2015: NORML at Legalization Crossroads

Dear NORML members and supporters,

Thanks for providing this venerable 44-year old non-profit organization the support necessary–both financially and spiritually–in helping achieve its two stated public policy goals:

  • End cannabis prohibition and replace with system of taxation and regulation similar to alcohol and tobacco products
  • Help the victims of cannabis prohibition enforcement (from those busted for possession to workers being denied employment over drug testing to patients who need to access cannabis as a therapeutic)

To the former, the math is simple: four states down (AK, WA, OR and CO have legalized cannabis commerce and taxation), forty-six more to go.

To the latter, NORML and its 160 plus chapters are both sympathetic to and helpful outlets for the many hundreds of thousands of cannabis consumers, cultivators and sellers arrested annually on criminal charges.

Attached is an end-of-year synopsis of many of the projects and efforts put forward by the organization in 2014 to advance cannabis law reforms.

Important issues going forward post legalization present a myriad of public policy concerns for groups like NORML to advocate for adult cannabis consumers:

  • To be able to imbibe in a licensed establishment in the same manner alcohol consumers do (in other words, it is not sufficient or prudent to banish cannabis consumers to use the herbal drug only on private property, which does not even include most public accommodations like hotels. Americans want Dutch-like ‘coffeeshops’ to buy and use the product responsibly on-site);
  • Employment protections for cannabis consumers not impaired in the workplace;
  • Child custody rights;
  • Second Amendment rights (under federal law, cannabis consumer and state-sanctioned patients can’t buy guns or ammunition);
  • Reasonable taxes for consumers and businesses (so as not to encourage continuance of black market);
  • Legal protections for cannabis consumers who currently fall under federal government’s specter (military personal, government contractors, university students, federal workers and contractors)
  • Scientific based drugged driving testing

The public’s support since 1970 has aptly guided NORML thus far, looking into the political crystal ball for 2015, here are four items to be prepared for:

  1. There will be in excess of fifteen states that debate legalization bills in their 2015 legislative sessions (a state, likely in New England, will pass cannabis legalization legislation for the first time as all previous legalization successes have come about via voter ballot initiatives)
  2. The US Congress will have nearly twenty cannabis law reform bills introduced, ranging from legalization to rescheduling to sentencing to industrial hemp reforms.
  3. Reform organizations, including NORML, will be increasingly focused on passing a voter initiative in California in 2016 legalizing cannabis
  4. Non-partisan advocacy of presidential candidates for 2016 to support ending cannabis prohibition

Donate to NORML

Going into the New Year, possibly the penultimate year for cannabis law reform in the United States, please consider in 2015 the remarkable contrast occurring in the few states that have ended cannabis prohibition with the nightmare scenarios our fellow cannabis consumers still face in a vast majority of states in America.

Bittersweetly, here at NORML we’re caught betwixt and between prohibition and legalization where we field as many daily inquiries from citizens still getting screwed by antiquated cannabis prohibition laws as we do now very eager entrepreneurs wanting to know how they can become a legitimate cannabis-related business.

Please help NORML continue to push forward with achieving our stated policy objectives with your continued financial support in 2015.**

Thanks in advance for both caring and sharing!

Kind regards,

Allen St. Pierre
Executive Director
NORML and NORML Foundation
Washington, D.C.

**Donations of cash, stocks, securities and property to The NORML Foundation are fully tax deductible.

34 thoughts

  1. It seems anachronistic to me that people who are so informed about our constitutional rights regarding cannabis and its uses/non-uses etc..are so completely ignorant to the fact that we also have the constitutional right to vote out any and all governmental representatives who refuse to forward our desires as voters and also tax payers in voting assemblies!!! Evidenced by D.C.’s refusal to vote to legalise, per 70+% of voter desire, they have chosen again to put their own desires and agendas before those of the voters!!! It’s time for this to stop!! If our elected officials REFUSE to do what the voters want… they must be removed, as the corrupt equivalent to the Icelandic govt was a couple years ago!

  2. Hello NORML,

    Thanks indeed, a billionfold, for your efforts these past 44 years.

    We see eye to eye on cannabis and its place in society. Our only difference is I think you all praise Obama waaaaaaaaaaay too much. Democrat politicians are filthy, corrupt fakes. Yes, I despise Republican politicians too. I’d rather vote for my cat, honestly. Considering the scum we’ll be getting to choose from in 2016, I think Rocky is a good choice =^..^= http://www.rocky2016.net

    As a medical user, I have faced discrimination in my personal and professional life for nearly two decades. I’m lucky compared to some, and it makes me sad every day that so many are in jail for nothing.

    Cannabis prohibition is cruel and unusual punishment. We have punished our own people to the point it’s destroyed countless families. If that isn’t cruel and unusual punishment according to the Constitution, then NOTHING is. Why has the 8th Amendment not been invoked? I present the past 45 years of the War on Drugs as evidence. It’s being continued out of spite, not to protect us.

    Happy Holidays from Rocky’s Campaign Manager =^..^=

  3. I likes me those four items being prepared for in 2015. Oh, to live in a state with MJ legalization . . .

  4. “If that isn’t cruel and unusual punishment according to the Constitution, then NOTHING is. Why has the 8th Amendment not been invoked?”

    Because marijuana users are the new niggers. It is written into law we must be subjected to endless threats to our safety simply for using marijuana. We are not people, not 100$ people as per the law. Simply owning a gun and marijuana at the same time is somehow a crime. The are entitled to take our money, our freedom, our children and our lives. In courts, murderer’s rights get more respect than the subhuman marijuana user.

    Because the laws in place are so weak, the whole system has had to prop them up, illegally never actually testing the value of these crap laws until 2014. The courts have been avoiding responsibility for decades now, showing a clear bias toward supporting Prohibition and many of it abuses.

  5. Thank you NORML. These last few doors opening have enlightened the ignorant, shelved the intollerant, and shown the world a repectful and truthful acceptance of patients rights and the dychotomy of our healthcare and prison industrial complexes.

  6. Pot is a plant that grows in the ground, if god didn’t want it it wouldn’t be found. He put it on earth for you and I. So fuck the world lets ALL! get high. Legalize marijuana in KANSAS! But even if you don’t I dont care I’m still smoking that shot for life!

  7. Merry Christmas and Happy New Years NORML and fellow legalization advocates!

    I am optimistic, for the first time since the 70s, that the end of prohibition is truly near; largely thanks to the good folks at NORML and to the widespread information that is readily available via the internet (which our Govt used to keep from us in earlier days in favor of their propaganda).

    It sort of bothers me that a lot of people will get rich via “big marijuana” but, that bothers me much less than the constant fear of police and knowing that good people are locked up in prison with real criminals. Let them get rich as long as I can grow a few plants of my own without fear of a raid!

  8. The possible posture of NORML should be politics
    Pot is legal in the rights of the medicine not media
    The performance of government grown pot is
    Better it will be done

  9. Merry Christmas and a happy new year to NORML. I really appreciate you guys. Truly, you show more true American heritage then our congressmen or senators.

    Thank you very much for all you do!

  10. Hear, hear! Thank you, Allen!

    The impetus for an CRU (Cannabis Revenue Use) brochures by cities that explain how they use the revenues from cannabis to BOTH the public and other city leaders and residents alike that are currently Not drawing revenues from cannabis to dangle that ca$h carrot out there in front of them.

    Nobody else but the cannabis community is willing to pay more in taxes, basically. Prohibitionists don’t have a better idea for how to come up with the money and create instant above ground tax paying jobs, but rather want to cut government services, and payroll and pension costs to its employees. Problem is public wants good jobs, good schools, you name it and funds are coming up all Detroit.

    A coalition of cities, don’t know both in and not in cannabis states, that want cannabis legalized from seed to sale adult recreational. And I mean viable seeds are allowed for sale, too.

    Big cities legalizing, making the state have to come in with state troopers to enforce cannabis prohibition, which will get old and costly fast, like as soon as the overtime exhausts their budgets. Don’t come arunnin for more money.

    Seeds, Seeds, Seeds, Seeds

    You know they did Marc Emery wrong.
    You know they did Tommy Chong wrong.

    Seeds, Seeds, Seeds, Seeds

  11. Nobody else but the cannabis community is willing to pay more in taxes,

    And get their people killed for non-payment of taxes.

    In other words cannabis folks like being on the losing end of a protection racket.


    No more taxed than tomatoes.

  12. Merry Christmas Happy Hanukkah, Happy Festivas,Seasons Greetings…

    Peace on Earth and Good will toward men is my wish for everyone.

    Thank you Norml for all of your righteous efforts on behalf of Freedom and Justice for all.

  13. @MSimon

    Well said!…No more than tomatoes!

    “Legal” taxed cannabis for the wealthy and “fines”(Stealth Tax) in order to tax the “poor” black market…pretty slick, eh?

  14. I live in kansas. And we have some of the most backwards pot laws in the country. I am a loving father of two. Loveing husband of one, and I am pretty successful. I have always been a positive person and thrived to get whatever I can out of life. I have also been smoking pot since I was in the sixth grade. I have never seen anything wrong with weed and I look at it as a positive thing even though that is not what most around me think. It has been very hard to become successful in this situation. I have been fighting negative criticism my whole life from everyone around me including my family. I have been prosecuted by many different cities in my county and i have been forced to pay over ten thousand dollars for something that I think is a positive thing. I will continue to smoke for the rest of my life regardless of all the judgment around. And I will continue to be successful regardless of all the negativity around me. And you know why? Because THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH SMOKING MARIJUANA!

  15. Merry Christmas NORML and to all that keep up the good fight. You have helped bring hope to me and so many. My we all see and end to this terrible conflict so.

  16. @MSimon

    I agree with you on the lines of medical cannabis should Not be taxed at all. That’s where your no more taxed than tomatoes notion comes in. I live in Pennsylvania, and non-prepared food and clothing are NOT subject to state sales tax. Prepared food such as at a restaurant IS taxed, but a tomato from the grocery store is NOT taxed.

    Senator Mike Folmer (R) who represents my district co-sponsors exactly that in his legislation: no taxes on medical marijuana.

    The adult recreational legislation that leads to legalization in states, however, does INDEED include taxes. It’s completely insane to stick to the libertarian laissez-faire notion of legalization recreational with taxes no more than a tomato in states such as Pennsylvania that do NOT tax food, so I do wholeheartedly agree that taxes on adult recreational should be kept low in order to compete with the black market, i.e. put the illegal unregulated market out of business.

    That’s the whole point of legalization, and with that there is no longer the need to settle disputes over the non-taxed stuff with shoot-outs, whether between gangs or between dealers and police. Yes, it’s kind of like protection except the bribes are going into the public coffers for all to see, and not going into the coffers of a crime family or whoever is controlling your area of the country (Mexican, Italian, Russian, whatever mafia) or the protection money goes into the pockets of corrupt cops.

    Political reporter John Baer says that the Pennsylvania legislature is the most corrupt legislature in the country. So yes, it will be legal taxes adult recreational for the wealthy and also for the poor. It means some rich bastard who doesn’t need the money and hasn’t done shit for legalization could possibly jump in there in front of you and scarf up the license you, a longtime cannabis advocate, want and you are left locked out or still operating in the area outside of the law because of no permit.

    I look at prices in the various states and parts of states and have to say I like them best where they are lowest, Colorado over Washington, etc. I agree with you but it’s not practical and not likely.

  17. It is time for us to realize that cannabis is the answer for so many mental health issues as well. Why aren’t we trying to stop the use of habit forming pills as the answer to all? The pharmaceutical companies are making millions of dollars off the consumers in this country. The numbers are staggering when it comes to heroin and pill addiction in the US. I believe it is time to try something natural to our earth.

  18. @ Matt,

    Good for you, brother. I feel for you, in your situation. It seems the majority of people I know smoke the herb, people my age (50s and 60s)and most of the nephews and nieces (who are generally in their 30s). Even my mom, who’s in her 80s, has begun to see the relative harmlessness of pot–she’s watched for decades the effects of alcohol on some of her relatives, and will readily tell you that latter drug is worse than MJ.

    So, hang in there Matt. Hopefully the situation in Kansas, the attitudes, will begin to change before too very long.

  19. Marijuana actually keeps me sane. Alcohol and I do not mix so I must do what is right. Thanks for everything, NORML – a very Happy New Year to you and yours from all of us!

  20. Thank you Allen and everyone from NORML. Reading the long list of objectives for next year and beyond it is clear that NORML is leading marijuana reform in the right direction while listening to those in need. What a terribly polarizing yet rewarding experience it must be. God Bless you all and for all that you do.
    Leading us into the new year there is so much hope and promise for marijuana and hemp reform… And as such for the sustainability of American Democracy itself… That I find it challenging to come up with encouraging words that define everything our movement means to so many people in so little words. Whether its child custody, border security, health, sustainable energy, climate, the economy or simple cost of living and quality of life cannabis reform transcends everything that matters in America today.
    The words that ring out in my heart and mind that sum up what I feel to prohibitionists and reformists alike is as follows;

    “To those who have held on to the Dream, our time is near; donate, educate and we will liberate. To those who would have us trade our Dream for fear and hatred of prohibition; We refuse and resist the deception and hatred of prohibition; We reject the idea that racism protects our borders or that war abroad will clean us of our socioeconomic inequality here at home… Foolish Pharisee; You clean the outside of the cup; Clean the inside of the cup and the outside will also be clean.”

    I have decided to enroll in a monthly membership in my local NORML chapter thus year here in Texas. Happy and Prosperous New Year everyone… Its fixin to get real good…

  21. TheOracle says:
    December 26, 2014 at 12:23 pm

    It’s completely insane to stick to the libertarian laissez-faire notion of legalization recreational with taxes no more than a tomato in states such as Pennsylvania that do NOT tax food, so I do wholeheartedly agree that taxes on adult recreational should be kept low in order to compete with the black market, i.e. put the illegal unregulated market out of business.

    Taxes are a license to kill. I’d rather avoid that.

  22. Thanks @J for that Donate–> Educate–> Liberate mantra, I think it will get results.

    Another thing NORML, MPP and others can engineer is a Big Payoff to ecoscabs now making money off H-ot B-urning O-verdose M-onoxide $igarettes. “Bail Out Philip Morris!” Don’t let $abet $care you about some corporate Big Marijuana, can’t happen like it did with $lave Nicotine Tobacco.

    I’m talking about the guy that drives that truck loaded with HBOMs around to the stores, the lady at the checkout counter with the Packs lined up behind her etc., figure out ways to help them transition into REAL WORK– hemp farming, reforestation etc.– and advocate liberal govt. $ub$idies to make the personal transition happen.

    They say 3 million women are employed in India hand-rolling beedis (450 mg of tobacco in a tendu leaf). Transition these workers into hand-assembling billions of flexdrawtube one-hitters with 25-mg-single-serving screened crater-head made from a 1/4″ socket wrench or brass barbed hose nipple (study, revise, re-illustrate that free wiki article about 12 Ways to Make Pipes From Everyday Objects).

    The main reason the Joint has remained popular among cannabis users is that it is EASIER TO HIDE from your Mom or the Cop than a long-stemmed one-hitter or a plug-in $600 vaporizer– or costs less to throw away at the last moment. Legalization will REMOVE this last remaining excuse for anyone to hurriedly hotburn cannabinoids that deserved 385F/195C vaporization. Every cannabis user will eliminate Joints from their life, tobacco $igarette users will soon follow, eliminating the #1 cause of premature death in human history (200,000,000 since 1853).

    Knowitwell Prize for NORML, More Marley, Less Monoxide for everybody!

  23. Keep up the outstanding public service in educating the public about cannabis and the truth. Keep em smiling and enjoy the enlightenment/euphoria of personal choices.

  24. Dear Normal:
    Thank you.That being said…
    I live in Oklahoma,a very strict state,and also one of the states that filed a lawsuit to challenge marijuana legalization laws.
    Oklahoma is one of the states with Indian tribes.
    The federal government has given Indians permission to grow.
    The first step on the federal level that I am aware of.
    Oklahoma,seems to me,to be a setting on the cusp of something great.
    Indians are taking back all that was taken from them one spin at a time.As other states around legalize gambling their take will drop, therefore they will need to replace that income. Marijuana?
    They will not grow at this time,they say,because the state law will not allow it.
    If Oklahoma ok’d it, I’m sure they would follow suite.
    FEDERALLY APPROVED GROW!!! Does everybody know what that means,what a step,no, leap forward that would be?
    Oklahomans listen to me here..we hold greatness in our hands.All we have to do is register to vote.What % votes? 17%..25%? If we came together for the greater good we can change our world.
    If I knew how to start a movement I would call it “I will if you will.”. Register to vote..pay attention to election and voting dates and most importantly talk to others. I will if you will.This is America..America is not totally in the politations hands.We ,as a group, still decide things in this country, or we can if we care enough.
    We CAN make our future green.I will if you will.

  25. @ Alan,

    I agree with your point about voting. I am as cynical as anyone else about the corruption in our political system, and the buddy-buddy system going on between the two principal parties.

    However, there is much that CAN be done via the voting booth. We’ve already seen the PEOPLE–voters–push through legalization in several states. And we’ve seen various other positive legislation come about as a result of voting. So, to my fellow smokers, I say get out there and pull that lever, or blacken that little circle, or whatever, on election day, and help push legalization or decriminalization through. Your own well-being may depend on it.

  26. TheOracle says:
    December 26, 2014 at 12:23 pm

    Taxes are a license to kill. Ask Eric Garner. Well you can’t. He is dead. On suspicion of unpaid taxes.

    I am resolved to get the government out of the business altogether. No more taxed or regulated than tomatoes. At any level. We don’t want illegal cartels. We don’t want legal cartels.

    We have done enough begging on our knees to make our point. It is now time to stand on our feet and demand what Eric Garner demanded. “It stops today.” – “Don’t touch me.” – “Just leave me alone.”

  27. Facing random testing starting 1-12-2015. And I was informed by the plant manager that I will be one of the first (so much for random). So of course I’ve quit 2 weeks ago and detoxing. A couple of questions. 1. Do I have anything on my side with that comment he made to me?, and 2. has there been any advance on legalization in Kentucky? Thanks NORML for all that you do for us smokers and keep up the good work.

  28. Imagine our Founding Father President George Washington being asked to urinate in a cup in order to secure employment.

    President Washington was a champion Boxer.

    The only time I submitted to a urine “test” was in Federal Prison where two Hacks watch with delight as they purposely use this tactic in an attempt to dominate men they would step aside for on any free street.

    Urine tests are designed to test the submissiveness of those who submit to them.

    I am of the opinion that President Washington would have refused any such “test” with great vigor and righteous disgust!

    Urine tests are illegal searches in direct violation of the Fourth Amendment…and every one knows it!

  29. Now that medical marijuana is legal under the federal government, how does that affect medical patients in regards to the work place or pre-employment drug testing going forward? After all it is legal now correct?

    [Editor’s note: Unfortunately the federal government has not made medical cannabis legal. Also, even in states where medical patients have a physician recommendation (and in many cases a state-issued permit) regrettably patients are still subject to drug testing. If they fail, they can still be terminated for violating a company’s or government’s anti-drug policies. The state supreme courts of CA, OR, WA and MI have ruled in favor or employers and against patients.

    Currently, the major legal test case for medical cannabis patients not being discriminated against in the workplace is before the CO supreme court, Coates vs. DISH TV, where the decision is pending to be handed down at anytime.]

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