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Lobby Day

  • by NORML April 1, 2019

    We have never been at a more critical time in the nationwide movement to end federal marijuana prohibition. This September, we invite you to join NORML members from across America to learn effective strategies, hear the latest scientific and political advancements, and meet in person with influential members of Congress. With over 65% percent of the American public in support of marijuana legalization, and three-quarters of voters supporting states’ rights to enact their own marijuana policies, the time to act is now.

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    Jax Finkel, executive director of Texas NORML, presents at the 2018 NORML Conference

    Sunday, September 8: NORML Leadership Summit

    Earn your NORML Leadership Certification! Take a deep dive into grassroots organizing at the NORML Leadership Summit. Those who complete the one-day course receive access to exclusive educational materials that will be used to duplicate trainings across the country. Participants will be awarded certificates and NORML Leadership lapel pins to recognize their accomplishment. Training modules include: chapter organization, effective messaging strategies, lobbying to win, event planning and execution, and more.

    Cynthia Ferguson receives NORML's 2018 Pauline Sabin award

    Welcome Reception & Vanguard Awards

    Mix and mingle with fellow conference attendees and celebrate the achievements of NORML Chapters, Leaders and Members from across the country at the Welcome Reception & Vanguard Awards.

     

    NORML Conference attendeesMonday, September 9: NORML Conference

    Conference programming will include expert panels, policy debates, and energizing speakers covering a wide range of marijuana policy-related topics.

     

    U.S. Representative Tulsi Gabbard meets with NORML Congressional Lobby Day attendees Tuesday, September 10: NORML Congressional Lobby Day

    Head to Capitol Hill with NORML where Lobby Day participants will meet with Congressional offices and advocate for the end of federal marijuana prohibition. Attendees will relax and debrief afterward at a local watering hole, to swap stories and say farewell to old friends and new.

     

    Get your tickets now to join us at this important annual event!

  • by Jax Finkel, Texas NORML Executive Director February 8, 2019

    On Thursday, hundreds of Texans joined us at the Texas State Capitol to discuss marijuana policy with legislators! For this historic day, over 400 Texans registered to participate, covering all thirty-one senate districts and three-quarters of the house district. It was a beautiful representation of how important reform is for Texans.

    We provided a training session for our participants that covered an overview of the legislative process, review of priority legislation, what to expect from their visits and Q&A. We provided training packets for them to use in preparation for their visits, including voting records to check where their legislators have historically stood on the issue. Participants then crafted a message to place on their postcards which they delivered to offices along with policy overviews and then requested their Senator and Representative co-sponsor important legislation. Pictures of the event can be found here. Livestream of the event can be found here.

    The changes that I have seen over the last 14 years in Texas are stark. The first lobby day I ever participated in only had a few dozen dedicated Texans holding the torch for freedom. At that time, legislators had a harsh opinion of our work. But today, we have a record number of bills and have created a huge change in public opinion in the Capitol. The import of these drastic changes over the years are not lost and I am so thankful for all of the work that Texans have done to destigmatize marijuana.

    We want to thank our coalition, Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy, for helping to continue to elevate and expand these lobby days. We are so appreciative of all of our volunteers who made this event possible. Additionally, RAMP and DFW NORML made it possible for more Texans to participate by arranging buses to bring them to Austin.

    Lastly, we still have a lot of work to do this session. Brush up on our advocacy training. Catch up on the bills and participate in our action alerts! Stay tuned to us via social media and our newsletter to track how the bills are progressing and know when new action alerts are put out.

    Please support our work during this session by becoming a member, making a one-time donation or becoming a sustaining donor.

    Marijuana policy should be evidence based. Help dispel the myths with NORML’s Fact Sheets! For more information follow Texas NORML on Facebook, Twitter, and visit their website!

     

  • by Matthew Bratcher, Executive Director, KY NORML January 28, 2019

    A medical cannabis bill has been filed in the Kentucky General Assembly every year since 2013. In that time around a dozen other states have passed medical bills, eight more have joined Colorado and Washington in full legalization. Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump have voiced support for state governments deciding their own policies.

    Nearly 80 percent of Kentuckians support medical marijuana., according to a 2012 study issued by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky. So, in seven years why hasn’t Kentucky moved forward?

    Cannabis reform has stalled recently because of opposition from Kentucky’s Senate leadership. Their opposition shouldn’t be the final word. Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, says more research is needed, while state Rep. Danny Bentley, R-Russell, erroneously compared cannabis to “snake oil remedies of the 1800s,” according to a WDRB-TV report.

    It’s understandable lawmakers want reliable data before making a decision. The good news for Kentucky legislators is the data already is available. The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more than 26,000 published studies/reviews across 24 databases regarding cannabis available to read online. The National Center for Biotechnology Information has summarized a group of FDA approved randomized clinical trials, finding evidence for cannabis as medicine. The organization concluded marijuana’s classification as a Schedule I substance is an obstacle to further research.

    Kentucky’s Senate leader has taken a contradictory stance. Stivers has requested studies from the American Medical Association or Johns Hopkins University, but he should know he is asking for research prohibited by cannabis’s Schedule I classification under the Controlled Substances Act of 1970.

    This should bring advocates and opponents alike together on the issue. We can all agree on objective scientific data.

    I invite Stivers, Bentley, and others asking for more research to join their voices with ongoing bipartisan efforts to reschedule cannabis.  If the state Senate won’t get behind rescheduling cannabis, they are effectively asking to see research that can’t be conducted under federal law.

    Sadly, it seems Stivers already has an answer for would-be medical cannabis patients.

    “Have a bourbon,” he told the Courier-Journal.

    Are we going to see the studies proving bourbon can provide the same relief cannabis can?

    Stivers’ tasteless quip – or even more tasteless sales pitch -reveals a flippant disregard for the issue. A 2016 study publishedin the Journal of School Health concluded alcohol use should be a target of school abuse prevention programs. The study cited alcohol as a more likely gateway to hard drug use. The negative effects of alcohol abuse, both on the user and their loved ones, are well documented, so it’s odd Stivers and the Kentucky Senate lack the same concern for data and safety when it comes to alcohol.

    A January 2017 review of trials by the National Academy of Sciences, Medicine, and Engineering found conclusive evidence supporting cannabis use for the treatment of chronic pain. The Journal of Clinical Oncology in a 2018 study found medical cannabis use provided a 41 percent reduction in opioid use, which signals a potential solution for our Kentucky’s opioid crisis that desperately needs to be addressed before more Kentuckians die at the hands of these powerful drugs that often are legally prescribed. Are there studies showing the same potential in bourbon?

    This isn’t a call to shift discussion towards prohibiting alcohol. We long ago rightly decided to allow adults to make a free decision to imbibe or not. Kentucky’s Senate is steadfastly hesitant to allow a similar decision regarding medical cannabis even among doctors and their patients who could benefit from this medicine.

    The best rebuttals some of our Senate has to voice in response to Kentucky’s seventh medical cannabis bill are juvenile attempts at humor and dismissals of the data at hand. The discussion must progress beyond verbal jabs and dismissiveness.

    It can if more Kentuckians rally behind two pieces of Republican-sponsored legislation in the 2019 session of Kentucky General Assembly that kicked off Jan. 8 – state Rep. Jason Nemes’ Let Doctors Decide medical marijuana bill (HB 136), Sen. Dan Seum’s Responsible Adult-Use Bill (SB 80), Sen. Jimmy Higdon’s Cannabis Decriminalization (SB 82), and Sen. Perry Clark’s “Shauna’s Laws, which provides workplace protections (SB 83).

    Seven years have passed and 33 states now have medical cannabis systems in place. It is time for Kentucky to join the discussion and catch up with the rest of America.

    Call 800-372-7181 and tell your legislators to support cannabis reform this session and join us on February 6th at the Capitol Rotunda in Frankfort from 1:30 pm – 2:30 pm EST for a Rally for Reform!

    KY NORML’s mission is to move public opinion sufficiently to influence legislators for the expansion of our hemp industry, implementation of medicinal cannabis, and laying the foundation for responsible adult use.
    To support KY NORML you can DONATE HERE or purchase some of our apparel below! Your donations help pay the bills and allow us to function and continue to make a difference in our state! Can you kick in $5, $10 or $20 to help us keep going

    Looking to help in a more direct way? We are always looking for people to help out with any number of tasks! CONTACT US and tell us about yourself and what your talents are!

  • by Jax Finkel, Texas NORML Executive Director December 13, 2018

    We already have a lot of events on the calendar for 2019. Check out few highlights below!

    Tuesday, January 8, 2019 – Opening Day – Capitol Meet & Greet

    Join Texas NORML and Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy at the Capitol on the first day of the 86th legislative session! Opening day is one of ceremony and gratitude. It’s a great day to visit your legislator’s Capitol office and meet his/her staff. It’s not a day for lobbying, but certainly offers an opportunity to enrich your relationship with your legislators. Complimentary Breakfast Thanks to GRAV Labs!

    Follow event page for updates.

     


    Saturday, January 12, 2019 – Capitol Advocacy Workshop

    This training event is designed to help you become a more effective advocate for marijuana law reform in Texas and to prepare you to lobby effectively for our bills during the Legislative Session. This training event will offer you the tools you need to make effective arguments, dispel common myths, confidently communicate with your legislators, and positively affect policy during the upcoming legislative session. Please pre-register for this event so we can have adequate supplies for all attendees.

    Follow event page for updates.

     


    Thursday, February 7, 2019 – Texas Marijuana Policy Lobby Day

    Our broad coalition and united efforts will bring about more responsible marijuana policies in the Lone Star State! We are excited to team up with our coalition members to host another huge Lobby Day. Our broad coalition and united efforts will bring about more responsible marijuana policies in the Lone Star State. Since there will be hundreds of Texans participating, it is imperative that you pre-register for this event.

    Follow the event page for updates and more information on caravans from Houston and DFW.


    We also will be hosting our Monthly Meetings, several other special events at the Capitol (including Veteran, Patient and Senior Lobby Days), Direct Actions every other week during the session and multiple educational exhibits. Keep up to date by following our Event Page or adding our calendar to yours!

    Marijuana policy should be evidence based. Dispel the myths with the NORML Fact Sheets. For more information follow Texas NORML on Facebook, Twitter, and visit their website!

  • by Kevin Mahmalji, NORML Outreach Director September 20, 2018

    With a state legislative session spanning almost an entire calendar year, supporters of marijuana law reform efforts in Pennsylvania are working overtime to make sure their voices are heard. That’s why members of Lehigh Valley NORML, Pittsburgh NORML, Lancaster NORML and Philly NORML are teaming up with the Keystone Cannabis Coalition and ACLU of Pennsylvania for rally and lobby day next week in the state’s capital of Harrisburg.

    Click Here to RSVP Today!

    “Marijuana activists in Pennsylvania are poised to introduce an aggressive agenda for reform in 2019 when they fill the Capitol Rotunda at 10am on Monday, September 24,” said Jeff Riedy, Executive Director of Lehigh Valley NORML. “With cannabis arrest counts rising across the state and neighboring states threatening legalization, the time is right for this discussion in Pennsylvania.”

    But activists in the Keystone State have come a very long way in just a short amount of time.

    Local Victories

    In late 2014 Philadelphia’s city council decriminalized simple possession of marijuana. Little did they know, their decision would trigger a wave of municipalities across the Commonwealth to adopt similar measures. In the years following, local lawmakers in Pittsburgh, State College, Harrisburg, York, Erie, and most recently, Bethlehem followed suit.

    These local victories were celebrated not just by advocates, but also the Commonwealth’s Auditor General Eugene DePasquale, who shared the following statement:

    “Decriminalization saves millions of dollars spent yearly on marijuana prosecutions. Decriminalization also has human benefits by reducing the loss of income and other social, personal and emotional impacts on those arrested for simply possessing a small amount of marijuana.”

    Full statement here: https://bit.ly/2NvfopR

    Statewide Victories

    Following the flurry of local marijuana law reform victories across the Commonwealth, lawmakers in Harrisburg passed SB 3: The Medical Marijuana Act in 2015 which was later signed into law by Governor Wolf in early 2016. Passage of the law established rules and regulations for the state’s medical marijuana program which permits registered patients to access cannabis oils, pills and tinctures, but due to a restriction against smoking, the availability of marijuana flower was delayed.

    After months of pressure from patients and advocacy groups, Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana advisory board recommended several updates to the state’s program. One of which, was allowing the sale of marijuana flower. The catch? It must be consumed using a vaporizer. This means no smoking. Regardless of a few hiccups, dispensaries began serving patients earlier this year.

    Looking ahead, advocates are hoping to educate state lawmakers about the benefits of ending the criminalization and harassment of honest, hardworking Pennsylvanians for simply possessing a small amount of marijuana.

    “New legislation will be introduced at the rally, as 2019 will mark the first time that PA will have partner bills for decriminalization and legalization in both House and Senate. If Pennsylvanians could vote on cannabis legalization in November, I am confident that we would win,” added Riedy.

    Midterm Election

    Considering Pennsylvania is one of several states that lacks a ballot initiative process, all marijuana law reform efforts must be pursued through the state legislature. This means, in order to be successful, advocates must educate those who are willing to listen or elect new, more supportive lawmakers to represent them in Harrisburg. So make no mistake, the outcome of this November’s election will certainly have an impact on the future of marijuana in the Keystone State.  

    Register To Vote Today!

    That’s why we’re encouraging voters in Pennsylvania to support Jon Fetterman, an outspoken supporter of legalizing marijuana, who is running for Lieutenant Governor. Mr. Fetterman was the very first candidate endorsed by NORML PAC for the 2018 midterm elections.

    Read more about our endorsement here: https://bit.ly/2OMBjoM

    For future updates on marijuana law reform efforts in Pennsylvania, follow Lehigh Valley NORML on Twitter and Facebook!

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