Is NORML finally Normal?

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis and more, subscribe to Mother Jones' newsletters.


Five years ago, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws might as well have been a group of bible-burning terrorist skinheads. A politician who received a donation from NORML would probably return it. Sure, the occasional candidate for statewide office would seek the group’s support, says NORML director Allen St. Pierre, “but not the ones who weren’t bat shit crazy.” 

Recently, however, it’s starting to seem a lot more normal to be NORML. Two weeks ago, NORML received its first-ever request for an endorsement by a mainstream candidate for governor. Vermont Democrat Peter Shumlin wanted NORML’s stamp of approval and $6,000 from its political coffers, St. Pierre says. And Shumlin is actually polling four points ahead of his Republican rival.

There must have been something in the Rice Krispies that week, because soon after, NORML got a landmark endorsement and fundraising request from a mainstream candidate for state attorney general, Democrat Stan Garnett. If elected, he’ll be responsible for enforcing Colorado’s marijuana laws.

“I wasn’t sure I was going to live long enough to see mainstream political candidates contact us” asking for support and money, St. Pierre says. “So I think that is a clear tea leaf that we have arrived at.”

St. Pierre should probably thank another political oracle, California, where a ballot measure to legalize recreational pot, Proposition 19, is polling better than any of the state’s political candidates. It might even help elect some of them. And that could be the only evidence Washington needs to classify yesterday’s scourge as tomorrow’s wonder drug. 

Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.