By Norm Kent, Chair, NORML Board of Directors
NORML's board of directors has always consisted of a wide variety and array of stakeholders who support ending cannabis prohibition. At the most recent Annual Meeting of the board, members elected five new directors to serve three-year terms.
We're blessed that two of these newly elected directors, Rick Steves and Justin Hartfield, are taking it upon themselves to increase the amount of resources the staff has available to accomplish their dual tasks of both reforming cannabis laws and helping the victims of the prohibition laws.
Both Rick and Justin are accomplished businessmen who believe strongly in NORML's mission.
Rick is America's best selling travel author and host of the popular and long-running PBS series Travels With Rick Steves. Rick was the co-petitioner (and a major funder) for his home state of Washington's successful cannabis legalization voter initiative last year.
Justin is the founder behind WeedMaps, the most successful online commercial company to date in the cannabis community (that is not directly marketing cannabis products) and a major donor to numerous cannabis law reform organizations.
The $100,000 NORML Challenge from Rick Steves and Justin Hartfield
Dear NORML members and supporters,
When the federal government announced that Washington and Colorado were free to legalize, tax, and regulate the sale and recreational use of marijuana, the term "Lower 48" took on a new meaning in my mind. Bit by bit, that Lower 48 will join the "Tokin' Two" and the USA will be finished with the war on pot. At least that's the challenge before us now.
When I joined NORML a decade ago, no politician I know would stand by our cause. Today I have a copy of a letter on my desk signed by both Washington State senators and nearly our entire congressional delegation asking President Obama to support the will of the people in our state. Just this morning I got a phone call from our governor, Jay Inslee, to thank me for the work the drug reform activists in our state have done and to say he was eager to work with us to make this new approach to marijuana work.
In other words, together-under the leadership of NORML-we, the people, are ending the US war on pot. With the last election and with the announcement from the attorney general in Washington DC, we are beautifully positioned to make sure a responsible, adult American citizen is never again arrested for enjoying the beauties of recreational marijuana.
But this doesn't just happen. Tens of millions of Americans enjoy marijuana. But only 'tens of hundreds' are actively involved in taking the crime out of its use with a substantial personal commitment of time or financial support. I've spent lots of time and money at this and, given our successes in the last year, it's been time and money brilliantly spent. It's a pure joy to be in this battle with others in the drug reform movement-especially my friends at NORML.
With this letter I'm challenging you to join me and my partners at NORML to empower our organization to build on our recent triumphs. In other words, if you care about legalizing pot in the USA, it's time for you to kick in some serious money.
We're all in this together. And we're doing what we can to defend the civil liberties of American pot smokers. Many give their time, talents, and money-depending on what they've got to give. Sadly, many more just toke away and watch from the sidelines while NORML fights their battle. My fellow NORML board member Justin Hartfield (of WeedMaps) and I have pledged $100,000 to challenge the huge family of NORML members and friends to get engaged and to match us.
This is an historic moment as people power is bringing down the US war on marijuana. And now is the time to help fund NORML's work. NORML is fighting for each of us, and it can't happen without our collective financial support. That's why Justin and I are challenging you to step up to the plate and be a contributing part of this winning team. Donate whatever you can, and-up to a total of $100,000-Justin and I will match you. That doubles the power of your gift.
Think of how far we've come. Think of the heroic contribution drug warriors on the NORML team have made over the decades. Think of how our country is ripe for progress in drug policy reform. And now it's time for a little heroism from you. Together we can make NORML $200,000 stronger. Dig deep and give a little bigger than normal for NORML... right now.
While I've been a marijuana law reform activist for over 35 years, this past week's Department of Justice memo allowing legalization to move forward in the states of Colorado and Washington, along with today's 25th anniversary of the momentous legal decision by DEA judge Francis Young in the seminal marijuana legal challenge known as 'NORML vs. DEA' (ruling in NORML's favor to reschedule marijuana for medicinal purposes) clearly demonstrate that American's long suffering war against marijuana consumers is drawing closer and closer to an end.