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Marijuana is the third most popular recreational drug in America (behind only alcohol and tobacco), and has been used by nearly 100 million Americans. According to government surveys, some 25 million Americans have smoked marijuana in the past year, and more than 14 million do so regularly despite harsh laws against its use. Our public policies should reflect this reality, not deny it.

Criminal marijuana prohibition is a failure. Over 20 million Americans have been arrested for marijuana offenses since 1965. NORML believes that the time has come to amend criminal prohibition and replace it with a system of legalization, taxation, regulation, and education.

Marijuana prohibition causes far more problems than it solves, and results in the needless arrest of hundreds of thousands of otherwise law abiding citizens each year. The NORML Legal Committee provides legal support and assistance to victims of the current marijuana laws.

For 40 years, NORML has served as a clearinghouse for marijuana-related information. Much of this information is now available online in NORML's Library.

Marijuana prohibition applies to everyone, including the sick and dying. Of all the negative consequences of prohibition, none is as tragic as the denial of medicinal cannabis to the tens of thousands of patients who could benefit from its therapeutic use.

NORML Blog, Marijuana Law Reform »

Working to reform marijuana laws
  • Read more by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director

    Proponents of a District initiative to permit the possession and cultivation of limited amounts of marijuana by those age 21 or older have turned in 57,000 signatures to the DC Board of Elections. The proposed ballot initiative (Initiative Measure 71) seeks to remove all criminal and civil penalties in regard to the adult possession of up to two ounces of cannabis and/or the cultivation of up to six plants.

  • Read more by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director

    Washington’s first state-licensed retail cannabis operators opened for business this morning. The state’s Liquor Control Board issued 24 marijuana retailer licenses late last week. (Under state regulations, the Board may issue up to 334 licenses to retail facilities.) Of those, six opened for business today – the first day legal sales were permissible – according to the Associated Press.

  • Read more by Keith Stroup, NORML Legal Counsel

    The temptation is to celebrate the enormous progress we have made over the last few years by legalizing marijuana for medical use in 22 states and the District of Columbia. Even more importantly, we’ve legalized marijuana for all adults in Colorado and Washington. Thus, it’s easy to presume we’re getting near the finish line in this decades long struggle to legalize marijuana. But that would be both presumptuous and premature. The reality is that marijuana smokers remain the target of aggressive and misguided law enforcement activities in most states today. […]

  • Read more by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director

    Proponents of a statewide initiative to regulate the commercial production and retail sale of marijuana have turned in 145,000 signatures to the Secretary of State’s office. The proposed ballot initiative (Initiative Petition 53) seeks to regulate the personal possession (up to eight ounces), commercial cultivation, and retail sale of cannabis to adults.

  • Read more by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director

    Washington’s first wave of state-licensed cannabis retail stores are anticipated to open for business next week. The state’s Liquor Control Board is expected to begin issuing licenses on Monday, July 7. An estimated 20 retail stores are anticipated to open their doors later in the week. Similar state-sanction stores have been operating in Colorado since January 1.

  • Read more by Sabrina Fendrick

    July 1st 2014 marked the 6 month anniversary of the launch of Colorado’s great social experiment – the legalization and regulation of marijuana for all adults age 21 and over.  News coverage of the state’s highly scrutinized, yet burgeoning retail cannabis industry has been lukewarm, but a review of the last six months shows that (although inconclusive in its early stages) this policy has not only failed to cause the reefer madness social breakdown predicted by prohibitionists, it appears that this new industry is starting to positively impact the state and its communities. Colorado is projected to […]

  • Read more by Keith Stroup, NORML Legal Counsel

    “I have always loved marijuana. It has been a source of joy and comfort to me for many years. And I still think of it as a basic staple of life, along with beer and ice and grapefruits – and millions of Americans agree with me.” –Dr. Hunter S. Thompson One of the serendipitous occurrences in my life was meeting the late Hunter S. Thompson, the original Gonzo journalist, in 1972, at the Democratic National Convention in Miami. Hunter was there to cover the event for Rolling Stone magazine and […]

  • Read more by Erik Altieri, NORML Communications Director

    In a memo obtained by NORML, released in late May, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) clarified their drug policy in light of the growing number of states legalizing marijuana for medical and recreational use. In response to inquiries regarding the department’s policy for employees in states that approved recreational or medical use of marijuana, the USDA strongly reaffirmed that their drug testing policies concerning marijuana are still very much in effect, regardless of state law changes. The memo states that, “use of Marijuana for ‘recreational’ purposes is not […]

  • Read more by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director

    Subjects who regularly inhale cannabis smoke possess no greater risk of contracting lung cancer than do those who consume it occasionally or not at all, according to data published online ahead of print in the International Journal of Cancer. An international team of investigators from Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States analyzed data from six case-control studies involving over 5,000 subjects (2,159 cases and 2,985 controls) from around the world. Authors concluded, “Results from our pooled analyses provide little evidence for an increased risk of lung cancer among habitual or long-term cannabis smokers.”

  • Read more by Keith Stroup, NORML Legal Counsel

    Like many marijuana smokers, I’m always fascinated when I travel to other states, especially on the West Coast, and see the popularity of edibles and concentrates, especially the somewhat bizarre practice of “dabbing.” Now let me be clear that I enjoy getting high, and I’m generally willing to try any variation of marijuana, at least once, just to see what it’s about. So I’m not making a moral judgment on the use of these more potent forms of marijuana. I will also concede that I personally love smoking flowers, and […]






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