Dear NORML members and supporters,
Since 1970, NORML (and later on in 1997 the NORML Foundation), it’s chapters, lawyers and members have taken on the responsibility, commitment and hard work to now nearly fulfilling NORML’s basic mission statement:
NORML’s mission is to move public opinion sufficiently to achieve the repeal of marijuana prohibition so that the responsible use of marijuana by adults is no longer subject to penalty.
Approximately ten percent of the American public supported legalizing cannabis when NORML was founded by Keith Stroup–today public polls and election vote totals, place support for legalization at over fifty percent.
I’m reporting to you today–and asking for your continued financial support–that because of the commitment, intensity and credible information generated by NORML over the last forty-two years, the organization is awesomely close to achieving its stated goal of ending cannabis prohibition in our lifetime.
The cataclysmic political changes wrought from this year’s elections regarding ending cannabis prohibition in America can’t be overstated. For the first time since the federal government recklessly and foolishly made cannabis a criminal offense in 1937, citizens in Colorado and Washington who’re cannabis consumers are no longer considered criminals, and cannabis is no longer contraband.
Will this political trend cease at just these two states?
Of course not, no way!!
Like the previous waves of activists’ efforts led by NORML to firstdecriminalize cannabis in the 1970s and then to ‘medicalize‘ the herbal drug in the 1990s, it is very likely that the current efforts to legalizecannabis outright are going to follow a similar path–with most all of the west coast and New England states first embracing these fundamental public policy changes, and a recalcitrant if not adversarial federal government regrettably resisting voters’ will seeking long overdue public policy changes regarding cannabis law reforms.
Two Track Reform Policies: Federal and State Lobbying
While the federal government created and has fostered ‘Reefer Madness’ for over seventy-five years, historically speaking almost all of the substantive cannabis law reforms continue to happen at the local and state level–putting needed upward political pressure on Congress and the Executive branches. This trend will continue for the foreseeable future.
NORML activists are part of the governor-appointed committee to write the rules and regulations for legal cannabis in Colorado; and NORML Legal Committee and advisory board members have met with the incoming Washington governor about his support for reform (and against federal actions to stop his state from moving forward with legalization).
However, the immediacy of members in Congress ‘getting it’ regarding the urgent need to reform cannabis laws right after the elections is without precedent: Within hours after voters in Colorado and Washington moved the reform pendulum, almost a half dozen members of Congress quickly arranged legislative meetings with NORML and other reform groups.
Numerous legislative bills will be introduced soon reflecting the huge changes politically achieved–along with public poll after poll affirming support for outright legalization– this year around the nation.
Prime states for future legalization reform efforts include Alaska, California, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont.
If reaching the near pinnacle of the organization’s long-stated goals in states and the federal government is not exciting enough for us all to close out 2012, other areas of rapid growth at the organization to positively reflect upon are:
NORML Women’s Alliance (NWA)
Recognizing that cannabis law reform is not possible culturally or at the ballot box without stronger support from women, one of the fastest growing parts of NORML is the NWA, where regional meetings and fundraisers have attracted hundreds of women to get involved in leadership positions to help spread the ‘good word’ about why women need to support ending cannabis prohibition–in public settings and political tones that are increasingly remindful of women’s role ending Alcohol Prohibition.
Largest Online Network For Cannabis Consumers: NORML
Whether it is the webpage traffic; webpages that link to NORML’s content; our very large and active Facebook and Twitter networks, or internal listservs: No public policy or commercial organization can reach more cannabis consumers and activists than NORML.
NORML Chapter Network and National Legal Committee
The NORML affiliate and chapter network–driven by the popularity if cannabis law reform these days–continues to rapidly grow, diversify, embrace high tech communications for effective social organizing and political lobbying, go international and become increasingly more politically sophisticated.
NORML interviews in the media/Letters to the Editor/Guest Columns
No other drug policy group–and few public interest groups in the country–receive as much media attention as NORML does, providing over two thousand media interviews annually, or, gets as many ‘Letters to the Editor’ and guest columns regarding cannabis law reform published nationwide than NORML.
National conference, Legal Seminars and Regional Conferences
As reliant as we’ve all necessarily become on Internet-based communications to quickly and economically advance cannabis law reforms, NORML still convenes the largest and best annual international conference on cannabis and law reform; recently, the organization has been convening regional, one-day conferences for activists, with more planned for 2013 in the northeast and southern United States; and since the early 1980s NORML has been holding annual legal seminars around the country to educate lawyers on how to better represent cannabis consumers charged with crimes.
Cannabis Is Still Largely Illegal!
Speaking of crime and prohibition laws…in forty-eight of America’s fifty states cannabis is still illegal and hundreds of thousands of our friends, family and co-workers who enjoy cannabis, or use it for medical purposes, are still going to be negatively impacted by the laws.
Question: What organizations will be there for our brothers and sisters still ensnared by antiquated cannabis prohibition laws as we progress from the ‘reform’ to ‘legalization’ era?
Answer: NORML and NORML Foundation
NORML’s Vexing ‘Dual Purpose’
One of the most important and distinguishing features that makes NORML the stand-out organization that it has been recognized for and relied upon since 1970 is that the organization is not only a full-throated pro-cannabis law reform lobby, it also endeavors to help as many of the legal victims as possible of the current prohibition laws (with over twenty five million cannabis arrests since it’s founding; and now nearly 750,000 annual cannabis arrests in America NORML is always frantically busy bothreforming the laws, and providing aid and comfort to the victims of arrests, drug testing, child custody, medical cannabis, student loans, professional licenses, etc…)
Its NORML To Smoke Pot
Please make an end-of-the-year donation of cash or stocks, in any amount above $20, and NORML will ship you a new book just published by our friends at High Times, written by NORML founder and legal counsel Keith Stroup, entitled It’s NORML To Smoke Pot, which details the history of cannabis law reform and NORML.
Donate $100 or more, and receive a personalized and signed edition from Keith Stroup.
How apropos for our times!
In both celebration of Keith’s life work and support for NORML’s continued public advocacy work and defending the legal rights of cannabis consumers, please make a donation in support of NORML’s lobbying efforts or a tax-deductible donation to the NORML Foundation in support of its public educational outreach.
Without NORML, there arguably would be no cannabis law reform in America and the world–thanks as always for caring and sharing,
Allen St. Pierre
NORML / NORML Foundation