Marijuana legalization has been on a roll for the last couple of weeks… with April 15, 2013 quickly approaching, every state sanctioned medical marijuana collective across the United States is scrambling, trying to figure out how to pay their federal taxes. Meanwhile Pres. Barack Obama stood up at a town hall meeting and browbeat the NRA, as well as the 13 senators that have threatened to filibuster any gun-control legislation, despite 90% of Americans overwhelmingly supporting it. Similar to their backhanded approach of dealing with marijuana legalization. Ignore it, and hope they forget.
With 4.20 [April 20, 2013] rapidly approaching and the first-ever recreational High Times cannabis cup being held in Denver Colorado, this seemed like a perfect time to check in with High Times Magazine, as they ask Allen St. Pierre the Executive Director for the national organization to reform marijuana laws [NORML] a few timely questions about marijuana’s slow road to legalization.
Allen St. Pierre is executive director of NORML and the NORML Foundation. He was hired by NORML in early 1991 as communications director. In 1993 he became the organization’s deputy national director. Early in 1997, the NORML Foundation was created. Allen currently serves as its founding executive director. He has written, debated, and lectured extensively on the topic of cannabis and its prohibition. He has been cited in hundreds of international, national, and local news publications. He has also appeared on hundreds of nationally televised news programs and on over 1,000 radio shows representing NORML’s point of views on the topic of marijuana.
Do you think we will ever be allowed to grow without regulations making marijuana equal to backyard tomatoes or roses?
I think cannabis consumers should and will be able to cultivate cannabis at home in the same manner that the beer consumer can brew their own beer, and without the ability to sell it – absent a license – just like home brewers.
What’s the biggest obstacle to legalization?
The federal government and the myriad anti-drug bureaucracies and law enforcement agencies born of cannabis prohibition. These agencies spend a combined $26 billion annually on the War on Some Drugs. Congress continues to sanction and fund anti-marijuana-ism in culture, science, and law enforcement. Plus, there’s law enforcement and prison industry that lobby to maintain the status quo and continue another 75 years of cannabis prohibition. And don’t forget shortsighted medical cannabis businesses that favor medical access-only and continue to publicly oppose legalization efforts.
Do you have a prediction as to when Congress might take marijuana off the Schedule 1 list?
The New York Times’ political prognosticator extraordinaire Nate Silver has a predictive model in place that estimates that by the year 2020, 60 percent of the public will support legalization and removing cannabis from DEA Schedule – up from about 52 percent today. I would not bet against Nate.
Why is being a member of NORML important?
Social justice movements don’t begin or achieve their goals by having other, sympathetic third parties champion their stakeholdership, fund their liberation or their petitioning of the government for grievances. NORML was created by, and exists for, cannabis consumers who want to enjoy the same rights and responsibilities as our fellow adult consumers of tobacco and alcohol products.
Today, thankfully, there is a growing and broad political spectrum joining NORML’s 43-year-old call for substantive law reforms coalescing around the basic acknowledgement that there are better and more rational public policies for cannabis than Prohibition.
The end of the cannabis prohibition epoch is nearly upon us all and NORML is largely the sui generis of these long-sought public policy reforms.
What’s the dumbest thing you’ve heard this year?
A caller on a radio show suggested to me recently that NORML should rent a B-52 bomber loaded with cannabis seeds and spread them all over America. He said we should call it “Operation Overgrow the Government.”
My reply: “Cannabis has seeds?”