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Legalization

  • 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.

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    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.

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    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

  • by Erik Altieri, NORML Executive Director November 5, 2018

    Marijuana legalization is a prominent and pivotal issue in the 2018 elections, with thousands of local, state, and federal candidates around the country advocating for an end to our decades-long, failed policy of prohibition.

    Our issue is no longer a regional one confined to deep blue states on the West Coast or the Northeast. Advocating for comment sense marijuana policy reform has gone nationwide. Voters increasingly agree with us that the battle for legalization goes hand-in-hand with our battle for improved civil liberties, personal freedom, racial justice, and sound economics.

    We are winning this fight, but that is no reason to relent in our struggle. We must double down and end this war on cannabis and those who consume it once and for all.

    That is why we built Smoke the Vote – the most comprehensive listing of state and federal candidates’ positions on marijuana reform ever created.

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    When I first came to NORML as the Executive Director, our movement was in a precarious position. Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions was gearing up his rhetoric for a war on marijuana, and we seemed destined for a head-on collision between states and the Department of Justice. A few months later, Sessions rescinded the Cole Memo that provided cover to states with legalization, thus providing an opening for the federal government to once again begin to prosecute state legal marijuana patients or businesses.

    But how quickly the tides can change. Unfortunately for Sessions, his outspoken opposition and not so veiled threats have largely blown back in his face. While Jeff Sessions may live like it’s 1956, the rest of us are in 2018. Sixty-eight percent of American voters are on our side and believe we need to end our failed racist prohibition on cannabis and legalize it for adult use.

    We have won the hearts and minds of the people. Americans from all political persuasions, demographics, and regions of the country are saying “enough is enough, we will not go back.”

    We will not continue to lock up over 650,000 of our fellow citizens each year for the simple possession of a plant that is objectively safer than currently legal alcohol and tobacco. We will not put patients into handcuffs for using cannabis to alleviate their suffering. We will not allow jackbooted thugs to continue to knock down doors in communities of color and tear apart families. We will not continue to fuel a school to prison pipeline that is destroying the future of countless promising students. We will not continue to allow money to flow to drug cartels when it can be going to state tax coffers to fund new school construction and important social programs.

    Prohibitionists, with their flat earth mentality, are attempting to push back against the inevitable. They continue to flail against the forward march of progress — endlessly defending a policy will go down in history books as a national embarrassment, much like alcohol prohibition or Jim Crow laws. Their names will be listed as ignorant enablers of racist and anti-American policies — a footnote to be laughed at in disbelief. That is, if they are remembered at all.

    But this victory is only possible if the American marijuana majority votes!

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    In response to prohibitionists’ last-ditch efforts to slow our momentum, they have inadvertently converted new vocal supporters to our cause. And they have shaken many of our elected officials out of their state of complacency. Former ravenous drug warriors like Senator Schumer and Senator Feinstein now subscribe to the gospel of comprehensive reform. Republican lawmakers, once largely unified in their opposition, are now taking up leadership roles in the fight for federal marijuana reform. Representative David Joyce of Ohio and Senator Cory Gardner of Colorado have become strong and necessary allies. Our fight is now mainstream and bipartisan, as we always knew it should be.

    With the wind at our backs, we must redouble our efforts. 2018 is truly shaping up to be the Marijuana Midterms and we need to make sure all of our supporters are informed and ready to vote. Much still remains at stake.

    With every single member of the House of Representatives up for reelection, as well as pivotal Senate offices, we are in the position to shape the makeup of Congress to our liking. This election will determine who chairs those committees that will be critical in order to move our federal legislation forward. It provides the opportunity to vote out prohibitionists and vote in reformers. Candidates from across this country, with our encouragement, have added support for ending marijuana prohibition to their campaign platforms because we have shown them it is no longer a political liability, but a political opportunity to put oneself on the right side of history. With more Americans running for office than ever before, we can help usher in a new era of federal leadership that truly represent their constituents’ wishes when it comes to marijuana policy.

    And it is not just federal candidates who are embracing cannabis reform, this change also taking place at the state level. While we need reformers in Congress to finally end this prohibition, we also need state legislators and governors to approve and defend our state-level reform efforts. In Colorado’s race for Governor, one of our longest and most ardent supporters, Jared Polis, overwhelmingly won his contested primary with the support of NORML — support he highlighted again and again on the campaign trail. In Pennsylvania, John Fetterman blew away his competition in the race for Lt. Governor. Fetterman is now likely to win on the Democratic ticket with Governor Tom Wolf in November. Fetterman has spoken at numerous NORML events, worked with us to push for change in the Keystone state, and, should he be victorious next week, he will be able to help make decriminalization and legalization a reality.

    In the final run-up to Election Day, we must do everything we can to educate and mobilize voters.

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    Together, we have already accomplished so much. When we stand shoulder to shoulder and fight with one voice against these unjust laws, we will cross that final finish line.

    Together, we WILL legalize marijuana nationwide.

    See you at the polls,
    Erik

    Erik Altieri
    NORML Executive Director

     

  • by NORML October 26, 2018

    With the marijuana midterms right around the corner, it’s imperative that you know who and what is going to be on your ballot leading up to Election Day on November 6th. To see who the Vote marijuanamost pro-cannabis reform candidates are in your district, check out our Smoke the Vote scorecard and voter guide.

    In addition, if you live in any of these 16 counties and/or two cities, be sure to vote YES on the following marijuana ballot questions. In no way are these questions binding, but passing results often serve as an antecedent for legislative action by lawmakers.

    Brown County

    Should cannabis be legalized in Wisconsin for medicinal purposes, and regulated in the same manner as other prescription drugs?

    Clark County

    Should cannabis be legalized in Wisconsin for medicinal purposes, and regulated in the same manner as other prescription drugs?

    Dane County

    Should marijuana be legalized, taxed and regulated in the same manner as alcohol for adults 21 years of age or older?

    Eau Claire County (Vote option A)

    Should cannabis:

    (a) Be legal for adult, 21 years of age and older, recreational or medical use, taxed and regulated like alcohol, with the proceeds from the taxes used for education, healthcare, and infrastructure in Wisconsin?
    (b) Be legal for medical purposes only and available only by prescription through a medical dispensary?
    (c) Remain a criminally illegal drug as provided under current law?

    Forest County

    Should the State of Wisconsin allow individuals with debilitating medical conditions to use and safely access marijuana for medical purposes, if those individuals have a written recommendation from a licensed Wisconsin physician?

    Kenosha County

    Should the State of Wisconsin allow individuals with debilitating medical conditions to use and safely access marijuana for medical purposes, if those individuals have a written recommendation from a licensed Wisconsin physician?

    La Crosse County

    Should the State of Wisconsin legalize the use of marijuana by adults 21 years or older, to be taxed and regulated in the same manner that alcohol is regulated in the State of Wisconsin, with proceeds from taxes used for education, healthcare, and infrastructure?

    Langlade County

    Should the State of Wisconsin allow individuals with debilitating medical conditions to use and safely access marijuana for medical purposes, if those individuals have a written recommendation from a licensed Wisconsin physician?

    Lincoln County

    Should the State of Wisconsin allow individuals with debilitating medical conditions to use and safely access marijuana for medical purposes, if those individuals have a written recommendation from a licensed Wisconsin physician?

    Marathon County

    Should the State of Wisconsin allow individuals with debilitating medical conditions to use and safely access marijuana for medical purposes, if those individuals have a written recommendation from a licensed Wisconsin physician?

    Marquette County

    Resolved, that “We the People” of Marquette County, Wisconsin support the right of its citizens to acquire, possess and use medical cannabis upon the recommendation of a licensed physician, and; Be It Further Resolved, that we strongly support a statewide referendum Wisconsin to join the thirty-two (32) states that have already approved the use of medical cannabis for the treatment of chronic pain, several debilitating diseases and disabling symptoms.

    Milwaukee County

    Do you favor allowing adults 21 years of age and older to engage in the personal use of marijuana, while also regulating commercial marijuana-related activities, and imposing a tax on the sale of marijuana?

    Portage County

    Should the State of Wisconsin allow individuals with debilitating medical conditions to use and safely access marijuana for medical [treatment] purposes, if those individuals have a written [treatment] recommendation from a licensed Wisconsin physician?

    Racine County

    Question No. 1: “Should marijuana be legalized for medicinal use? Question No. 2: Should marijuana be legalized, taxed, and regulated in the same manner as alcohol for adults 21 years of age or older? Question No. 3: Should proceeds from marijuana taxes be used to fund education, health care, and infrastructure?”

    City of Racine

    Should cannabis be legalized for adult recreational use in Wisconsin? Should cannabis be legalized for medical use in Wisconsin?
    Should cannabis sales be taxed and the revenue from such taxes be used for public education, health care, and infrastructure in Wisconsin?
    Should cannabis be decriminalize in the State of Wisconsin?

    Rock County

    Should cannabis be legalized for adult use, taxed and regulated like alcohol, with the proceeds from the Taxes used for education, healthcare, and infrastructure?

    Sauk County

    Should the state of Wisconsin legalize medical marijuana so that people with debilitating medical conditions may access medical marijuana if they have a prescription from a licenses Wisconsin physician?

    City of Waukesha

    Should cannabis be legalized in Wisconsin for medicinal purposes, and regulated in the same manner as other prescription drugs?

    Just under half of Wisconsin’s population lives in the counties that will be voting on cannabis advisory questions. Make sure you know where your polling location is, and be sure to get to the polls on November 6th to #SmokeTheVote!

  • by NORML October 24, 2018

    medical cannabis oilOne of NORML’s primary missions is to move public opinion sufficiently to legalize the responsible use of marijuana by adults. One of the ways we successfully achieve this goal is by authoring and routinely placing op-eds in high-profile, mainstream newspapers and media outlets.

    Below are links to several of NORML’s most recent commentaries:

    “More Americans than ever want marijuana legalized. Lawmakers should listen”
    Otherwords.org

    “Support for marijuana legalization growing like a weed”
    TheHill.com

    “End the arrests. Vote yes on Measure 3”
    The Dickinson Press (North Dakota)

    “This November, not all medical marijuana efforts are created equal”
    The Springfield News-Leader (Missouri)

    “Marijuana dependence: falling sharply”
    The New York Times

    “Marijuana and the mid-terms”
    TheHill.com

    “Republican leadership is denying medical marijuana for veterans”
    The Sarasota Herald-Tribune (Florida)

    As we rapidly approach the midterm elections, we believe that it is more important than ever that our educational and media outreach efforts reach as many people as possible. Please show your support of NORML’s work by sharing and commenting on these commentaries, and most importantly, by making a contribution here.

  • by NORML October 22, 2018

    Sixty-six percent of US adults believe that “the use of marijuana should be made legal,” according to national survey data compiled by the Gallup. The percentage is the highest ever reported by Gallup, which has been tracking Americans’ views on the subject of marijuana legalization since 1969.

    Support was strongest among Millennials (78 percent), Democrats (75 percent), and Independents (71 percent). Support for legalization was prevalent among the majority of Republicans (53 percent) and those 55 or older (59 percent), groups who have historically opposed reform.

    Commenting on the poll’s findings, NORML Political Director Justin Strekal said:

    “It is time for lawmakers of both parties to en masse acknowledge the data-driven and political realities of legalization. It is time to stop ceding control of the marijuana market to untaxed criminal enterprises and implement common-sense, evidence-based regulations governing cannabis’ personal use and licensed production by responsible adults. An outright majority of every demographic, including age, political party, and region of the country support the outright legalization of marijuana”

    “Our time has come,” he added.

    The Gallup data is consistent with those of other national polls, including those conducted by Pew (62 percent) and Quinnipiac University (63 percent).

    Thirty-one states, Washington, D.C. and the U.S. territories of Guam and Puerto Rico have enacted legislation specific to the physician-authorized use of cannabis. Moreover, an estimated 63 million Americans now reside in the nine states where anyone over the age of 21 may possess cannabis legally. An additional 15 states have passed laws specific to the possession of cannabidiol (CBD) oil for therapeutic purposes.

    To date, these statewide regulatory programs are operating largely as voters and politicians intended. The enactment of these policies have not negatively impacted workplace safetycrime ratestraffic safety, or youth use patterns. They have stimulated economic development and created hundreds of millions of dollars in new tax revenue.

    Specifically, a 2017 report estimates that over 149,000 Americans are now working full-time in the cannabis industry. Tax revenues from states like Colorado, Oregon, and Washington now exceed initial projections. Further, numerous studies have identified an association between cannabis access and lower rates of opioid use, abusehospitalizations, and mortality.

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