Dedicated to promoting positive legal, social, and political change in support of cannabis and the many adults who use it.

Allen St. Pierre Tenders His Resignation

NORML Blog - 14 hours 46 min ago

After 14 years serving as Deputy Director of NORML under three different Executive Directors, followed by 11 years as Executive Director, Allen F. St. Pierre has tendered his resignation to the NORML board of directors, effective July 15th. St. Pierre, a graduate of the University of Massachusetts, had come to Washington, DC a quarter of a century ago with the intent of going to law school, but he found a job with NORML and never left. We are all indebted to St. Pierre for his long and valuable service to the organization, helping lead the organization and the legalization movement through some difficult times to the glorious days of legalization we are currently experiencing.

NORML was founded in late 1970 to represent the interests of consumers, and today the NORML brand is clearly the best-known brand, along with High Times, in the legalization movement. And St. Pierre’s leadership has contributed greatly to that exceptional reputation. He is a tireless worker who has been the public face of NORML since 2005, having given thousands of media interviews, both large and small.

As Leafly deputy editor Bruce Barcott said of St. Pierre’s value to the legalization movement, “During his quarter-century at NORML, St. Pierre would gladly return anybody’s phone call, no matter if you were a rookie reporter, expert grower, angry NORML chapter head, or confused member of Congress. Despite the thrashing cannabis took on Capitol Hill, he always remained upbeat. His wry sense of humor and his ability to laugh at the absurdity of America’s cannabis laws and taboos weren’t just an unexpected balm; they were a model of sanity for advocates around the country.”

A Little NORML History

I first met St. Pierre in 1994, when the NORML board was going through a periodic crisis and Dr. Lester Grinspoon at Harvard, the board Chair, had been asked to establish a new board of directors, and Dr. Grinspoon invited me to rejoin the board. I had founded the organization in 1970 and headed the organization through the 1970s. I had managed first to befriend the administration of President Jimmy Carter, who favored decriminalizing minor marijuana offenses (the recommendation of the Marijuana Commission), and then to burn those bridges over the issue of the government’s spraying of paraquat (a deadly pesticide) on marijuana along the US/Mexican border, a practice we feared was poisoning unwitting marijuana smokers. In the end, I became embroiled in a scandal involving the president’s drug advisor, Dr. Peter Bourne, that cost Dr. Bourne his job, and I was forced to step aside from NORML.

I did other public-interest work for several years, including lobbying for family farmers on Capitol Hill and serving as Executive Director of the National Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys (NACDL). Those were all exciting challenges, but eventually, when that call came from Dr. Grinspoon inviting me back on the NORML board, I was delighted to return to my old organization. And shortly thereafter I was asked to once again serve as Executive Director of the organization for another decade.

During that decade, Allen St. Pierre, who had played a major role in keeping NORML alive as an organization during the difficult political phase when public support for legalization was sagging, served as my deputy and was an integral part of every major decision and project NORML undertook during those years.

St. Pierre Takes Over in 2005

When the time came for me to step aside (again) at the end of 2004, I had no doubt that St. Pierre was the individual best equipped to take over the reins of the organization, which he assumed on Jan. 1, 2005, a position he held for the last 11-plus years. And during that time he oversaw all sorts of conflicts over priorities and strategies for the legalization movement, including most importantly the inevitable tension between those who use marijuana as a medicine, and those of us who smoke recreationally. Like all other drug law reform organizations, NORML had some supporters who preferred we focus primarily on the medical side of the issue, as well as those of us who felt out goal should always remain the full legalization of marijuana for all adults, regardless of why one smokes.

When we win a medical use bill, we win only the right to smoke marijuana for specific ailments if a physician says we are sick. That is crucial for many seriously ill patients, but the vast majority of marijuana smokers are not sick. We smoke because we enjoy it. And medical use laws do nothing to protect recreational users from arrest and jail. When we win full legalization, we expand personal freedom — the right to smoke marijuana free from government interference, regardless of why we smoke.

The success we have had by fully legalizing marijuana in four states and the district of Columbia since 2012, and the likelihood that we will add four or five additional states to the list of fully legalized jurisdictions this November, confirms the feasibility of the strategy that St. Pierre and NORML have pursued all these years. We are gradually restoring a measure of personal freedom to millions of responsible marijuana smokers all across this land.

St. Pierre, who at 50 is a new father, now begins a new phase of his life, and we all wish him well and much success. He will remain on the NORML board of directors, continuing to share his insight and experience, and help keep the organization moving forward in an effective manner.

And for now, all of us at NORML, and those millions of smokers out there who look to NORML to lead the charge to legalization in their states, owe a debt of gratitude to Allen St. Pierre for his dedication and leadership for the last 25 years at NORML.

Thanks Allen for being a valued friend and colleague for all these years.

New Study Finds the Average Amount of Weed Per Joint

The Weed Blog - 16 hours 22 min ago
USA — 0.32 grams. That’s how much marijuana is in the typical American joint, according to a rigorous statistical analysis recently published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence by drug policy researchers Greg Ridgeway of the University of Pennsylvania and Beau Kilmer of the Rand Corp. The amount of weed in the typical joint

Democrats Call for ‘Pathway’ to Marijuana Legalization

The Weed Blog - 16 hours 30 min ago
The Democratic Party endorsed a “reasoned pathway to future legalization” of marijuana and called for the drug to be downgraded in the Controlled Substances Act, in a tense and unexpected victory for supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders. Going into the platform committee meeting, Sanders’s campaign had no new language about marijuana. The senator from Vermont had favored

Silicon Valley Investors Are Starting to Warm Up to Cannabis

The Weed Blog - 16 hours 39 min ago
By Alison Vekshin, Bloomberg News SAN FRANCISCO — When three Colorado marijuana entrepreneurs made a presentation to 40 Silicon Valley investors last year, it was as though they were discussing something dirty. “There was an uncomfortable chuckle in the room, kind of like you’re talking about porn,” says Fulton Connor, the Sand Hill Angels Inc.

Enchanted Forest Gathering To Allow The Sale of Medicinal Cannabis On Site

The Weed Blog - 16 hours 39 min ago
Last year, Enchanted Forest Gathering, NorCal’s premier boutique music, movement, and conscious living camping festival, quietly became the second festival to offer an onsite medical cannabis dispensary. A location for unique events backed by forward-thinkers and home to the beloved Enchanted Forest Gathering (EFG), the Black Oak Ranchvenue in the heart of Laytonville, CA continues

South Africa: Does 15% of Sa's Population Have a Drug Problem?

Cannabis News - 21 hours 24 min ago
The Witness, 11 Jul 2016 - Africa Check investigates the source of this statistic and others related to drug use in South Africa TOM ROBBINS, AMERICAN AUTHOR (1932-). Any half-awake materialist well knows - that which you hold holds you. "Drug use is really a symptom, not a primary cause of many of South Africa's issues, but it is a politically expedient target for people to focus on, instead of addressing the real imbalances and inequalities in our society."

US: It's Cash Only, And Robbers Know It

Cannabis News - 21 hours 24 min ago
Los Angeles Times, 11 Jul 2016 - Marijuana Shops Become the Targets of Violent Heists. The recent killing of a marijuana store security guard in Colorado and the wounding of a guard in San Bernardino are the latest examples of the crime lure posed by cash-only pot dispensaries, industry observers say.

US: It's Cash Only, And Robbers Know It

Medical Marijuana - 21 hours 24 min ago
Los Angeles Times, 11 Jul 2016 - Marijuana Shops Become the Targets of Violent Heists. The recent killing of a marijuana store security guard in Colorado and the wounding of a guard in San Bernardino are the latest examples of the crime lure posed by cash-only pot dispensaries, industry observers say.

NORML Board Receives St.Pierre Resignation

NORML Blog - Sun, 07/10/2016 - 19:17

The Board of Directors of NORML has received the resignation of Allen St. Pierre as Executive Director of the organization, effective as of July 15th. The board wishes to commend Allen for his long and dedicated service to the organization. St. Pierre will retain his board seat.

The Board has established a Search Committee to find a
replacement for Mr. St. Pierre, and has appointed Board Member Randy Quast as Acting Executive Director.

Cannabis World Conference & Business Expo Taking Place September 7-9 in L.A.

The Weed Blog - Sun, 07/10/2016 - 08:45
California is the most populous state and with it poised to be the 5th U.S. state to legalize recreational use it will be a game-changer in the cannabis business. The second Cannabis World Congress & Business Exposition (CWCBExpo) at the Los Angeles Convention Center will be the premier West Coast event for learning about the

Initiative 139 to Limit THC Percentage in Denver is Withdrawn

The Weed Blog - Sun, 07/10/2016 - 08:45
DENVER — The Cannabis Business Alliance has released a statement on the withdrawal of proposed Initiative 139, which would have crippled Colorado’s fledging Cannabis industry and pushed supply to the black market causing a loss in jobs and tax revenue.  “In 2012, Colorado residents showed their support of the legal Cannabis market by overwhelmingly approving Amendment

Outspoken NFL Player Eugene Monroe to Speak at Hash Bash 2017

The Weed Blog - Sun, 07/10/2016 - 08:45
by Rick Thompson ANN ARBOR- Outspoken National Football League player and advocate for the legalized use of CBD medicines in professional sports, Eugene Monroe, has agreed to speak at the 2017 Hash Bash in Ann Arbor. Monroe’s controversial stance regarding marijuana therapies for injured athletes has been mainstream media news material for several months now.

South Africa: Dagga Steps Out Of The Shadows To Fuel Debate

Cannabis News - Sat, 07/09/2016 - 04:00
Dispatch, 09 Jul 2016 - After 40 Years Dope Goes Mainstream at Festival AFTER more than 40 years on the fringe of the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, dagga finally stepped out of the shadows and into the mainstream.

CN MB: High Hopes For New Pot Shop

Cannabis News - Sat, 07/09/2016 - 04:00
Metro, 09 Jul 2016 - Owner doesn't expect trouble from police. Winnipeggers green with envy over the lack of marijuana dispensaries sprouting up as they have in other cities can finally chill as there's a new pot shop in town.

US OR: State Launches Medford Campaign to Deter Pot Use Among

Cannabis News - Sat, 07/09/2016 - 04:00
The Mail Tribune, 09 Jul 2016 - State Hopes to Prevent and Delay Usage by Underage People Less than two years after recreational marijuana was legalized in the state, the Oregon Healthy Authority is launching a program to dissuade young residents from using it. The message: Marijuana can affect brain development, impair abilities and jeopardize people's health and careers.

Canada: Pain Sufferers Are Not Addicts, Group Says

Cannabis News - Sat, 07/09/2016 - 04:00
Medicine Hat News, 09 Jul 2016 - It is time to stop the war on chronic pain patients who are treated as though they are opioid addicts, says the Chronic Pain Association of Canada. "The large majority of pain patients are not addicts or abusers. Most do not get high from taking prescription opioids, even if they become physically dependent on them in controlling their pain," said executive director Barry Ulmer.

US OR: State Launches Medford Campaign to Deter Pot Use Among

Medical Marijuana - Sat, 07/09/2016 - 04:00
The Mail Tribune, 09 Jul 2016 - State Hopes to Prevent and Delay Usage by Underage People Less than two years after recreational marijuana was legalized in the state, the Oregon Healthy Authority is launching a program to dissuade young residents from using it. The message: Marijuana can affect brain development, impair abilities and jeopardize people's health and careers.

Canada: Pain Sufferers Are Not Addicts, Group Says

Medical Marijuana - Sat, 07/09/2016 - 04:00
Medicine Hat News, 09 Jul 2016 - It is time to stop the war on chronic pain patients who are treated as though they are opioid addicts, says the Chronic Pain Association of Canada. "The large majority of pain patients are not addicts or abusers. Most do not get high from taking prescription opioids, even if they become physically dependent on them in controlling their pain," said executive director Barry Ulmer.

Leafedin.Org : The Weed App Keeping Big Business At Bay

The Weed Blog - Fri, 07/08/2016 - 17:28
Normally reserved for the advocates and supporters of the cannabis cause, the future of cannabis is in danger of being monopolized by the interests of a few individuals with the goal of creating a “Big Marijuana” – much like what has happened already with Big Tobacco and Big Pharma. Outsiders with little to no interest

When Larger Issues Take Center Stage

NORML Blog - Fri, 07/08/2016 - 14:51

These past few days have truly been a sad time for most Americans, as we witnessed two more unjustified civilian killings by the police, raising obvious issues of racial bias; followed by the tragedy in Dallas in which five police officers were killed by a sniper, apparently in response to the aforementioned civilian killings.

A cycle of unjustified killings by police followed by unjustified killing of police. Regardless of your political persuasion, it is seriously disturbing that these incidents appear to be occurring more frequently, not less.

Anyone watching cable news could be excused for thinking the country is coming apart at the seams; 24-hour coverage of the carnage leaves the impression that none of us are safe, wherever we live or work. But we must not permit those who would resort to violence to define who we are.

Despite our problems, the reality is far less frightening. Yes, these latest incidents surely underscore the unresolved tensions between the police and many in the minority communities; and the unresolved racism that permeates much of society.

But in truth, most of us live good, productive and peaceful lives, largely free from violence; and we do our best to contribute to a society that treats all individuals, regardless of race, in a fair and equal manner. We still have a great distance to travel to achieve these lofty goals, but the great majority of Americans are committed to making that journey.

I acknowledge this column, unlike my usual columns, has little to do with legalizing marijuana. And that is purposeful.

Sometimes, when tragic events occur, we must set aside our personal crusades for a brief respite, while we join our fellow citizens in expressing our common grief and our common commitment to stop this madness. Our daily work routine, regardless of how important we may think it is, pales in comparison to these larger, overriding issues of peace and justice.

This is one of those times.

Yes, it is important that we end marijuana prohibition and stop the senseless arrest of marijuana smokers. And we will continue to move legalization forward.

But for today, let’s (symbolically) join hands with our fellow citizens in Dallas and Baton Rouge and Falcon Heights, MN, and all across this country, and acknowledge our role in the larger society, and our obligation to work for the just society we all want.

As Rodney King famously said, “Can’t we all just get along?”