As the events of the past few days have unfolded, it is clear that America is in the midst of a long overdue reckoning with itself. Since 1619, when the first ships arrived on the coast of Virginia with enslaved Africans in chains, our country has long had to struggle to address the inequality and structural racism embedded within our public institutions -- particularly within the criminal justice system.
High Times founder Tom Forcade and Legal Counsel Michael J. Kennedy assured the magazine remained a major NORML financial supporter, until it was recently sold to corporate greedheads!
Hugh Hefner and the Playboy Foundation ended up providing NORML's initial funding in early 1971 and subsequently became our primary funder throughout the 1970s.
Democratic Governor Ralph Northam officially signed legislation today decriminalizing marijuana possession. The new law takes effect July 1, 2020 and reduces penalties for offenses involving the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana to a civil violation – punishable by a maximum $25 fine, no arrest, and no criminal record.
Mikel became Arizona NORML’s State Director in 2015. He was passionate in his reform advocacy endeavors, stating that “his main devotion is, and has been, advancing the work of Arizona NORML.” He was especially proud of the group’s successful efforts to reform the state’s medical cannabis access laws and was working on the state initiative to legalize marijuana at the time of his passing.
Included in the language of the bill is HR 1595: The SAFE Banking Act, which amends federal law so that explicitly banks and other financial institutions may work directly with state-legal marijuana businesses. Members of the House of Representatives voted 321 to 103 in favor of the Act in September. Reform advocates, including NORML, had lobbied leadership to include banking reform in the latest COVID relief measure.
An unlikely activist fighting for reform in the Commonwealth of Virginia and on Capitol Hill
In this guide, NORML highlights various online tools to assist reformers in their advocacy endeavors. As America awaits a return to normal, here are numerous steps that you can take today to keep successfully engaged with pundits, politicians, and other influencers during this pandemic.
As one reviews the modern history of marijuana policy in this country, beginning with the adoption of federal marijuana prohibition in 1937 (i.e., the Marijuana Tax Act) and continuing to where we are today with 33 states having legalized the medical use of marijuana and 11 states and the District of Columbia having legalized adult recreational use, perhaps the single most important step along the way was the report issued in 1972 by the National Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse.
On NORML’s 50th anniversary, NORML’s Founder Keith Stroup reflects back on a lifetime as America’s foremost marijuana smoker and legalization advocate. This is the first in a series of blogs on the history of NORML and the legalization movement covering the founding of NORML itself.