Representatives, he co-sponsored several bills including; The Veterans Equal Access Act, The Respect State Marijuana Laws Act, The CARERS Act, and The Industrial Hemp Farming Act. In his bid for President, he has called for ending the federal prohibition of cannabis and creating a legal, regulated market. He also supports expunging criminal records of those already convicted of nonviolent marijuana offenses. NORML endorsed his reelection campaign to the House of Representatives in 2014 and his campaign for Senate in 2018.

    Quote: “We should end the federal prohibition on marijuana and expunge the records of those who were locked away for possessing it, ensuring that they can get work, finish their education, contribute to the greatness of this country,” O’Rourke wrote in an email to his supporters. March 2019

    John Delaney

    Current Office: None
    Previous Office: Representative for Maryland’s 6th Congressional District
    NORML 2016 Congressional Scorecard Grade: B
    Co-Sponsored Legislation: N/A

    Summary: John Delaney does not have a long record of supporting marijuana law reform. When he served in the House, he did co-sponsor a very limited medical marijuana access bill and a piece of legislation that would give marijuana businesses the ability to utilize financial services.

    The Governors

    Jay Inslee

    Current Office: Governor of Washington State
    NORML 2018 Gubernatorial Scorecard Grade: A+

    Enacted Legislation: In January 2019, Gov. Inslee announced his intent to provide an expedited process for granting clemency to those with past marijuana-related convictions. Under the proposed plan, those convicted of a marijuana misdemeanor after January 1, 1998, will have their record vacated. It is estimated that 3,500 individuals will be eligible for expungement. (1/4/19), SB 5131: Amends the state’s medical cannabis law so that qualified medical marijuana patients and designated providers can purchase immature plants, clones, or seeds from a licensed producer. (2017), House Bill 2064: Amends state law so that industrial hemp is no longer classified as a controlled substance under the state’s uniform controlled substances act. (2017). SB 6206: Authorizes “the growing of industrial hemp as a legal agricultural activity” in accordance with federal legislation permitting such activity as part of a state-authorized program. (2016), HB 1276: Defines any consumption of marijuana while in a moving vehicle as a traffic violation. The statute further requires that any cannabis possessed in a moving vehicle must be located in a sealed container in either the trunk, glove compartment, or some other area that is inaccessible to the driver or passengers. (2015), SB 5052: Imposed the establishment of a voluntary registration system for qualified patients, reduced the number of plants that patients may legally cultivate and possess, and imposed new regulations of physicians who authorize medical cannabis. (2015)

    Summary: Under the leadership of Governor Jay Inslee, Washington state has acted as a progressive beacon for the rest of the nation in many important areas, including marijuana policy. Washington state historically became the first state to legalize recreational marijuana in 2012, less than a year before Governor Inslee took office. Although his support for legalization was uncertain prior to the passing Initiative 502 in the 2012 general ballot, he has since vehemently protected his state’s program, defending it against the threat of federal interference. Inslee has assured voters that he will support legalization efforts as president, voicing his belief that it’s time the United States legalizes marijuana federally.

    Quotes: “Our federal marijuana laws are broken—and we need to ensure this Justice Department does not interfere with Washington state’s thriving, well-regulated marijuana market.” 6/8/2018

    John Hickenlooper

    Current Office: None
    Previous Office: Governor of Colorado
    NORML 2016 Gubernatorial Scorecard Grade: B-

    Enacted Legislation: House Bill 1267: Permits qualified patients to access medical marijuana while on probation or parole. Colorado is one of the first states to permit medical marijuana use to parolees by statute. (2015), House Bill 1373: Permits qualified patients access to medical cannabis formulations while on school grounds. (2016)

    Summary: Governor John Hickenlooper has displayed lukewarm support for progressive marijuana policies and has often left voters unsure of his exact stance on cannabis-related issues. He demonstrated outspoken opposition to his state’s decision to legalize in 2014, citing that it would inspire people “to do more of what is not a healthy thing.” Hickenlooper has since admitted that his fears have not materialized. Although he still does not endorse legalization, he believes in a federal reclassification of cannabis and has voiced support for federal banking reforms.

    Quote: “I would not ask the federal government to legalize it for everyone, but I think that in states that do legalize marijuana, with the voters or through their general assembly, the federal government should get out of the way, and allow them to be able to get banking… allow them to look at systems by which you can have this experiment go on successfully.” 3/20/2019

    New Contenders

    Julian Castro

    Current Office: None
    Former Office: Secretary of HUD, Mayor of San Antonio

    Summary: Julian Castro has come out in support of legalization during his campaign for president. He has not held legislative office, so there is no record available for bill sponsorship or votes. While serving as the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under Obama he issued a memo reiterating the ban on marijuana in public housing.

    Quote: “The White House may crack down on recreational marijuana use–even in states where voters have approved it. That’s a mistake. The federal government should focus its resources on more serious crimes. Not only that, growing evidence from Colorado and other states suggests we can sensibly legalize marijuana use with reasonable controls in place. State voters should have that power.” 02/26/17

    Andrew Yang

    Current Office: None
    Employment: Former Tech Executive, Nonprofit Founder

    Summary: Yang supports ending federal marijuana prohibition and moving towards legalization – in addition to calling for the expungement of those with existing criminal records. While he supports legalization, he also believes that there should be limits on advertising and THC levels.

    Quote: “I don’t love marijuana. I’d rather people not use it heavily. But it’s vastly safer than people becoming addicted to opiates like heroin. And our criminalization of it seems stupid and racist, particularly now that it’s legal in some states. We should proceed with full legalization of marijuana and pardon those in jail for nonviolent marijuana-related offenses. It’s a safer, less addictive means to manage pain for many Americans.” – Yang2020.com

    Pete Buttigieg

    Current Office: Mayor of South Bend, Indiana

    Summary: Mayor Buttigieg has talked about cannabis reform significantly less than his 2020 competitors. He has never signed legislation directly related to marijuana, and his home state of Indiana lacks even a comprehensive medical program. However, he has voiced strong opposition to the incarceration of nonviolent drug offenders and has related his own experience with a police officer who caught him with a joint while he was in college. While Buttigieg wouldn’t obstruct efforts to change federal cannabis laws, it would likely not be a priority of his administration.

    Quote: “The safe, regulated, and legal sale of marijuana is an idea whose time has come for the United States, as evidenced by voters demanding legalization in states across the country.” 2/26/2019

  • 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 Jax Finkel, Texas NORML Executive Director March 25, 2019

    Rep. Joe Moody’s bill to reduce penalties for low-level marijuana possession has passed out of the Criminal Jurisprudence Committee with a bipartisan vote of 5-2!

    If HB 63 passes the House and Senate, Texans would no longer face jail time or the collateral consequences that come along with a criminal drug conviction!

    The policy proposed by this bill is in line with the Republican and Democratic Platforms as well as numerous other states. Such a change will save taxpayers money and allow police and the courts to re-prioritize their resources toward addressing more serious crimes. Minor marijuana possession offenders, many of them young people, should not be saddled with a criminal record and the lifelong penalties and stigma associated with it.

    Texans, please ask your representative to co-author HB 63.

    The next step for the bill will for it to be referred to the Calendars Committee, which Rep. Moody sits on as Vice-Chair. We will keep you updated with strategic actions and bill movement updates.

    The bill was amended by the committee and now allows an individual to receive two civil penalties ($250 fine) before facing Class C Misdemeanor charges for subsequent offenses. Even after three or more charges, though, Rep. Moody’s bill institutes an automatic deferral, allowing the individual to avoid a permanent criminal record. This is a vast improvement from current law, which penalizes even small amounts with an arrest, up to 180 days in jail, up to $2,000 in fines, and a permanent criminal record.

    What Can You Do Next?

    * Lt. Governor Dan Patrick says he’s not supportive of marijuana law reform. Sign our petition to ask him to reconsider his position, which is at odds with public opinion and the official position of his own political party. (Signature will be hand delivered later this week.)

    * We’re more than halfway to our crowdfunding goal. Will you pitch toward our efforts at the Capitol? (Thank you!)

    Ask your Representative to Co-Author HB 1365! Texas patients need safe access to medical marijuana.

    * The Texas Medical Association (TMA) has long supported a physician’s right to discuss marijuana use with patients. Recently, though, the powerful association went further, offering several recommendations about the Therapeutic Use of Marijuana, Cannabidiol, and Related Compounds. (More here.)

    This is a positive step forward for this important legislation, but there still is much work to do. We will need all hands-on deck over the next week so stay tuned for our action alerts!

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