National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws

National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws

National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws
Founded 1970
Founder Keith Stroup, Esq.
Focus Legalization or decriminalization of marijuana in the United States
  • Washington, D.C.
Area served
United States
Key people
Allen St. Pierre, Richard Cowan, Keith Stroup, Norm Kent

The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML ) is an American non-profit organization based in Washington, DC whose aim is to move public opinion sufficiently to achieve the NORML New Zealand, NORML Ireland,[2] NORML Canada and NORML UK.

In the 2006 United States midterm elections, NORML promoted several successful local initiatives that declared marijuana enforcement to be the lowest priority for local law enforcement. NORML claims that this frees up police resources to combat violent and serious crime.[3]


  • History 1
  • NORML Foundation 2
  • Media and activism 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


NORML was founded in 1970 by Continuing Legal Education (CLE)-accredited seminars. Its board of directors has, at times, included such prominent political figures as Senators Philip Hart, Jacob K. Javits, and Ross Mirkarimi.[4]

NORML Foundation

The NORML Foundation, the organization's tax-exempt unit, conducts educational and research activities. Examples of the NORML Foundation's advocacy work is a detailed 2006 report, Emerging Clinical Applications For Cannabis.[5] A comprehensive report with county-by-county marijuana arrest data, Crimes of Indiscretion: Marijuana Arrest in America, was published in 2005.[6]

In October 1998, NORML Foundation published the NORML Report on U.S. Domestic Marijuana Production that was widely cited in the mainstream media. The report methodically estimated the value and number of cannabis plants grown in 1997, finding that Michael Bloomberg quotes on his past use of pot, saying "You bet I did. And I enjoyed it." The mayor said "I’m not thrilled they’re using my name. I suppose there’s that First Amendment that gets in the way of me stopping it," but maintained that the NYPD will continue to vigorously enforce the laws.[9]

Media and activism

Signs advertising NORML at the Twin Cities Pride Parade

As an advocacy group, NORML has been active in spreading its message to the public.

In early 2009, a petition to President Barack Obama was written asking that he appoint a "Drug Czar" who will treat drug abuse as a health issue rather than a criminal issue and will move away from a "War on Drugs" paradigm. NORML's goal for this petition was 100,000 signatures.

Also in early 2009, when the Kellogg Company dropped its contract with Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps after pictures of him using a bong surfaced in the media, head members of NORML began boycotting Kellogg products and urging all members and supporters of NORML to boycott Kellogg, until the company reversed the decision. NORML also suggested that supporters of the cause send emails or letters to Kellogg explaining the boycott and the reasons behind it, even providing a template for emails and letters. Although Kellogg's profits did not suffer in the first quarter of 2009,[10] consumer ratings polls at Vanno[11] have been cited as indicating that Kellogg's reputation has suffered. Specifically, a small poll of Kellogg's brand reputation at Vanno showed a drop from its previous rank of 9 to 83 after Kellogg decided not to renew its contract with Michael Phelps.[12][13] It is not clear whether or not NORML's boycott played a significant role in this decline.

On April 20, 2009, NORML released the first national pro-marijuana television advertisement. The PSA, which overtly promotes the legalization of marijuana use, was created by Philadelphia filmmaker Jason Druss as an entry into NORML's annual video contest. The television commercial was discussed in the April 20, 2009 edition of The New York Times, CBS News, as well as hundreds of blogging and news websites.

On February 15, 2010, a 15-second Flash animation from NORML discussing the potential economic and financial benefit of legalized marijuana was deemed by CBS to be "too political" to display on billboards in New York City's Times Square. This drew criticism in the blogosphere and accusations of hypocrisy on Twitter, since CBS had recently aired an anti-abortion television spot during the 2010 Super Bowl.[14] CBS reversed its decision and the ad was debuted on the CBS Times Square Superscreen on April 20, 2010.[15]

See also


  1. ^ "NORML Policy on Personal Use". NORML. 2004-10-03. Retrieved 2008-08-26. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ "NORML: Frequently Asked Questions". National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. 
  4. ^ Carlson, Peter (January 1879). "Exhale, Stage Left". Washington Post. p. C01. 
  5. ^ "Recent Research on Medical Marijuana". National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. 2007-02-03. Retrieved 2007-04-22. 
  6. ^ "Crimes of Indiscretion". National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. 2005-03-07. Retrieved 2007-04-22. 
  7. ^ "NORML Report on U.S. Domestic Marijuana Production". National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. 2005-03-07. Retrieved 2007-04-22. 
  8. ^ Bailey, Eric (2006-12-18). "Pot is called biggest cash crop".  
  9. ^ NYC Mayor Bloomberg's Pot Use is NORML:
  10. ^ Scott Eden (2009-04-30). "Kellogg Beats Targets Despite Weaker Sales". TheStreet. Retrieved 2010-08-21. 
  11. ^ [2] Archived May 1, 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ "Dumping Phelps Over Bong Rip Damages Kellogg's Brand Reputation". The Business Insider. 2009-02-23. Retrieved 2009-04-20. 
  13. ^ "Kellogg's Brand Damaged By Dumping Michael Phelps". The Huffington Post. 2009-02-24. Retrieved 2009-04-20. 
  14. ^ "CBS rejects NORML legalization billboard, but accepts "Black Children are an Endangered Species" anti-abortion billboard". NORML. 2010-02-15. Retrieved 2010-08-21. 
  15. ^ "Foundation To Launch Second NYC Times Square Billboard Campaign New Ad Debuts On April 20 On The CBS Super Screen". NORML. Retrieved 2010-08-21. 

External links