I’m Rick Steves, guidebook author, travel TV show host, and longtime drug policy reform activist. After having served for many years on the board of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), I’ve just been elected chair of the Board of Directors for 2021. We’re in the midst of an exciting year, we need your help—and I’m inviting you to join us.
For decades, NORML has doggedly and effectively fought for an important civil liberty: to legalize the adult recreational use of marijuana. We’re now seeing the fruits of our labors. In just the past few days, lawmakers in New Jersey and Virginia have voted in favor of legislation legalizing marijuana use and possession for adults. Both of these states have been long-term priority states for NORML. Furthermore, for the first time in history, we now have a supportive Congress that is finally seriously debating legislation to end federal prohibition.
I’ve served on NORML’s board for many years, and I’ve spent the past five election seasons campaigning around the country for legalization ballot initiatives, including in Michigan, Arizona, and South Dakota. These efforts have proven, time and time again, that we have won the hearts and minds of the majority of the American public, and that we can consistently win at the ballot box. I believe that all these years of hard drug policy reform work will come to an exciting climax later this year. Imagine: Our federal government may be about to repeal federal marijuana prohibition and recognize that each state has the legal right to regulate pot as its citizens see fit.
I see my work with NORML as a civic duty. I care about fighting back against racist laws. I care about replacing the black market that empowers and enriches gangs and organized crime with a legal one that produces good jobs and lots of tax revenue. And I care about defending civil liberties so that responsible adults, if they wish to do so, can enjoy the recreational use of marijuana in the privacy of their own homes. If you care too, I invite you to join me in helping NORML make 2021 the year our government replaces a failed prohibition with a sensible new approach to marijuana.
I support legalization not because I’m pro-pot, but because I’m anti-prohibition, pro-freedom, and pro-common sense. Just like the failed prohibition of alcohol, our current laws against marijuana use are causing more harm to our society than the drug itself. Whether you’re concerned about the well-being of children, fairness for minority communities, redirecting marijuana industry money away from criminals and into tax-paying businesses, stemming the horrific bloodshed in Mexico, or advancing civil liberties, it’s high time that we end this failed prohibition. Fifteen states, including my home state of Washington, have already legalized, and are thankful they did. The rest of our country—including our federal government—is waking up to this rising tide of sensibility.
I’m proud of the work being done every day by thousands of NORML supporters, chapters, and volunteers — and I see that work as flat-out good citizenship. And that’s why, as the Chair of NORML’s Board of Directors, I’ll be working harder than ever on this crusade for civil liberties.
America is fast realizing that our current federal prohibition is a racist and costly disaster. And Americans are ready to end it. NORML has worked toward this goal now for 50 years…and in 2021, we can win this battle once and for all. But we need your help. For $10 a month, you can be on our team and empower the work of NORML across our country—in statehouses and in Congress. Please join me in this exciting work.
We are spearheading a citizens’ movement. If you care about fighting the racism, mass incarceration, and injustice our current laws cause—and if you care about civil liberties—NORML is fighting for you. And to do that work better in this critical year, we need your help—both financially and as fellow advocates. Together, we can end this prohibition.
Chair, NORML Board of Directors