Canada’s cannabis community once again has its own national lobby group, as NORML Canada rose from the ashes in October 2004 to take on the nation’s pot prohibition.
America’s National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) was founded in 1972, and is the nation’s most recognized pot reform lobby. Although Canadian activists formed their own version of the organization in 1978, it has never been an active force in the Canadian political scene, until now.
“With a minority government in power, now is the time,” said renowned BC lawyer and Canadian constitutional expert John Conroy in an interview with Cannabis Culture. Conroy, who has fought several major legal challenges to Canada’s marijuana laws, is the driving force behind the revitalization of NORML Canada. He has brought together an impressive range of prominent Canadians to be part of the organization.
NORML Canada’s board of advisors includes Canadian Senator Pierre Claude Nolin, who chaired the Senate committee which released a comprehensive 600-page report on marijuana in 2002, concluding that pot should be fully legalized (CC#40, Canadian Senate recommends legalization).
Also advising is Marie Andre Bertrand, Professor Emeritus in the School of Criminology at the University of Montreal. Bertrand is also a former member of the LeDain Commission, which recommended Canada decriminalize marijuana back in 1971.
John Conroy and fellow famed pot lawyer Alan Young are the President and Vice President, respectively. Jody Pressman, a marijuana activist who organized the Fill the Hill protest, is now the Executive Director.
A number of prominent marijuana activists have also taken on advisory roles to the organization, including Cannabis Culture publisher Marc Emery, Canadian Marijuana Party leader Marc-Boris St Maurice, Vancouver Island Compassion Society founder Phillippe Lucas, and Dominic Cramer of Canadians for Safe Access.