Higher Learning

The CU-NORML Newsletter
page 2

What is NORML?

Responsible Cannabis Use

What is NORML?

Our student organization is affiliated with the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML). What exactly is NORML, though? What does it represent and do? What does being a chapter mean for our organization? These are excellent questions, and here is the short answer.

NORML is the oldest and largest national organization dedicated solely to marijuana law reform. Since 1970, NORML has educated the public, litigated, and lobbied for a more reasonable treatment of marijuana consumers in federal, state, and local laws and policies. Some of NORML's accomplishments include testifying before President Nixon's National Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse, a commission which subsequently recommeded that marijuana use be decriminalized; spearheading a drive throughout the 1970's which resulted in 11 states decriminalizing possession (including New York); throughout the 1980's assisted state-level efforts on behalf of medical marijuana patients, which led to 36 states endorsing the medicinal use of marijuana; simultaneously waging a legal battle with the DEA to make marijuana legally available as medicine, a battle which continues, despite the 1988 ruling of chief DEA Administrative Law Judge Francis Young that the DEA should stop standing in the way of medical marijuana.

NORML has a national office in Washington D.C., nearly 100 local chapters and state affiliates nationwide, and a NORML Legal Committee comprised of over 250 of the nation's best marijuana defense lawyers. The national office coordinates the activities of these branches, serves as an information warehouse and distribution center, produces publications for members and the public, hosts an annual conference, and strives to reform federal marijuana laws.

NORML chapters and state affiliates monitor legislation and significant court cases in their locales, and more importantly, engage in political activism and represent NORML's agenda on the local and state level. Whether writing letters-to-the-editor, educating the public, debating local officials, lobbying their representatives, holding rallies and demonstrations, or running ballot initiatives, the chapters comprise the front line of our movement's activities against marijuana prohibition.

What does NORML want? NORML believes that the decision to consume marijuana is a personal one that should not be dictated by law. NORML supports the removal of all criminal and civil penalties for the private possession of marijuana for personal use. The right of possession should include other acts incidental to such possession, including cultivation and transportation for personal use and casual non-profit transfers of small amounts of marijuana. Removal of criminal penalties for the individuals who chose to use marijuana is consistent with traditional American values of personal choice, individual freedom, and the right to privacy.

NORML advocates a system of marijuana regulation that would include age restrictions, public health and agricultural controls, and taxation of marijuana sold for profit. A well-planned system of marijuana regulation would discourage abuse, protect public health and safety, reduce crime associated with marijuana's illicit distribution, and raise large sums of new tax revenue. Regulation is the inevitable replacement of prohibition.


Principles of Responsible Cannabis Use

While our organization completely supports the idea that the decision to use cannabis is a decision best left up to the individual, and not the government, we also recognize the risks inherent in marijuana use and intoxication. The following principles were formulated after extensive discussion among a large group of activists and marijuana users nationwide. CU-NORML strongly encourages all of its members to take these responsibilities seriously, and to make their relationship with marijuana a safe and positive one.

  1. ADULTS ONLY Cannabis consumption is for adults only. It is irresponsible to provide cannabis to minors against their parents' will.
  2. NO DRIVING The responsible cannabis consumer does not operate a motor vehicle or other dangerous machinery while under the effects of cannabis, nor (like all other responsible citizens) under the influence if any other substance or condition, including fatigue.
  3. SET AND SETTING The responsible cannabis consumer will consider her/his circumstances and gauge the appropriateness of her/his cannabis consumption accordingly, and observe acceped standards of courtesy.
  4. RESIST ABUSE Use if cannabis to the extent that it impair health, personal development or achievement is abuse, and is to be resisted.
  5. RESPECT THE RIGHTS OF OTHERS The responsible cannabis consumer respects the rights of others to have nothing to do with cannabis and its effects.



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