Marijuana Prohibition

  • by Sabrina Fendrick May 1, 2012

    Mother’s Day: How the Drug War Hurts Families

    NORML Women’s Alliance, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and other Reform Organizations Team Up for: “Cops & Moms Week of Action

    Washington DC – Mothers from around the country will join with law enforcement and students at the National Press Club on May 2nd in honor of Mother’s Day. The press conference will launch a new coalition of national organizations that will represent mothers, police and students that seek to finally end the disastrous drug war. The NORML Women’s Alliance, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, Student for Sensible Drug Policy and others will share powerful stories of losing loved ones to the criminal justice system, and the social repercussions of prohibition.  The coalition will highlight a series of activities around the country timed to Mother’s Day.

    Sabrina Fendrick, Coordinator for the NORML Women’s Alliance gave the following statement:

     “‘Mother’s Day’ was derived out of an intensely political effort to organize women on both sides of the Mason-Dixon Line against the Civil War. The reason mothers were made the vehicle was because they were the ones whose children were dying in that war. Women were also largely responsible for ending alcohol prohibition.  This is more than just a ‘greeting-card holiday,’ this is the beginning of an institutional change in our society. The government’s war on drugs is unacceptable. For our children’s sake, the concerned mothers of the world are being called on to demand the implementation of a rational, responsible, reality-based drug and marijuana policy.”

    Leaders of the campaign who will be speaking at the press conference include former Maryland narcotics cop and Executive Director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), Neill Franklin; Vice-Chair of the NORML Women’s Alliance and proud mother, Diane Fornbacher; Aaron Houston, Executive Director of Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP), Kathie Kane-Willis a Chicago social worker whose son died from an overdose two years ago; Joy Strickland, CEO of Mothers Against Teen Violence, Nina Graves (Delaware), a mother and former assistant chief of police and others.  Moms United to End the Drug War will also be unveiling a “Moms Bill of Rights.”

    Event Details:

    What: Mother’s Day press conference announcing coalition between moms, cops and students against the war on drugs.  Followed by a nationwide “Cops & Moms Week of Action”.
    When:  May 2, 2012 at 10 a.m.
    Where: National Press Club – Washington, D.C.
    Who:   NORML Women’s Alliance, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, Students for Sensible Drug Policy, Moms United to End the Drug War, and the Drug Policy Alliance.

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  • by Allen St. Pierre, Former NORML Executive Director August 7, 2011

    Mark your calendar and make plans for ‘pot parlor parties’ with your like-minded family, friends and co-workers on October 2 to view the first in a series of PBS broadcasts from legendary filmmaker Ken Burns on the history (and total folly) of Alcohol Prohibition.

    The upcoming broadcast of Prohibition may possibly present the best opportunity ever for America’s mainstream population to come to understand 1) the failure of government prohibitions in free market-oriented societies on otherwise safe and popular commercial products, 2) the dynamic of ‘tolerant’ and otherwise law-abiding peoples trying to be dominated and made into criminals by ‘intolerant’ people (i.e., wets vs. drys), 3) how much worse and profound 74 years of Cannabis Prohibition has become in America (as compared to Alcohol Prohibition’s relatively short dozen years) and 4) the recognition of need to immediately end today’s totally failed and feckless Cannabis Prohibition (replaced with a state-based system of regulation and control in a manner similar to today’s alcohol laws and social controls).

    The broadcast of the first episode of Prohibition is scheduled for Sunday, October 2 and NORML and its 170 chapters around the country are encouraging citizens who oppose Cannabis Prohibition to convene viewing parties in their homes to be known as pot parlor parties as means to educate ourselves better about what is often called today America’s Great Failed Experiment and to keep building up a fast growing community of activist-citizens who’re calling for logical alternatives to our antiquated Cannabis Prohibition laws.

    Contact your local NORML chapter to help coordinate pot parlor parties in your area.

    BTW…maybe it was planned…maybe it is a coincidence…but October 2 also happens to be the official 74th anniversary of the day Cannabis Prohibition laws went into full effect.

    What better way to mark such a dark day in American history than to organize for the necessary cannabis law reforms today greatly aided with much needed and objective light from our past?

    When watching Burns’s Prohibition, please keep in mind the stark differences between the relative benignness of alcohol’s prohibition as compared to today’s far-reaching and extreme blanket prohibition on cannabis:

    *Alcohol Prohibition came about after nearly 100 years of social agitation from citizens who effectively advocated for a constitutional amendment to be passed to ban the commerce of alcohol sales (citizens could make their own alcohol products, but they could not sell it lawfully as the government ceased regulating and taxing the commerce). Of course, a little more than a decade after the anti-alcohol amendment, to lawfully end the Prohibition, congress and the states had to pass another amendment to the Constitution allowing states the ability to again regulate and tax alcohol-related commerce.

    Is there a constitutional amendment to ban cannabis?

    No. Cannabis Prohibition in America was created by legislative fiat.

    *During Alcohol Prohibition, hundreds of thousands of citizens were able to continue to use alcohol for ‘therapeutic’ reasons by obtaining a doctor’s recommendation and a license from the federal government. Of course, during our long suffering Cannabis Prohibition, the federal government continues to spuriously claim cannabis has no medical value and treats patients (even with a physician’s recommendation to use medical cannabis) like common criminals.

    *Nearly fifty percent of the working population in America are subject to anti-cannabis drug tests in the workplace.

    *Every 35 seconds a cannabis consumer, seller or grower is arrested in America (approx. 850,000 arrests annually).

    *Today, there are dozens of ‘sacred cow’ federal and state anti-cannabis bureaucracies (DEA, ONDCP, Customs, NIDA, SAMSHA, DARE, PDFA, NDIC, EPIC; federal, state and local law enforcement entities, etc….)

    With nearly one million people having opted into NORML’s network of cannabis law reform via Facebook, Causes, Twitter and our internal listservs, the upcoming Ken Burns documentary is a fortuitous opportunity for today’s cannabis consumers and reformers to organize around.

    PBS has created a well done online ‘postcard’ that allows you to remind friends, family, and maybe most importantly, our elected officials to watch and learn.

    More to come soon about NORML’s October 2nd Pot Parlor Parties…

  • by Allen St. Pierre, Former NORML Executive Director July 25, 2011

    Ironic kudos to Political Rhetoric graduate student ‘Steve’ from the University of Maryland for asking President Obama last Friday a spot on and searing rhetorical question from the Millennial generation about our country’s need to end the nation’s longest war…the failed war on some drugs.

    Steve gets it. The audience gets it. According to all polling, in excess of 90% of U.S. citizens broadly believe the ‘war on drugs’ is a failure (75% support medical access to cannabis. 73% support decriminalizing adult possession for cannabis; and 46% support cannabis legalization outright).

    When will the two major political parties and presidents—like Obama—get it?

    According to polling last week, President Obama is quickly falling out of favor with the Millennial generation that helped sweep him to power in 2008. Lest President Obama forget who brought him to the dance, he might want to look at the clear discontent—across all party lines—with the way the federal government has been conducting drug warring, notably its full-throat perpetuation of antiquated and tax-draining Cannabis Prohibition policies.

    Instead, he should deliver a clear message for supporting a system of legally controlling cannabis, rather than deny economic reality, waste taxpayers’ money and constantly face embarrassing questions about a failed public policy that has long festered in the public’s mind.

    President Obama should endorse a ‘drug peace’ where cannabis is legally controlled like alcohol products; patients can access a safe and non-toxic naturally occurring medicine; and farmers, entrepreneurs and consumers in America can benefit from industrial hemp production.

    President Obama, NORML and tens of millions of cannabis consumers and lovers of liberty ask you not to re-commit us to war against ‘weed’, but, instead, to re-think the leaf.

    By David Edwards of Raw Story

    President Barack Obama said Friday that the U.S. would not be ending its war on drugs under his watch.

    “Much is being asked of our generation,” a doctoral student named Steve told the president at a town hall event in Maryland. “So, when are our economic perspectives going to be addressed? For example, when is the war on drugs in society going to be abandoned and be replaced by a more sophisticated and cost effective program of rehabilitation such as the one in Portugal?”

    “I have stated repeatedly — and it’s actually reflected in our most recent statement by our office of drug policy — that we need to have an approach that emphasizes prevention, treatment, a public health model for reducing drug use in our country,” Obama said. “We’ve got to put more resources into that. We can’t simply focus on interdiction because, frankly, no matter how good of a job we’re doing when it comes to an interdiction approach, if there is high demand in this country for drugs, we are going to continue to see not only drug use but also the violence associated with the drug trade.”

    After several minutes of explaining U.S. efforts to help Mexico fight transnational drug dealers, the president got to the point.

    “Just to make sure that I’m actually answering your question, am I willing to pursue a decriminalization strategy as an approach? No.”

    “But I am willing to make sure that we’re putting more resources on the treatment and prevention side,” Obama added.

    Watch the video from MSNBC, broadcast July 22, 2011 here.

  • by Allen St. Pierre, Former NORML Executive Director April 13, 2011

    Just Announced — Next week’s National NORML Conference in Denver will feature: TV personality and medical cannabis patient Montel Williams (hosting a Denver mayoral debate sponsored by NORML)

    Musical performance from reggae music legend Ziggy Marley

    Opening remarks reflecting on NORML’s forty years of law reform advocacy from public interest lawyer and founder Keith Stroup; Closing remarks in a rare public appearance from legendary marijuana researcher and author Lester Grinspoon, M.D.

    The 40th annual conference of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana  Laws (NORML) is going to convene next Thursday, April 21 – Saturday, 23 at the Grand Hyatt in Denver, Colorado.

    The theme for this year’s annual conference is Coming of Age: Cannabis and Commerce. A complete conference agenda and speakers’ bios are now online.

    Why Colorado?
    Colorado has emerged as the geographic center of legal medical cannabis in America—the state has licensed hundreds of medical cannabis dispensaries, cultivation centers and medical edible manufacturers thereby creating the legislative impetus recently for the state to further adopt laws that regulate, tax and control the cultivation, sale and use of medical cannabis.

    U.S. Representative Jared Polis (D-CO), the conference’s keynote speaker, who publicly endorses legalizing cannabis for responsible adult use and regulated sales, will articulate this point.

    His public remarks are in advance of anticipated federal legislation to be introduced in this session of Congress to have the federal government acknowledge the failure of 75 years of Cannabis Prohibition and that the states—like his state of Colorado—can craft functional policy alternatives to prohibition laws that don’t compromise public safety, collect needed (and otherwise uncollected) tax revenue and licensing fees; respecting both the public’s will for reform and the Constitution.

    Millions of dollars of taxes and fees have already been collected by the state of Colorado, future state budgets now include the anticipated revenues and state bureaucracies are being created for (and funded by) these cannabis-related businesses.

    Cannabis commerce has come of age during the country’s longest and steepest recession, Colorado is at the center of this public discussion and positive changes in laws. The nation’s leading cannabis law reformers, researchers, legal advocates and cannabusiness owners will all be front and center at NORML’s 40th annual conference.

    Register Now, Seats Going Fast
    The host hotel’s rooms are already sold out. All of the conference vending and sponsorship opportunities have also been snatched up as well! However, there are still some registration tickets available (including day passes). Please register now to insure a spot at the most important cannabis law reform conference in years.

    Please register now before both 1.) the conference registrations and NORML socials tickets sell out and 2.) pricing increases next week for those attendees who don’t pre-register online or by calling 202-483-5500.

    Hope to see you and yours…one mile high next week on Colorado’s front range!

  • by Allen St. Pierre, Former NORML Executive Director January 24, 2011

    This Thursday, President Obama will field questions submitted from the world of social media during a live-streamed YouTube interview. NORML supporters can send their questions to the President at youtube.com/askobama, or via Twitter, by using the #askobama hashtag.

    Obama will answer the top-rated questions when the interview kicks off at 2:30 p.m. EST on Thursday.

    Update: Many marijuana questions are appearing in the Other category.

    In two prior online question-n-answer sessions with the American public since taking office over two years ago, the question of ending America’s failed Cannabis Prohibition was a top question both times–which speaks to the importance and urgency of the public’s want to actually control cannabis via taxation and regulation. However, regrettably, President Obama has dismissed ending Cannabis Prohibition in no uncertain terms.

    If you’re interested in asking President Obama about reforming America’s 74-year-old Cannabis Prohibition laws, you’ll have to send in your question by midnight, Tuesday, January 25th.

    Be concise! White House staff says each question “should be about 20 seconds long.”

    Suggested short questions for President Obama:

    • Wouldn’t finally legalizing marijuana in America end the terrible Prohibition-related violence in Mexico. If not, why not?
    • You claim you want to be the first ‘green jobs’ president. In a green economy, why does your administration continue to oppose American farmers growing industrial hemp. Governments in Canada, France and China allow their farmers to prosper from industrial hemp cultivation, why not American farmers?
    • Though you say you support medical access to cannabis, why does your drug czar (Gil Kerlikowski) and DEA chief (Michele Leonhart) continue to publicly lie claiming that cannabis has no medical use or value?
    • If Jamaica (or Mexico), for example, wanted to legalize and tax cannabis, would your administration oppose their efforts to end Cannabis Prohibition in their country?
    • As a person struggling with tobacco addiction, do you think the criminal justice system works better than health services to ween drug abusers from self-destructive behavior? Is the decision to stop using a drug, like tobacco, or marijuana, a personal or governmental decision?

    You can check out a great question to President Obama from our friends at LEAP here.

    [Russ adds: You can see the video questions I submitted to President Obama via The Stash Blog at http://stash.norml.org/youtube-ask-obama-forum-dominated-by-marijuana-legalization-questions]