The 2018 National NORML Conference and Lobby Day was held on July 22nd – 24th in Washington, DC.
July 22nd: NORML Activist Strategy Summit
For 2018, we did a deep dive into grassroots organizing with the NORML Activist Strategy Summit. Attendees chose a number of important areas of interest and engaged in free-flowing, peer to peer strategizing on issues including running an effective chapter, communications strategy, social media and online activism, and more. Each topic area was moderated by outstanding NORML activists from across the country paired with a member of the National staff and provided an outlet for individuals to share stories based on their advocacy experiences, exchange tips for best practices, and come up with new concepts to put into play to help push us closer to the end of prohibition.
Topics included: Organizing political candidate forums, “big organizing” for lobby days, personal narrative development, and more.
July 23rd: NORML Conference & Benefit Party
On Monday, July 23rd we hosted our formal conference programming. There were panels, debates, and individual speakers covering a wide range of topics including: marijuana and its impact on the opioid crisis, how to engage in local reform efforts, NORML’s role in the 2018 midterms, marijuana reform as a social justice issue, and updates current 2018 ballot initiative efforts.
In the evening, attendees gathered for a NORML benefit party for networking and to recognize extraordinary activism.
July 24th: Congressional Lobby Day
For the final day, NORML supporters once again descended upon Congress to advocate for federal reforms. The reason we chose to hold the conference and lobby day at this point in the calendar was because this week represented the final week of legislative session before lawmakers go home for the August recess when they will be explaining to voters why they should be reelected.
This year, we had activists from 23 different states attend over 140 scheduled meetings with Congressional offices!
We are at a critical time for our nationwide movement to end marijuana prohibition. Citizens from all across the country came to learn new strategies, hear about the latest scientific and political advancements in the reform movement, and meet in person with elected officials and their offices to advocate for legalization. With over 60 percent of the American people in support of ending prohibition and three-quarters of voters supporting the states that have done so, the time to act is now.