Chicago NORML, a local chapter of the oldest pro-marijuana advocate group in the country, invites and encourages all of the candidates for the 2018 elections to weigh in on their positions about marijuana.
NORML, the National Organization to Reform Marijuana Laws, was founded in 1970 and has over 150 state, regional and college chapters in the US and abroad.
The Chicago chapter was started last August by a group of minority cannabis activists, business owners, and employees, who realized that minorities were not getting access to the same information about the health and economic benefits of the cannabis industry as their white counterparts.
“We kept seeing the same five black faces at all the cannabis industry events”, says Donte Townsend, the chapter’s Communication’s Director, “It wasn’t until we started galvanizing our resources that the diversity started to grow. It still isn’t where it should be, but it’s a good start”.
Their 2018 initiatives include workplace training for those who wish to find employment in a dispensary or cultivation center, an expungement summit to help ex-offenders clear their record of cannabis-related charges, and exposing unfair workplace drug testing on patients who legally use the plant for health reasons.
Chicago NORML, who signs all correspondence with #GoNORML, is distributing a list of questions to each candidate of each seat, that might influence cannabis legislation in their communities.
“We’ve spoken to a lot of people who have thrown their hat in the ring for the upcoming elections. Some of those seats, the State’s Attorney General, for instance, will be very important to cannabis patients, advocates, and business owners. Because Illinois doesn’t vote by referendum, these people will be able to decide the fate of cannabis in our state. We deserve to know what their opinions are”, says board officer Edie Moore.
Chicago NORML encourages interested parties to become a member and join their monthly meetings. Find out more: ChicaGoNorml.org, Facebook.com/ChicaGoNorml, @ChicaGoNORML
Illinois has had a pilot medical marijuana program since 2014. It will sunset in 2020. The current administration has done little to expand or improve the program, which the law allows for and intends. How will you work to improve the medical cannabis program and make it permanent?
Draft legislation has been written in Illinois to legalize marijuana for adult recreational use as it has become legal in 8 other states. How do you feel about Jeff Sessions’ recent actions which deny states the right to legalize cannabis for adult use?
What percentage of the outstanding cultivation and dispensary licenses will be allocated to minority-owned businesses? How would you make the process fair for those minority businesses to apply?
If the Adult Use Bill is passed, there will likely be a provision which allows for those with prior cannabis convictions to be overturned. Can you describe the exact process (or one that you would support) that an individual will have to go through to get their cannabis-related charges expunged?
Other states such as California have allocated tax revenues from cannabis sales to neighborhoods that have been disenfranchised and negatively affected by the failed war on drugs. What percentage of IL cannabis tax revenue would you allocate to our communities, for which specific purposes, and distributed by what means?