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Grassroots

  • 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 NORML November 19, 2018

    We have much to be thankful for this year. Lawmakers in 22 states have passed legislation to advance cannabis reform, Vermont became the first state to end marijuana prohibition legislatively, the Northern Mariana Islands Commonwealth became the first US territory to pass a regulated marijuana marketplace, and four states approved voter-initiated ballot measures that legalized adult use (Michigan) and medical marijuana (Oklahoma, Utah, and Missouri).

    Additionally, polling data continues to show improved gains in public support for legalization nationwide, with most recent polls revealing that majorities of Democrats, Republicans, and independents support ending our failed prohibition.

    This progress did not come out of nowhere, nor did it come overnight. Our successes are a result of years of diligent organizing and difficult conversations with our fellow citizens about the role of government, law enforcement, and civil liberties in our daily lives.

    We need to make sure that we take every opportunity available to further advance the cannabis conversation. The upcoming holidays provide an ideal venue for these conversations.

    Look, we know that political arguments are going to happen at the Thanksgiving dinner table, so why not make it about marijuana? While many Americans disagree about other key issues facing our country, there is so much common ground between those who identify as conservatives, liberals, independents, and everyone in-between when it comes to marijuana policy.

    So use us as a resource – NORML.org has Factsheets, Talking Points, and you can even pass your phone or computer around the table to have your friends and family contact their lawmakers right then and there to support reform in our Action Center.

    Having these conversations about the scope of the government’s right to stop, search, and incarcerate individuals for possessing a plant that is objectively safer than alcohol and tobacco can be tough, but it’s a hell of a lot more fun than hearing the same story for the millionth time from your cousin or the ranting of your whacky uncle (you know who we’re talking about, but he probably wants to legalize cannabis too).

    Since our founding in 1970, NORML has worked to provide a voice in the public policy debate for those Americans who oppose marijuana prohibition and favor an end to the practice of arresting marijuana consumers. We rely on thousands of individuals to fund our movement to continue our critical work. Sign up to be a sustaining supporter or make a one-time Thanksgiving gift to continue our march to progress.

    Together, we’re going to make 2019 the best year yet for reform. To make that a reality, we need you to use your voice at the dinner table this week.

    Gratefully,

    The NORML Family

  • by Justin See, Board Member, Indiana NORML November 15, 2018

    On Tuesday, November 6th, Indiana voters took their final opportunity to vote in the 2018 midterm election. While Indiana did not have the opportunity to vote directly on cannabis propositions as in other states, there were numerous candidates on the ballot supportive of reforming our cannabis laws. Many of them did not win their races, but this election was not without wins for cannabis reform in Indiana. Here are some highlights and some races we’re still watching:

    JD Ford: State Senate District 29

    During the 2018 session, state senator Mike Delph (R) voted against legalizing CBD products in Indiana, an issue widely supported by Hoosiers. JD Ford (D), on the other hand, actively campaigned on the issue of cannabis. “I believe that it is time to work with law enforcement agencies, healthcare groups, and other stakeholders to legalize medical cannabis and decriminalize the possession of small amounts of cannabis,” Ford told us in response to one of our candidate survey questions. Delph responded to the same question about decriminalization by stating that, “This is not our most pressing area of criminal law. From a practical standpoint, we really need the federal government to address its position before we can meaningfully do so at the state level.”

    JD Ford won his race and will be a new voice for reforming our cannabis laws in the Indiana Senate, where the sentiment on cannabis legislation is thought to be more even more hostile than in the House.

    Chris Campbell: Indiana House District 26

    Chris Campbell (D) ran against incumbent state representative Sally Siegriest (R), and won with 57% of the vote. In response to our candidate survey, Campbell said she was supportive of implementing a medical cannabis program in Indiana, decriminalizing cannabis, and allowing retail sales of cannabis for personal use.

    Chris Chyung: Indiana House District 15

    In house district 15, Chris Chyung (D) won his race against incumbent Harold Slager (R). “The federal government also needs to set clear guidelines on the legality of cannabis,” Chyung said in response to a question posed by NWI Times about issues that required action from the federal government, “Colorado has benefited to the tune of over half a billion dollars in revenue alone, and more in jobs growth and economic development. I will never allow Indiana to leave that kind of potential money on the table.”

    Other races with supportive candidates remain to be called. Due to widespread issues at polling locations, results for Indiana’s 4th house district might not be available until November 16th, although candidate Frank Szczepanski (D) supports implementing a medical program, decriminalization, and the legalization of retail sales for personal use.

    Read more here: https://www.inorml.org/election-highlights/

    For more information about marijuana law reform efforts in Indiana, follow Indiana NORML on Facebook and Twitter and become a member today!

  • 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 Carly Wolf, NORML Political Associate November 2, 2018

    Welcome to the latest edition of NORML’s Weekly Legislative Roundup!

    A bit of news from across the border to start; Mexico’s Supreme Court struck down the country’s prohibition of marijuana by issuing two separate rulings, setting binding precedent that the country’s ban on consuming marijuana is unconstitutional. The nation’s Congress has 90 days to repeal cannabis bans now considered unconstitutional.

    Let’s talk about Election Day, which is this Tuesday, November 6th, 2018. Don’t forget to vote if you haven’t already! No matter where you live, or what political party you identify with, your vote counts. It matters. It can make a difference. It’s your civic duty to exercise your right to vote. Make sure you know where your voting location is. And, make sure you know who and what is on your ballot, so you can make an informed decision. Also check out NORML’s voter guide and scorecard to see who the most cannabis friendly candidates are this election, and get ready to #SmokeTheVote!

    In Congress this week, The Marijuana Data Collection Act got two new cosponsors, for a new total of 33.

    At the state level, Utah lawmakers and advocates are working to revise provisions of medical marijuana compromise legislation. The House speaker also held a public forum on this issue.

    New Hampshire’s marijuana legalization study committee finalized a report examining policy considerations for the potential end of prohibition.

    New Mexico lawmakers held a hearing on permitting medical cannabis on school grounds. Also, a New Mexico judge ruled that the state’s 450-plant limit on medical cannabis dispensaries has no factual basis.

    Maine regulators making guesses that the first recreational marijuana stores will begin sales next year.

    Oregon regulators will hold a public hearing on marijuana rule changes on November 16.

    Regulators in Colorado are hosting a working group meeting on Monday. Regulators in the state are also taking public comments on changes to medical cannabis rules. You can submit your own comments here.

    Regulators in Ohio started accepting petitions to add new medical cannabis qualifying conditions. You can submit your own petition here.

    Governor Tom Wolf (D) of Pennsylvania signed a bill into law to end the practice of revoking driver’s licenses from people convicted of drug offenses and other crimes that have nothing to do with operating a motor vehicle.

    At a more local level, the mayor of San Francisco, California stated that the city is expanding their cannabis equity program. And Manhattan’s district attorney said marijuana prosecutions are down 94% in just the first quarter of a newly implemented policy.

    Following are the bills that we’ve tracked this week and as always, check http://norml.org/act for legislation pending in your state.

    Don’t forget to sign up for our email list and we will keep you posted as these bills and more move through your home state legislature and at the federal level.

    Your Highness,
    Carly

    Priority Alerts

    Federal

    Penalize States that Maintain Criminalization: The Marijuana Justice Act would (1) remove marijuana from the US Controlled Substances Act, thereby ending the federal criminalization of cannabis; (2) incentivize states to mitigate existing and ongoing racial disparities in state-level marijuana arrests; (3) expunge federal convictions specific to marijuana possession; (4) allow individuals currently serving time in federal prison for marijuana-related violations to petition the court for resentencing; (5) and create a community reinvestment fund to invest in communities most impacted by the failed War on Drugs.

    Click here to email your federal lawmakers and urge them to support this important legislation

    New York

    A11390 seeks to require public health insurance programs to cover medical marijuana related costs.

    The measure amends state law so that publicly funded health programs, including the largely-publicly funded Essential Plan, would treat medical cannabis like any other legal prescription drug “for the purposes of coverage under medical assistance.”

    NY resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of medical marijuana coverage

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