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.”

 

~

July 15, 2019

FDA Says It Is Speeding Up The…

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said on Friday that it was “expediting” its efforts to develop rules for CBD…
July 15, 2019

Univ. of Florida agricultural researchers cultivate industrial…

With the help of state lawmakers, industrial hemp is now a growing crop across the state of Florida. A new…
July 15, 2019

Cannabis helped mother go from bedridden to…

Melissa Vincent credits medical cannabis with allowing her to reconnect with her real self and her family.
July 15, 2019

Medical cannabis is gaining momentum in Asia…

With Thailand’s legalization of medical cannabis in February, some experts predict that other Southeast Asian countries may move to decriminalize…
July 12, 2019

Anxiety now qualifies for medical marijuana in…

The Pennsylvania Department of Health on Thursday added anxiety disorders and Tourette’s syndrome to the list of health conditions that…
July 12, 2019

Oregon Marijuana Surplus a Cautionary Tale for…

Five years after Oregon legalized recreational marijuana, its lawmakers now are trying to rein in production, fearing the state’s big…
July 12, 2019

US govt. growing largest crop of marijuana…

The U.S. government is growing the largest crop of research marijuana in five years, responding to interest in varieties with…
July 12, 2019

Why Cannabis Buyers Are Uniquely Vulnerable to…

Experts in the field of cyber security say North America’s emerging cannabis industry -- and its customers -- could be…
July 11, 2019

Growing Cannabis in Vermont, One Year After…

The law went into effect a year ago this month, making it legal for Vermonters over 21 and without a…
July 11, 2019

Why This Decades-Old Skincare Line is Now…

"My whole life lately seems to be about hemp," says Lily Morgan.
July 11, 2019

Is Medical Marijuana the Solution to the…

Studies suggest that medical cannabis might be an effective PTSD treatment. The VA has come out against bills that would…