Nation's Oldest Cannabis Reform Group Responds To Biden Pardon Of Federal Marijuana Offenses


The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) has been advocating for cannabis legalization before some of us were born.

Keith Stroup founded NORML in 1970 using $5,000 in seed money from the Playboy Foundation. Stroup, an attorney, and his colleagues kept up the work for nearly four decades thanks to a monthly stipend from an earlier version of High Times Magazine, among other supporters. Today, NORML has a large grassroots network with 135 chapters, over 550 lawyers and is still growing.

Throughout these often tumultuous years, NORML didn’t blink or stagger at the government’s attempts to intimidate during the War on Drugs and the worst days of cannabis prohibition.

This is NORML’s response to President Biden’s Thursday announcement to pardon all prior federal offenses of simple marijuana possession. 

NORML’s executive director Erik Altieri issued the following statement:

“Many of the efforts taken and proposed by the President today are long overdue. For nearly two years, NORML has called upon the Administration to fulfill the President’s campaign promise to provide relief to those stigmatized with a low-level cannabis conviction. We are pleased that today President Biden is following through on this pledge and that he is also encouraging governors to take similar steps to ensure that the tens of millions of Americans with state-level convictions for past marijuana crimes can finally move forward with their lives. Since 1965, nearly 29 million Americans have been arrested for marijuana-related violations — for activities that the majority of voters no longer believe ought to be a crime. 

“Moving forward, the Administration must work collaboratively with Congressional leadership to repeal America’s failed marijuana criminalization laws. Nearly half of voters now agree that legalizing marijuana ought to be a priority of Congress, and such action can only be taken by descheduling cannabis and repealing it from the US Controlled Substances Act — thereby regulating it in a manner similar to alcohol. Congress should be inspired by the Administration’s actions today to act quickly and send legislation to the President’s desk that would help close this dark chapter of our history.”




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