Category Archive: NORML News

Sep 14

Congressman Steve Cohen Demands The Obama Administration Reschedule Marijuana

Tennessee Congressman Steven Cohen (D) is urging the Obama administration to rethink its support for the criminal prohibition of marijuana. Rep. Cohen is a longtime critic of marijuana prohibition (Watch him grill FBI Director Robert Mueller over the claim that cannabis is a ‘gateway drug’ here) and a primary co-sponsor of HR 2306: The Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2011.

This week, Rep. Cohen sent a letter to Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske calling on the agency to support changing marijuana’s status as a schedule I prohibited drug and to respect the laws of states that have legalized it for its medical utility.

“There is no evidence that marijuana has the same addictive qualities or damaging consequences as cocaine, heroin or methamphetamine,” states Cohen, “and should not be treated as such.”

He adds: “We should not deny the thousands of Americans who rely on the benefits that marijuana provides. I strongly recommend that this administration allow states that have chosen to legalize medical marijuana to enact strong regulations without fear of prosecution. [W]e should not interfere with the will of the people to enact these compassionate laws.”

You can view the entirety of his letter below:

NORML Blog, Marijuana Law Reform

Sep 13 PBS Travel Guru Rick Steves — “If I Work Hard All Day Long And Want To Go Home And Relax With A Joint, That Is My Civil Liberty”

Television host, author, and NORML Advisory Board member Rick Steves is arguably one of the most articulate and passionate voices for cannabis legalization. Catch the latest edition of Reason TV to hear why.

“[T]o me, high is a place … and when I want to go there I don’t need the government to give me a passport.”

You can also listen to Rick Steve’s keynote address from the 2009 national NORML conference here.

NORML Blog, Marijuana Law Reform

Sep 13

Ask the Republican Candidates Where They Stand on Cannabis Reform

Google and Fox News will host a debate between Republican primary candidates in Orlando on September 22nd. Similar to the “social media townhalls” President Obama has previously hosted, this debate will consist exclusively of questions submitted by the public. This forum provides advocates with a unique opportunity to put these presidential hopefuls on record regarding their position on marijuana law reform.

NORML has submitted a question for consideration:

“As president, would you stand up for states’ rights by ending federal marijuana prohibition and allow them to experiment with models of decriminalization and legalization without federal interference?”

Here is how you can voice your support and promote this question:

Step 1: Go to Fox News’ Youtube page here.

Step 2: Click the “Vote” tab at the top of the page.

Step 3: In the topics box, select “Social Issues”

Step 4: Click “Video Questions.”

Step 5: You should see our video question towards the top of the list, look for the NORML logo in the thumbnail. Click the thumbs up icon next to the question.

The current line up of candidates have gone to great lengths to distance themselves from the current policies of President Obama, yet most have remained silent on the topic of marijuana law reform (that is, of course, excluding Ron Paul). Take a moment of your time to vote up our question, if these candidates want your vote, don’t you deserve to know where they stand on cannabis?

NORML Blog, Marijuana Law Reform

Sep 09

This Week in Weed: September 4th – 11th

This Week in WeedNow streaming on NORMLtv is the latest edition of “This Week in Weed.” This new weekly video series covers the most newsworthy stories shaping the marijuana law reform world. This week researchers look into cannabis’ ability to protect the brain during alcohol withdraw, a former Clinton staffer endorses marijuana legalization and a city in Michigan will soon be voting on making marijuana possession the lowest enforcement priority.

Be sure to tune in to NORMLtv each Thursday afternoon to catch up on the latest marijuana news. Subscribe to NORMLtv or follow us on Twitter to be notified as soon as new content is added.

NORML Blog, Marijuana Law Reform

Sep 08

World’s Largest Pro-Drug Policy Reform Conference: Register Now For Earlybird Discount

Do you believe the drug war is doing more harm than good? Are you outraged that the US government still won’t recognize the medical benefits of marijuana?  Whether you’re an expert on drug policy or a newcomer, your voice should be heard at this year’s International Drug Policy Reform Conference from November 2-6 at the Westin Bonaventure in Los Angeles, California.

You’ll join city, state, and federal elected officials, health care professionals, students, grassroots activists, people in recovery as well as active drug users, treatment providers and more — all working to change this country’s drug policies so that they reflect the principles of health, justice, compassion and human rights.

Do you believe an end to marijuana prohibition is possible at a national level, or will it always remain a state-by-state issue? At the ‘State of the Movement: Marijuana Legalization’ spotlight session, results from the most extensive marijuana reform public opinion research ever conducted will be shared. Explore what these results will mean for 2012, and how soon you can expect to see legislative issues like decriminalization and medical marijuana spring up in your state if they haven’t already.

Come learn how to effectively campaign for an end to costly and racist marijuana arrests in the US. In the ‘Marijuana Policing: Targeting Urban Youth’ panel, we’ll dissect the reasons why urban police departments nationwide employ practices such as ‘stop and frisk,’ especially amongst the young and nonwhite population. Permanent drug records, social marginalization, and intense street-level scrutiny will only continue to escalate if we don’t bring an end to the drug war.

Don’t miss your best opportunity to participate in cutting-edge drug policy debates and meet the people who could be your future partners in reform efforts! Register to attend the Reform Conference by September 16th to receive the Early Bird discount and save $ 100 off conference rates!

NORML Blog, Marijuana Law Reform

Sep 07

Latest Studies Imply That Cannabinoids Are Protective Against Alcohol-Induced Brain Damage

[Editor’s note: This post is excerpted from this week’s forthcoming NORML weekly media advisory. To have NORML’s media alerts and legislative advisories delivered straight to your in-box, sign up here. To watch NORML’s weekly video summary of the week’s top stories, click here.]

The administration of the synthetic cannabinoid agonist HU-211 decreases nerve cell death in an in vitro model of ethanol withdrawal, according to data published online in the journal of the Public Library of Science (PLoS ONE).

An international team of researchers from France and Spain assessed the anti-excitotoxic effects of the synthetic cannabinoid HU-211 in culture. Researchers demonstrated that cannabinoid administration protected neurons from cell death in an experimental model of ethanol withdrawal. By contrast, the administration of a cannabinoid antagonist (rimonabant) during ethanol withdrawal greatly increased cell death.

[T]hese observations show, for the first time, that the stimulation of the endocannabinoid system could be protective against the hyper-excitability developed during alcohol withdrawal,” investigators concluded. “By contrast, the blockade of the endocannabinoid system seems to be counterproductive during alcohol withdrawal.”

In humans, the abrupt cessation of alcohol in dependent subjects may be associated with tremor, delirium, brain damage, and death.

Separate pre-clinical studies have previously documented that administration of the non-psychotropic organic cannabinoid cannabidiol (CBD) in animals is neuroprotective against cerebral infarction and ethanol-induced neurotoxicity (alcohol poisoning).

In 2009 and 2010, a pair of studies conducted by investigators at the University of California at San Diego reported that the consumption of cannabis may offset certain alcohol-induced brain abnormalities, including the loss of white matter integrity and impaired memory, in human subjects with a history of both alcohol and marijuana use.

Full text of the study appears online in PLoS ONE here.

NORML Blog, Marijuana Law Reform

Sep 02

This Week in Weed: August 28th – September 3rd

This Week in WeedNow streaming on NORMLtv is the latest edition of “This Week in Weed.” This new weekly video series covers the most newsworthy stories shaping the marijuana law reform world. This week a new study is released on cannabis use and obesity, Arkansas lowers marijuana penalties, and the DEA continues to reject proposals to grow cannabis for research purposes.

Be sure to tune in to NORMLtv each Thursday afternoon to catch up on the latest marijuana news. Subscribe to NORMLtv or follow us on Twitter to get notified as soon as new content is added.

NORML Blog, Marijuana Law Reform

Sep 02

NORML Represents Responsible Cannabis Consumers at Seattle Hempfest 2011

Seattle Hempfest 2009

Over three days, close to 300,000 people will attend the largest continuous political rally in the world, Seattle Hempfest!

This weekend, NORML Board, Staff, and Activists from both coasts and everywhere in-between will converge on the waterfront between Centennial and Olympic Sculpture Parks in Seattle, Washington, for the twentieth anniversary Seattle Hempfest.

Visit our NORML / HIGH TIMES Booth! We are next to the rocky Puget Sound waters in the Stone Village south of the Share Parker Main Stage.  You won’t have trouble finding us – this year we have a seven-foot green helium balloon with the NORML logo to guide you to our booth.

Can't find Hempfest? Go to the Space Needle and follow your nose southwest…

We will be bringing you exclusive VIP coverage of Hempfest live on The NORML Network.  Next week we’ll bring you recorded video on NORMLtv and audio on our NORML SHOW LIVE podcast.  Features will include Congressman Dennis Kucinich, Washington Representatives Roger Goodman and Mary Lou Dickerson, PBS travel guru Rick Steves, federal medical marijuana patient Elvy Musikka, legendary grower Ed Rosenthal, Weed Wars star and Harborside director Steve DeAngelo, among many of the interviews and speeches we will bring to you.  We’ll also be backstage with the Kottonmouth Kings, The Accused, the Herbivores, and all the great bands than make Hempfest rock, with exclusive behind-the-scenes interviews.

NORML Board, Staff, and Activists Schedule (UPDATED Thu) (click for complete schedule, subject to change, see Hempfest for final schedule).  Our NORML Activists will be speaking on all four main stages to over 300,000 attendees over three days to educate the public and the politicians about the urgent need to legalize cannabis hemp in America.  (Click “Full Story” below to get more details…)


  • 12:30pm – NORML Outreach Coordinator Russ Belville @ Hemposium (Media Panel)
  • 2:45pm – NORML Legal Committee’s Doug Hiatt @ McWilliams Stage
  • 3:40pm – Miami Valley NORML Director Tonya Davis
  • 3:40pm – NORML Legal Committee’s Leland Berger @ Seeley Stage
  • 3:45pm – NORML Executive Director Allen St. Pierre @ McWilliams Stage
  • 3:50pm – NORML Advisory Board’s Rick Steves @ Main Stage
  • 4:05pm – NORML Legal Counsel Keith Stroup @ Seeley Stage
  • 4:10pm – NORML Board & Oregon NORML’s Madeline Martinez @ Seeley Stage
  • 4:35pm – NORML Board’s William Panzer @ McWilliams Stage
  • 5:00pm – Doug Hiatt @ Seeley Stage
  • 5:35pm – Leland Berger @ McWilliams Stage
  • 5:40pm – MassCann/NORML’s Keith Saunders @ Main Stage
  • 5:45pm – Washington NORML’s Kevin Oliver @ Main Stage
  • 6:35pm – Russ Belville @ Main Stage
  • 8:00pm – All of the above and more at the VIP Speaker’s Social @ Hemposium (ticket required)


  • 12:40pm – NORML Legal Committee’s Jeff Steinborn and Leland Berger @ Hemposum (Know Your Rights Panel)
  • 12:45pm – Tonya Davis @ McWilliams Stage
  • 1:30pm – Doug Hiatt @ Hemposium (Patients out of Patience Panel)
  • 1:50pm – Jeff Steinborn @ Main Stage
  • 3:40pm – Rick Steves @ Main Stage
  • 3:40pm – Keith Saunders @ Seeley Stage
  • 3:45pm – Keith Stroup @ McWilliams Stage
  • 4:00pm – Madeline Martinez @ McWilliams Stage
  • 4:45pm – Doug Hiatt @ Main Stage
  • 5:35pm – Keith Saunders @ McWilliams Stage
  • 6:35pm – Madeline Martinez @ Main Stage
  • 6:45pm – Allen St. Pierre @ Main Stage


  • 12:40pm – California NORML’s Dale Gieringer @ Hemposium (Beyond Prohibition Panel)
  • 1:30pm – Rick Steves @ Hemposium (extended remarks)
  • 1:40pm – William Panzer @ Main Stage
  • 2:10pm – Madeline Martinez and Tonya Davis @ Hemposium (National Activism Panel)
  • 3:35pm – Jeff Steinborn @ Seeley Stage
  • 3:40pm – Keith Stroup @ Main Stage
  • 3:40pm – Kevin Oliver @ Seeley Stage
  • 3:45pm – Russ Belville @ Seeley Stage
  • 3:50pm – Rick Steves @ Main Stage
  • 3:55pm – Allen St. Pierre @ Seeley Stage
  • 4:45pm – Dale Gieringer @ Main Stage
  • 5:40pm – Kevin Oliver @ McWilliams Stage
  • 6:40pm – Russ Belville @ McWilliams Stage


NORML Blog, Marijuana Law Reform

Aug 31

This Week in Weed: August 14th-20th

This Week in WeedNow streaming on NORMLtv is the latest edition of “This Week in Weed.” This new weekly video series covers the most newsworthy stories shaping the marijuana law reform world. This week President Obama fumbles another marijuana question, Hempfest takes over Seattle, and the NORML Women’s Alliance seeks answers to the cannabis gender gap.

Be sure to tune in to NORMLtv each Thursday afternoon to catch up on the latest marijuana news. Subscribe to NORMLtv or follow us on Twitter to get notified as soon as new content is added.

NORML Blog, Marijuana Law Reform

Aug 30

Wired Magazine: Check the Map. Are You Paying Too Much For Your Marijuana?

The September issue of Wired Magazine, working with FloatingSheep, has published a non-peer reviewed report and heat map of the United States demonstrating the current cost to purchase one ounce of cannabis, along with some interesting analysis regarding the disconnect between cannabis prices and state penalties.

NORML Blog, Marijuana Law Reform

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