New NORML Political Director

When my answer to the questions, “So what do you want to do?” changed from “I don’t know” to “I want to advocate for marijuana law reform” I got surprised faces, sometimes gasps, many smiles and A LOT of what I like to call, hushed support. Hushed support is the kind of support where someone congratulates you and tells you how much they agree with you, but also lowers their voice in hopes that no one else was paying attention. As a born and raised Floridian, I understood the hesitancy to speak at a regular volume when talking about the need for cannabis law reform. What I didn’t understand, however, was how one could be content hiding how they really felt. How much support does ‘hushed support’ really offer? It was these reactions that solidified my desire to advocate for marijuana policy reform for a living.

As NORML’s newly appointed Political Director I couldn’t be more excited to join a team of groundbreakers and thought leaders. I feel honored to continue the legacy NORML has in place and a necessity to serve it well. I am eager to have the chance to represent NORML in the political sphere and to provide an even louder voice to the tens of millions of cannabis consumers from around the country.

While I have found a more permanent role in the marijuana policy debate, I challenge you to find yours. I challenge you to no longer offer ‘hushed support’ and instead proudly take action and responsibility to help reform the laws in your state. (If you aren’t sure what they look like, check it out here!)

I’m excited to open this new door and advocate for something I truly believe in: legalizing the responsible use of cannabis by adults around the country. So I invite you to join me as I embark on this new journey with NORML and hopefully I can encourage you to help me along the way and bring a voice to your own communities.

With enthusiasm and gratitude, I thank you for welcoming me into the NORML family.

20 thoughts

  1. Welcome abord. As I live in Tennessee, I have seen the worst and most rediculous additudes toward policy reform. Even,evangelical types have expressed to me the notion that the Wor-O-Drugs needs a serious re-think.

    Who’d a thunk it that people in “Bible Belt” Tennessee would be in support of MJ reform?

    If NORML had away to give anonamous financial support to its efforts, then I would give what little I could.

  2. Congratulations on your new station in life Danielle! I’m sure I speak for us all when we wish you well and are hopeful you will be very successful 🙂

  3. A few questions for the new Political Director.

    How is it responsible to use marijuana by paying the state a fee to use it, when that same state apparatus has a history of forcefully taking money and using it to incarcerate people? Won’t the state continue to do that with the money they continue to extract from people when they grant “permission” to use Cannabis and some people have one gram too much or one plant too many?

    Why should the state be involved at all in what a person can or cannot ingest or grow?

    How is getting “permission” and paying for that same permission not like extortion?

  4. Congratulations Danielle, Idaho needs someone with a strong voice, someone who won’t back down to the republicans, thanks.

  5. Some enlightenment on “hushed support” in this context: Shortly after my support for NORML and legalization was made visible at work, I was “randomly” selected for a drug test. Fortunately I am what Russ Belville calls a “non-profit lover of liberty”, but there is definitely a culture of persecution against our cause esp at work, and even non-users might stay quiet for fear of falling victim to a false positive (30% of positives) or just be cuz who likes being physically violated.

    Btw, there is an investigative study for someone to do: find out how random random drug testing really is. I have an idea that it’s legal cover for “with suspicion” where “suspicion” means “I want to for a bad or racist reason or just because I want to”.

  6. Congratulations!

    The struggle continues here in Pennsylvania.

    A grandmother recently wrote an open letter to prohibitionist politician Matt Baker saying she would break the law to get her grandchild the marijuana medicine he needs. This jerk is single-handedly holding up what a majority of the state’s registered voters support.

    In a related story and online newspaper poll, some 82% of respondents stated that they, too, would break the law for medical marijuana. Rep. Matt Baker needs to move the legislation out of his committee. He’s clearly out of touch with the public, stuck in a time warp like so many of his Republican ilk.

  7. Congratulations Danielle. Hope we get everyone here in Florida turned around soon. I hope we can vote to go completely legal in 2016. I’ll help out NORML to make this possible.

  8. Is this like a lobbying job? MPP has full time positions for such, around the country – is that what we’re getting in, to?

    [Editor’s note: NORML’s been a lobby group in DC with lobbyists since 1970…there are over 20 registered ‘marijuana’ lobbyists that work Congress, Executive branch and regulatory agencies (from non-profit groups and trade organizations like NORML, DPA, ACLU, NCIA, ASA, LEAP, OSF, MPP; and lobbyists registered with private companies such as Privateer, GhostGroup, Vicente & Sederberg, etc…).

    Where do you think all the federal bills that are being voted on came from? Congress??]

  9. @BobConstantine: Good points, Bob. Legalization sold as “regulate like alcohol” glosses over the fact that alcohol regulation does not require a user to register or pay the state a special fee and excessively high taxes for the privilege. Why should the less harmful product have more stringent restrictions than the more harmful products?…because legislators still don’t grasp the reality that cannabis is the safer alternative to alcohol and tobacco.

    [Paul Armentano responds: Alcohol/spirits are subject to comparatively high ‘sin’ tax rates compared to other goods and services: This is not to imply that excessive excise tax rates for cannabis are acceptable, particularly in instances if/when such over-regulation/over-taxation provides a market advantage to the black market, but to observe that such taxes are already rolled in to several other commonly purchased products.]

  10. I have to sound off about the driver offering dabs to the fast food workers. The employee got fired. If it were off work I would bitch up a storm. Is the driver of the vehicle being responsible? He hasn’t parked the car like he’s going to get out. He’s in the drive-through and after dabbing is going to drive off, arguably safer than alcohol but still. That video can easily become an anti-legalization ad by our opposition. All it will take is one severe or fatal accident. Saw it on The Cannabist on The Cannabist Show. “Only in America, kids.” Pitiful.

    It’s too much like that old anti-pot ad. I hope nothing like that in that ad ever really happens. I don’t want anybody getting hurt.

    When can I wake up from the nightmare of cannabis prohibition?

  11. Congratulations on your new position as Political Director.

    Speaking of politics, are you familiar with the Supreme Court’s holistic interpretation of the definition of marijuana in the CSA?

    Did you know that it can be used to reform that definition to make it conform to the Necessary and Proper clause, the Ninth Amendment, and the Tenth Amendment?

    While it doesn’t directly legalize marijuana, it does re-legalize cannabis, and has an understandably direct format:

    The term “marijuana” means all parts of the smoke produced by the combustion of the plant Cannabis sativa L.

  12. Congratulations Danielle. NORML has been whipsawed between the politics of public marijuana policy and private individual prosecution and medical recommendation for too long; nice to see someone who can focus on the lobbying score and make those Congressman dance when they hear the words marijuana or “disproportionate incarceration.”

    I tried looking for some words of wisdom, but you’ve got Keith there, so you can always stay on track with him around. Nonetheless, beware of those wily politicians; never settle for anything less than freedom for all. If citizen lobbying has taught me anything it is that our Representatives work for us, not the other way around.

    Oh, and bring copies of National Geographic’s latest issue on marijuana and place them on Senator Mitch McConnel and Ted Cruz’s coffee tables. It’s a great way to break the ice!

    If you still need encouragement, or just a place to gather your thoughts in D.C. before meeting with and casting disinfecting light on our Congressman, try visiting the Jefferson Memorial. On the south wall there is a famous speech ;

    “I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and constitutions. But laws and institutions must go hand and hand with progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barberous ancestors.” – Thomas Jefferson

  13. Hi Danielle, NORML gets Amsterdam behind marijuana Reform. About time to provo along and focus on bigger issues. Legal or illegal makes no difference in every-day life: normal should be captured in our laws or its application will be ignored by us. Hans Dulfer says freakin’ chill or as they say here: fockin’ chill.

  14. Welcome Miss Keane
    I would like to personally thank you for taking on your new position in NORML. It’s people like you that the Cannabis Legalization organizations need to work in the front lines on this war against the corporate elite that has a stranglehold on our government. Good luck in all your ventures on this wrong that needs to be made right.
    Danny Adams Mesa, Arizona
    Director of Hemp Education and Environmental Quality for NORML of Arizona

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