Live from NORML – Advocacy Group Founder on Public Support for Legalization

Posted October 4, 2012 in Criminal Law Marijuana by

    Dale Gieringer, Ph.D., Keith Stroup, Esq. and Mitch Earleywine, Ph.D., speaking this morning at the NORML national conference

Dale Gieringer, Ph.D., Keith Stroup, Esq. and Mitch Earleywine, Ph.D., speaking this morning at the NORML national conference

NORML founder Keith Stroup warns marijuana reform advocates not to sit idly by as support for legalization in the United States swells beyond 50 percent.

Speaking this morning in Los Angeles at the 41st annual national conference of NORML, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, Stroup stressed the importance of seizing the day.

“When we won decriminalization in Nebraska in 1978, we didn’t win another thing until California passed its law in 1996,” Stroup said. “Don’t take the public support we currently enjoy for granted. I think we will keep it, but I thought so, too, in the late seventies.”

“Make hay while the sun shines, isn’t that the saying?”

California voters passed Proposition 215 in 1996, making it the first state to legalize medical marijuana.

 

“Let’s legalize marijuana now while we have that support.”

Stroup said he understands the frustration of activists and legislators who struggle to craft ideal marijuana legislation, but that there will be time for fine-tuning later.

“Don’t focus on perfection with these initiatives,” he said. “There is no guarantee you’ll have the support you need a few years from now. Let’s legalize marijuana now while we have that support.”

 


Previously reported on Lawyers.com:

Live from NORML — Western States Prepare for Marijuana Legalization Votes

Live from NORML — Lifelong Republican Questions Party’s Pot Position

Live from NORML – Activists Slam Obama for Broken Promises

Connecticut Begins Registering Medical Marijuana Patients


 

Non-marijuana users are essential to that growing support base, he added.

Marijuana: The End of Prohibition logo“Only 11 percent to 13 percent of the population smokes,” he said. “Our argument must appeal to the majority of non-smokers. That is precisely what they’ve done in Colorado and Washington, and that is why those initiatives are gaining support.”

November ballots in Colorado and Washington will both contain amendments to legalize marijuana for recreational use, and both efforts are leading narrowly in the latest polls.

Mitch Earlywine, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Psychology at the State University of New York at Albany, echoed Stroup’s sentiment while speaking at the conference. He said the key to appealing to non-smokers is to promote the benefit of more efficient, dedicated law enforcement.

“This is going to increase the peace,” he said. “When police officers aren’t at the precinct fingerprinting someone for possession of an ounce, they’re out there going after rapists and murderers.”

 

Are you among the growing majority of Americans who support marijuana legalization? Let us know in the comments section below.

 

Tagged as: , , , ,