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  • by NORML May 11, 2020

    Even during these uncertain times, NORML’s mission remains the same. In fact, one can argue that our mission now is more important than ever before.

    “NORML’s mission is to move public opinion sufficiently to legalize the responsible use of marijuana by adults, and to serve as an advocate for consumers to assure they have access to high quality marijuana that is safe, convenient and affordable.”

    NORML Resource Guide Effective Activism During COVID-19

    Download the Resource Guide

    During this worldwide health emergency, it is more important than ever that patients have safe, above-ground, uninterrupted access to lab-tested cannabis medicine. It is more important than ever that police and prosecutors do not waste limited resources targeting marijuana consumers. It is more important than ever that America’s prisons and jails no longer incarcerate those charged with marijuana-related activities. It is more important than ever that essential cannabis retailers have equal access to banking and small business financial assistance.

    But while NORML’s mission hasn’t changed, advocates’ methods for accomplishing these goals have had to adapt.

    During this pandemic, reformers can no longer hold large public rallies. It remains unclear when Congress will return to Capitol Hill and resume regular order. In many parts of the country, state and local legislatures are closed indefinitely — making it impossible at this time to lobby for specific legislative changes in state and local laws. In most states, constituents cannot at this time even schedule a face-to-face meeting with their lawmakers.

    Given this new reality, how do activists effectively make their voices heard and continue to advocate for substantive changes in cannabis policies?

    Here’s how. In this guide, NORML highlights various online tools to assist reformers in their advocacy endeavors. As America awaits a return to normal, here are numerous steps that you can take today to keep successfully engaged with pundits, politicians, and other influencers during this pandemic.

    Despite the ongoing crisis that is before our country (and the globe), NORML and its staff are rising to the occasion to be both productive and influential in shaping the emerging worldwide narrative surrounding cannabis. Thank you for your continued advocacy and support. Together, we will end the criminalization and stigmatization of cannabis.

    The team at NORML


    NORML’s strength is in its numbers. Please take time today to consider joining the NORML family. NORML is well aware that these are difficult times financially for many of you, and we understand that some of you may not be in a position at this time to contribute to this cause. But for those of you who can, we hope that you value and appreciate NORML’s ongoing efforts and will consider making a contribution at this time. Your past efforts have allowed NORML to be ready and able to step up at times like this, and your continued efforts will help carry us forward to the better days ahead.

    Donate to NORML

  • by NORML May 5, 2020

    A lot is happening right now. There’s a global pandemic, various levels of government either shut down or solely focusing on COVID-19, and a lot of uncertainty. Cannabis programs have been deemed ‘essential’ in a majority of states that regulate its commerce, and multiple District Attorneys have deprioritized enforcement efforts in prohibition jurisdictions.

    In these difficult times, we want to make sure NORML is operating in a way that best serves the interest of our supporters, you, so we are seeking your direct input. By completing the following survey, you will help NORML better understand how to most effectively represent your interests in our lobbying, organizing, and educational efforts.

    Take the Survey

    We want to know, what should NORML’s priorities be? How are you responding to our efforts regarding the Coronavirus? Have you changed your consumption habits in response to COVID-19? How did you celebrate 4/20? And how do you want to engage in reform efforts with NORML?

    The information collected in this survey is kept confidential and will only be used for NORML’s internal organizational purposes to better improve our programming. Under no circumstances will your information be given, sold, or disclosed to any other individual or organization.

    This information is vital to our continued success. Please take a moment to fill out our survey.

    Thanks for all you do. Together we will legalize marijuana nationwide and ensure the rights of responsible consumers are protected.

    Your friends and family at NORML

    stay at home

     

    P.S. During these difficult times, NORML’s efforts have largely been supported by our amazing sustaining members who contribute a few bucks a month to help ensure we have the resources for the long fight. If you can, please kick in $5, $10 or $20 a month to help us keep going.

    Donate to NORML

  • by NORML April 14, 2020

    In recent days, numerous states have taken steps to ensure that state-licensed cannabis facilities are explicitly permitted to maintain operations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    In several jurisdictions, lawmakers have designated these operations to be ‘essential’ to the health and well-being of the patient community. In others, regulators have either relaxed protocols or moved forward with new, emergency rules to facilitate expanded access – such as permitting patients to seek telemedicine appointments and allowing dispensaries to permit curbside pick-up and home delivery.

    NORML is encouraged that lawmakers and regulators are moving expeditiously to take these common-sense actions. State Policies Coordinator Carly Wolf said, “The reality that a growing number of jurisdictions have taken these important steps is further evidence of the degree to which above-ground cannabis access is now widely recognized to be an essential part of the fabric of our society, and is regarded as being crucial to patients’ health and welfare.”

    Below is a summary of the policies currently in place governing retail cannabis access during the COVID-19 outbreak. NORML will continue to update these policies accordingly in the coming days and weeks.

  • by Jenn Michelle Pedini, NORML Development Director April 9, 2020

    Here at NORML, we take our work seriously. With so many unsubstantiated claims being made regarding cannabis and staying safe during the COVID-19 outbreak, we’ve compiled a list of resources for consumers and ways your activism can thrive during social distancing.

    Responsible Consumer Safety Tips

    Download tips

    NORML’s Responsible Consumer Safety Tips

    As a member of our NORML family, we earnestly care about your well-being. We all know a large part of what binds cannabis consumers together is community and sharing. However, while we are living through the current pandemic consumers should be more mindful of day-to-day consumption practices. Read and download NORML’s consumer safety tips.

    A NORML Reminder: Beware of COVID-19 Cure All Claims

    NORML wishes to reiterate its message that the public beware of online misinformation surrounding the use of either cannabis or CBD as a potential remedy for COVID-19. Read more.

    Download memo

    Download memo

    NORML Cannabis Policy Guidance Memo for Protecting Public Health During COVID-19 Crisis

    NORML and its national network of advocacy chapters released a memo to state lawmakers, regulators, prosecutors, and other interested parties providing guidance on how they can take emergency actions to better promote public health and welfare during the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more and download the memo to send it to policymakers in your community and state.

    States Taking Action to Ensure Uninterrupted Retail Access to Medical Cannabis During COVID-19 Outbreak

    Numerous states have taken steps to ensure that state-licensed cannabis facilities are explicitly permitted to maintain operations during the crisis. NORML is  tracking which states have deemed retail cannabis as essential services and which states have made allowances for curbside pickup, delivery, and telemedicine. View the up-to-date list.

    Urge Congress to Provide Small Business Relief to State-Licensed Cannabis Companies

    Representatives with the United States Small Business Administration (SBA) recently reaffirmed that state-licensed cannabis businesses are ineligible for financial aid opportunities because marijuana remains classified as a Schedule I Controlled Substance. Contact your federal lawmakers in support of this needed change to protect small businesses.

    NORML’s Voting Guide to Legalize Marijuana in Your State

    Despite the ongoing crisis, the November elections will still hold major implications for the future of legalization and other reform measures. Now, you can help NORML build the most comprehensive voter guide for cannabis ever created. Smoke the Vote already provides you with the voting records of all federal candidates, and we’re working on the state level candidates. View the guide and submit information for candidates in your state.

    We know these are tough times for many individuals and families. Working together and with the support of our communities, we will be able to get through this. If you are in a position to do so, please consider making a generous contribution to ensure that NORML can continue fighting for not just your rights, but the freedom and liberty of all responsible consumers. 

    Donate Now

     

  • by Justin Strekal, NORML Political Director April 2, 2020

    Eleven US Senators — Michael Bennett (D-CO), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Edward Markey (D-MA), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Jeffrey Merkley (D-OR), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Bernie Sanders (I/D-VT) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) — have sent a letter to leadership urging lawmakers to permit licensed cannabis operators to qualify for loans and other forms economic assistance available from the Small Business Administration (SBA).

    The Senators write:

    Over the last decade, there has been a clear shift in public opinion toward supporting the legalization of cannabis in the United States. Some states, including Alaska, California, Colorado, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington, have legalized both the recreational and medicinal use of cannabis. States collected an estimated $1.3 billion in tax revenue from legal cannabis sales in 2018. However, SBA’s current policy excludes small businesses with “direct” or “indirect” products or services that aid the use, growth, enhancement, or other development of cannabis from SBA-backed financing. Consequently, small businesses in states with some form of legal cannabis must choose between remaining eligible for SBA loan programs, or doing business with a rapidly-growing and legal industry.

    Just two weeks ago, a representative from the Administration acknowledged, “With the exception of businesses that produce or sell hemp and hemp-derived products (Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, Public Law 115-334), marijuana-related businesses are not eligible for SBA-funded services.”

    The Senators close their letter stating, “We strongly support ensuring that SBA loan programs are made available to all cannabis small businesses.”

    While the letter specifically calls for these changes to be made as part of the traditional appropriations process, which will not be concluded until September 2020 at earliest, one additional pathway would be to include legislative language in the next anticipated bill to address the COVID-19 pandemic. In this time of crisis and unprecedented federal support for the economy, with hundreds of billions of dollars being issued through the SBA to support small businesses, time is of the essence. To that end, NORML has called for SBA access to be included in our recently issued policy memo.

    Supporters of these changes can contact their federal lawmakers with NORML’s Action Center here. 

    Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, NORML has been working with its Congressional allies to move forward several pieces of legislation, such as HR 3540: The Ensuring Safe Capital Access for All Small Businesses Act, and HR 3884/S 2227: The Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement Act – which would both “prohibit the Small Business Administration from declining to provide certain small business loans to an eligible entity solely because it is a cannabis-related legitimate business or service provider.”

    The state-licensed cannabis industry employs more than 240,000 American workers, over four times the number of American workers as does the coal industry. The majority of these businesses are small-to-medium in size.

    Additional information about HR 3540: The Ensuring Safe Capital Access for All Small Businesses Act is available online here.

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