• by Allen St. Pierre, Former NORML Executive Director May 24, 2012

    Going back to at least 1998, NORML has been receiving complaints from parents and students that while the state where the university is located has legalized medical cannabis use and possession, because of the federal government’s recalcitrance and ‘flat earth’ view on cannabis’ medical utility, the student is threatened with sanctions or expulsion if they get caught with a lawful medicine.

    Seventeen states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical cannabis, more states are expected to soon join the cohort. The issue of medical cannabis on campus is a real and serious one.

    National Public Radio examines the growing and untenable friction between state and federal laws regarding cannabis, with a profile from southern Maine.



  • 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 Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director March 19, 2010

    The following speech was given by NORML’s Deputy Director before nearly 500 attendees on Saturday, March 13, at the opening plenary of Students for Sensible Drug Policy‘s 11th International Conference, at the Fort Mason Center in San Francisco. To read full coverage of the conference, please see DRCNet’s report here.

    My name is Paul Armentano and I’m the Deputy Director of NORML, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, and I’m the co-author of the book Marijuana Is Safer: So Why Are We Driving People to Drink? Max, Amber, Stacia and the many good folks at SSDP invited me to come here today to talk to you about how and why students have a vital role to play in ending marijuana prohibition.

    First let’s talk about the “why”: self-preservation. The federal government has declared war on you.

    Since 1965 law enforcement in this country have arrested over 20 million people for marijuana offenses.  But when you take a closer look at who is actually arrested you find that, for the most part, it isn’t the folks sitting on this panel; it’s all of you sitting out there – it’s young people.

    In short – the so-called ‘war’ on marijuana is really a war on youth.

    According to a 2005 study commissioned by the NORML Foundation, 74 percent of the 800,000 or so Americans busted for pot each year are under age 30, and one out of four are age 18 or younger.  That’s nearly half a million young people at risk of losing their school loans, or being saddled with a lifelong criminal record at a time when they are just entering the workforce.   We’re talking about an entire generation – and that’s you out there – that has been alienated to believe that the police and their civic leaders are instruments of their oppression rather than their protection.

    And the sad fact is: you’re right!

    The question is: What are you going to do about it?

    If we’re going to finally end this 70+ year failed public policy known as marijuana prohibition, then we need students to play a lead role.  Obviously those of you in this room have already taken a critical first step in leading this charge by joining SSDP and attending this conference.  But there’s a lot more to be done and there’s a lot more that you can do.

    I believe that it was Ghandi who demanded that those who are oppressed be a part of there own liberation, and marijuana prohibition is no different.  I want you to look around you because it’s you all who will ultimately bring about an end to prohibition.