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  • by David Crosby, NORML Advisory Board October 18, 2018

    David Crosby

    Hello. My name is David Crosby. You might know me as a founding member of rock legends The Byrds and Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young. But today I’m wearing a very different hat. Today, I am writing to you to personally introduce myself as the newest member of NORML’s Advisory Board.

    Why have I decided to become involved with NORML? It’s simple. I’d like cannabis to be legal everywhere, and I – like the good folks at NORML – feel a responsibility to stick up for those people who have been punished as a result of this oppressive and senseless policy. That is why I’m partnering with NORML to lend my name and talents to help end this multi-decade failure that is marijuana prohibition.

    TOGETHER, WE CAN END FEDERAL PROHIBITION. JOIN US.

    Let’s face it. I, like all of you, believe that people should not be arrested or go to jail for the responsible use of a substance that is objectively safer than alcohol, tobacco, or most prescription drugs. And I’ve looked at the success of states like Colorado and Oregon that have elected to move in a different direction. That is why I’m proud to become a part of America’s oldest and most well-recognized marijuana law reform organization, and that’s why I’ve joined NORML’s Advisory Board to help bring these sensible policies to the entire country.

    I know that many of you have been involved with NORML for many years, and for that I’m grateful. It is because of people like you that NORML has been able to move popular opinion and change laws. So today, let me say ‘thank you’ for your time and efforts, and I’m looking forward to joining you and NORML in the fight to end marijuana prohibition in America once and for all.

    WILL YOU JOIN ME IN STANDING WITH NORML IN THE FIGHT FOR NATIONWIDE LEGALIZATION BY DONATING TODAY?

  • by NORML October 15, 2018

    Legislation permitting the possession, use, cultivation, and retail sale of cannabis takes effect this Wednesday, October 17.

    NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri is hailing the policy change. “We applaud Canada for showing legislators in the United States what can be accomplished with true leadership and dedication to sound public policy,” he said. “America’s leaders would be wise to learn from our neighbors, and similarly replace our archaic and failed marijuana prohibition laws with a regulatory scheme that is largely evidence-based and that reflects cannabis rapidly changing cultural status.”

    Canada is only the second country in the world to explicitly legalize cannabis production and sales nationwide.

    The Act, Bill C-45, permits those age 18 and older to legally possess (up to 30 grams) and grow cannabis (up to four plants of any size per household). Individual provinces possess the authority to enact additional regulations with respect to distribution, such as raising the legal age limit to purchase cannabis or by restricting home grow operations.

    The Act also federally licenses commercial producers of cannabis and certain cannabis-infused products, while permitting provinces to regulate retail sales in public (government operated) and private stores, subject to local rules. Online cannabis sales will also be permitted in certain provinces.

    While fewer than 200 total retailers are anticipated to be operational on day one of the new law, additional facilities are anticipated to be operational in the near future. Cannabis-infused edible products are anticipated to be regulated and available at retail stores early next summer. The new social use regulations do not amend Canada’s existing medical marijuana access laws, which have been in place since 2001.

    The enactment of the new law fulfills a campaign pledge by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who promised shortly after taking office to legalize and regulate the marijuana market. Prime Minister Trudeau, who formerly opposed legalization, cites a 2012 meeting with NORML members as the impetus for changing his position on the issue.

    In anticipation of the law change, the US Department of Homeland Security, US Customs and Border Protection Agency published a memorandum in September affirming that those Canadians either involved or invested in the legal cannabis industry may be barred admission into the United States. The agency later updated their policy directive on October 9, 2018, acknowledging: “A Canadian citizen working in … the legal marijuana industry in Canada, coming to the US for reasons unrelated to the marijuana industry will generally be admissible to the United States. However, if a traveler is found to be coming to the US for reason related to the marijuana industry, they may be deemed inadmissible.”

    NORML criticized the agency for its stance. NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano said, “Those thousands of Canadians participating in the legal cannabis industry pose no threat to the US and should not face discrimination or additional scrutiny,” he said. “At a time when public opinion and the culture surrounding marijuana is rapidly shifting, not just in the United States but around the world, it is inane for US border officials to maintain such a backward-looking policy.”

  • by Erik Altieri, NORML Executive Director October 11, 2018

    Can you believe that we are less than four weeks away from Election Day? This year, the stakes have never been higher.

    North Dakotans on November 6th have the unique opportunity to end the state’s failed experiment with marijuana prohibition and to cease arresting adults for marijuana-related offenses. By voting “yes’ on Measure 3, you will be voting to end the needless discrimination of our fellow citizens for their use of a plant that is objectively less harmful than alcohol and tobacco.

    Today, North Dakota ranks near the top of all US states in annual marijuana arrests per capita. Each of these arrests represent police hours and resources that are not being allocated toward more serious criminal activity, such as targeting violent criminals. And vote for Measure 3 is a vote to end wasteful spending, to reprioritize our limited resources, and to defend individual liberty.

    LEGALIZE ND LAUNCHED A NEW WEB AD, “MAKE HISTORY” – WATCH IT HERE:

    The Proof Is In the Pudding

    Data from other marijuana legalization states shows that ending marijuana prohibition significantly impacts the opioid crisis. Numerous studies find that opioid-related abuses, hospitalizations, and deaths decrease significantly following cannabis legalization. This is good news for North Dakotans. In 2016, more than three times as many North Dakotans died from opioid overdoses than from homicides. Passage of Measure 3 can reverse this trend.

    Measure 3 Helps Patients Too

    Although North Dakotans overwhelmingly voted in favor of a state-regulated medical marijuana access program in 2016, lawmakers have done their best to restrict and delay its implementation. For example, did you know that, as amended, it would difficult to impossible for individuals suffering from PTSD, anxiety, or depression to obtain legal access to medical cannabis? This is particularly important to our honored military veterans. A recent poll from the American Legion revealed that an estimated one in four veterans currently utilize marijuana to treat a mental or physical ailment. Locked out of the medical program, we are forcing those who put their lives on the line for this country to become criminals for simply choosing a safe and effective treatment. Measure 3 will protect our veterans, and tens of thousands of others. Thirty days after its passage, no adult will be arrested again in North Dakota for possessing or using marijuana — period.

    Moving Us Forward

    Winning in North Dakota will have profound implications for the fight for sensible marijuana laws nationwide. When this measure is approved, North Dakota will become the tenth state to end the arrest of adults for marijuana possession. Think of the message this will send to politicians and voters throughout the nation — those who say “North Dakota is too conservative,” “North Dakota will never end prohibition,” “North Dakota is too ‘red.’” With your support, we can show them North Dakota isn’t too “red” (or even “blue”). Rather, North Dakota is a “green” state that is fed up with failed marijuana policies and is ready to take a new approach that favors legalization over prohibition and incarceration.

    I’m going to level with you, this will be a close and difficult fight. Our opponents have more money than we do and they have more resources than we do. Thankfully, we have something they don’t: YOU. When ordinary Americans come together and fight back against unjust laws, there is nothing we cannot accomplish.

     

    IF YOU LIVE IN NORTH DAKOTA, I’m asking you to take 5 minutes out of your day to get us another step towards that victory.

    Make a plan to vote: Do you know where your polling place is? Do you need an absentee ballot? Want to vote early? You can learn everything you need to know HERE. (Don’t forget, North Dakotans do NOT need to register to vote. Just show up at your designated polling place on Election Day with a valid North Dakota ID that has your current address on it and you are good to go.)

    Commit to vote: LegalizeND has a great “commit to vote” tool. This tool helps the campaign keep supporters informed on the latest efforts and allows them to provide voters with important information and reminders about the upcoming election. It takes seconds to sign. Please, do so if you have not already and, if you have, SHARE on your social media channels and encourage your friends and family to join you. Click HERE to commit to vote for Measure 3.

    Donate to the campaign: All campaigns need resources and if you are able to, please contribute what you can afford to the campaign today. They will need all the help they can get in the lead up to the vote to educate and contact voters. Can you spare $5, $20, $50 for ending North Dakota’s prohibition? Click HERE to donate.

    Volunteer: The campaign also needs a grassroots army of volunteers. Can you spare an evening or weekend knocking on doors, making phone calls, or providing assistance with other campaign needs? Click HERE to sign up as a Measure 3 volunteer. There is also a easy to use volunteer kit with all the tools you’ll need to help advocate for Measure 3 available HERE.

    NORML is doubling down on our efforts in support of Measure 3. Will you? We need your help these final weeks in order to assure victory this November. Together, we will win.

    Stay tuned to the NORML blog for our Election 2018 Coverage over the next few weeks, we will take an in-depth look at all the marijuana related initiatives on the ballot across the country.

  • by Kevin Mahmalji, NORML Outreach Director September 28, 2018

    We as advocates of marijuana law reforms have never been in a better position than we are today to further our cause. Prior to states like Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Nevada, and others, legalizing and regulating marijuana, there was very little data to support our arguments to end marijuana prohibition. But, things have changed.

    So, is the legalization and regulation of marijuana working? Of course it is, but we must be able to articulate why it’s working to be successful in our efforts. We can start by looking at some of the data regarding the impact marijuana legalization is having on public health and safety. Study after study published by the Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, the National Academies of Sciences, the Centers for Disease Control, the Journal of Adolescent Health and the American Journal of Public Health are providing us with all the information we need to make fact-based, data-driven arguments in support of ending marijuana prohibition.

    Regardless if you’re looking at state-level data related to crime, teen access and use or the decline in opioid use, hospitalizations and overdose, the legalization and regulation of marijuana is having a positive impact. And this is no longer our opinion; it’s fact, backed by legitimate research and data. The information is there. We no longer have to speculate about the potential impacts marijuana legalization will have on public health and safety, and other areas of concern. We can now depend on facts and data to further our efforts to end marijuana prohibition.

    Touting the economic benefits of legalization such as tax revenues and job creation can also be helpful in our push to end marijuana prohibition. To date, there have been between 125,000 and 160,000 full-time jobs created as a result of the legalization and regulation of marijuana. This includes those who work directly with the plant (e.g., cultivation, bud tenders, infused products) as well as ancillary businesses such as packaging, gardening supplies and lighting companies. Regarding tax revenues, Nevada’s regulated adult-use program generated over $55 million within the first ten months of its roll out. While Colorado’s pulled in more than $245 million in tax revenue for 2017.

    If you’re working to advance marijuana law reform efforts on the local, state or federal level, these studies can be used to persuade opponents of legalization that ending marijuana prohibition is a step in the right direction, or at the very least, neutralize their prohibitionist rhetoric. Am I suggesting there’s no need to continue to closely monitor the impact marijuana legalization is having on public health and safety? Absolutely not.

    With only a handful of states enacting laws to legalize and regulate adult-use marijuana, the jury is certainly still out on whether or not marijuana can be regulated in a way that’s safe and productive for society, so I expect a healthy and thoughtful debate around the issue for years to come. However, since Congress approved the Marihuana Tax Act in 1937, we as advocates of marijuana law reforms have never had access to more fact-based evidence supporting our longstanding argument that ending marijuana prohibition is not only good public policy, it’s the right thing to do.

    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 September 11, 2018

    The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws Political Action Committee (NORML PAC) has announced their most recent slate of bi-partisan reelection endorsements for incumbent members of the United States House of Representatives.

    “There was more momentum behind federal marijuana law reform in 2018 than in any previous year, and that is in no small part due to some of our longstanding, outspoken allies in Congress,” stated NORML PAC Executive Director Erik Altieri, “In order to finally cross the finish line and end our failed federal prohibition on marijuana, it is important that we not just vote out reefer mad prohibitionists, but we need to support and ensure our key allies remain in office. Their seniority and passion for the issue makes them true leaders in taking our country in a new and sensible direction on marijuana policy and with their help we will finally resolve the tensions between state and federal laws regarding marijuana. We encourage voters in their districts to support them in November and ensure they serve in Washington another two years to help us finish the fight.”

    The newly announced endorsements are listed below.

    Republican Endorsements: Rep. David Joyce (R-OH14), Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI3), Rep. Scott Taylor (R-VA2) and Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC3).

    Democratic Endorsements: Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN9), Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA13), Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI2), Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA33), Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA17), and Rep. Dwight Evans (D-PA2).

    Of the lead sponsors of NORML’s priority legislation, NORML PAC Director Erik Altieri released the following statements:

    On the Marijuana Justice Act, HR 4815 introduced by Rep. Barbara Lee…

    “We are exceptionally pleased to endorse Representative Barbara Lee, the lead sponsor of the Marijuana Justice Act, which would not only end federal marijuana prohibition, but also penalize states that maintain the unjust and disproportionate targeting of minority communities as a result of state-level criminalization,”

    “Rep. Lee has been a long time champion of reform. She has been instrumental to the recent explosion of support at the federal level and is a tremendous advocate for her constituents.”

    On the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act, HR 1227 introduced by Rep. Tulsi Gabbard…

    “We are happy to endorse Representative Tulsi Gabbard, the lead sponsor of the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act, which would end the failed national policy of cannabis prohibition.”

    “Rep. Gabbard is never afraid to speak truth to power and has been one of the most sensible voices in the Congress on improving public policy.”

    On the States Act, HR 6043 introduced by Rep. David Joyce…

    “We are pleased to endorse Representative David Joyce, the lead Republican sponsor of the States Act, which would create an exemption in the Controlled Substances Act to end the threat of federal interference with state-legal marijuana programs.”

    “Rep. Joyce has quickly become the leading Republican in the House of Representatives to address the federal-state policy tensions and has served as a sensible advocate for his constituents.”

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