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Associations Pushing For Marijuana Legalization

Did you know there is a group of Republicans advocating for marijuana reform? Now that marijuana is legal in DC, we searched for the associations pushing for legalization in other parts of the country. Here's what we found:

NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws)


Location: Washington, DC
Established: 1970
Mission: To move public opinion sufficiently to legalize the responsible use of marijuana by adults and advocate for consumers to have access to high-quality, safe, affordable and convenient marijuana. 
Executive director: Allen St. Pierre
Number of members: NORML doesn’t release membership totals. It has over 1.5 million Facebook fans; 178,000 Twitter followers; and 133,000 listserv subscribers. 
Annual budget: Over $750k for NORML and the NORML Foundation. 
Public policy focus: Supports removing all penalties for private possession of marijuana by adults, cultivation for personal use, and casual nonprofit transfers of small amounts; developing a legally controlled market for marijuana; advocates for marijuana for medical purposes; and supports use of industrial hemp for various commercial uses like paper, textiles and cosmetics.

Marijuana Policy Project


Location: DC
Established: 1995
Mission: To reform US marijuana laws to remove criminal penalties for marijuana use and making marijuana medically available to seriously ill people who have doctor’s approval.
Executive director: Rob Kampia (above)
Number of members: 125,000
Public policy focus: Allow seriously ill patients to use medical marijuana; replace marijuana prohibition with sensible regulations; reduce White House drug czar’s budget for deceptive ad campaigns; and build coalitions to advocate for marijuana policy reform.

Students for Sensible Drug Policy


Location: DC
Established: 1999
Mission: International grassroots network of students working to end the war on drugs. 
Executive director: Betty Aldworth
Number of active chapter members (2013-2014): 3,142
Public policy focus: Overall drug policy reform, including passing Call 911 Good Samaritan policies; eliminate zero tolerance drug policies; and let states determine their own legal drinking age.

Republicans Against Marijuana Prohibition


Location: Houston
Established: 2012
Mission: Nonprofit, political caucus within the GOP that recognizes that banning marijuana is a failed policy. Organization pushes conservative principles of limited government, personal responsibility, economic opportunity and fiscal responsibility.
President/CEO: Ann Lee (above, second from right, at CPAC last week)
Public policy focus: To reform marijuana laws by working within the GOP to educate and connect with lawmakers, party leaders and grassroots activists.


Law Enforcement Against Prohibition


Location: Silver Spring, MD
Established: 2002
Mission: To educate the public and policymakers about the failure of current drug policy and to restore the public’s respect for police, which has been diminished by law enforcement’s involvement in imposing drug prohibition. 
Executive director: Major Neill Franklin
Number of members: 150,000 supporters, including police, judges, prosecutors, federal agents, corrections officers and civilians.
Annual budget: $755k
Public policy focus: Advocates for a legalization, regulation and control approach to drug policy, with a focus on harm reduction and public health.

National Cannabis Industry Association


Location: Denver
Established: 2010
Mission: Promotes the growth of a responsible and legitimate cannabis industry. 
Executive director: Aaron Smith
Number of members: 900 businesses
Annual budget: $2M
Public policy focus: Advocates for the same tax deductions as other businesses; encourage more banks to work with businesses involved in the sale of cannabis; working to allow states to establish their own systems for regulating cannabis without federal interference; and pushing for US Attorneys to not prosecute individuals and businesses acting in compliance with state medical marijuana laws.