Pubdate: Thu, 20 Feb 2014
Source: Sacramento News & Review (CA)
Copyright: 2014 Chico Community Publishing, Inc.
Author: Ngaio Bealum


How does one get involved in the legalization lobby? Are Marijuana
Policy Project and National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana
Laws the only options, or are there groups?

- -T.H. Cee

I applaud you for wanting to get involved. There are so many
organizations working for weed that it's almost funny. Sometimes I
think it's like the scene in Monty Python's Life of Brian: There's
the Judean People's Front, The People's Front of Judea, and on and on.

You named the two biggies first. The MPP ( is a national
group that focuses mostly on direct lobbying and legal efforts to
decriminalize and relegalize marijuana. NORML ( is
probably the oldest marijuana-law-reform group in the country. It is
involved in all sorts of events, protests and court-support-type
things. NORML has a national office, and it is also has many smaller
local chapters. Check out

There is a Sacramento branch, but it is kind of small and a little
unorganized. Perhaps you can help out.

And I am going to give a shout-out to Americans for Safe Access
( It doesn't deal directly with cannabis
legalization, but it has been crazy effective in ensuring that
patients are allowed to use cannabis without going to jail.

You could also look into the Drug Policy Alliance (
and also Students for Sensible Drug Policy ( All are

Can a cannabis club have a bank account?

- -Lon Durer

Apparently, now it can. The Department of Justice has just announced
that state-recognized businesses doing legal marijuana trade can now
use banking services.

Previously, banks had been warned away from doing business with
cannabis clubs, because cannabis is a Schedule I narcotic (I know,
right?), and anyone accepting money from a cannabis club could be seen
as a money launderer.

There are a few catches: The banks are supposed to gather information
on how the cannabis business works and report any shadiness to the
DOJ. For some, it may be a small price to pay. Others may try to keep
their business cash-only, but having a bunch of cash around all the
time makes businesses a target for thieves and whatnot. Still, this is
another step in the right direction.

Oh, and: This new policy doesn't apply to California!

California still has no comprehensive statewide policy, and so no
clubs are state recognized, and once again, California
canna-businesses are left in the dust. Sigh.

Updates: Last week, I talked a bit about other countries' drug
policies (see "Dominoes falling," SN&R The 420, February 13). Italy
has just changed its drug laws about pot (Italy was equating
marijuana with heroin, and up to 40 percent of Italy's prisoners are
there on drug-related charges); the country expects to release about
10,000 prisoners.

And, after my column about pot etiquette (see "Tips for good stoner
etiquette," The 420, January 16), more than a few women commented that
people should be sure to remove their lipstick before they hit the
pipe or the blunt. Good advice.
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MAP posted-by: Matt