• by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director December 1, 2017

    personal_cultivationSales of alcoholic beverages decline following the enactment of medical marijuana access laws, according to a working paper authored by a team of researchers from the University of Connecticut and Georgia State University.

    Authors evaluated the relationship between medical marijuana laws and retail alcohol sales for more than 2,000 US counties for the years 2006 to 2015. Alcohol sales trends in medical cannabis states were compared to sales trends in states where cannabis remained illegal. Researchers determined that counties located in medical cannabis states, on average, experienced a reduction in monthly alcohol sales of 15 percent.

    Researchers concluded: “We find that marijuana and alcohol are strong substitutes. … States legalizing medical marijuana use experience significant decreases in the aggregate sale of alcohol, beer and wine. Moreover, the effects are not short-lived, with significant reductions observed up to 24 months after the passage of the law.”

    Consumer trend data from California reports that those with legal access to cannabis frequently reduce their alcohol intake. A 2016 analysis of beer sales in Colorado, Oregon, and Washington reported that retail sales “collectively underperformed” in the years following the enactment of adult use marijuana regulation.

    Full text of the study, “Helping settle the marijuana and alcohol debate: Evidence from scanner data,” appears online here.

  • by Allen St. Pierre, Former NORML Executive Director September 21, 2011

    Oh to be governed…by hypocrites.

    Last week the nation watched President Obama bestow a rarely presented Medal of Honor to former Marine Sgt. Dakota Meyer. News reports indicate Mr. Meyer requested to have a beer the night before with his former commander-in-chief before the formal ceremonies.

    The two men were in fact widely photographed enjoying a beer on the White House back porch.

    Where did the beer the two men consume come from?

    The same news reports reveal that our President has become the first ever home brew resident of the White House, brewing a “White House Honey Blonde Ale”.

    Is it not painfully ironic to the point of disgust that the President of these United States of America–an occasional tobacco consumer and home brewer–along with the Speaker of the House John Boehner (a well-known tobacco and alcohol consumer), can responsibly engage in these adult-oriented activities, while at the same time providing ample public resources and rhetoric for continuing the nation’s farcical and long-suffering Cannabis Prohibition (74 years as of October 2nd!)?

    Next time you hear one of these two elected policy makers spout off about being ‘anti-drug’ and not being in favor of cannabis law reforms…just remember that both men are just selective Prohibitionists…and hypocrites.

    Really! Who wants to be governed by hypocrites who possess this ‘Good for Me, but not for Thee’ mentality?

  • by Allen St. Pierre, Former NORML Executive Director September 20, 2010

    My eyes rolled after reading about the NFL franchise Arizona Cardinals donating $10,000 to maintain the prohibition against physicians recommending medical cannabis based on the bizarre and dishonest excuse that they want a ‘Drug-Free Arizona’. Really? Drug-free?!

    Does this mean that this ownership group, which owns other professional sport franchises in Phoenix, is against profiting from the sales of one of the most deadly and addictive ‘drugs’ called beer? I think not…

    Also, one would think that the Arizona Cardinal’s ownership would be greater students of recent history and more respectful of the citizen’s will in Arizona, who’ve already twice passed medical cannabis initiatives in 1996 and 1998 (which the legislature recklessly disregarded and never implemented).

    Phoenix Business Journal

    The Arizona Cardinals are opposing Proposition 203 which could make medical marijuana legal in the state and let chronically ill or severe pain patients buy small amounts of pot from state licensed clinics with a doctor’s approval.

    The Cardinals gave $10,000 to Keep AZ Drug Free today, according to the Arizona Secretary of State’s office.

    That group opposes 203 saying it could lead to more illegal drug use.

    Cardinals team President Michael Bidwill is listed by the anti-203 group as one of the main Valley leaders opposed to medical marijuana legalization. USA Basketball Chairman Jerry Colangelo also is part of the Keep AZ Drug Free group’s efforts.

    Arizona voters will decide Prop. 203’s fate in November Arizona would be the 15th state to allow for medical marijuana.

    The Cardinals were not able to provide comment on their $10,000 contribution Wednesday evening.

  • by Allen St. Pierre, Former NORML Executive Director May 31, 2010

    In what has to be one of the more unique advertising campaigns currently found in the United States, a notable Denver brewery takes great advantage of the changing mores and values in Colorado that have ushered in hundreds of medical cannabis dispensaries throughout the state.

    Kudos to the Wynkoop Brewery (and their ad firm) for seizing upon the current cannabis reform zeitgeist in the country, and for not necessarily being threatened by the presence (and competition) of commercially available retail cannabis sales in the greater Denver-area.


    BTW, ironically, Wynkoop Brewery was founded by Denver’s anti-cannabis mayor, John Hickenlooper, who, after Denver’s voters overwhelmingly approved a 2005 voter initiative that would have reduced the penalty for possessing one ounce of cannabis from a $100 fine to zero, decided to stiff the voters and not implement their will. Mr. Hickenlooper is no longer an owner of the Wynkoop Brewery.

    Currently, however, Mr. Hickenlooper is running to be the next governor of Colorado. Voters there should remind Mr. Hickenlooper (and the media) of his supreme arrogance towards the will of voters and hypocrisy regarding his parochial views of alcohol use vs. cannabis use. Apparently, in his mind, it is ‘OK’ to own and operate a drug-making business regarding a dangerous and addictive product like alcohol–but not cannabis (which, unlike alcohol products, cannabis can’t deliver lethal overdoses and does not cause any where near the same degree of physical and mental impairment, addiction, cravings and withdrawals).

  • by Allen St. Pierre, Former NORML Executive Director March 15, 2010

    WHAT: Rally and Press Conference
    WHEN: Tuesday March 16, 2010 at Noon
    WHERE: City Hall Park – Broadway between Park Place and Barclay
    WHO: Empire State NORML with speakers, Author Dr. Julie Holland, CUNY professor Harry Levine, and Executive Director of NORML Allen St. Pierre


    *Empire State NORML and noted speakers come downtown for a press conference concerned about social and property damage associated with St. Patrick’s Day Calling for marijuana to be recognized as a safer alternative to alcohol.

    *Demanding the NYPD respect marijuana’s decriminalized status.

    *Celebrating the premiere of the new NORML ad, running in Times Square

    -CITY HALL PARK, MARCH 16, 2010, NOON-
    This coming Tuesday at high noon, Empire State NORML, the New York Chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) will rally at City Hall Park on the Broadway side. They will be presenting marijuana as a safer alternative to alcohol for New York’s many St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. Dozens are expected to attend and it’s certain to gain the attention of the hundreds of financial district workers who access the park area every lunchtime.

    Speakers include Dr. Julie Holland attending physician and board-certified psychiatrist at Bellevue Hospital and CUNY Professor Harry Levine author of the 2008 NYCLU report, “Marijuana Arrest Crusade: Racial Bias and Police Policy in New York City 1997-2007“.

    -Alcohol is more dangerous than marijuana-
    According to Dr. Holland “Say what you will about marijuana, one thing you can’t say: pot kills. No practical lethal dose has ever been established; no fatal overdose has ever been recorded. In America, the most likely harm to result from using cannabis is being arrested.”

    Dr. Holland added “Alcohol kills brain cells and liver cells. If you drink long enough, heavily enough, you will end up needing a new liver and a new brain.  American hospitals are clogged with people suffering from alcohol-induced dementia and liver failure. And don’t forget: abrupt withdrawal from alcohol, once you are addicted, carries a thirty percent mortality.  The DT’s can kill you, just as getting too drunk can kill you. Alcohol is a toxic drug. And it is legal.”

    -Call for the NYPD to stop unjust marijuana prosecutions-

    Empire State NORML will also call on the New York City Police Department to enforce the marijuana possession laws in line with its decriminalized status under New York State penal law.

    In 2008, the New York City Police Department made 40,383 marijuana possession arrests-over 110 per day, and more than all the marijuana possession arrests under Mayors Koch, Dinkins and Giuliani combined. Most of those arrested are young, male and black and Latino

    Professor Levine explains “In 2008, the NYPD made 40,300 lowest level marijuana possession arrests [NY State Penal Law 221.10] In 2009, the NYPD made 46,400 of these marijuana possession arrests. A 15% increase from 2008, and the second highest number of pot possession arrests ever, bested only by the year 2000 when the NYPD had five thousand more cops.

    “As in 2008, those the NYPD arrested were 54% blacks, 33% Latinos, and 10% whites. In 2009, as in 2008, police arrested blacks for pot possession at seven times the rate of whites, and Latinos at four times the rate of whites. Most of the people arrested were under 26 years of age and about 30% were teenagers. 90% are male.  Most of the people arrested are black and Latino teenagers and young men. In all of the arrests, marijuana possession was the highest charge or the only one.”

    Noted Doug Greene of Empire State NORML, “Even though New York State decriminalized marijuana in 1977, New York City has become the marijuana arrest capital of the world,” He added “New York City’s prosecution of young, poor minorities for pot possession doesn’t come cheap, it cost taxpayers between $60,000,000 and $100,000,000 in 2008 alone.  How can we justify these expenses when New York City is facing multi-billion budget gaps as far as the eye can see?”

    -CBS changes position and allows NORML ad in Times Square-

    Money can grow on trees.” That is the message of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws Foundation (NORML) in a 15-second digital ad scheduled to debut in New York City’s Times Square this week. The advertisement, produced and paid for by NORML’s educational arm, The NORML Foundation, will air on the CBS Super Screen through May 31, 2010


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