Our Mission, Vision & Objectives
Miami Valley NORML is a regional chapter of Ohio NORML, the state chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws serving the Greater Cincinnati & Dayton area.
Our Mission is to re-legalize marihuana for personal, industrial and therapeutic use.
Our vision of the future is one where cannabis (AKA Marihuana) is free of black market influences, and legally grown, bought, sold & properly labeled in a controlled & regulated market, including growing for personal use.
See the following detailed objectives we use as a guide to our efforts....
- Published on 15 March 2015
- Written by NORML
"Today we join together to say enough is enough"
Washington, DC: Members of the US Senate for the first time have introduced legislation to amend the classification and regulation of cannabis for therapeutic purposes.
On Tuesday, Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ), Rand Paul (R-KY), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) introduced The Compassionate Access, Research Expansion, and Respect States (CARERS) Act, which permits qualified patients, doctors, and businesses to engage in state-sanctioned behavior involving the production, sale, and use of medical cannabis without fear of federal prosecution. It states, "Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the provisions of this title relating to marihuana shall not apply to any person acting in compliance with State law relating to the production, possession, distribution, dispensation, administration, laboratory testing, or delivery of medical marihuana."
Although Congress enacted spending legislation in December seeking to similarly halt the Justice Department from interfering in state-sanctioned medical marijuana operations, that appropriation measure is set to expire in September.
Separate provisions in the Senate proposal reschedule marijuana at the federal level and remove the compound cannabidiol (CBD) from the Controlled Substances Act altogether. Additional provisions in the bill allow for financial institutions to legally provide services to medical marijuana businesses, permit VA doctors to authorize medical cannabis, and remove existing bureaucratic barriers that limit investigators from clinically studying the plant's safety and therapeutic efficacy.
"Our federal government has long overstepped the boundaries of common sense, fiscal prudence, and compassion" in regard to its marijuana policies, Sen. Booker stated at a press conference. "Today we join together to say enough is enough."
While numerous House measures have previously been introduced to amend federal marijuana policy, members of the US Senate have never before considered such reforms.
Commenting on the new measure, NORML Communications Director Erik Altieri said: "It is indicative of how far the movement to reform our nation's failed marijuana policies has come when a Republican presidential hopeful partners with two high profile Democrats to undo the war on cannabis consumers. While we ultimately believe marijuana should be descheduled from the Controlled Substances Act entirely, this legislation provides an excellent opportunity for Senate leaders to begin engaging in this broader discussion."
For more information about this measure, please visit NORML's 'Take Action Center' here: http://www.norml.org/act or contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director, at (202) 483-5500.
- Published on 07 March 2015
- Written by Keith Stroup
One indisputable fact is that big-money interests have now surfaced in a number of states, seeking to influence the type of legalization adopted in specific states, and to profit from the legal marijuana market. We should not be surprised that the economic appeal of legalizing marijuana would attract the attention of people with resources.
Understandably, some activists who have worked long and hard to help bring us to this point, are concerned about the entry of big money into the political equation. They fear the legalization movement has been hijacked by those seeking to profit from legal marijuana.
Of course, big money has been a major factor in the legalization movement as far back as 1996, when the California medical marijuana initiative was bailed-out with money provided by a handful of rich philanthropists, led by George Soros and the late Peter Lewis, who have been major funders supporting many of the statewide initiatives passed since, including both the Colorado and Washington state full legalization initiatives, and more recently the Oregon legalization initiative.
But that was different, because these philanthropists were interested in influencing policy, but had no interest in profiting from the new laws. This latest development involves people expecting to financially benefit from the investment they are making in the legalization movement.
This comes to mind now because in Ohio there are a group of wealthy investors, none of whom apparently have any prior involvement in the marijuana legalization movement, putting up the money and proposing a legalization initiative for 2015 (a non-election year) for the state. And this unexpected effort is being opposed by a group of political activists who have their own version of legalization they would like to qualify for the ballot in 2016, although currently they have no funding.
The initiative proposed by those with the cash would license a total of ten grow sites around Ohio, and those sites are identified specifically in the initiative. Not surprisingly, several of the sites have been previously optioned by the individuals who invested in the project. Their purpose is to legalize marijuana but their motive is, admittedly, to make a profit. Under their proposal there would be lots of opportunities for others to obtain a license to operate a dispensary, but the initial grow sites (more can be added later) would largely be controlled by the investors.
Rumors are circulating about a different group of rich investors interested in trying to establish a similar system in Michigan, and surely investors in other states may soon jump on this perceived opportunity to cash-in on legalization. We call it the “Green Rush.”
In Massachusetts, for example, the medical use law and regulations adopted to implement that law required each applicant for a license to deposit $500,000 in an escrow account before their application would be considered by the licensing authority. Not many small businesses could come up with such an exorbitant fee, leaving the licenses available only for the rich. Not exactly an exercise in democracy, or even what might be considered a fair system; but money talks in American politics, and the legal marijuana industry is not immune from this reality.
Those of us who came of age during the 1960s and ’70s frequently share an anti-corporate bias. For the last 45 years, corporate America has largely embraced the “war on drugs” that resulted in the arrest of millions of marijuana smokers, and by demanding a so-called “drug-free workplace” (of course, alcohol and prescription drugs were omitted from their list of prohibited substances,), have needlessly destroyed the careers of millions of responsible marijuana smokers, who smoked in the evenings or on the weekends, but never came to work in an impaired condition. So there is some basis for our anti-corporate bias.
It is indeed uncomfortable to now see some of these same corporate interests seeking to get rich off the same drug they have been demonizing for decades.
Ironically, some of the most prominent opponents of marijuana legalization now raise the same issue. Kevin Sabet, the head of Project Sam, an anti-marijuana group, likes to rail against the perceived threat of “Big Marijuana.” Seeing the public support for prohibition wane, Sabet now claims the boogeyman is “Big Marijuana,” which he alleges will seek to hook our youth and incentivize heavy use. Of course that is entirely political posturing by this former assistant in the drug czar’s office, who has long been a proponent of prohibition. His position remains consistent, even while his justification evolves.
I am personally sympathetic to the desire to establish legalization systems that retain a role for small businesses to legally grow and sell marijuana, perhaps more akin to the wine industry than the tobacco or alcohol model. But I think it is also important that we take a realistic approach to legalization moving forward, and not get bogged-down in economic issues.
We must keep our eye on the prize. Marijuana legalization, when stripped to it’s core, is about ending the practice of arresting marijuana smokers and providing a legal market where responsible smokers can buy their marijuana. To get politically distracted by the question of who ends up profiting from legal marijuana is to drive the marijuana legalization movement into the ditch.
We should make every reasonable attempt to modify these various proposals to protect the little guy, and to include the right of personal cultivation as an alternative for those who want no part of corporate marijuana.
While most smokers will not take the time or make the considerable effort required to cultivate their own marijuana (just as most of us do not make our own beer, although it is legal to do so), the threat of that should be sufficient to force those who do get the licenses to grow and dispense marijuana to meet the legitimate demands of consumers. We want high quality marijuana that is tested so we know it is free from molds and pesticides, and we need to know the strength of the THC and the CBD. These are basic protections that have always been needed, but are only available under a legalization system.
So as we move closer to deciding which legalization initiatives will qualify for the ballot in different states, we must work to shape these proposals into models that are fair to consumers, and which will enjoy sufficient public support to win a majority vote on election day.
Let’s do all we can to keep the legal marijuana industry open to all comers, both big and small, but let’s not get bogged down on side-issues that have little to do with the fight for personal freedom.