Tag Archives: Allen St. Pierre

Pew Poll: Majority Of Americans Say Marijuana Should Be Legal

One of those other broken promises that the man in the Oval Office failed to keep to his constituents. The man is a traitor. Need I remind readers what the so-called founding fathers said about traitors. Oh and BTW he isn’t the only one. Most of the US Congress, Senate, Military, Courts and all agencies of the US Government have betrayed the American people. Non-Violent opposition to bring the government to a stop is the best answer. Find one way to stop cooperating with them. Decide how much of a price you can afford to pay and do that thing which will irritate, cost them money or resources or in some other way clog a wheel.

Something as simple as creating a blog, Facebook page, standing out in front of a local court house handing out Jury Nullification Pamphlets. There are so many ways.

Hell, I even drove with an expired license for several years as a matter of principle. Literally years without being caught and the only reason I was finally caught was new technology that reads every plate and automatically runs it. I wasn’t speeding, didn’t run a stop sign etc. I am a good driver and that was the point. Why do I need to ask the state permission to drive when I have proven my abilities for years.  (of course they and many of you who have been brainwashed into thinking we need a state would disagree with me which is why I will no longer drive until after I take the test and get a license). BTW just as a matter of fact I haven’t had an accident in over 20 years.

Maybe it didn’t change anything or maybe the butterfly thing is real and seemingly insignificant things do matter in the end. Maybe my act will eventually be the thing that brought the whole friggin’ thing down on their heads.

It doesn’t really even matter but you should be choosing to do something! Otherwise ya git what ya git. BTW we are winning the war for hearts which proves our efforts are having an affect. (E)

Pew Poll: Majority Of Americans Say Marijuana Should Be LegalWashington, DC: Fifty-two percent of Americans say that the adult consumption of cannabis ought to be legal, according to national polling data released last week by the Pew Research Center. The total is the highest percentage of support ever reported by Pew, which began surveying public opinion on this issue in 1973.

This year’s percentage marks an 11 percent increase in support since 2010, the last time Pew posed the question. Forty-five percent of respondents said they opposed liberalizing marijuana laws.

Democrats, (59 percent), males (57 percent), African Americans (56 percent), and those respondents between the ages of 18 and 29 (64 percent) were most likely to favor legalizing marijuana. Female respondents (48 percent), Republicans (37 percent), and those age 65 and over (33 percent) were least likely to back legalization.

Pollsters also reported that 77 percent of Americans – including 72 percent of self-identified Republicans and 60 percent of those respondents age 65 or older – believe that cannabis possesses “legitimate medical uses,” a position that directly conflicts with federal policy.

According to Pew, a solid majority of Americans also question present federal efforts to enforce the criminalization of cannabis. The poll reported that 72 percent of respondents agreed that “government efforts to enforce marijuana laws cost more than they are worth,” and 60 percent of Americans said that the government should no longer enforce federal anti-marijuana laws in states that have approved of its use.

In recent months, national polls by GallupQuinnipiac University, and Public Policy Polling have all similarly reported majority public support for legalizing and regulating the adult use of cannabis.

For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director, or Erik Altieri, NORML Communications Director, at (202) 483-5500.


Angus Reid Poll: 55 Percent Of Adults Support Legalizing Marijuana

August 11, 2011 – New York, NY, USA

New York, NY: Fifty-five percent of American adults support legalizing marijuana, up from 52 percent in 2010, according to the results of a new Angus Reid Public Opinion poll.

Pollsters conducted an online survey of a representative national sample of 1,003 American adults. A solid majority, including 63 percent of Democrats and 61 percent of Independents, said that they endorsed the legalization of marijuana.

Forty percent of those polled said that they opposed the idea and five percent were undecided. The poll’s margin of error is +/- 3.1 percent.

The Angus Reid results are slightly higher than those published by other polling firms, such as Gallup, which use random digital dial sampling.

More men (57 percent) than women (53 percent) voiced support for legalizing cannabis. Respondents between the ages of 35 to 54 were most likely to support legalization (57 percent); however, a majority of respondents from every age group polled — including those age 55 and over — said that they backed making marijuana legal.

No more than ten percent of respondents said that they favored making any other illicit substance legal.

For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director, at (202) 483-5500.


Marijuana News

Drug Dogs More Likely To ‘False Report’ When Their Handlers Believe Contraband Is Present

February 10, 2011 – Sacramento, CA, USA

Sacramento, CA: The performance of drug-sniffing dogs is significantly influenced by whether or not their handlers believe illicit substances are present, according to a study published in the January issue of the journal Animal Cognition.

Investigators at the University of California at Davis assessed the accuracy of 18 drug and/or explosive detection dog/handler teams in a four-room church. No drugs or target scents were present in any of the rooms, but handlers were falsely told that contraband was present in two of the rooms, each marked by a piece of red construction paper.

Authors reported 225 incorrect responses overall, but found that dogs were more likely to provide false alerts in rooms where their handlers believed that illicit substances were present.

Handlers‘ beliefs that scent was present potentiated handler identification of detection dog alerts,” investigators concluded. “This confirms that handler beliefs affect outcomes of scent detection dog deployments.”

The study’s authors speculated that the high rate of false alerts is because the dogs respond to subtle visual cues from their handlers.

“Dogs are exceptionally keen at interpreting subtle cues, so handlers need to be cognizant of that to optimize the overall team performance,” co-author Anita Oberbauer stated in a press release.

In 2005, the United States Supreme Court ruled in Illinois v. Caballes that an alert from a police dog during a traffic stop provides a constitutional basis for law enforcement to search the interior of the vehicle.

For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director or Keith Stroup, NORML Legal Counsel, at: (202) 483-5500. Full text of the study, “Handler beliefs affect scent detection dog outcomes,” is available online at:http://www.springerlink.com/content/j477277481125291/.

updated: Feb 10, 2011

A Headline You Will Never See For Cannabis

Mon, 14 Feb 2011 22:25:34  By: Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director

From Reuters News Wire:

Alcohol kills more than AIDS, TB or violence
Drinking causes more than 4 percent of deaths worldwide, WHO warnsAlcohol causes nearly 4 percent of deaths worldwide, more than AIDS, tuberculosis or violence, the World Health Organization warned on Friday.… Yet alcohol control policies are weak and remain a low priority for most governments despite drinking’s heavy toll on society from road accidents, violence, disease, child neglect and job absenteeism, it said.Approximately 2.5 million people die each year from alcohol related causes, the WHO said in its “Global Status Report on Alcohol and Health.”“The harmful use of alcohol is especially fatal for younger age groups and alcohol is the world’s leading risk factor for death among males aged 15-59,” the report found.… Alcohol is a causal factor in 60 types of diseases and injuries, according to WHO’s first report on alcohol since 2004.Its consumption has been linked to cirrhosis of the liver, epilepsy, poisonings, road traffic accidents, violence, and several types of cancer, including cancers of the colorectum, breast, larynx and liver

Of course the reason we see these startling links between alcohol consumption and disease is because ethanol, the psychoactive compound in alcohol, and acetaldehyde (what ethanol is converted to after ingestion), pose toxic risks to health cells and organs. By contrast, marijuana’s active compounds — the cannabinoids — pose little comparable risk to healthy cells and organs, and are incapable of causing fatal overdose.So answer me again: Why do we celebrate consumers and manufacturers of alcohol while we simultaneously targetarrest, prosecute, and incarcerate consumers and producers of a far safer substance?Isn’t it time to visit NORML’s ‘Take Action Center’ and ask your elected officials that same question?


NORML: Give Thanks And Praises!

We do not celebrate Dec. 25th as any kind of special day for reasons I would be glad to elaborate upon for anyone who cares to ask. That said I wanted to include this letter since Allen St. Pierre speaks to a number of things that will offer hope and encouragement to those who were disappointed by the loss of Prop 19 in California in the November elections. (Ed)

December 24, 2010

Dear NORML Members and Supporters,

Social change doesn’t happen overnight – but it does happen. This is the message we took away from the November 2010 election, an election that will influence NORML’s work in 2011 and beyond.

California Legalization Initiative: Prop. 19
I’m sure that by now you know the news. Forty-seven percent of Californians voted in favor of Proposition 19, which made the possession, cultivation, and sale of cannabis lawful for adults. No legalization initiative in any state has ever received so much voter support, nor has any effort generated such positive national discourse. In fact, by the end of the campaign even our staunchest opponents had to concede that America’s present criminal prohibition is an unequivocal failure. They recognize that the question is no longer, ‘Should we legalize and regulate marijuana?’ but, ‘How should we legalize and regulate marijuana?’ This marks a monumental shift in the public and political debate over marijuana policy.

But that’s not all. Let us remember one of the tangible and significant victories of the campaign: The signing into law of Senate Bill 1449 reducing the adult possession of up to 28.5 grams of marijuana from a criminal misdemeanor to a noncriminal infraction, punishable by a $100 fine—no court appearance, no court costs, and no criminal record. Passage of this law, which arguably would not have happened if it were not for advocates’ stepped up lobbying efforts regarding Prop. 19, will spare tens of thousands of Californians from criminal prosecution in 2011 and beyond.

Am I disappointed we failed to gain the support of 50 percent of California’s electorate?

Of course.

But I am proud of the progress we made, and of the broad coalition of political and civil rights organizations who endorsed our efforts, including the California NAACP, The Latino Voters League, the SEIU (one of America’s largest unions), and the Black Police Officers Association. That is why I remain confident that we can – and will – bring about the legalization and regulation of cannabis for adults in California in 2012, and that is why I believe that we can extend these same freedoms to the citizens of other states in the years to follow.

Elections Matter; Threats Ahead
Yet when I view the ever-changing political landscape nationwide, I recognize there are many significant hurdles before us. This fall’s resurgence of Republican-elected officials in both Washington, DC, and throughout the nation threatens to undermine many of our recent gains. As I write to you today, U.S. Senators are in the process of confirming Michele Leonhart – who has ordered more than thirty raids of state-sanctioned medical marijuana providers – to head the Drug Enforcement Administration, and House members are likely to promote Texas Republican Lamar Smith – arguably the most reefer-mad member of the U.S. Congress – to head the Judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives.

At the statewide level, New Mexico’s newly elected Gov. Susan Martinez has threatened to repeal the state’s three-year-old medical cannabis law, which so far has licensed 17 dispensaries to produce and provide marijuana to nearly 3,000 authorized patients. In Michigan, incoming Attorney General Bill Schuette has also pledged to roll back the state’s popular medical cannabis law, which voters overwhelmingly approved in 2008. And in Montana, lawmakers are planning an all assault upon the state’s six-year-old medical marijuana law, despite its passage with over 60 percent of the vote.

Drug warriors are emboldened by the statewide initiative defeats of medical cannabis proposals in Oregon (regarding the regulation of state-licensed dispensaries) and South Dakota (regarding the legalization of marijuana for medical purposes), and advocates’ razor thin margin of victory in Arizona (which became the fifteenth state to authorize the medical use of marijuana since 1996), but NORML remains unbowed. We will continue to forge ahead with our push for full legalization in states like Colorado, Washington, New Hampshire, Oregon, and Rhode Island. Rest assured, we have not lost our momentum, and we do not intend to let our opponents roll back even one of the many statewide victories that we – and all of you – have worked so hard to achieve.

“What Does Not Kill You Makes You Stronger”
In fact, according to the most recent Gallup national public opinion poll, momentum in favor of adult legalization and regulation has never been stronger. According to the October survey, a record 46 percent of voters nationwide now support making marijuana legal, and only 50 percent support prohibition (an all-time low.) To put these percentages in proper perspective, consider this. A decade ago, fewer than 30 percent of Americans said that they backed ending cannabis prohibition and a whopping 70 percent supported it.

This is why our opponents are running scared, and it is why they have targeted 2011 as the year they strike back. They have no other choice. They are aware, just as we are, that public opinion is moving exponentially in favor of marijuana law reform, and that this trend shows no signs of abating. We may have lost a battle in November, but we are clearly winning the war – and the drug warriors know it.

NORML: Putting The ‘Grass’ Into Grassroots Since 1970
As we approach 2011, our prohibitionist opponents are keenly aware that they have lost the hearts and minds of the electorate, and they are preparing to wage one final stand. We plan to meet them head on – and defeat them. Will you support our efforts? Your continued financial support will assure that we hold the line in 2011, and it will allow us to continue the national dialogue that is turning a record number of Americans toward cannabis liberation. Victory is at a hand, but only if we keep the pressure on – and only if we have the resources to fight back when necessary.

Supporting NORML and NORML Foundation is both simple and rewarding. If you want your donation to be employed for political purposes, such as for lobbying state and federal policy makers, please direct your donation to NORML. If you’d prefer a tax-deductible donation, which will be used for education, litigation, advertising and social organizing, please direct any cash or stock donations to the NORML Foundation.

Many of NORML’s members and supporters generously donate to both!

Social change doesn’t happen overnight – but it does happen, and it is happening. That is why NORML needs your support now more than ever. 2011 promises to be a battle, but with your continued financial contributions I know that we will emerge victorious.

NORML @ 40-Years-Young
Lastly, as the collective calendar is turned, NORML—a remarkably enduring and resilient hub for a now sprawling social justice movement and medical cannabis industry—embarks upon it’s 40th year of representing the interests of cannabis consumers by, among other services, providing legal assistance and moral support to the many tens of thousands of consumers, growers and sellers (our brothers and sisters) arrested and incarcerated annually because of our nation’s antiquated Cannabis Prohibition laws.

NORML provides both in-office and 24/7 online support services formedical cannabis patients; citizens facing drug testing concerns; the victims of civil forfeiture; studentsresearching papers; also, NORML’s staff provides over 3,000 local, State, national and internationalmedia interviews annually. On thetightest budget in the drug policy reform movement, NORML produces the most popular cannabis-centric conferences, as well as the most popular cannabis-related webpageand daily podcast on the Internet.

None of this is possible without thesupport of thoughtful and engaged citizens like you!

Again, your end-of-the-year donations to either NORML or NORML Foundation is proof positive of your stakeholdership in a really important 40-year-old Washington, D.C. institution among public interest organizations.

Here’s to a safe and hemp-filled holiday and New Year to all! Thanks, as always, for caring and sharing!

Cannabem liberemus,

Allen St. Pierre
Executive Director
NORMLNORML Foundation

*Have you seen some of the unique ‘thank you’ gifts for members and donors?

 

 


Dedicated Pot Crusaders Already Licking Their Chops for the Next Opportunity to Legalize

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AlterNet / By Steven Wishnia

California’s pot-legalization initiative went down to defeat last night, but 46 percent of the vote tells advocates like Richard Lee that the future is bright.
November 3, 2010 |

OAKLAND—California’s pot-legalization initiative went down to defeat last night, but supporters say it came close enough to try again.

The Proposition 19 ballot initiative won 46 percent of the vote. It would have regulated and taxed marijuana under rules similar to those for alcohol, albeit with a lot more dry counties and odd blue laws.

Ironically, the proposal failed to carry the “Emerald Triangle” of Humboldt and Mendocino counties, the state’s most fabled ganja-growing region. Prop 19 got only 47 percent there, according to “semi-official” returns posted on-line by California’s Secretary of State.

Supporters claimed a moral victory and a tactical advance. The vote, they said, was close enough to put marijuana legalization on the national map as an issue to be taken seriously.

“It’s not a debate about if or when. It’s a debate about how,” said Prop 19 “coproponent” Jeff Jones, a longtime medical-marijuana activist. Jones’ Oakland cannabis dispensary was the plaintiff in the Supreme Court’s first medical-marijuana case.

“It hurts, but no matter what, it’s a victory,” said Danielle Schumacher, 28, a volunteer from Berkeley. “”We got a big percentage of the vote, and that’s something to build on.”

“The more we talk about it, we win,” said Aaron Houston of Students for a Sensible Drug Policy, which organized scores of volunteers for the initiative. “We’ve had 40 years of Reefer Madness propaganda that’s said it’s not OK to talk about it. That’s what changed this fall.”

The proposal won almost two-thirds of the vote in San Francisco, and also carried Oakland and most of the Bay Area. It lost badly in the Central Valley, getting only 37 percent in Fresno, and it did only a few points better in the “Inland Empire” east of Los Angeles.

“It was an uphill battle in an off-year election; with an older, smaller, and more conservative electorate, it’s a hostile environment for marijuana-law reform,” said Stephen Gutwillig of the Drug Policy Alliance’s Los Angeles office.

If the initiative had passed, cannabis users, growers, and dealers would still have been vulnerable under federal law. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced in late October that the federal government would continue to enforce laws against sale, cultivation, and possession. The measure began to slip in the polls after that, and some activists call Holder’s announcement a turning point.

The Leaders

Seeded by a $1.4 million contribution from Oakland medical-marijuana magnate Richard Lee, the initiative was opposed by most of the state’s political establishment, but it drew a dedicated volunteer force and a coalition that activists called “unprecedented.” On Election Day, volunteers at Yes on 19’s Oakland office made more than 50,000 get-out-the-vote calls.

Prohibition endorsers included governor-elect Jerry Brown and his Republican opponent, Meg Whitman; the state Chamber of Commerce; the state associations of prosecutors, police chiefs, sheriffs, and narcotics officers; and both candidates for California attorney general.

People in the cannabis world say a victory for the Republican attorney-general candidate, Los Angeles prosecutor Steve Cooley, would do more damage than Prop 19’s loss. Cooley has argued that the state’s medical-marijuana law does not permit sale, and threatened to close every medical-pot dispensary in the state. He narrowly trailed Democrat Kamala Harris as of noon Wednesday.

Prop 19 also “forged an unprecedented coalition for marijuana-law reform,” says Stephen Gutwilliger. It won endorsements from groups outside the cannabis-culture and drug-policy worlds. It was backed by the state branches of the NAACP, the Latino Voters League, the Service Employees International Union, the Northern California district of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, and the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 5.

“We’ve never been in rooms with union leaders, with minorities, with Democrats,” said Allen St. Pierre of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. “In 1996, we were trying to convince the country that medical marijuana wasn’t a farce.”

The UFCW began backing the initiative in earnest after workers at Oakland’s medical-marijuana dispensaries joined the union earlier this year. Legal marijuana might bring “60,000, 70,000, 80,000 sustainable, single-earner jobs to California,” says Dan Rush, Local 5’s special-operations director. “It’s a growth industry for my union for the next ten years.”

The jobs pay well, he says—up to $35 an hour with benefits—-so legalization is also about “bringing dignity to the industry,” he adds, treating cannabis retail or agricultural workers like they’re meatcutters or grocery-store workers instead of like drug dealers.


Opposition Within the Ranks

A surprising amount of opposition came from pot-smokers themselves—-its significance conceivably shown by the results in Humboldt and Mendocino counties, where cannabis farming is a mainstay of the economy. Many growers fear that legalization would make prices drop so low that it would slash their income, or that big corporations would squeeze them out.

“It’ll exclude us little guys,” said an East Bay grower. He said the semi-legal status of medical marijuana has stabilized the market, and he doesn’t want to mess things up.

“There are mixed feelings within the industry,” said one of his companions, another grower. Indoor growers might be able to find a market for high-quality herb similar to that for microbrewery beer, but he also feared a “green rush” of new growers who would flood the market with mediocre herb and bring prices down too low for farmers to make a living.

Other stoner opponents said that anyone who really needs cannabis can get a medical-use certificate.

Still, voting against legalizing marijuana because you yourself are relatively safe might seem to be an extraordinarily hypocritical act for a pot-smoker—-or conceivably racist, as recently released studies by the Drug Policy Alliance have found dramatically higher arrest rates for pot possession among black and Latino people in California, especially young men.

“The growers (mostly all white) never talk about the War on Drugs and all the youth of color rotting behind bars in California and everywhere for small amounts of marijuana!” said a disgruntled hippie-era Mendocino County grower before the election.

Others objected to the age restrictions in the proposal. It would have set a smoking age of 21, and increased penalties for a person over 21 providing non-medical pot to someone under 18.

There were also plenty of conspiracy theories floating around California’s cannabis world. Philip Morris and/or R.J. Reynolds had bought 200,000 acres of foreclosed property up north, waiting for the day they could bulldoze into the marijuana market. Monsanto was waiting in the wings with ganja genetically engineered to be ultra-potent. Billionaire George Soros, who contributed $1 million to the initiative, was using Richard Lee to corner the market.

“If you can have it, why are you fighting so hard for other people to have it?” shouted Bill Benjamin, 28, of Oakland, one of a knot of men loudly picketing Oaksterdam University, Lee’s “cultivation college,” on Election Day. Most wore crudely printed “No on 19” T-shirts and claimed to be irate medical users.

“I have nephews in high school, and they don’t need to be smoking that shit,” said another protester.

Benjamin, who said he uses marijuana medically for insomnia, said he opposes changing the law because “recreational users already go to jail” and risking that is their choice. He also argued that if pot were legal, billionaires would buy out everyone else in the business.

“Marlboro’s not going to grow medical marijuana or marijuana, because it’s still federally illegal,” responded Jeff Jones when they confronted him. He dismissed the protesters as “ignorant, like Tea Partiers.”

Others see a more sinister hand at work. Enraged monologues about impractically omnipotent corporate conspiracies aren’t rare in the weed world, a persecuted subculture that can be somewhere between isolated and secretive and has plenty of urban legends. But belligerent rants in the phraseology of prohibitionist talking points, instant-scruff two-week beards, and crudely trying to pick fights with activists by calling them “faggots” remarkably resemble the tactics used by Vietnam-era agent provocateurs.

The Future

“We’re gonna be back in 2012,” Jeff Jones said at Yes on 19’s closing-night gathering in Oakland, speaking on video to the press and lower-level volunteers out in the parking lot.

Was the off-year campaign premature? Maybe, said Dale Gieringer of California NORML two days before the vote, but “we’re finally looking at the only thing that solves the problem of marijuana prohibition.”

The odds are good for a 2012 campaign that has more resources and has learned from this year’s mistakes. Some groups may try California again. Others are looking at Washington, Oregon, Colorado, Nevada, and Alaska, which have all voted for initiatives to legalize medical marijuana. Revised versions might try to mollify intra-movement critics by including protections for small farmers and establishing a clear statewide regulatory system instead of a patchwork of local options.

It was “absolutely” better to have the vote now rather than wait, Aaron Houston said after the returns came in. “We have to have this conversation. Thirty thousand people have died south of the border.”

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