As of 2021, 17 states across the US have passed laws protecting their citizens’ right to consume cannabis. Furthermore, more than 30 states have legalized medical cannabis. That’s a huge milestone. It’s one of the reasons we have medical marijuana dispensaries in Maryland in the first place. While there are varied reasons for cannabis’ growing acceptance, one huge factor is the National Association for Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML).
In this post, we’ll cover the storied past, present, and future of NORML. Then, we’ll explain how you can get involved with the organization.
What is NORML?
Founded in 1970, NORML is one of the country’s forefront pro-cannabis groups. Attorney Keith Stroup founded the group with a $5,000 grant from the Playboy Foundation. That’s right – you can thank Hugh Heffner for the group. In fact, Heffner donated $100,000 per year to NORML. Today, it boasts 135 chapters and 550 attorneys among its ranks.
NORML is a registered nonprofit public interest organization that describes its mission as “[moving] public opinion sufficiently to legalize the responsible use of marijuana by adults.” Furthermore, the group “[advocates] for consumers to assure they have access to high-quality marijuana that is safe, convenient, and affordable.”
There’s a lot to unpack here. Essentially, NORML has dedicated itself to legalizing weed nationwide. To do that, they contact politicians, organize events, and provide information for everyday cannabis consumers.
How Can I Get Involved With NORML?
There are three main ways you can chip in to help NORML. First, you can contact lawmakers directly. Or, you can donate to help cover operating costs. Finally, if you really want to dive in, you can put in the groundwork to start a new NORML chapter.
Contact Your Legislators
If you’re the type who likes to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty, this may be an attractive option. This “boots on the ground” approach attempts to change cannabis policy from the top.
To make things easy, NORML has compiled and organized legalization info. You can browse by federal and state issues, and see how you can do your part to end cannabis prohibition.
You can let Congress know they shouldn’t spend your tax dollars enforcing weed laws? No problem. Or, tell President Biden that he should follow through on his promise to expunge cannabis-related criminal records.
Are you more of a behind-the-scenes helper than the hands-on type? No problem. Another way to support NORML is with your wallet. Although the organization sprung from a paltry $5,000, it costs significantly more to keep it running today.
You can donate to NORML using several channels. What’s more, donations to the organization can earn you some breaks on tax day.
Start a Chapter
Want to get involved with NORML, but no chapter in your area? You can always start your own! The group has posted guidelines on its website for anyone who wants to found their own NORML chapter.
If you follow these rules – which include regulations on minimum member count, tax status, and more – you can spark up an independent chapter. But make no mistake, it won’t be an easy task. This option is only for those with spare time, specialized knowledge, and hardcore dedication.