2011: The Year In Review – NORML’s Top 10 Events That Shaped Marijuana Policy

#1 NORML Sues to Halt Government’s Prosecution of Medical Cannabis Providers
In October, the United States Deputy Attorney General, along with the four US Attorneys from California, announced their intentions to escalate federal efforts targeting the state’s medical cannabis dispensaries and providers. In response, members of the NORML Legal Committee filed suit in November against the federal government arguing that its actions were in violation of the Ninth, Tenth, and Fourteenth Amendments of the US Constitution. Plaintiffs further argued, using the theory of judicial estoppel, that the Justice Department had previously affirmed in federal court that it would no longer use federal resources to prosecute cannabis patients or providers who are compliant with state law. NORML’s lawsuit remains pending. Read the full story here.
#2 Members of Congress Introduce First Bill Since 1937 to Legalize Cannabis
House lawmakers introduced legislation in Congress in June to end the federal criminalization of the personal use of marijuana. The bipartisan measure – HR 2306, the ‘Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2011’ – prohibits the federal government from prosecuting adults who use or possess cannabis by removing the plant and its primary psychoactive constituent, THC, from the five schedules of the United States Controlled Substances Act of 1970. The bill awaits Congressional action. Read the full story here.
#3 Gallup: Majority of Americans Support Legalizing Cannabis
A record 50 percent of Americans now believe that marijuana ought to be legalized for adult use, according to a nationwide Gallup poll of 1,005 adults published in October. The 2011 survey results mark the first time ever that Gallup has reported that more Americans support legalizing cannabis (50 percent) than oppose it (46 percent). Read the full story here.
#4 Over One Million Americans Now Use Cannabis Legally Under State Law
Between one million to one-and-a-half million US citizens are legally authorized by the laws of their state to use marijuana, according to data compiled in May by NORML from state medical marijuana registries and patient estimates. Read the full story here.
#5 Marijuana Prosecutions For 2010 Near Record High
Police made 853,838 arrests in 2010 for marijuana-related offenses according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s annual Uniform Crime Report, released in September. The annual arrest total is among the highest ever reported by the agency. Marijuana arrests now comprise more than one-half (52 percent) of all drug arrests in the United States. Read the full story here.
#6 Largest State Doctors Association Calls For Legalizing Cannabis
The California Medical Association in October called for the “legalization and regulation” of cannabis for adults. The association, which represents some 35,000 physicians, recommends that cannabis be taxed and regulated “in a manner similar to alcohol.” Read the full story here.
#7 Connecticut Decriminalizes Cannabis Possession Offenses
Statewide legislation took effect in July reducing the penalties for the adult possession of up to one-half ounce of marijuana from a criminal misdemeanor (formerly punishable by one year in jail and a $1,000 fine) to a non-criminal infraction, punishable by a $150 fine, no arrest or jail time, and no criminal record. Read the full story here.
#8 Vaporized Cannabis Augments Analgesic Effect of Opiates in Humans
Vaporized cannabis significantly augments the analgesic effects of opiates in patients with chronic pain, according to clinical trial data published online in the journal Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics in November. Investigators surmised that cannabis-specific interventions “may allow for opioid treatment at lower doses with fewer [patient] side effects.” Read the full story here.
#9 State Governors Call on Obama Administration to Reclassify Cannabis
In December, governors from Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington formally requested the Obama administration to reclassify cannabis under federal law in a manner that would allow states to regulate its therapeutic use without federal interference. The administration in July had previously rejected a nine-year-old petition calling on the agency to initiate hearings to reassess the present classification of marijuana as a schedule I controlled substance without any ‘accepted medical use in treatment.’ Read the full story here.
#10 Delaware Becomes 16th State to Legalize Limited Medical Use of Marijuana
State lawmakers in May approved legislation to allow patients with a qualifying illness may legally possess up to six ounces of cannabis, provided the cannabis is obtained from a state-licensed, not-for-profit ‘compassion center.’ The law is anticipated to be implemented in 2012. Read the full story here.

44 thoughts

  1. It want be long now. we are not criminals. we want to work. play, and love…and have a normal life. just like every one else.

  2. We’re making progress! I just hope Ohio gets it’s bill passed this year and the feds reschedule cannabis properly! Things are looking better than they have in 40 years of a ridiculous “drug war”!

    The Illegal Herb that Fights Cancer
    Posted By Dr. Mercola | May 07 2011 | 420,850 views
    The Medical Miracle You’ll Get Arrested for Using
    Posted By Dr. Mercola | November 26 2011 | 255,598 views
    By Virginia T. Sherr 7-31-05
    Lyme borreliosis is a brain disease as well as a multisystemic disease caused by spirochetal bacteria.* Quite frankly, it is an infection that has been burdened with a thousand inaccurate medical diagnoses. The manner in which the current pandemic of tertiary Lyme disease, neuroborreliosis, has usually been handled— either angrily dismissed or strangely misdiagnosed–throughout the 30 years following its “discovery,” has blemished the historic excellence of modern American Medicine.
    Special to AOL News
    (May 28) — We’re in the midst of a terrifying epidemic, although you wouldn’t know it to talk to most doctors and health specialists.
    The disease is growing at a rate faster than AIDS. From 2006 to 2008 alone, the number of cases jumped a whopping 77 percent. In 2008 alone, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention listed 28,921 “confirmed” and 6,277 “probable” cases of the disease, but there could be as many as 420,000 because of underreporting.
    Prominent victims include Parker Posey, Richard Gere, President George W. Bush, Alice Walker and Christie Brinkley.
    If any other disease had stricken so many people, the medical community would be scurrying for knowledge, scrambling for cures or rushing to warn patients (think swine flu).But more important is the need for public health community to treat this disease like the epidemic it is, and start putting real resources into educating the public and the medical profession about how to identify it, treat it, and prevent it.


  4. Great job! We all need to join in on the war on marijuana. I have a question I live in Colorado. So medical marijuana users. Are there laws out there to protect these patients from the illegal drug testing @ jobs & for new higher employees applying for jobs? Because if they have a prescription from a doctor, shouldn’t that trump employment law or state employment law? If not this needs to change. The states are making big money,they need to stand up and take care of every legal Marijuana patient. Turning colorful Colorado green in everyway :)- Denver
    [Paul Armentano responds: While the employment issue is not settled in Colorado, in at least three other states — California, Oregon, and Washington — the state Supreme Courts have determined that state medical marijuana laws are limited in their scope to exemption from arrest, but do not extend to employer/employee relationships.]

  5. Now we will see which side truly is good and evil by their intentions. But know this, they began this madness – not us the cannabis community. After all, who is doing the killing etc? LEGALIZE for LIFE.

  6. We need to decriminalize marajuana in Newhampshire. Make it a fine if over one ounce. Our adult children are getting put in jail for having pot, this is not right because it just breaks their spirit, in a population of gangs..getting their money will be the wake up call to do more constructive acivities

  7. this is so dumb. cannabis sativa should just be legal. it’s pathetic that the world suppresses use of a plant that has healing properties.

  8. So US Attorney Melinda Haag is worried about legal medical dispensaries near schools affecting children, but for godsakes there are children in Mexico getting their heads chopped off because of the Mexican Cartels. If the legal availability of cannabis is reduced there is only the black market to turn to. So in effect Melinda Haag is supporting the beheading of children by enabling the profiting of Mexican Drug Cartels. Welcome to America

  9. It has been a very interesting year with many twists and turns concerning marijuana legalization,some were elating and some were disappointing but we are still gaining support.
    And we have the bureaucrats to thank for the gains,,their actions have drawn more people to support change than anything we did all year.

  10. Ron Paul on Leno this last week was on my Top 10. Flat out said the drug war was not constitutional and flat out said alcohol was more dangerous. Also said he thought it did have health benefits. Great to have some wide coverage like that.

  11. Let Mother Mari do her work.
    Lets elect Dr.Ron Paul as president.
    Marijuana will provide healing to the nations.
    Hemp will heal the planet.
    Imagine the Utopia we would have a world with no famine.Happy New Years!

  12. We need a good push here in Tennessee considering the Governor is completely against it. We are supposedly the #2 growing state for it. I have a letter that I just need to mail to my area Rep., Dr. Phil Roe to support the House Bill. I dont want these Epidurals or opiates for my back. I would like to have at least Medicinal MJ available for me to try for my chronic back pain. I want to know if it would help me.

  13. What about Gary Johnson??? He is for legalization! There’s something off about Ron Paul..and I don’t want to vote for someone JUST because they are for legalization.
    If I didn’t have children my face would be seen and my voice would be heard!!! I would be a known advocate. I love my babies more though. Its SO SAD I could lose them fighting for something I’m passionate about!

  14. When some have yet to come to fruition I would not call them shaping anything… Especially a court case that so far I just see the government crapping on.

  15. Imagine Cop at your door You just fired a up a blunt He and his partner ask you if they can come in …..
    He asks you if you know about the people that have been steeling stuff from parked cars and if you could give them some leads …
    You finish the end of your blunt take the cops card and walk him to the door and thank him for trying to keep you safe
    That’s another thing ending the war on drugs can do restore respect for police

  16. Happy New Year! The reason I’m on Dr. Ron Paul’s team is he
    realizes hemps POTential and he knows life starts at conception. Plant a seed watch as it
    grows in rows.Flower like a rose. Smell it as it makes good feelings from your head to your toes.

  17. #11 Legalization measure qualifies for state ballot in Washington
    New Approach Washington in Washington state submitted 355,000 signatures for Initiative I-502 which will go to the legislator and (when they fail to act) then to the voters on November.
    I-502 legalizes, taxes, and regulates recreational marijuana sales for adults over 21.

  18. GOD will not mocked or moved. Nor his purpose or his people. His will, will be done according to his word. Let go of the cannabis,hurry and legalize!

  19. Hey NORML,
    This new format (every other post in italics) for posting comments really SUCKS. Please go back to the old format. hanks.

    What is required for people to come together consciously for their own benefit. Ano Ano: The Seed–The Classic Trilogy by Kristen Zambucka enlightens the audience to the core wisdoms of Hawaiian Spiritual Traditions. The title is quite fitting for the circumstance of present and the forum for the discussion as the consequence of a citizens incarceration for providing the greatest wisdom for increasing joy and comfort during the passage of birth old age sickness and death will be embraced within an appropriate consequence in time.
    Hence a great consideration to understand our collective situation is of the highest priority. Marc Scott Emery brings the wisdom of the seed. Jesse Ventura provides the clarity of the unlawful biological war used against North America in the Plum Island Conspiracy via TRUtv along with the Independent movie “Under Our Skin” showing the horrors and criminal results of this very sophisticated organic weapon empowered by the Marijuana prohibition.
    Thus the question of personal self respect and positions of response are forced upon collective society who choose to fight for any intelligent right to life.
    How ironic and necessary is it that the Cannabis Culture Crew is thurst into the position to play Citizen Cop to fix the greatest crime in our living history.
    In Western society we use money to reflect values — where is the money supporting intelligent living ciitzens prosecuting left over Hitler assassin doctors working for a captured administration?

  21. The marijuana prohibition is what I like to call a “quadruple tax” that destroys the economy.
    1.Taxpayers pay for the law enforcement to enforce the oudated prohibition.
    2. Taxpayers then pay for the court system to try the outdated prohibition.
    3. Then taxpaypers pay for the incarceration of people over a plant that should be legal. 4. Finally a reduction in productive output and tax revenues as a result of a potentially productive citizen being incarcerated over an outdated prohibition.

  22. One questiion I would like Ron Paul to answer: Will the People of Color including Blacks Americans, Native American Indians; We will have True Equal Rights under this Consitution, this-time-around, Right?
    We can have the natural Marijuana/hemp meds needed for ME, and People all over the World! Help us Yahushua Ben YahuWah! Hallelujah!
    You already have my vote!!!

  23. ITs just tyrany that medical marijuana patients don’t have job protection in Washington, Colorado, and Oregon. I mean people that have been taking Oxycontin for decades every day LEGALLY do not have to worry about getting fired anywhere?!

  24. It is very interesting to see “#3 Gallup: Majority of Americans Support Legalizing Cannabis” and “#5 Marijuana Prosecutions For 2010 Near Record High” in the same list. It just goes to show that legalizing marijuana will have to be much more than rebranding the image of marijuana, it is much more than a popularity contest. Even as people see that MJ is safe, and realize that prohibition is bullshit the movement towards legalizing MJ is still moving at a snails pace.
    The main reason for this, I think, is a bureaucratic and legalistic approach to marijuana reform that focuses much more on lobbying, lawsuits, and congressional bills rather than building a political movement reliant on the people that can not only address marijuana prohibition as one single issue in a vacuum but also the surrounding issues of the police state, the prison industrial complex for the maintenance of social control over poor black and brown people with no place in Amerikkka, imperialist relationships with Mexico etc. etc.
    The drug war, and the war on marijuana specifically exists to maintain social control of poor brown people within the borders of the U.S. empire, so without addressing the fact that the U.S. imperialist police state NEEDS marijuana prohibition, I don’t see NORML ever winning significant gains. We have to move beyond this snail’s pace, by re envisioning our strategy and approach!
    [Editor’s note: The war on cannabis is not a government conspiracy against poor people or minorities. Cannabis Prohibition goes into its 75th year because well under 1% of cannabis consumers are involved in their own liberation.
    You’re incorrect that NORML will never be successful as 14 states have decriminalized cannabis and 16 states have ‘medicalized’ cannabis; when NORML was founded in 1970 9% of the US supported legalization, today it is 50%.
    Medical patients in states like CA and CO are standing in line and buying cannabis products, hash and edibles.
    Sounds like progress to NORML, with much more to come as anti-prohibitionism regarding cannabis spreads wider and farther in America.
    If New York Times statistics guru Nate Silver’s estimates are correct, at the current rate of reform, 60% of the US public will want cannabis legalized by 2021.
    What is needed to legalize cannabis is not negativity or being a Doubting Thomas, instead, it is to better organize current cannabis consumers to become politically visible stakeholders to their elected policymakers. This means that cannabis consumers have to come out of their smoky closets.]

  25. In ’69-70 by exec order from Nixon ALL state and local law enforcement were REQUIRED to asssit enforcing fed drug laws. In 2009 Arizona VOLUNTARILY acted to enforce federal law and was rebuffed. So apparently it has gotten to the point at where the fed shall pick and choose which laws will be enforced by state and local officers and which law they are NOT to enforce.

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