Loading

NORML Chapters

  • by Kevin Mahmalji, NORML Outreach Director February 1, 2019

    Everyday NORML Chapters from around the country invest countless hours in advocating for meaningful marijuana law reforms on the local, state and federal level! Below is a brief rundown of some of their most recent accomplishments.

    NORML Chapters Organized and Energized for State Legislative Sessions in 2019

    “That’s why dozens of NORML chapters are organizing citizen lobby days to advocate for the end of marijuana prohibition and other reforms ranging from depenalization and expungement, to workplace drug testing and social consumption.”

    Read more from NORML.org!

    Follow NORML on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and become a member today!

    Chicago NORML Continues Push for Diversity in Cannabis Industry

    “Recognizing the short window of time available to shape the cannabis industry in Illinois, Chicago NORML and BlackRoots Alliance plan to bring the issues of racial equity and restorative justice in the cannabis industry to the forefront of the public’s attention.”

    Read more from In These Times!

    Follow Chicago NORML on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and become a member today!

    Mid-Missouri NORML Hosted Medical Marijuana Panel Discussion

    “Because voters approved Amendment 2 in the November general election, the panel will discuss how medical marijuana will work in Missouri, along with what constitutional rights people have when dealing with police.”

    Read more from the Missourian!

    Follow Mid-Missouri NORML on Facebook and become a member today!

    Texas NORML Hosted Advocacy Training for 2019 Legislative Session  

    “The Texas chapter of National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws hosted an advocacy training day on Saturday with Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy and Republicans Against Marijuana Prohibition.”

    Read more from the Austin Business Journal!

    Follow Texas NORML on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and become a member today!

    Virginia NORML Hosted 2019 Cannabis Conference and Lobby Day

    “About 150 people, including health care providers and attorneys, attended the Virginia 2019 Cannabis Conference, held by the Virginia chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.”

    Read more from WTKR News 3!

    Follow Virginia NORML on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and become a member today!

    Washington NORML Continues to Make Home Cultivation a Top Legislative Priority

    “Bailey Hirschburg of the Washington chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws contended that all other states with legalized recreational marijuana have allowed home-growing for recreational use.”

    Read more from Crosscut!

    Follow Washington NORML on Facebook and Twitter and become a member today!

    NORML Leaders in the Media

    Ashley Weber, Executive Director, Colorado NORML

    “It’s about getting to know your representatives, and writing them daily if something’s important. Make appointments, become an acquaintance with them.”

    Read more from NORML!

    Follow Colorado NORML on Facebook and Twitter and become a member today!

    Brian Seamonson, Deputy Director, Madison NORML

    “I think it’s there and people are coming around,” Seamonson said. “They’re not being afraid to talk about it anymore.”

    Read more from Wisconsin Public Radio!

    Follow Madison NORML on Facebook and become a member today!

    Chris Cano, Executive Director, Central Florida NORML

    “The method of ingestion for someone utilizing medical marijuana should be between them and their doctor, not the state legislature.”

    Read more from WFLA News 8!

    Follow Central Florida NORML on Facebook and become a member today!

    Cindy Cutler, Board Member, Virginia NORML

    “We would certainly like to see other Commonwealth’s Attorneys follow the lead of Greg Underwood and would like to see our General Assembly this year address the decriminalization of marijuana.”

    Read more from WTKR 3!

    Follow Virginia NORML on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and become a member today!

    Dan Viets, Executive Director, Missouri NORML

    “Boone County voters clearly favor making marijuana possession enforcement a very low priority. It would be very appropriate for our prosecutors to do the same thing that the prosecutors in St. Louis County, St. Louis City and Jackson County have already done.”

    Read more from KOMU 8!

    Follow Missouri NORML on Facebook and become a member today!

    David Phipps, Communication Director, Indiana NORML

    “CBD is usually the first step most states take, because it does not have THC in it. Or it has extremely low amounts.”

    Read more from My Wabash Valley!

    Follow Indiana NORML on Facebook and Twitter and become a member today!

    Doug Green, Legislative Director, Empire State NORML

    “They are big, basically out-of-state corporations, some of which are publicly traded, and they don’t represent the communities that need to have equity in the industry, not just an opportunity for jobs or job training.”

    Read more from Crain’s!

    Follow Empire State NORML on Facebook and Twitter and become a member today!

    Ellen Komp, Deputy Director, California NORML

    “Keeping in place local bans on retail outlets and consumption rooms and keeping the state law allowing employers to continue to discriminate against workers for off the job abuse of cannabis, even for medical use.”

    Read more from 790 KABC!

    Follow California NORML on Facebook and Twitter and become a member today!

    Ellen Komp, Deputy Director, California NORML

    “Right now, the money from Measure D could be used for anything. We’re going to have to hold public officials accountable to make sure this happens.”

    Read more from The Potrero View!

    Follow California NORML on Facebook and Twitter and become a member today!

    Ellen Komp, Deputy Director, California NORML

    “We’re hearing rumors that there may be legislation in Sacramento this year to put into law a provision to strike deliveries around the state.”

    Read more from SF Weekly!

    Follow California NORML on Facebook and Twitter and become a member today!

    Ellen Komp, Deputy Director, California NORML

    “The positive socialization aspect of cannabis use is long-established and forcing people to consume only in their homes (if permitted) separates people unnecessarily.”

    Read more from Cannabis Now!

    Follow California NORML on Facebook and Twitter and become a member today!

    Ellen Komp, Deputy Director, California NORML

    “Lowering state excise taxes will help the legal marijuana industry gain a better foothold over the black market in California.”

    Read more from the Tahoe Daily Tribune!

    Follow California NORML on Facebook and Twitter and become a member today!

    Eric Marsch, Executive Director, Southeastern Wisconsin NORML

    “We ask that he include cannabis law reform, ideally in the form of adult recreational legalization, in his upcoming budget proposal so we can finally put an end to the injustices of cannabis prohibition.”

    Read more from the Green Bay Progressive!

    Follow Southeastern Wisconsin NORML on Facebook and Twitter and become a member today!

    Eric Marsch, Executive Director, Southeastern Wisconsin NORML

    “They had on average a 25-percent reduction in both opiate overdose deaths and admissions to treatment for opiate addiction.”

    Read more from the WTMJ TV!

    Follow Southeastern Wisconsin NORML on Facebook and Twitter and become a member today!

    Jax Finkle, Executive Director, Texas NORML

    “I’m going to kick off the night talking about the Farm Bill.”

    Read more from Dallas News!

    Follow Texas NORML on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and become a member today!

    Jay Selthofner, Executive Director, Northern Wisconsin NORML

    “The best way to combat illicit marijuana coming into your state is to develop a program opposite of prohibition.”

    Read more from Fox 11!

    Follow Northwest Wisconsin NORML on Facebook and Twitter and become a member today!

    Jay Selthofner, Executive Director, Northern Wisconsin NORML

    “It is going to be a business that wants to open up within the boundary of a municipality that will be the one willing to spend the resources needed to petition.”

    Read more from the Daily Press!

    Follow Northwest Wisconsin NORML on Facebook and Twitter and become a member today!

    Jenn Michelle Pedini, Executive Director, Virginia NORML

    “It’s time for the courts of justice committee in the Senate to advance this legislation. If it doesn’t get a floor vote we can only look to the controlling members of those committees who are not supporting what Virginians are demanding.”

    Read more from WHSV 3!

    Follow Virginia NORML on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and become a member today!

    Jenn Michelle Pedini, Executive Director, Virginia NORML

    “Cannabis policy will be the loudest it’s ever been on the campaign trail in 2019.”

    Read more from the Richmond Free Press!

    Follow Virginia NORML on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and become a member today!

    Jenn Michelle Pedini, Executive Director, Virginia NORML

    “Three quarters of Virginians support marijuana decriminalization or ‘fines not crimes,’ and nine out of ten Virginians support doctor-recommended medical cannabis.”

    Read more from Alt Daily!

    Follow Virginia NORML on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and become a member today!

    Jenn Michelle Pedini, Executive Director, Virginia NORML

    “These members are primarily prosecutors, former prosecutors, former law enforcement, and maintaining the status quo is something that works for them.”

    Read more from Public New Service!

    Follow Virginia NORML on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and become a member today!

    Jenn Michelle Pedini, Executive Director, Virginia NORML

    “Will Virginia eventually decriminalize personal possession of marijuana? Yes. Will it be in 2019? That’s very unlikely.”

    Read more from Southside Daily!

    Follow Virginia NORML on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and become a member today!

    Jenn Michelle Pedini, Executive Director, Virginia NORML

    “In 2016, we passed a bill that let us go forth and write a regulatory program that was based on Connecticut’s then-program, which was also low-THC, extraction-based products only and served to a small set of patients.”

    Read more from WTVR CBS 6!

    Follow Virginia NORML on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and become a member today!

    Jesse Scaccia, Fundraising Director, Virginia NORML

    “The facts and the research are on our side, we are very lucky that there are 10 states ahead of us with adult regulated use so that’s essentially ten case studies.”

    Read more from 13 News Now!

    Follow Virginia NORML on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and become a member today!

    Jesse Scaccia, Fundraising Director, Virginia NORML

    “Just as every Virginian should be able to enjoy a bourbon or a beer in their home, so they should enjoy marijuana.”

    Read more from WAVY TV 10!

    Follow Virginia NORML on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and become a member today!

    Josh Brard, President, Purdue NORML

    “Marijuana became illegal not because of what it is but because of the propaganda behind it, and propaganda is just misinformation.”

    Read more from The Exponent!

    Follow Purdue NORML on Facebook and become a member today!

    Katie Clifton, Board Member, Virginia NORML

    “We are very frustrated that the General Assembly is not listening to what the majority of voters are saying about marijuana legislation.”

    Read more from WDBJ 7!

    Follow Virginia NORML on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and become a member today!

    Kevin Oliver, Executive Director, Washington NORML

    “I believe there will be a home-grow bill this year.”

    Read more from the Inlander!

    Follow Washington NORML on Facebook and Twitter and become a member today!

    Lee Otts, Executive Director, Memphis NORML

    “While we’re encouraged by republicans coming forward with it, we’re cautiously optimistic about what it should contain.”

    Read more from Local Memphis!

    Follow Memphis NORML on Facebook and become a member today!   

    Matthew Abel, Executive Director, Michigan NORML

    “He was one of the first to go public that marijuana should be legal and has stayed with the fight all these many years. It’s great that we have him as a senior leader of the movement.”

    Read more from Fox 17!

    Follow Michigan NORML on Facebook and Twitter and become a member today!

    Matthew Abel, Executive Director, Michigan NORML

    “We replaced the governor and Gretchen Whitmer replaced the director of LARA and even in this first month they already have taken action to benefit patients.”

    Read more from The Manchester Mirror!

    Follow Michigan NORML on Facebook and Twitter and become a member today!

    Rick Thompson, Board Member, Michigan NORML

    “When these specialty medications are not available, it significantly affects the health and welfare of the people across the state. That should be a cause for concern for everyone involved.”

    Read more from the Lansing City Pulse!

    Follow Michigan NORML on Facebook and Twitter and become a member today!

    Tom Gallagher, Board Member, Minnesota NORML

    “A majority of Republican voters support legalization, so it is a bipartisan issue.”

    Read more from KARE 11!

    Follow Minnesota NORML on Facebook and become a member today!

    Tom Gallagher, Board Member, Minnesota NORML

    “About 500 people per year have been going to prison in Minnesota for marijuana cases.”

    Read more from WCCO TV!

    Follow Minnesota NORML on Facebook and become a member today!

    Marijuana policy should be evidence based. Help dispel the myths and misinformation with NORML’s Fact Sheets!

    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 Kevin Mahmalji, NORML Outreach Director January 24, 2019

    With Colorado lawmakers convening for their seventh legislative session since voters overwhelmingly approved Amendment 64, which ended the prohibition of marijuana in 2012, marijuana law reform advocates from several organizations coordinated a citizen lobby day to push for workplace drug testing reforms, social consumption, parental protections and expanding access to the state’s medical marijuana program.

    During a recent interview with the Westword, Ashley Weber, executive director of Colorado NORML shared a few tips for marijuana law reform advocates who want to get involved in the legislative process: “It’s about getting to know your representatives, and writing them daily if something’s important. Make appointments, become an acquaintance with them.”

    Never in modern history has there existed greater public support for ending the nation’s nearly century-long experiment with marijuana prohibition. Sixty-six percent of US adults believe that “the use of marijuana should be made legal,” according to national survey data compiled by the Gallup. The percentage is the highest ever reported by Gallup, which has been tracking Americans’ views on the subject of marijuana legalization since 1969.

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

     

  • by Kevin Mahmalji, NORML Outreach Director January 2, 2019

    Everyday NORML Chapters from around the country invest countless hours in advocating for meaningful marijuana law reforms on the local, state and federal level! Below is a brief rundown of some of their most recent accomplishments.

    NORML Chapters are Organized and Energized for State Legislative Sessions in 2019

    “That’s why dozens of NORML chapters are organizing citizen lobby days to advocate for the end of marijuana prohibition and other reforms ranging from depenalization and expungement, to workplace drug testing and social consumption.”

    Read more from NORML.org!

    Follow NORML on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and become a member today!

    California NORML Supports Legislation to Protect Cannabis Compassion Programs

    “These programs are now threatened by Prop. 64, which requires that all donations be taxed at the same rate as if they were sold. Thus every pound of cannabis which is donated free of charge to legal patients is liable for nearly $1000 in state taxes.”

    Read more from City Watch!

    Follow California NORML on Facebook and Twitter and become a member today!

    MassCann NORML Joins Mass. Grower Advocacy Council and the Mass. Patient Advocacy Alliance to Host Second Annual Harvest Cup

    “We believe small and medium businesses are the lifeblood of the industry – the ‘mom-and-pop’ shops. That’s who we are and that’s who we believe will really make this industry flourish.”

    Read more from the Telegram.com!

    Follow MassCann NORML on Facebook and Twitter and become a member today!

    Virginia NORML Issues Advisory Concerning Synthetic Cannabinoids and other Psychoactive Constituents in CBD Products

    “Four products contained the synthetic cannabinoid agonist 5F-ADB, a schedule I controlled substance that has also been identified in Spice and other so-called herbal cannabis products.”

    Read more from the News Leader!

    Follow Virginia NORML on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and become a member today!

    NORML Leaders in the Media

    Radio: Dan Viets, Executive Director, Missouri NORML

    Radio: Paul Kirchberg, Executive Director, Connecticut NORML

    Radio: Rick Thompson, Board Member, Michigan NORML

    Alan Robinson, Communications Director, Madison NORML

    “He believes marijuana is only dangerous because it is illegal, explaining that a friend of his consumed marijuana that was laced with fentanyl, something he said would not happen if cannabis was legalized and regulated.”

    Read more from The Badger Herald!

    Follow Madison NORML on Facebook and become a member today!

    Brad Forrester, Board Member, Michigan NORML

    “One of the best and most important aspects of our law is that it really makes it very difficult for some average person who’s either using or growing a little bit of marijuana for themselves to get a criminal charge,” he says. “I happen to have been a victim of arrest for cultivating cannabis for my own use, so this is personal to me.”

    Read more from the Rolling Stone!

    Follow Michigan NORML on Facebook and Twitter and become a member today!

    Cindy Cutler, Board Member, Virginia NORML

    “She’s advocating to decriminalize simple possession of marijuana, and Tuesday the Norfolk City Council officially endorsed that position with its 2019 Legislative Agenda.”

    Read more from 13 News Now!

    Follow Virginia NORML on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and become a member today!

    Dan Linn, Executive Director, Illinois NORML

    “Dan Linn, executive director of the state chapter of the pro-cannabis lobbying group NORML, said cultivation centers have been frustrated because they have more capacity than is currently necessary for as few as 45,000 patients receiving state-approved medical cannabis cards.”

    Read more from The Charlotte Observer!

    Follow Illinois NORML on Facebook and Twitter and become a member today!

    Dan Linn, Executive Director, Illinois NORML

    “Illinois would have to pass the law almost immediately in the spring session, have it have an immediate effective date, and then set rules and regulations drafted by the agencies that are going to oversee the program.”

    Read more from One Illinois!

    Follow Illinois NORML on Facebook and Twitter and become a member today!

    Dan Viets, Executive Director, Missouri NORML

    “Dan Viets says it will still be until next year for people to access cannabis. He believes that people who are allowed medical marijuana from states with legalized marijuana will be protected.”

    Read more from KOMU!

    Follow Missouri NORML on Facebook and become a member today!

    Dante Townsend, Founder, Chicago NORML

    “Illinois currently has no black-owned medical dispensaries or cultivation centers. Townsend hopes cannabis legalization can both embolden black and brown entrepreneurs and spark reforms to the criminal justice system.”

    Read more from the Chicago Sun Times!

    Follow Chicago NORML on Facebook and Twitter and become a member today!

    David Phipps, Communication Director, Indiana NORML

    “Phipps isn’t confident new Republican leadership under Sen. Rodric Bray, R-Martinsville, will benefit the movement. He said the committees that review the bills are most responsible for hindering an open cannabis debate in the Senate, citing past decisions by Sen. Jean Leising, R-Oldenburg, while she chaired the Health and Provider Services Committee.”

    Read more from The State House File!

    Follow Indiana NORML on Facebook and Twitter and become a member today!

    David Phipps, Communication Director, Indiana NORML

    “Phipps said Indiana NORML coordinated much of the pro side of the argument brought before the committee. He said he agreed with Tallian’s assessment.”

    Read more from NUVO!

    Follow Indiana NORML on Facebook and Twitter and become a member today!

    David Phipps, Communication Director, Indiana NORML

    “A lot of our followers are already going up there, and a lot of them are veterans seeking medical help, and they can’t get it here in Indiana, so they are going to go up north and get it.”

    Read more from Fox 59!

    Follow Indiana NORML on Facebook and Twitter and become a member today!

    Edie Moore, Executive Director, Chicago NORML

    “If legislation is introduced that does not address our policy concerns, Chicago NORML, its supporters and community partners are prepared to push back until we are satisfied that every opportunity for advancement has been exhausted,”

    Read more from NORML.org!

    Follow Chicago NORML on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and become a member today!

    Ellen Komp, Deputy Director, California NORML

    “Ellen Komp, the deputy director of nonprofit marijuana advocacy group California NORML, said her organization regularly fields phone calls from tenants that fear they will be evicted from their homes as a result of their marijuana use”

    Read more from the Desert Sun!

    Follow California NORML on Facebook and Twitter and become a member today!

    Jax Finkle, Executive Director, Texas NORML

    “Finkel said her group will be concentrating the bulk of its efforts during the upcoming session on expanding access to medical marijuana, as well as on decriminalizing possession of small amounts of pot and on winning approval of hemp production.”

    Read more from the Statesman!

    Follow Texas NORML on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and become a member today!

    Jenn Michelle Pedini, Executive Director, Virginia NORML

    “We are in the middle of an (opioid) epidemic and we are taking up all these resources to send a person to rehab for using pot that could be used for a heroin addict,”

    Read more from WY Daily!

    Follow Virginia NORML on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and become a member today!

    Jeri Sheppard, Board Member, Colorado NORML

    “Shepherd, a criminal defense attorney in Weld County who is also on Colorado NORML’s board, claims that most of what she sees while representing clients accused of cannabis crimes can be traced back to the failed War on Drugs.”

    Read more from the Westword!

    Follow Colorado NORML on Facebook and Twitter and become a member today!

    Jesse Scaccia, Fundraising Director, Virginia NORML

    “Three quarters of Virginians are in support of decriminalization and I expect that number to rise as more people try medical and see the benefits and the days of reefer madness fall to the wayside,” said Scaccia.

    Read more from 13 News Now!

    Follow Virginia NORML on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and become a member today!

    Lauren Morgan Kie, Deputy Director, Kentucky NORML

    “Kentucky’s children, patients and veterans deserve the right to seek relief with medical cannabis, which has been proven by countless studies to be a safe and effective alternative to damaging and dangerous pharmaceuticals”

    Read more from the Richmond Register!

    Follow Kentucky NORML on Facebook and Twitter and become a member today!

    Mary Kruger, Executive Director, Rochester NORML

    “We’re spending a lot of money right now on the black market and none of it is going back into the community.”

    Read more from News 10 NBC!

    Follow Rochester NORML on Facebook and become a member today!  

    Matthew Abel, Executive Director, Michigan NORML

    “If you’ve got a few joints layin’ around, I’m happy to take them off your hands,” says Abel, who says he is celebrating tonight with an end-of-prohibition party. “This is a monumental day, but there’s still a long road ahead of us.”

    Read more from the Detroit Metro Times!

    Follow Michigan NORML on Facebook and Twitter and become a member today!

    Matthew Abel, Executive Director, Michigan NORML

    “The polling has changed pretty quickly over the last 10 years, and I think much of that is due to the fact that we’ve had medical marijuana in this state and people have grown accustomed to it being in our society and they have experience that their friends and relatives have benefitted from it and the sky has not fallen,”

    Read more from MLive.com!

    Follow Michigan NORML on Facebook and Twitter and become a member today!

    Matthew Abel, Executive Director, Michigan NORML

    “This is the last day of prohibition,” he said on Wednesday. “It’s significant and a milestone for marijuana laws in Michigan. But we still have a ways to go.”

    Read more from the Chicago Sun Times!

    Follow Michigan NORML on Facebook and Twitter and become a member today!

    Mikel Weisser, Executive Director, Arizona NORML

    “Weisser expects the new initiative would also include provisions on home cultivation, reforming DUI laws and also funding. He tells us, he’d like to see some of the money raised through sales to fund law enforcement.”

    Read more from ABC 15 Arizona!

    Follow Arizona NORML on Instagram and Twitter and become a member today!

    Rick Thompson, Board Member, Michigan NORML

    “Thompson supports new legislation that would get the records expunged of those who were previously criminally convicted of low-level marijuana charges.”

    Read more from WWMT News 2!

    Follow Michigan NORML on Facebook and Twitter and become a member today!

    Steve Vandewalle, Director of Development, Rochester NORML

    “Advocate against workplace drug testing, because I think it could be counter productive.”

    Read more from ABC 13 WHAM!

    Follow Rochester NORML on Facebook and become a member today!

    Take Action

    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 Kevin Mahmalji, NORML Outreach Director December 30, 2018

     

    As Illinois lawmakers continue to consider input from various stakeholders for legislation that would legalize the possession and use of marijuana for adults 21 and up in 2019, some advocates are feeling left out of the process. This is especially concerning because the majority reside in communities that have been devastated by marijuana prohibition. Are minorities already being excluded from the state’s blossoming marijuana industry? It appears so.

    With members of Governor-elect J.B. Pritzker’s Restorative Justice and Public Safety Committee excluding prominent advocates from minority communities, some are starting to question the committee’s commitment to addressing minority inclusion altogether. The committee’s decision also seems to contradict statements made by Governor-elect Pritzker, who recently unveiled an equity program that would greatly benefit minority communities by offering technical assistance and subsidized loans for minority entrepreneurs.

    When asked by the Chicago Sun Times about the committee’s decision, Edie Moore, executive director of Chicago NORML had this to say:

    “If legislation is introduced that does not address our policy concerns, Chicago NORML, its supporters and community partners are prepared to push back until we are satisfied that every opportunity for advancement has been exhausted.”

    Marijuana policy should be evidence based. Dispel the myths with NORML’s Fact Sheets! For more information follow Chicago NORML on Facebook and visit their website today.

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

    Looking back at 2018, it was another productive year for marijuana law reform advocates. In addition to advancing legislation in state houses around the country, NORML chapters played a significant role in passing marijuana law reform initiatives in Michigan and Missouri, and were instrumental in numerous municipal marijuana decriminalization victories.

    With more and more local and state governments taking steps to reduce the arrest and incarceration of marijuana patients and consumers, many are predicting 2019 to be a watershed year for marijuana law reform legislation. That’s why dozens of NORML chapters are organizing citizen lobby days to advocate for the end of marijuana prohibition and other reforms ranging from depenalization and expungement, to workplace drug testing and social consumption.

    Below is a preview of what to expect from NORML chapters in 2019.

    Michigan

    Following the passage of the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act last November, which legalized the possession, consumption and cultivation of marijuana for adults 21 and up, state lawmakers will be focused on implementing various aspects of the new law in 2019. This includes robust policy debates ranging from health and public safety, to the allocation of tax revenues and consumer protections. At the local level, several municipalities have already opted out of recreational marijuana sales resulting in members of Michigan NORML working overtime to defend the progress that has been made well in advance of next year’s legislative session.

    “2018 was an historic year in Michigan marijuana law reform. Voters passed an initiative to legalize the cultivation, possession and use of cannabis by adults 21 and over,” said Attorney Matthew Abel, who also serves as the Executive Director of Michigan NORML. “In 2019, advocates hope to expedite the opening of retail stores and microgrow facilities, and begin opening clubs allowing for open social use.”

    New York

    For months state lawmakers and officials with Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office have been soliciting feedback and hosting roundtable discussions with various stakeholders with the hope of drafting legislation for next year’s legislative session. Most recently, Governor Cuomo outlined his agenda for 2019 which prioritizes the legalization of adult-use marijuana. Looking to capitalize on the Governor’s newfound support, NORML chapters across New York have organized a series of lobby days during next year’s legislative session.

    “Empire State NORML continues to push not only on the advocacy and lobbying fronts by meeting with multiple cannabis centric organizations and state leaders, but also in providing critical direct input during the drafting of the legalization law that will soon be voted on by the legislature. We will continue in our mission to educate individuals and leaders about the opportunities and innovations that a legalized cannabis marketplace will bring to all of New York,” said David C.  Holland, Esq., Executive and Legal Director of Empire State NORML.

    Members of Empire State NORML, Rochester NORML and Western New York NORML will be meeting with state lawmakers in Albany on Tuesday, January 15, 2019 and Wednesday, March 27, 2019.

    Missouri

    Missouri lawmakers will be considering numerous bills to implement Amendment 2, also known as Article XVI of the Missouri Constitution, which legalized medical marijuana for qualified patients and provided the framework for a patient registry. Working with a strict timeline, marijuana law reform advocates from across Missouri will be in be in Jefferson City to make sure lawmakers and officials with the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services implements the new law in a way that respects the needs of future patients.

    “With the recent passage of New Approach Missouri’s Amendment 2, that legalized medical marijuana for qualified patients, it’s as important as ever to make sure our voices are heard in 2019,” said Jamie Kacz, Secretary of Missouri NORML. “We need to ensure the implementation process is executed in a timely manner that best serves the needs of patients in Missouri.”

    Click Here to Protect the Privacy of Missouri Medical Marijuana Patients

    Texas

    During a debate leading up to the 2018 midterm elections, Texas Governor Greg Abbott, who was once considered to be one of the biggest obstacles facing marijuana law reform efforts in the Lone Star State, expressed his support for reducing criminal penalties for low-level marijuana possession. Since then, NORML chapters across Texas have been busy organizing activist trainings and hosting town hall style meetings as they prepare for next year’s legislative session.

    With the Texas State Legislature convening every two years, Jax Finkel, executive Director of Texas NORML has adopted an aggressive strategy to take advantage of the small window of opportunity for legislative action.

    “Texas will start out 2019 with the kickoff of our 86th Legislative Session. With a dozen bills filed and more expected, it will be an action packed 140 days. If there is ONE day to mark your calendar for and make sure you can be in Austin, it is our Citizen Lobby Day on Thursday, February 7th, 2019,” said Finkle. “We are planning this event in conjunction with our coalition partners. Last session, we had several hundred activists at the Capitol working to elevate the conversations surrounding cannabis in Texas. Let’s make this year even bigger!”

    Click Here to Support Access to Medical Marijuana for Texans

    Kentucky

    Members of Kentucky NORML, led by Executive Director Matthew Bratcher, will be focusing on legislation to establish a medical marijuana program that will allow physicians to recommend the use of medical marijuana to treat or alleviate symptoms of any diagnosed condition.

    “We have a great opportunity to pass a meaningful medical marijuana bill in 2019. Representative Jason Nemes H-33 (R) is sponsoring a “let doctors decide” bill that will allow physicians to recommend cannabis therapy to any patient based on their condition instead of relying on a predetermined list of qualifying conditions,” said Bratcher. “It’s well past time for lawmakers in Kentucky to do the right thing for our patients and our veterans. The time to pass a comprehensive medical marijuana bill is now.”

    Consumer Advocacy

    In states where medical and adult-use marijuana have been legalized, such as Washington, California, Oregon, Colorado and Massachusetts, advocates are pushing for reforms that will address the needs of patients and consumers. For example, social consumption, which has created confusion surrounding the dos and don’ts when it comes to consuming a product that’s readily available to adults 21 and up in almost a dozen states. Longtime NORML Board Member and outspoken social consumption advocate, Madeline Martinez shared her thoughts.

    “In Oregon it rains at least seven months out of the year and the most vulnerable patients are expected to find a private space outside where they can consume in the shadows, this practice is inhumane,” said Martinez. “Also in Oregon there are not a lot of safe spaces to consume cannabis, especially for low income people living in federally subsidized housing and renters, this disproportionately affects people of color and poor. The insidious Oregon Indoor Clean Air Act must be corrected by removing all mention of cannabinoids.”

    There’s also the issue of workplace drug testing. A discriminatory practice that’s putting millions of law-abiding and responsible adults at risk of losing their employment due to a THC-positive drug test. That’s why NORML chapters in several states are focusing their attention on legislation that will protect honest, hardworking marijuana consumers from antiquated workplace drug-testing practices, in particular the use of random, suspicionless urine testing.

    “About every six weeks or so I get a call from someone who lost their job or was denied an employment opportunity because of a positive urine test based on past cannabis use,” said Attorney Lee Berger, who’s also a member of NORML’s Legal Committee. “It’s been three years since Oregon voters legalized the possession of one ounce or less of marijuana. The time to address these discriminatory practices is long overdue.”

    Click Here to Protect Marijuana Consumers from Employment Discrimination

    The following NORML Chapter Lobby Days have been scheduled for 2019:

    Connecticut NORML – 1/9/2019

    Delaware NORML – 1/10/2019

    Virginia NORML – 1/14/2019

    NoVA NORML – 1/14/2019

    Harrisonburg NORML – 1/14/2019

    Jefferson Area NORML – 1/14/2019

    RVA NORML – 1/14/2019

    Winchester NORML – 1/14/2019

    Western New York NORML – 1/15/2019

    NORML Women of Washington – 1/21/2019

    NORML Tallahassee – 1/22/2019

    Central Florida NORML – 1/22/2019

    NORML Appalachia of Ohio – 1/23/2019

    Denver NORML – 1/23/2019

    Kansas City NORML – 1/30/2019

    Missouri NORML – 1/30/2019

    Illinois NORML – 1/30/2019

    Chicago NORML – 1/30/2019

    Mid Missouri NORML – 1/30/2019

    Greater St Louis NORML – 1/30/2019

    Nevada NORML – 2/1/2019

    North Carolina NORML – 2/4/2019

    NORML of Catawba Valley – 2/4/2019

    Charlotte NORML – 2/4/2019

    NC NORML of the Triad – 2/4/2019

    NC NORML of the Triangle – 2/4/2019

    Maryland NORML – 2/4/2019

    Texas NORML – 2/7/2019

    DFW NORML – 2/7/2019

    Arizona NORML – 2/7/2019

    Peachtree NORML – 2/7/2019

    Madison NORML – 2/21/2019

    Kentucky NORML – 2/26/2019

    Lehigh Valley NORML – 3/18/2019

    Pittsburgh NORML – 3/18/2019

    Philly NORML – 3/18/2019

    South Philly NORML – 3/18/2019

    Empire State NORML – 3/27/2019

    Rochester NORML – 3/27/2019

    California NORML – 5/6/2019

    To support these efforts, we’ve created several resources like NORML’s Citizen Lobby Guide (http://norml.org/pdf_files/NORML_CitizenLobbyGuide.pdf) and Fact Sheets (https://norml.org/marijuana/fact-sheets). We’re also working with chapter leadership to develop policy one-pagers, FAQs, and other resources specific to their needs. And of course there’s NORML’s Action Center (http://norml.org/act) that supporters of marijuana law reforms can use to urge their lawmakers to support pending legislation.

    For more than 45 years NORML chapters have been the driving force behind marijuana law reforms on the local and state level. Have you connected with your local NORML chapter? If there isn’t one in your community, please reach out to Chapters@NORML.org for help starting your own!

    Ready to start a NORML chapter in your hometown? Click here to find out how!

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

Page 1 of 712345...Last »