• by Sabrina Fendrick July 16, 2012

    Follow the NORML Women’s Alliance on Facebook and Twitter


  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director November 9, 2011

    Two municipal election results from yesterday ought to come as no surprise.

    In the cities of Kalamazoo, Michigan and Tacoma, Washington, municipal voters overwhelmingly favored local ballot measures to mandate that the criminal enforcement of cannabis possession offenses be law enforcement’s “lowest priority.”

    In Tacoma, voters decided in favor of Initiative 1, which states that minor marijuana offenses shall be “the lowest enforcement priority of the City of Tacoma.”

    In Kalamazoo, voters approved a similar ‘deprioritization’
    by a margin of almost 2 to 1.

    Given that one out of two Americans now favor outright legalizing the adult use of the marijuana plant, and given that voters have consistently voted in favor of similar ‘deprioritization’ measures before (e.g., Seattle, 2003; Oakland, 2004; Columbia, Missouri, 2004; Santa Cruz, 2006;Denver, 2007; etc.) last night’s results are hardly surprising.

    Equally unsurprising is the response from local law enforcement, whose public comments once again belie the myth that ‘police just enforce the laws; police don’t make the laws.’

    Marijuana amendment will have little effect on law enforcement in Kalamazoo, chief says
    via The Kalamazoo Gazette

    Little, if anything, about how his officers do their job will change, Kalamazoo Public Safety Chief Jeff Hadley said Wednesday, less than a day after city residents voted to make possession of a small amount of marijuana the lowest priority for police.

    “I certainly respect the democratic process,” Hadley said. “It certainly gives you an insight to what some of the voters are thinking in terms of their views on marijuana. However, it really has little to no impact on how we operate at Public Safety.”

    The ballot measure, which amends the city charter, was overwhelmingly endorsed by voters Tuesday, with 65 percent giving their approval.

    The ballot question voters approved Tuesday was: “Shall the Kalamazoo City Charter be amended such that the use and/or consumption of one ounce or less of usable marijuana by adults 21 years or older is the lowest priority of law enforcement personnel?”

    Hadley reiterated Wednesday what he has said previously about the ballot measure, which is that it will have no effect on his agency because the city charter only addresses ordinances and marijuana possession and use are illegal under state and federal law, which will continue to be enforced.

    “The charter amendment only has an impact on city ordinances, which we do not have any existing city ordinances relative to the possession or use of marijuana and we still have every obligation to enforce state and federal laws,” the chief said.

    For further analysis on law enforcement’s resistance to marijuana law reform, please see NORML Outreach Coordinator Russ Belville’s excellent, archived commentary on The Huffington Post here.

  • by Allen St. Pierre, Former NORML Executive Director June 23, 2010

    With a Herculean effort of volunteers, the best of intentions, no financial resources to draw upon, regionalism (i.e., citizens in western WA support cannabis law reform more than the eastern part of the state currently does) and terrible spring weather, well over 100,000 signatures have been gathered to place a ‘legalization’ ballot initiative before the voters this November.

    Best-selling Travel Author, TV Host and NORML Advisory Board Member Rick Steves Addresses Over 100,000 Cannabis Law Reform Supporters At The 2008 Seattle Hempfest

    The serious challenge in the next 5-7 days: Gather and verify 100,000 more signatures before the looming deadline at month’s end.

    Reformers in Washington State are seeking to join California with a legalization ballot this fall; medical cannabis-related ballot initiatives are happening in states such as Arizona, South Dakota and very possibly Oregon.

    While the challenge here is great to be sure, I’m heartened to learn that in a last minute push for signatures, the organizers at Sensible Washington have partnered with a popular alternative weekly, The Stranger, to distribute 80,000 signature forms in this week’s run of papers.

    Please, if you live in Washington, get a copy of The Stranger ASAP or download the necessary signature forms here, follow the basic instructions, get 5-10 or more of your like-minded friends, family and co-workers to sign the forms, and rush the forms back to the organizers for verification and submission before the deadline.

    The organizers are imploring supporters to get the forms back to them no later than June 28 if possible to avoid a crush before the July 1st filing date.

    If you live outside of Washington State, 1) please contact friends and loved ones and encourage them to do a little something for personal freedom and liberty before the end of the weekend and 2) make a financial donation in support of a genuinely grassroots efforts in Washington State to place it among the 3-4 other states this fall with pro-reform measures being placed directly before citizens for ‘up or down’ votes.

    Thanks for caring and sharing!

    Cannabem liberemus,

    Allen St. Pierre, Executive Director                                                                                NORML                                                                                                                          Washington, D.C.

    One Week Left, We Can Get This Done

    Written by Philip Dawdy,

    We’ve got one left in I-1068’s signature gathering campaign. In 1999, the all-volunteer I-695 campaign got 250,000 signatures in the campaign’s final two weeks. The people of this state were angry at high car taxes and an initiative that offered to replace onerous taxes with a flat $30 car tab was so appealing that in that campaign’s final weeks thousands of volunteers hit the streets to make sure the initiative got on the ballot. How’d they do that?

    “It’s not rocket science,” Tim Eyman once told me about making I-695’s final weeks successful.

    We just need to get as many people as possible in front of as many of their fellow citizens as possible. That’s all.

    With I-1068, I’m pretty sure we’ve got an issue that rings the public’s bells as hard as car taxes did in 1999. I-1068 offers marijuana legalization and subsequent re-regulation by the State Legislature instead of the continuance of onerous and wasteful criminal penalties for adult use, possession and cultivation. There’s plenty of polling at this point to suggest that the public embraces the concept. We’ve just got to get the signatures.

    Right now, we need to get about two-thirds of the 250,000 signatures I-695 got in 1999 to make sure I-1068 gets on the ballot. If they could do it in 1999, we can do it in 2010. We just have to stay on the job.

    And to do that we need you to continue collecting signatures and to help us find new volunteers. You should also take a look at this instant volunteer kit created by one of our Bellingham coordinators Matthew Scott.

    If you need copies of the initiative, you can contact your area coordinator. A list of coordinators statewide is here. We’ve got many thousands of copies of I-1068 available statewide. And you can always fill out our volunteer form right here.

    Please only have it reproduced on 11×17 paper, double-sided, black and white. You’ll need to go to a professional print shop to do it–sorry, but the rules in this state are so archaic–but you can handle most of that exchange via email with most shops. Or you can upload it to a website such as Fedex Office allows and place your order electronically and pick it soon after at one of their local outlets.

    You can keep on top of events we’re covering by keeping in touch with us on Facebook.

    So let’s get out there and get this done. We need every signed petition in the state sent our way each ASAP, no later than June 28 if possible. Our mailing address is on the petition.

    * * *

    80,000 Copies Of I-1068 Will Be In The Stranger June 23

    You read that right. Sensible Washington–thanks to our many supporters’ contributions–is paying to have I-1068 inserted into each copy of The Stranger’s 80,000 print run this Wednesday June 23rd. We’ll also have a full page ad explaining to people how they can sign the initiative, get their friends and family to sign it, and send it on into us by the end of June 28th.

    We’re doing this because the weather has been awful all spring (June is already at 200+ percent of normal precipitation for the month) and it’s been very difficult to intersect with the voting public in the Seattle Metro area to get their signatures on I-1068. So tell all your friends and neighbors to get a copy of this week’s Stranger and to get us a bunch of signatures and mail them in by the end of June 28th to the address on the petition.

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