What is NORML-NJ?
NORML NJ is the New Jersey state chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. NORML NJ is a non-profit corporation dedicated to uniting the millions of New Jersey supporters of marijuana reform.
NORML-NJ Board of Trustees
Rick Cusick, Chair
NORML-NJ Advisory BOARD
Thomas Lorenzo Reynolds
Why Support Marijuana Reform?
In short, marijuana prohibition is based upon archaic myths and untruths, and should no longer be tolerated. Modern scientific evidence reveals what many who have tried marijuana already realize- that marijuana is not only relatively harmless and non-addictive to the human body (making it much safer than alcohol and tobacco), but that it possesses immense medicinal value.
Despite the fact that marijuana has proven greatly beneficial in the treatment of many illnesses and conditions, the sick and dying are denied access to what, in many cases, is the best or only medicine known to science.
Additionally, despite the stigma that marijuana use is a fringe activity, almost one out of every two Americans is estimated to have tried marijuana. Its use, therefore, is extremely normal. Due to its ubiquitous prevalence in American society, it is neither democratically appropriate nor equitable to continue to criminally punish marijuana usage when almost half of the population has engaged in its safe use. Regulating and taxing marijuana would instantly remove marijuana from the black market, generate billions of precious dollars in new tax revenue, save millions of dollars in wasted police and judicial resources in New Jersey alone, create countless new jobs and immediately put the drug dealers on the street out-of-business permanently- making access by children much more difficult- much like alcohol regulation.
If everyone who tried marijuana was arrested, prosecuted and jailed, pursuant to our current draconian marijuana laws, over 100 million Americans would be in prison. Instead, the criminal sanction gets applied disproportionately to the poor, minority and generally unlucky who happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Although much of the rest of the world is quickly moving towards a rational decriminalization policy on marijuana, in the United States, marijuana prohibition and criminal prosecution continues to needlessly and unfairly destroy the lives and careers of millions of otherwise good, hard-working, productive and responsible American citizens.
More than 840,000 Americans were arrested on marijuana charges last year alone and more than 6 million Americans have been arrested for marijuana offenses in the past decade.
This is a misapplication of the criminal sanction and wastes valuable law enforcement resources which should be focused on violent crime and terrorism. Marijuana use can and should be decriminalized and regulated in the same manner as is alcohol consumption.
Industrial hemp could be the cash crop farmers need in order to revitalize New Jersey and America’s agricultural economy, but there are some legal challenges to face before farmers can reap the benefits of hemp cultivation. On August 2, 2012, Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) introduced S. 3501, the Senate companion bill to H.R. 1831 (introduced by Rep. Ron Paul on May 12, 2011), also known as the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2011. This bill would amend the current text of the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 to exclude industrial hemp from the definition of marijuana, which is classified under this act as a Schedule I drug. Industrial hemp, he reasons, should not be listed as a Schedule I controlled substance because it does not have a high potential for abuse, which is the #1 criterion for this title. Industrial hemp possesses far less than the necessary amount of psychoactive ingredient THC to produce any psychotropic effects. Although hemp and marijuana are both members of the cannabis family, they are genetically and chemically separate. Most industrialized nations are aware of the difference between these two crops and have been able to create thriving hemp industries while leaving marijuana out of the equation.
Hemp seeds are rich in Omega-3 fatty acid and provide a safe, mercury-free, vegetarian alternative to fish-sourced Omega-3 as part of a healthy diet. They are delicious and versatile and can be added to salad, pasta, yogurt, and more for a boost of protein, calcium, and fiber. They contain all 21 amino acids, including the 9 essential ones the human body cannot produce. The hemp plant can also be used to create rope, clothing, textiles, biofuel, paper, insulation material, fiber boards, concrete walls, plastics, car parts, and many other products. Hemp is also an ecologically superior choice when compared with timber, petroleum, mined metals, and other conventional industrial resources because of its low demand for water, its short growing season, and its soil-remediating properties. More and more builders and homeowners are choosing to incorporate hemp into their homes and businesses because of its excellent temperature control qualities that help people save on heating and cooling costs, as well as its mold and mildew-resistance to improve lung health. This is just what is happening now with hemp; world history is full of examples of the thousands of uses for hemp.
So far, thirty-one states have introduced hemp legislation, nineteen have passed legislation, and eleven have removed barriers to hemp production or research. These states are pending approval from the Drug Enforcement Administration to grow hemp, keeping millions of Americans from building a national industry that rivals global competitors that feed the multi-million dollar importation purchases of foreign hemp products from China, Canada, and many European countries. Legislators nationwide realize the potential of this incredible crop to revitalize their state economies by creating rewarding jobs in an unprecedented hemp farming industry. The only challenge left to meet is that of federal prohibition of industrial hemp under marijuana laws. If New Jersey joins this coalition of states and passes a bill that allows the state to license farmers to grow hemp, the federal government will be further pressured to amend the law that prevents New Jersey residents from creating a livelihood in a promising agricultural industry.
What can someone do to help?
Simple! Join NORML NJ and our message will grow. Becoming a member of NORML NJ is the single most important thing you can do to assist the movement. As a cohesive unit, we can ensure that our outdated marijuana laws are changed. You will get the satisfaction of knowing that you are helping to unite millions of New Jersey residents who share your views. As a member, you can be as active as you desire; from simply enjoying our bi-monthly membership newsletter, to attending our social events and fundraiser’s where like minded individuals gather, to lending a hand in grass roots educational efforts.
Please also consider making a donation, in any amount, to help our efforts. Donations are used to fund NORML-NJ projects like our "Sensible New Jersey" ballot initiatives, education initiatives, maintaining our internet presence, printing information materials and generally attempting to end prohibition here in the Garden State.
How can I Donate to NORML-NJ?
Just click the DONATE NOW button at the top-left of this page.
From the NORML-NJ Board of Trustees - Thank you for your interest in NORML-NJ and we urge you to join us in ending marijuana prohibition!