National NORML Board Endorses AUMA Legalization Initiative in CA


At a board meeting held on Saturday, February 20th in Washington, DC, the NORML Board of Directors voted to endorse the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA) voter initiative to legalize marijuana in California.

The NORML Board reversed its former policy of waiting until an initiative has officially qualified for the ballot before endorsing it, believing our endorsement could have a greater impact on the eventual outcome if it came earlier in the process.

The Board took this action aware there are other proposed initiatives in California that include provisions that are even more consumer-friendly, but those alternatives have little chance of qualifying for the ballot or being approved by a majority of the state’s voters.

The AUMA proposal will end marijuana prohibition; legalize personal use and possession by adults of an ounce of marijuana, and personal cultivation of up to six plants of marijuana; license dispensaries in which marijuana can be used publicly; and establish a legally regulated market where consumers can obtain their marijuana.

AUMA also enjoys the political support of several other pro-reform organizations, as well as the California Medical Association, the California NAACP, and CA Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, and has the financial support required to mount a professional campaign in California.

The NORML Board also endorsed full legalization initiatives expected to appear on the ballot in Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, and Arizona; as well as medical use initiatives expected to appear on the ballot in Missouri and Florida.

About Author

Keith Stroup is a Washington, DC public-interest attorney who founded NORML in 1970. Stroup first smoked marijuana when he was a first-year law student in 1965 and has been a regular smoker and a cannabis activist ever since. In 1992 Stroup was the recipient of the Richard J. Dennis Drugpeace Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Drug Policy Reform presented by the Drug Policy Foundation; in 2010 he received the Al Horn Award from the NORML Legal Committee for a lifetime of work advancing the cause of justice; and in 2012, Stroup received the High Times Lifetime Achievement Award. Keith currently serves as NORML's Legal Counsel and on NORML's Board of Directors. He resides in Falls Church, Virginia with his wife.


  1. The part I do not like is you endorse this one though we know the other is better. Stated that it does not have a chance to get the votes so going with the one limiting individuals and grossly favoring “big pot”. No board of any organization is going to dictate my choices or concerns. I have fought and suffered for decades to get this far. (Grew my first cannabis plant in 1968. It was purple sins. from Santa Cruz).
    This is the old fashioned cop out as far as I am concerned. Operate out of fear if you like. I will not.
    Oh yeah, the year you founded Norml I went to prison for a tiny amount of drugs. At Soledad prison going in and coming out all they said, “Boy, you better stay away from that marijuana”. My thought was, “So this is what you are afraid of”. Two and a half years out of my life.

    Now there are committees and lawyers and Canadian tobacco companies involved. All after the cash potential developed with other peoples hard work and determination. In fact, the most benefiting from this thing with big time profits are the same people that profited on destroying people over cannabis.

    The fight is not over until churches stop getting involved in politics to make sure their communities obey their forty year old teachings about cannabis. It is not over until there is no law against cannabis. All laws being formed so far are making so many concessions there are only scraps left for those that pioneered this movement.

    I am old now. I grow as many plants as I want for my purposes. Mostly it is for me but if I choose to sell a friend some I will. I will do it without consulting anyone because I am a free man and I will do as I please as long as I hurt no one.

    The state narcs took me on in Los Angeles and I beat them defending myself in superior court though I did time for another bust. Actually, I made a fool out of the deputy district attorney. My time in the high power tank fighting my case was not fun and it was a long time. My family and most communities reject me due to criminal record and that I consume cannabis. No matter that I did big time for tiny infraction.
    This is an old stoner that will be free to do as he pleases until the day he dies. Take me on if you dare. Trust me, I am not alone.

    OK, I vented and feel better. Thanks, Dave

    • “It is not over until there is no law against cannabis.” True, that is the end goal but we have to start somewhere. It is very important that we approve legalization in California this year regardless of what initiative does it because the cannabis reform movement is relying heavily on California legalizing this year. California is the most populous state in the country, has the largest cannabis market in the country, and has the world’s 8th largest economy. A victory in California would accelerate the progress toward ending federal prohibition and would increase the cannabis reform momentum tenfold. No AUMA is definitely not perfect, but it definitely does improve some things for cannabis consumers. There are no limits on possession in your home, you can legally have up to 8 grams of concentrates in public (possession of any amount of concentrates is currently a felony if you don’t have a card), and it allows for on site consumption lounges where adults can consume cannabis in a social setting similar to a bar.

      And many MMJ patients have just recently had their personal cultivation rights taken away from them thanks to the new MMJ regulations that the governor signed into law, and those bans on personal cultivation are likely to remain in place if AUMA fails this November. But under AUMA, all localities are prohibited from banning personal cultivation and while AUMA’s cultivation provisions definitely need to be improved on, its still better than patients being prohibited from growing a single plant. So I think that at the end of the day, its worth it to pass AUMA.

      • This year regardless of what initiative is wrong! No argument will make it right. I have waited over 48 years and no pencil pusher is going to tell me I have to do anything. Throwing the whole ball of wax to the same people that held cannabis and it’s users down for profit is not going to fly.
        Before WWII a certain person made concessions with Hitler and his name and the deed went down in shame as Hitler crashed into Poland.
        This could be a disaster of historic proportions. Allows lounges huh. Total freedom or the fight is not over.

        No appeasements!

        • No actually, you’re the only one who’s in the wrong. You come off as a greedy grower against legalization or like Miles Monroe said in his comment below, a status quo prohibitionist. I pointed out the reasons why it’s so important that legalization gets approved in California this year, and the new freedoms that would be granted under AUMA, but you don’t seem to care about the cannabis reform movement as a whole or about cannabis consumers getting more freedom.

          The only reason why people like you are against any legalization measure that has what it takes to make the ballot and get approved is because you’re (99.5% of the time financially) benefitting off of the current status quo and don’t really want the law to change, and no argument you give will make you appear any differently.

          Total cannabis freedom is the goal, but you’re not going to get there in one election cycle. Like cannabis radio host Russ Belville said, people like you probably would’ve opposed the emancipation proclamation just because it didn’t also include interracial marriage and the election of Barack Obama. In case you weren’t aware, there’s a key demographic to getting legalization initiatives passed called the “marijuana middle” these people are the lifeblood to successful legalization initiatives and they are soccer moms, parents with young kids, non smokers etc., these people are still on the fence about legalization but also think that prohibition hasn’t really worked and are open to taking a new approach. How do you think they would react if an initiative called “treat cannabis exactly like tomatoes” was put in front of them? They’d vote it down in a heartbeat and no legalization initiative has ever won without majority support from that key demographic. And if you look back to the days of alcohol prohibition, you could only buy beer that had an ABV of 3% for awhile after it was repealed and it wasn’t until after restrictions started easing that alcohol consumers got more freedom and more products with a higher ABV became available. The same thing will happen with cannabis prohibition.

          And just so you know, if AUMA does fail this November, then the strict new MMRSA regulations will be the only laws regarding cannabis for years to come. And when the next election comes around, the legalization initiative for the 2020 ballot probably won’t be much different from AUMA because they’ll want to make sure it complies with the MMJ regulations and also use the Blue Ribbon Commission’s report to craft that initiative as well. I know that none of this will change your mind about AUMA, but at least you know what you’re in for if it doesn’t pass and what would change if it does pass.

          • Bob Cratchet on

            That just BS. People want legalization and the ability to grow some plants (in every part of the state – and outdoors if they wish) like what OR got. They dont want 60+ pages of bullcrap and unintended consequences. Quit trying to put words into other peoples’ mouth, you shill.

          • Superstorm250 on

            Actually you’re the one who needs to quit doing that seeing as how that’s what you’re currently doing, you prohibitionist lite. Did you also know that OR can only grow 4 plants while AUMA gives you 6 and that AUMA also makes personal indoor cultivation un-bannable? And also that AUMA creates onsite consumption lounges for adults to smoke in a public social place, just like a bar. Oregon doesn’t have that either and it’s also laughable that the page number of AUMA is such a big complaint for you, maybe you should just move to a full prohibition state since you like prohibition so much.

        • Most appropriate you referencing fascism, since you and your “215” economy cohorts are employing one of the fundamental political tactics of that movement–and the one that’s always been the primary tool of *all* cannabis prohibitionists, not coincidentally: If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.

          Explain this one to us, comrade: If AUMA is *so* horrible, how come NONE of the *non-industry* organizations advocating cannabis reform, like CA-NORML, and in particular, patients rights or social justice, like ASA and the NAACP, are screaming fire in the movie theater, especially since they’d have a vested interest in doing so; or are Americans for Safe Access and the NAACP collaborators in your Darth Parker Conspiracy theory too?!

      • Bob Cratchet on

        “It is very important that we approve legalization in California this year regardless of what initiative does”

        Wow – brilliant logic. How about we do what they did in Ohio and reject a shitty law to force a better one?

        • Superstorm250 on

          Actually your suggestion is what’s really far from brilliant since its scatterbrained prohibitionist lite logic. Is Ohio voting on legalization this November? No they’re not, but they could’ve had it. Their monopoly structure was definitely wrong, but at least people wouldn’t be going to jail for possession and growing anymore if it would’ve passed. And I’m pretty sure that no law that ever makes the ballot will ever be good enough for you and you’ll think of any reason to oppose it. You’re actually just fine with prohibition and want to keep it that way.

          • Bob Cratchet on

            And so your ad hominem attacks are some sort of rebuttal to the persons identifying flaws (rather serious ones) in the AUMA?

            I don’t see you addressing the very real problems with it. Expecting all of the good effects without looking out for the possible negatives is simplistic, blinkered, magical thinking.

            People in CA dont have to go to jail for having weed now. Get off your butt and go get a rec.

  2. My personal Opinion? based on real experience? NORML really does not support real legalization, they are a greedy group that follows the same doctrine of the Pharmaceuticals. they want to keep it illegal to keep you donating money to them. Ohio Norml literally kicked many dues payers out of norml, (by blocked us from facebook pages) for doing the so terrible thing of, Supporting Legalization in Ohio. Not all norml chapters / states are like this but i kept asking national to respond and they did, they blocked me too. If you have money to donate? give it to the grass roots groups actually trying to pass legalization instead of people that only want your money but honestly work very hard to keep Prohibition in place.

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