NORML national outreach coordinator Kevin Mahmalji: Image:  Eye and Eye Photography.
~
These are historic times for NORML, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.  For years after its founding in 1970, the organization was derided as primarily catering to a fringe group of outlaw stoners. 
 
But now, with some forms of cannabis use legal in nearly half of the United States and a multi-million-dollar legal marijuana industry that’s rapidly expanding, NORML is part of the mainstream political landscape. And in terms of politics, Kevin Mahmalji says 2016 could be a pivotal year for the cannabis legalization movement -- but only if a number of factors play out as expected.
 
As NORML’s national outreach coordinator, Mahmalji says what happens next is going to be in the hands of the states, and not the federal government.
 
“We have six to eight states looking at legalization (next year),” he tells WeedWorthy. “Right now I think there’s a total of 25 ballot initiatives, a combination of hemp, medical marijuana and legalization measures, across 17 states.”
 
Mahmalji compares the cultural and political positioning of cannabis legalization in the U.S. with where the gay marriage movement was several years ago.
 
“There were 13 states that legalized gay marriage before the federal government decided to even take a position and started weighing in on some of the court cases,” he notes. “We’ll have to have the same thing with marijuana.”
 
But that all depends, he adds, on how many states end up voting for legalization or decriminalization of cannabis next year.
 
“If it’s only three or four states in 2016,” he says, “I think it’s going to be another few years before we’ll see any action or major changes in policy by the federal government.”
 
In the meantime, ahead of next year’s elections, Mahmalji says NORML is focusing on federal measures like the CARERS (Compassionate Access, Research Expansion, and Respect States) Act in the Senate, a bill with bipartisan support that would, among other measures, protect state medical marijuana programs and policies from federal prosecution.

But NORML also helping its 150 or chapters in 42 states, in their efforts to get the word out to voters. “So wherever the 2016 ballots qualify, we’re there,” he says, “to lead the conversation on the state level, on the reform efforts.”

 

~

April 03, 2020

Trans-Atlantic hemp trade hit by uncertainties -…

Supply-chain disruptions and delivery delays have become the new normal for hemp and other agricultural commodities as governments keep their…
April 03, 2020

Older adults and medical marijuana: Reduced stigma…

As a primary care doctor who has incorporated medical cannabis into his practice, it is notable how many silver-haired patients…
April 03, 2020

Marijuana firms shift to virtual 4/20 celebrations…

Cannabis companies that were planning to host elaborate monthlong celebrations around 4/20 have been forced to change plans and are…
April 02, 2020

Illinois cannabis sales hit nearly $36 million…

According to the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, adult-use cannabis sales hit $35,902,543.22 in March.
April 02, 2020

USDA Approves Hemp Plans For South Carolina…

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced on Tuesday that is approved hemp regulatory plans for two additional states and…
April 02, 2020

Should COVID-19 Allow Medical Patients To Grow…

While some medical marijuana states allow home cultivation, others do not, potentially harming lives during the coronavirus outbreak.
April 02, 2020

Oklahoma Lawmakers Consider Recreational Marijuana To Fill…

COVID-19 is having a multi-million dollar impact on the state budget. One lawmaker said the solution might be to legalize…
April 01, 2020

Cannabis Scientists Are Chasing the Perfect High…

Chemists at some of the biggest legal-weed companies are after an elusive prize: a predictable, reliable product.
April 01, 2020

Hemp farming approved to begin in Georgia…

Hemp farming has finally gotten the green light to begin in Georgia, bringing a new crop that will sprout this…
April 01, 2020

Nevada marijuana deliveries are skyrocketing. Is this…

Much like the grocery stores trying to fill orders for rice and potatoes, cannabis retailers cannot fill marijuana delivery orders…
April 01, 2020

Study finds CBG useful in killing MRSA,…

Researchers at McMaster University in Canada recently published a paper describing how cannabigerol, the common cannabinoid known as CBG, killed…