NORML Director: Amazing 2009! Awesome 2010 Ahead!

Help Support NORML’s End of Year Drive – Donate Now

Dear NORML Supporter:

It is not often that I feel compelled to write to NORML’s membership and supporters regarding the day-to-day operations of America’s leading marijuana lobby group. Then again, in my tenure as Executive Director of NORML and the NORML Foundation, there’s never been a time like right now.

Over the past several months NORML’s public prominence and political influence has grown by leaps and bounds. As I write you today I’m reflecting upon two of the most significant – and productive – weeks in NORML history.  As we close the year 2009 I am proud to say that NORML has galvanized its position as the leading marijuana law reform organization. Why do I say this?  Take a look at the events of these two weeks late this fall, and decide for yourself:

  • Marijuana legalization in Massachusetts? NORML testifies ‘Yes!’
    On Wednesday, October 14, NORML’s Legal Counsel Keith Stroup and NORML Advisory Board Member Dr. Lester Grinspoon testified before the Massachusetts Joint Committee on Revenue in favor of House Bill 2929, ‘An Act to Regulate and Tax the Cannabis Industry.’ Members of NORML’s state affiliate, MassCann, also spoke on behalf of the measure, which was drafted by former NORML Board Member Richard Evans. The well-attended legislative hearing marked the first time that Massachusetts state legislators had ever publicly discussed legalizing marijuana, and the debate earned prominent media coverage throughout the state. 
  • California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger requests marijuana legalization debate
    In May Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger publicly called for a debate on the merits of marijuana regulation. This October NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano and CalNORML Coordinator Dale Gieringer obliged the Governor’s request, and provided his office with a comprehensive action plan for regulating marijuana production and distribution in California.
  • Obama to Justice Department: Back off on medi-pot prosecutions
    On Monday, October 19, U.S. Deputy Attorney General David Ogden issued a historic memorandum to federal prosecutors advising them to no longer “focus federal resources … [on those] whose actions are in … compliance with existing state laws providing for the medical use of marijuana.” The directive upheld a campaign promise by President Obama, who had pledged that he would not use “Justice Department resources to try to circumvent state laws.” Ever since the President took office NORML and other drug policy reform groups had lobbied the administration to follow through, in writing, with this sensible policy. Tellingly, the administration’s decision was hailed by the mainstream media as a major step toward the enactment of marijuana liberalization in America. Not surprisingly, NORML representatives spent the days immediately following the administration’s announcement speaking with dozens of mainstream media outlets, including CNN, MSNBC, The Associated Press, and The Christian Science Monitor, urging Congress to move expeditiously to make the administration’s policy changes into permanent law.
  • Mainstream media just can’t get enough pot
    Over the past month NORML has fielded multiple requests from producers at mainstream media, radio, and television outlets throughout the nation and the world. Notably, NORML’s staff participated in the production of Fox Business News weeklong series on the cannabis industry (air date October 19-23), Newsweek‘s five-part series on present and past marijuana policy (published October 16), and the October 14 edition of PBS’ News Hour with Jim Leher.  NORML has also recently received prominent coverage in periodicals such as the BBC, The Wall Street Journal, and Fortune Magazine. Unlike in past years – or even past months – the overall tone of all of these high profile features was favorable to marijuana law reform.  The underlying media message: marijuana is a commodity, not a moral threat, and it’s about time for America’s laws to start treating it that way.
  • The Drug Czar’s office comes calling
    On Monday, October 24 – at the request of the White House – I participated in a strategic conference call with Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske to discuss the drafting of the administration’s 2010 National Drug Control Strategy. You read that right: the Office of National Drug Control Policy reached out to NORML and requested NORML’s participation in crafting the administration’s future drug reform strategies. Yes, the same office that just one year ago inflicted the cannabis community with John Walters is now making house calls to NORML.

    My friends, the times are most definitely changing.

  • NORML testifies at California Assembly hearings on legalization
    Finally, to conclude two of my busiest weeks ever as NORML and NORML Foundation Director, on Wednesday, October 28, NORML’s Paul Armentano and Dale Gieringer traveled to Sacramento to testify before the California Assembly on Public Safety to urge legislators to stop arresting responsible marijuana smokers.  “The criminal prohibition of marijuana has not dissuaded anyone from using marijuana or reduced its availability; however, the strict enforcement of this policy has adversely impacted the lives and careers of millions of people who simply elected to use a substance to relax that is objectively safer than alcohol,” Armentano told the Committee. “NORML believes that the state of California ought to amend criminal prohibition and replace it with a system of legalization, taxation, regulation, and education.” Like in Massachusetts two weeks earlier, the day-long hearing and was the first of its kind to take place before the California legislature.

So there you have it: two weeks in the life of NORML and the NORML Foundation.  Thank you for being there for us – so we can be there for you.

As we conclude this momentous year I rest assured knowing that with your continued financial contributions, NORML and the NORML Foundation will be able to maintain its position as the most trusted and respected marijuana law reform organizations in the United States.  That remains our commitment to you – the cannabis consumer – as we look ahead to the success and victories that await us in 2010.

With your generous support, we are ending marijuana prohibition. With your continued generous support, we’ll end marijuana prohibition once and for all.

Cannabem liberemus,

Allen St. Pierre
Executive Director

P.S. Please make your tax-deductible donation to the NORML Foundation in support of our national outreach and educational programs.

If you’d rather your donation be employed for state and federal lobbying purposes, please make sure that the donation is directed to ‘NORML‘, where donations are not tax deductible.

P.P.S. Donate $50 or more to either NORML Foundation (or NORML) and receive a copy of the new book ‘Marijuana is Safer, so why are we driving people to drink?‘ co-authored by NORML deputy director Paul Armentano.

0 thoughts

  1. We here at Greene Acres Caregiver are moving in a new direction! We see the change coming and are ready to face it! We serve patient and caregivers in Montana. We can help patients in non MMJ states get their cards here in Montana. This does not protect patients in a non MMJ state, but it does protect them while they visits the Big Sky state!!!

  2. Thats right, our message is OUT! There’s NOTHING that can stop people from speaking the truth about this blessed plant!
    Thank you so much, Kieth Stroup, for founding this great organization we call NORML! We must unite! I am so glad I’ve always looked to your organization to be the place where I can donate my time and money to help undue this great injustice of humanity!
    Happy New Year, lets make this one count! 🙂

  3. As I have said all this year, JURY NULLIFICATION! It is the key to getting our liberty back. It is this act that the citizens can use to rule over or overrule their wayward government agents/employees. We/employers must teach this important American concept to every American, young and old alike, if we wish to free those held unujustly by our wayward government.
    We as a society or sub-society must force this wayward government to chance to the will of the people. we can do this peacefully by taking our seeds that we throw in the trash and plant them in the face of this wayward government. By passively and peacefully planting your hemp seed in the face of the unjust will help bring this issue to a head. Media will not be able to ignor the tens of thousands of plants popping up on main street, court house lawns, and other government held property sitting in plain view.
    After this issue is pushed into the main media focus by the two acts listed above we as a sub-culture in this society file a Class Action Writ and a Class Action Title 42 1983-1986 in every Federal Judicial District in the United States. It will not matter if we win these cases or not, we will load down the Court System forcing them into open debate and Jury held cases over this Constructive Fraud placed on the people when our Congress unlawfully abrogated our liberty and misunderstood our Constitution.
    2010 should be the year we set the goal of freeing our brothers and sisters from these unjust acts of government. 2010 should be the year we set to push harder and faster upon the branches of government to correct this injustice.
    2010 is the Year of Jury Nullification on Cannabis. This should be the year we free ourselves from the tyrants who act so unjust and lie about the facts.
    Please send the word out this New Years, let the Americans know that the change is now, this coming year, no more tomarrows, it is today. Lets make the New Years resolution to be not for ourselves but for those unjustly held in our prison system. This year we as a sub-culture of American Society will make space in our overcrowded prison systems by freeing all those unjustly held for their part in the unlawful Cannabis laws.
    Lets make some noise, lets charge down the tracks with the truth in one hand and our Constitution in the other.
    Just think about what I have said here, we can bring this issue to a much needed close and we can and will have our liberty as we define it not how the wayward government defines it. Are you out there? Do you hear this cry for change? Then let US act as one voice and change this situation once and for ALL of US.
    Stomped On My Rights is a Son of Liberty and will settle for nothing less.
    The time is TODAY!

  4. this is awesome news folks…..i cant wait for the first minute herb will be legal……it will truly be an assembly and, breakin of the bud…..this has been the worst year without its pleasing benefits. norml will get my c-note….thanks to you all for your work.

  5. I love you NORML, I’ts been a great year. You’re my homepage and I check you every day. I can’t wait to see what happens 2010.

  6. So NORML, please enlighten us as to what was discussed at the strategic conference call with Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske to discuss the drafting of the administration’s 2010 National Drug Control Strategy.
    Or did I miss the post on it?
    And now I see a PayPal button, what happened there? Did PayPal realize the error of their ways?
    [Editor’s note: ONDCP invited NORML’s staff to present a series of reform-minded proposals for inclusion in the upcoming National Strategic Drug Plan.
    Re PayPal, NORML has had a PayPal account for over five years and unlike other cannabis-related webpages the organization continues to have a functional relationship with PayPal.]

  7. If we look at the second paragraph of Article VI in the United States Constitution, our Contract between US / Employers & our ?elected? government / employees we find the following agreement made and still binding; “ This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof: and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding.”
    Take a moment to look at the above words in bold / Italic, ….. take the words Shall be which appears four times in just this paragraph written by the founding fathers, this word construct and pairing together was intentionally done by the founding fathers to form a command statement of performance between contracted parties, between employers directing and defining the employees actions. “ Every word appears to have been weighted with the utmost deliberation and its effect to have been fully understood.” Wright vs. United States, 302 U.S. 583 (1938), “ The Constitution is a written instrument, as such, its meaning does not alter. That which it meant when it was adopted, it means now.” South Carolina vs. United States, 199 U.S. 437, 448 (1905).
    Our binding contract (Constitution) clearly states the Laws of the United States will be in line (Pursuance thereof) with the Constitution and that the Constitution and all Laws created shall be in accordance with said contract and are considered to be the Supreme Law of the Land. And that it is further clearly stated that any Thing that falls outside the Constitution and the just laws therein are notwithstanding or binding on the people. It is the duty of ever Judge in all 50 States of our Union to hold to their bond “bound” with the Articles of the Constitution and give full compliance with the word structures of the Constitution.
    Now take a look at the Bill of Rights, Article III, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridge the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for redress of grievance.”
    In the Holy Oil handed down to Mosses is the ingredient Cannabos, or Cannabis. This means that Congress is in violation of the Constitution of the United States because it enacted a law in respect to religion and has prohibiting the free exercise thereof while blocking the citizen(s) ability to properly petition the Government for redress of grievance. “All laws which are repugnant to the constitution are null and void.” Chief Justice Marshall in Marbury v. Madison, 5 U.S. 137, 174, 176 (1803) “If the legislator clearly misinterprets a constitutional provision, the frequent repetition of the wrong will not create a right.” Amos v. Mosley, 74 Fla. 555; 77 So. 619. (Congress) “Where rights are secured by the Constitution are involved, there can be no rule making or legislation which would abrogate them.” Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 491.
    “When any court violates the clean and unambiguous language of the constitution, a fraud is perpetrated and no one is bound to obey it.” State v. Sutton Minn. 147, 65 NW 262, 30 L.R.A. 630 Am. St. 459)
    It is clear we, the Citizens of these United States have been abused by the very government sworn to protect our history, our beliefs in Freedom, our welfare and safety. It is even more clear to most that this wayward government needs US to apply the breaks and stop their criminal acts against the People of the United States. Jury Nullification was a gift from the past to the present.
    Lets not reject the gift! Use It!

  8. blah blah blah. here we go with the money crap again. if u dont have money u have nothing—norml makes that blatantly obvious; not just for asking for more money, but pointing out they got power now because of it. same ol bs politics. hey, i dont blame norml, thats the way the system is designed unfortunately. however, i do blame them for the atrocity that i’ve witnessed in regards to the pot club in portland. if u really want to help people, then instead of a members only club where the cost is outta reach for me and many others, fight for a distribution system. u lobby don’t ya? or is that asking too much? now u got your own private club that caters to people with money–lots, just to get in. perhaps the money is clouding the views of norml. at least tell me what the point is for those that can’t afford all the ridiculous fees just to get in and then be told that u cant take any weed home cause, as russ put it—“it may be sold on the streets”. really? so people like me that have all the documentation and need it, are banned from the establishment cause 1) no money 2) it may be sold on the street. ok. i understand u need some money===no prob. but the fees for membership of norml, oregon norml, club fees (whatever u call it), etc., are justified? i think not.
    [Editor’s note: As NORML is a non-profit organization, the effort to reform laws is not about the money. Any monies collected by local NORML chapters and the national office are placed back into the reform movement, unlike most of the hundreds of commercial medical cannabis dispensaries (notably in CA and CO) who take in millions annually for selling cannabis.
    Your rant against OR NORML’s cannabis cafe for medical cannabis patients is misplaced as Oregon law does not allow for caregivers of cannabis to sell it and have folks walk away with medicine. The current law allows for a group of citizens who’re in the OR medical cannabis registry to gather, consume and share medicine. OR NORML did the heavy lifting and organized the patients to get the cafe off the ground. If you don’t want to be part of their collective, then form your own and stop demeaning the success of others who’re working within the current boundary of the laws.]

  9. I just read the laws for the state I live in, and I cannot believe any of it! I don’t even smoke and I was bullshit! Especially because they let these sick child molesters walk on the street everyday. These sick people get less time then someone does for having little marijuana on them! I just cannot believe this world and what it has become to! It makes me sick!

  10. chuck thank you i basically said the same thing but these idiots at norml keep blocking my posts
    norml is just another out of thousands special interest groups that is a means to an end for a few people wanting to make a buck.
    why work within the current boundary of the law when law enforcement and those who are in power do not work within the law of the constitution, let alone any moral boundaries.
    they will probably block this post since it is not want these people agree with
    [Russ responds: On the contrary, I welcome all points of view, even the ill-informed ones. You echo my favorite conspiracy theory: that NORML only exists so people like me can make a buck. I always love telling my wife that one, as we drive my twelve-year-old Jeep with the battered exterior we can’t afford to repair. As we hang out watching our no-cable rabbit-ears TV in our rental house, pondering what it might be like to someday go on an actual vacation someday in our now nine-year marriage. As we make up another pot of beans and rice with hamhocks because the massive paycheck I get from NORML only stretches so far.
    I shouldn’t complain, as my situation now, making this enormous financial windfall in the non-profit sector, is far better than the first four years I worked for NORML on the local level as an unpaid volunteer. Back then I had to work a regular eight-hour job and then add my four hours per night of volunteer work for my local chapter. Now, instead, I get to work for one-third the salary I made in the real world and continue to work those twelve hour days.
    But, hey, it’s a small price to pay to be another one of the highly-paid idiots at NORML, right?
    As for your “law enforcement is the enemy” attitude, let’s suppose you’re right. So what’s next, General, armed insurrection? You and Chuck and a few hundred of the “f the pigs” battalion with your Wal-Mart-purchase hunting rifles and shotguns vs. riot police, armored personnel carriers, tear gas, tasers, zip-ties, and cold hard jail cells? Good luck with that plan; I’m sticking to reforming laws against oppression like Martin Luther King Jr. did, with non-violence, compassion, and reason.]

  11. #15 chuck is totally right and i have been saying/thinking this for years
    so in your world on the people with extra money to spend can be cannabis users? what about the “havenots” you know those people who have spent all their money on legal fees or medical treatment and still need help, i guess they will have to find another “non-profit” organization
    a student at my school wanted to form an norml group except he said that he needs money from every one who wants to be apart of it, and not just dues to pay for the pizza and other refreshments but just to be apart of the group.
    safe to say i said fuck that if the norml organization truly wants what is best and wants to grow as an organization they would want their organization to grow regardless of who is capable of paying the membership fees
    [Russ responds: The formation of a NORML Chapter requires five individuals who will join national NORML to form the non-profit or college organization’s Board of Directors. College students have a special rate of $15/year for each of those members to join, so for $75 the student at your school could have founded a NORML Chapter.
    After formation of the chapter, dues are paid to the local chapter, not to National NORML. Many chapters, especially college chapters, elect to have no fees for membership. Others charge a nominal fee, like $5 or $10 a year, to cover basic costs. Some, like Oregon NORML and Los Angeles NORML, charge more, $35 and $50 respectively, but they also offer their members a whole bunch of perks (like Oregon NORML, where that $35/year gets you 21 annual cardholder meetings where fellow members offer a gram and a seedling every meeting.)
    If you’re really concerned about the “have-nots”, you’d help us legalize and regulate. Right now, the “have-nots” are being charged $15 per gram either in the streets or in some states that have dispensaries. Every plan for re-legalization supported by NORML underscores the right to home grow and the right to personal possession. Yes, if you are a “have-not” and want to buy or sell legal marijuana, it will cost you something. That’s the same standard applied to “have-nots” who might like a fine wine, a porterhouse steak, or a new car.
    Finally, if you’re looking at NORML as some sort of bastion of upper-crust financial elitism, you haven’t looked at all the organizations trying to affect marijuana policy yet.]

  12. about jury nullification ,
    have you even talked to a lawyer about that strategy ?
    thats ridiculous first of all to get your case to trial will cost extra legal fees
    you pay lawyer for the pre trial shit and usually then if the case goes to trial then you have to pay extra.
    and who would want to leave their fate in the hands of an American jury. unless you do not live in America you would know that most Americans are just idiots. Most of them dont even care about freedom they just care about their prime time tv and going to work and drinking. I highly doubt your average american could and should be trusted with jury nullification
    so you be my guest and try it let us all know how it works out for you, i pray im wrong but from what ive seen things are not hopeful, hell most Americans dont even care enough about anything to stay current with world news.

  13. ANTI AMERICA
    THAT IS THE TRUE PATH TOWARDS LEGALIZATION AND FURTHER RECLAIMING OF OUR RIGHTS THAT WE ARE BORN WITH.
    WE WERE GIVEN FREE WILL FOR A REASON. AND THAT REASON IS NOT SO SOME GOVT CAN REGULATE IT.
    EVERY THING THIS COUNTRY DOES GOES AGAINST WHAT WE ARE SUPPOSED TO STAND FOR WHICH IS JUSTICE AND FREEDOM, WE ARE SUPPOSED TO BE THE BEST AND MOST ENLIGHTENED COUNTRY IN THE WORLD, THE REALITY IS YOU WOULD NEVER KNOW THIS BY THE WAY THE UNITED STATES CONDUCTS ITSELF

  14. happy new year to every one of you. we may not know eachother but, we share a huge hope together that legalization of cannabis will be swift…..seeins im not allowd to partake of the remedy…. yall get a nice big hoober for me huh?

  15. Happy New Year to you fla activist. Interesting that you said you’re not allowed to partake, neither am I, and I was contemplating asking someone to take a hit or two or three for me.
    Good gawd, if you people above fla activist aren’t happy with NORML then go away, please. What’s that old saying? “you’re either part of the problem or part of the solution”.
    NORML is an upstanding organization that has fought hard for full out re-legalization, I’m so proud of them and extremely grateful for everyone within the organization.

  16. If you knew anything about the history of tobacco and government intervention you would know that “taxing and regulating” is what turned the tobacco industry into the poison industry. Do you want that to happen to marijuana????????

  17. Check the new Boston video with Keith Stroup, all Boston here with a little bit of New York and NORML connection thrown in. Music Statik Selektah & Taleb Kweli!

  18. OBJECTIVE STATEMENT
    It is the Genesist Faith’s objective to organize and unite its adherents throughout the world. It is therefore the Genesist Faith’s intent and purpose to invoke the “FREE EXERCISE THEREOF” clause in Article I of the Consitution of the United States of America, and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 as a conscience clause relavent to the prohibition of our Holy Sacrament. A conscience clause is a clause in a law exempting those whose religious or moral principles forbid compliance.
    DOCTRINE OF GENESISTS.
    Without exemption (circumscription-qualification) no person(s) shall make any law respecting the establishment of religion or prohibiting the “FREE EXECISE THEREOF.” Genesists are free to profess and maintain their opinion in matters of religion, and the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or effect their civil capacities. Genesists shall not suffer on account of their religious opinions and beliefs…for whosoever would stand on a Genesist’s path of religious freedom (individual freedon) and rattle their sword…such act provokes infringement of the “NATURAL RIGHTS OF MANKIND”…the priviledges and advantages to which in common with their fellow Genesists, he or she has a “NATURAL RIGHT.”
    Manford Mantis

  19. #23
    The corruption in the tobacco industry is caused by the tobacco corporations through IMPROPER regulations. They would only be MORE corrupt if there were no taxation or regulations. The ONLY way to prevent this in marijuana is proper regulations right off the bat.

  20. The Senator from Alabama has already stated to me in an email stating that he would never vote yes to medical marijuana. Shouldn’t it be the voice of Alabamians to pass a new law for medical marijuana. We need these guys to let our voice be heard in what we want and not there personal opinions. Lets get rid of them and get some new blood in the White House.

  21. I am sitting at home right now unemployed because of less than 15 nanograns of THC metabolite compund per milliter in my urine.The NIDA cutoff is 50 nanograns.
    The repeal of such draconian law can not come quick enough for me.This whole situation has been a joke to say the least .And the militancy that corporate america and the small business community along with unions and their idiotic ilk will make it very tough for NORML or any other orginization to have full repeal of the law with people allowed to grow there own.Someday I hope,but not likely
    In the U.S. we have many in prison and maybe even more sittin at home because of drug screens and you never hear anything about that.In this economy employers and unions are looking for any way to get people laid off………..What a country we live in right now.
    Can you smell the simmering boil of revolution in the air,I can……………

  22. To win the office of President, Obama had to be a man who has great warmth, inspires confidence rather than admiration, and is [not] so proper that he is
    “unbelievable.” His admission of use of “our Holy Sacrament” absolutely established him as
    “Believable.” To that end, his actions have been consistant with his opinion of it during his election campaign, and his continued acts to honor his opinions to this day. “I applaud his word.” I honor the American Policy.
    This President can make more happen in favor of Genesists than any President in the history of the world; except for “the father of our country” and “the founding fathers,” who mandated hemp cultivation, enjoyed its use, and benefited from its efficacy as a medicine, but especially, as a food, it is the most nutricious food known to man.
    Manford Mantis

  23. nice move and nice done, and what about New York State include New York City? make a marijuana/ Cannabis become legalize and stop arrests by police? and should leave it alone? i didn’t hear that part that NYS finally legalize, nothing more or less, just a plain and leave the pothead people who love one? peace brother

  24. the chinese year of the tiger (bye bye ox) comes up in feb. ancient wisdom suggests this is a year for dynamic and forceful action. a great year for legalization. ah so

  25. the chinese year of the tiger (bye bye ox) comes up in feb. ancient wisdom suggests this is a year for dynamic and forceful action. a great year for legalization. ah so

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