By Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director
Dear NORML members and supporters,
Thanks for providing this venerable 44-year old non-profit organization the support necessary-both financially and spiritually-in helping achieve its two stated public policy goals:
- End cannabis prohibition and replace with system of taxation and regulation similar to alcohol and tobacco products
- Help the victims of cannabis prohibition enforcement (from those busted for possession to workers being denied employment over drug testing to patients who need to access cannabis as a therapeutic)
To the former, the math is simple: four states down (AK, WA, OR and CO have legalized cannabis commerce and taxation), forty-six more to go.
To the latter, NORML and its 160 plus chapters are both sympathetic to and helpful outlets for the many hundreds of thousands of cannabis consumers, cultivators and sellers arrested annually on criminal charges.
Attached is an end-of-year synopsis of many of the projects and efforts put forward by the organization in 2014 to advance cannabis law reforms.
Important issues going forward post legalization present a myriad of public policy concerns for groups like NORML to advocate for adult cannabis consumers:
- To be able to imbibe in a licensed establishment in the same manner alcohol consumers do (in other words, it is not sufficient or prudent to banish cannabis consumers to use the herbal drug only on private property, which does not even include most public accommodations like hotels. Americans want Dutch-like 'coffeeshops' to buy and use the product responsibly on-site);
- Employment protections for cannabis consumers not impaired in the workplace;
- Child custody rights;
- Second Amendment rights (under federal law, cannabis consumer and state-sanctioned patients can't buy guns or ammunition);
- Reasonable taxes for consumers and businesses (so as not to encourage continuance of black market);
- Legal protections for cannabis consumers who currently fall under federal government's specter (military personal, government contractors, university students, federal workers and contractors)
- Scientific based drugged driving testing
The public's support since 1970 has aptly guided NORML thus far, looking into the political crystal ball for 2015, here are four items to be prepared for:
- There will be in excess of fifteen states that debate legalization bills in their 2015 legislative sessions (a state, likely in New England, will pass cannabis legalization legislation for the first time as all previous legalization successes have come about via voter ballot initiatives)
- The US Congress will have nearly twenty cannabis law reform bills introduced, ranging from legalization to rescheduling to sentencing to industrial hemp reforms.
- Reform organizations, including NORML, will be increasingly focused on passing a voter initiative in California in 2016 legalizing cannabis
- Non-partisan advocacy of presidential candidates for 2016 to support ending cannabis prohibition
Going into the New Year, possibly the penultimate year for cannabis law reform in the United States, please consider in 2015 the remarkable contrast occurring in the few states that have ended cannabis prohibition with the nightmare scenarios our fellow cannabis consumers still face in a vast majority of states in America.
Bittersweetly, here at NORML we're caught betwixt and between prohibition and legalization where we field as many daily inquiries from citizens still getting screwed by antiquated cannabis prohibition laws as we do now very eager entrepreneurs wanting to know how they can become a legitimate cannabis-related business.
Please help NORML continue to push forward with achieving our stated policy objectives with your continued financial support in 2015.**
Thanks in advance for both caring and sharing!
Allen St. Pierre
NORML and NORML Foundation
**Donations of cash, stocks, securities and property to The NORML Foundation are fully tax deductible.