Building on 2012′s Marijuana Victories

As an historic year for marijuana law reform comes to an end, I’m writing to ask you to help Marijuana Majority continue reshaping the debate in 2013.

Right now, our organization has no paid staffers and no office. We’re just a small group of activists trying to help more people realize that marijuana reform is a mainstream, majority-support issue and that no one who supports changing marijuana laws should be afraid to say so. was born on October 22. In just two short months, our message has resonated more than any I’ve seen in my ten years working in the marijuana reform movement. Tens of thousands of people like you have signed up to join the Marijuana Majority, hundreds of thousands have visited our website, and millions have seen our content on social media sites.

We need to continue to build on our momentum and educate millions more in 2013 about the sensibility of marijuana reform. Will you make a contribution to Marijuana Majority this holiday season and help pay our basic costs for 2013?

Contribute to Marijuana Majority today

As you know, the last couple months have been a whirlwind for the marijuana reform movement. And we’ve got a lot to be proud of.

On November 6, the debate surrounding this issue changed forever when Washington and Colorado voted to legalize marijuana. Marijuana Majority’s message played an important role: During the week of the election our content was seen by more than 3.5 million people on Facebook alone!

Since that historic day, Marijuana Majority has been critical to continuing the momentum for meaningful reform. Mayors like Svante Myrick, police chiefs like Paul Whitesell, lieutenant governors like Gavin Newsom, and so many others have stated their support for legalization. Prominent people are speaking out more than ever before and, as a result, the political climate is shifting before our very eyes.

Now, will you take a moment to make a generous contribution to Marijuana Majority, and help us raise the money we need to continue our work over the next year?

With your help, we can keep highlighting the growing consensus around marijuana reform. We’ll keep adding every prominent new endorsement to our website, and continue to create beautiful content that you’ll be proud to share with your friends.

Plus, we’re planning several new, game-changing campaigns to grow the Marijuana Majority that we’ll be deploying in 2013.

For example, we’ll soon be asking supporters to urge their mayors to come out in support of changing marijuana laws. These local officials are influential figures who often haven’t needed to take a position on marijuana reform (since they don’t vote regularly like legislators) but who see the harms that prohibition causes in their cities and towns. They’re the ones who have to deal with how marijuana enforcement drains police budgets, and they’re the ones who get calls when SWAT raids go wrong.

As such, mayors are ripe targets to be new voices for our movement. All we need to do is help them understand that this is important to their constituents, and that they will enhance their public standing by showing their support. We’ll announce more details about this campaign soon…

For now, can you make a contribution to Marijuana Majority so we know we’ll have enough support to transform our ideas into reality next year? It’s only with your help that we can keep spreading our message and building the majority.

Thanks in advance!

Tom Angell
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Reaction to President Obama’s Marijuana Enforcement Comments

President Obama told ABC News’s Barbara Walters in a new interview to be released tonight that “it would not make sense for us to see a top priority as going after recreational [marijuana] users in states that have determined that it’s legal.”

Here’s a statement in reaction from Marijuana Majority Chairman Tom Angell:

“The president’s statement about not targeting individual marijuana users doesn’t mark a shift in policy. The federal government rarely goes after individual users. The real question is whether the Obama administration will try to prevent voter-approved marijuana sales systems from being enacted or if they will force individual users to buy marijuana from the black market, where much of the profits go to cartels and gangs that kill people.

“The president also tries to unjustifiably pass the buck to Congress, claiming that there’s not much he can do to change federal policy on marijuana because ‘Congress has not yet changed the law.’ The fact is, the executive branch was granted the power to unilaterally reschedule marijuana when Congress passed the Controlled Substances Act in 1970. The president should lead on this issue instead of deferring to Congress, a branch of government that he probably knows better than most isn’t exactly prone to getting a whole lot done these days.

“One positive thing to take away from this interview is that the president couched his opposition to marijuana legalization by saying he doesn’t support it ‘at this point.’ That could indicate his position on this issue may ‘evolve’ to catch up with the majority of voters who now support letting states set their own marijuana laws, not unlike how his position on marriage equality ‘evolved’ as it became clear what direction the public was moving in.”

Excerpts from the interview, which will be released in full tonight, are online at

Does Bill Clinton Support Legalizing Marijuana?

That’s the question we ask in a new piece on Huffington Post:

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton is one of several prominent people who discuss the failure of the war on drugs in the new web documentary Breaking the Taboo.

Many news outlets have covered the fact that the former president is shown on screen saying the war on drugs “hasn’t worked.” But in an interesting segment that seems to have so far gone unnoticed by the press, Clinton says, about a third of the way into the film:

“We could have fighting and killing over cigarettes if we made it a felony to sell a cigarette or smoke one, so we legalize them. If all you do is try to find a police or a military solution to the problem, a lot of people die and it doesn’t solve the problem.”

To be sure, President Clinton isn’t seen explicitly endorsing the legalization of marijuana or any other currently illegal drug in the film, and we don’t know what he said just before or just after the above snippet. We also don’t know what question from the filmmakers prompted him to utter these words.

But he did use the L-word — legalize — in an unmistakably positive context in a documentary about the failure of drug prohibition. By giving an analogy about cigarettes, then saying “we legalize them” and following that up by talking about the violence that is caused by a law enforcement- and interdiction-focused response to drug problems, President Clinton is at the very least giving a serious head nod to the idea that “legalization” of other drugs is worth giving some consideration to.

This is very significant, coming from a former president who ramped up the war on drugs during his two terms.

Check out the full piece here. And make sure to share the link on Facebook and Twitter to start a conversation among your friends.

Mayor of Ithaca, NY Announces Support for Legalizing Marijuana

New Poll Shows 58% of U.S. Voters Support Legalization

ITHACA, NY — Svante Myrick, the mayor of Ithaca, NY, announced on Tuesday that he thinks it’s time to legalize marijuana. The 25-year-old elected official’s announcement comes one month after voters in Colorado and Washington strongly approved measures legalizing marijuana.

“Despite having arrested over 20 million people for marijuana nationally, a number larger than the entire population of New York State, marijuana prohibition has failed to make our communities safer,” Mayor Myrick announced exclusively to the organization Marijuana Majority. “By legalizing and regulating marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol we can free up our already overburdened courts and law enforcement agencies to focus on serious and violent crime. Plus, we can take money out of the hands of the criminal black market and generate enormous revenues for the government while creating thousands of new jobs. New York should lead on this issue just as we led on repealing alcohol prohibition.”

Mayor Myrick’s quote can be found at

Also on Tuesday, a new poll was released showing that 58% of American voters support legalizing marijuana and that 50% predict marijuana will be legal under federal law within the next 10 years. The full results of the poll, which was commissioned by Marijuana Policy Project, can be found at

“Marijuana prohibition’s days are numbered. New prominent voices are joining the chorus calling for change every day,” said Tom Angell, chairman of Marijuana Majority. “Most thoughtful politicians have known for a long time that our marijuana prohibition laws are broken, but until recently the issue was considered too controversial to speak out about. Now more elected officials are beginning to realize that working to repeal failed status quo policies is not only the right thing to do, but that there’s a large and growing constituency of voters who will have their backs in case out-of-touch opponents decide to launch stale ‘soft on crime’ attacks.”


Marijuana Majority exists to help people understand that replacing marijuana prohibition with solutions like legalization, decriminalization and medical marijuana are mainstream, majority-support positions, and that no one who supports reform should be afraid to say so.  More info at

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CONTACT: Tom Angell – (202) 557-4979 or

MSNBC Show Discusses Politics of Marijuana Legalization

MSNBC’s “Up with Chris Hayes” is an uncommonly smart and informative TV program. Airing on Saturdays and Sundays, it sets aside time to discuss serious issues in an in-depth way that not many other shows on cable news do.

This past Sunday, during the program’s regular “What You Should Know” segment, guest Katrina vanden Huevel of The Nation magazine informed viewers know about the historic marijuana legalization victories in Colorado and Washington, saying the votes mean “we have come one step closer to ending the ineffective, irrational and inhumane drug wars in this country.” She also makes sure to note that this political opportunity presents an ”opening for the president to instruct the Department of Justice to reprioritize the prosecution of marijuana cases.”

Check out the video, about 5:25 in to this clip:

As a bonus, if you rewind to the earlier part of the clip where host Chris Hayes is talking about the New York State Legislature and Gov. Andrew Cuomo, he says, “I care about…marijuana decriminalization,” calling the issue “extremely important.”