Live from NORML – Advocacy Group Founder on Public Support for Legalization
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:
Non-marijuana users are essential to that growing support base, he added.
“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.”
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.