National NORML Board Endorses AUMA Marijuana Legalization Initiative in CA

At a board meeting held on Saturday, February 20th in Washington, DC, the NORML Board of Directors voted to endorse the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA) voter initiative to legalize marijuana in California.

The NORML Board reversed its former policy of waiting until an initiative has officially qualified for the ballot before endorsing it, believing our endorsement could have a greater impact on the eventual outcome if it came earlier in the process.

The Board took this action aware there are other proposed initiatives in California that include provisions that are even more consumer-friendly, but those alternatives have little chance of qualifying for the ballot or being approved by a majority of the state’s voters.

The AUMA proposal will end marijuana prohibition; legalize personal use and possession by adults of an ounce of marijuana, and personal cultivation of up to six plants of marijuana; license dispensaries in which marijuana can be used publicly; and establish a legally regulated market where consumers can obtain their marijuana.

AUMA also enjoys the political support of several other pro-reform organizations, as well as the California Medical Association, the California NAACP, and CA Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, and has the financial support required to mount a professional campaign in California.

The NORML Board also endorsed full legalization initiatives expected to appear on the ballot in Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, and Arizona; as well as medical use initiatives expected to appear on the ballot in Missouri and Florida.

15 thoughts

  1. As long as counties can outright ban dispensaries without review, we potentially make little to no progress. Also, the argument that this or that initiative has no chance is the rallying cry of moderates and has little basis in fact. You should have waited and allowed more input from us, or supported the initiative you think is BEST rather than most LIKELY.

    [Editor’s note: Waiting for the other proposed initiatives to fail in gathering the necessary number of legitimate signatures is a prescription for squandered time and resources that anti-prohibitionists in CA can ill afford.

    The endorsements of AUMA from the Drug Policy Alliance, California Medical Association, CA chapter of NAACP, Marijuana Policy Project, etc…are indicative of the measure’s broad support. NORML’s board of directors, the largest and most representative of cannabis consumers in the non-profit sector, overwhelmingly endorsed AUMA.]

    1. You know,M.Merced does make a good point,regardless of the initiative,we need to look at what has happened recently with the reaction to the MMRA and how cities and counties have in-acted local bans across the state,as assemblyman Jim Wood has phrased it: “a knee jerk reaction.”

      But i don’t think the reaction is as innocent as it seems.If you look closely you will find that ‘The League of Cities and Police Chiefs’ are responsible for this, and it was well intentioned and not an accident.The AB-21 bill that was passed as an attempt to resolve this issue has had little impact so far,no mention in the local papers.And its not surprising,considering what happens in the local city municipalities is not a Democratic process,unlike the 215 amendment that was passed 20 years ago by the California voters,the will of the people,and we have seen over and over again,how that has been shitted on,by various agencies.

      So in light of what has happened recently,and the possible lessons that have been learned,i hope some of NORMLs best attorneys can look over this AUMA bill,again,with a fine-tooth comb, for any ambiguous paragraphs that can be misconstrued to have double meanings, that can possibly be interpreted in the wrong way, from the original intentions of the amendment.

  2. Is there a plan for New York City to phase in legalization? Bill de Blasio doesn’t seem to have a plan. What is the cannabis community gave him one? Do this and this. Don’t do that and that. Just at the states are not obliged to enforce the federal government’s prohibition on cannabis, New York City should not be obliged to enforce New York state’s prohibition on adult recreational. You could have Amsterdam-style coffeeshops (one word means cannabis use on the premises as opposed to coffee shops like coffee and donuts and no smoking) in a matter of months.

    Even if Bill de Blasio really doesn’t anymore it sure would be a step forward if he stopped enforcing laws based on lies and prejudice that maintain cannabis prohibition.

    Come on, Bill! Pretty, pretty please. With sugar on top.

  3. Proactive strategy! I like it! Good work NORML!

    For those of us, like myself who have never fully read the marijuana bible this eebsite has to offer, I took some time to look up our Board of Directors to see what the difference is from an NORML advisor, such as Bill Maher or Willie Nelson.

    So here is the link, to yes, another category on this same webpage;

    That’s right, Rick Steves is on the board of directors for NORML. Betcha never look at Rick Steve’s Europe the same way again; “Today we visit the Swiss Alps…(stoned) … Or the Greek islands…(stoned)… Stonehedge… Stoned…” And so will we Steve! 🙂 So will we…

    (One of these days we need to get the Board vote to get Steve to make a Rick Steve’s American Cannabis History… I’d donate for it…)

  4. I’ve switched my support to AUMA. No it’s not the best option concerning improvements to existing law….but wasting time on a losing initiative would be worse. Keeping momentum moving in a positive direction rather than stumbling and failing to advance should be avoided.

    The politics of winning the vote with AUMA is indeed a compromise of what’s best for our cannabis movement. Time will continue to provide additional and future opportunities to improve and remove whatever needs to be tweaked.

  5. @ Norml
    When will we see an AUMA initiative in Texas???

    [Paul Armentano responds: Texas is not a state that permits citizen initiatives. That means that any change in marijuana laws must be done legislatively.]

    1. Unfortunately that means write, call and get in our Congressman’s face here in Texas. Texas NORML is organizing to help veterans with PTSD and change the language to the CBD for seizures bill passed last year from “prescibes” to “recommends.” Of course, if we can elect Sanders and get more people to vote during Congressional elections we wouldn’t have to do this on an off year during 2017.

  6. California is so key to legalisation Nationwide in the US and worldwide. It is good that Norml decided to get stuck in and back the most promising effort. The world needs this proposal to go through in November.

    Good Luck !

  7. Any thoughts on good old Minnesota?

    [Editor’s note: Currently, best legislative prospects in MN regarding cannabis policy concern improving the rather woeful medical cannabis program more so than any decriminalization or legalization bills.]

  8. I have recently reviewed the proposed AUMA initiative in CA. I have a few questions and suggestions about this featured initiative. First, the workers residency requirements for any of the licenses currently say you have to have established legal residence by Jan 1 2015. This should be changed to anyone establishing residency prior to the vote this Nov. or changed to Jan 1 2017.This will allow business entrepreneurs to move to CA and pour much needed capital investment into the state, which will in turn help CA economy immensely. Second, there doesn’t seem to be much language about the workers qualifications in the cultivation, distribution, or sale of Cannabis. Third, the six plant per household limit should be changed to either six plants per person per household or 12 plants per person per household. It’s not cheap to live in CA and a lot of single adults share leases and six per household will not be adequate under those common circumstances.

    1. This is one of the reasons this initiative is great. Why would we vote something into law that is going to push out small growers and put them out of business. California already supplies most of the marijuna for the entire country. We don’t need you and your capital. We have it. And we are all ready to use it grow and expand what we are already doing, and doing very well by the way as soon as this passes. Nobody wants out of state corporations or any corporations for that matter coming in and taking over. That’s a nightmare for our economy, destroys these cultivators lives and takes away from the craft of the good itself. You sound like someone who doesn’t understand growing, smokers or the people who already live in this cultural. Watch Weedequite on vice. It’s extremely informative for people unformilar with this industry.

      [Editor’s note: Cannabis legalization does not lead to the destruction of small cannabis businesses. The opposite has occurred in the four states with cannabis legalization where small cannabusinesses are the thriving catalyst for industry growth. CA already is home to the most amount of cannabusinesses and voters casting off prohibition is not going to diminish the number of cannabusinesses or the ganjapreneurship in the state that has thrived under prohibition…and will very likely explode under legalization.

      Voters ending cannabis prohibition does not create an economic nightmare for cultivators and sellers. Getting busted for cultivation or selling creates an genuine economic nightmare for the individual busted and the taxpayers who flip the bill trying to enforce an unenforceable pot prohibition.]

  9. @ Paul Armentano
    Oh I’m fully aware that our only way to legalize cannabis here in Texas is through legislation, so how can we really start doing something about it??? And believe me, we’ve already tried contacting the “big dogs” and all they do is turn us down. Hell, sometimes we’re just transferred to a dead end telephone conversation. I know we all want cannabis legalized here and these politicians hate that fact. We have a governor that doesn’t give a rat’s ass about all the Texans that constantly keep getting locked up over the safest most medicinal plant on earth. Just like he doesn’t care about our war vets. (who find great relief with cannabis for their PTSD) I mean, these heroes fought for our country for God’s sake. And our children who suffer from epilepsy (that can be cured with cannabis oils) like our poor baby girl Alexis Bortell and her parents who had to become refugees in Colorado and leave their whole family behind all thanks to our governor Greg A-rott….

    1. Greg “A-rot.” Nice.

      If you can, try and make it to the SouthWest Cannabis Conference and Expo tomorrow in Fort Worth. Aside from the great speakers like Dr. Sisley, Alexis, Dr. Mechoulam, and many more, theres a chance to discuss policy with Jax Finkle, our Texas NORML director, and other activists.
      Hope you can make it!

  10. I think the AUMA is a sellout half measure that will do much harm by introducing too many new laws, and by permitting the continued bans on outdoor growing. With the permitting of outdoor grow bans of the six plants, I will oppose this measure.

    [Editor’s note: Sellout half measure? Do much harm? Bans on outdoor growing? Favor continued prohibition?

    AUMA ends cannabis prohibition and the mass arrests in America’s most populous state. Prohibition is harmful. Outdoor cultivation will be permitted where it is permitted (there are worse things than having to grow legal cannabis indoors). Voting to continue cannabis prohibition puts one in bed with cops, narcs, prosecutors, CA Narcotics Officers Association, CA Prison Guard Association, private prisons, rehabbers, drug testers and moral conservatives (who equate any cannabis use as a moral turpitude).

    Rather than keep such backward-looking and entrenched company at the voting booth, buy a lightbulb if your county bans outdoor production and be politically active to amend the local laws to allow outdoor production post-prohibition. For the sake of sanity, please don’t vote to extend cannabis prohibition any longer in CA.]

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