NORML Takes Laurel Award for Advocacy

Norml Wins Laurel Awards for Advocacy

Starting in November of 2015, we asked the cannabis community to nominate and vote for their favorite individuals, products, and organizations in the field for the inaugural Laurel Awards.

We weren’t sure what to expect, but we quickly took stock of the major players in the industry as more than 1,100 initial nominations and well over 7,500 official votes were submitted. The top winner by people’s choice in each of the ten categories will hold the honor for one year.


The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws

Winner of the Laurel for Most Influential Cannabis Industry Advocacy Group

It’s no surprise that this organization still holds relevance with the cannabis community. NORML, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, is the longest-running and largest cannabis advocacy group in the world. The group focuses specifically on working to change cannabis and hemp laws at the local, state, and federal level.

Last year, NORML was involved in or closely followed several landmark reforms and upsets that influenced the cannabis community, bringing much-needed information from the front lines of the courts and legislature to the masses.

Keith Stroup, an Illinois attorney, founded the organization in the 1970s after being inspired by Ralph Nader’s fundraising prowess. Stroup’s work laid the foundation for cannabis activists for years to come, and the organization has grown to include nearly 200 of chapters worldwide. He still does advocacy work and blogs for the organization.

NORML is now headed by Executive Director Allen St. Pierre, with headquarters and staff in the Washington, D.C. area.

The nonprofit consists of several subsidiaries, including NORML PAC, NORML Foundation and NORML Business Network, all working to fund and tackle cannabis reform in different ways. The organization’s advisory board consists of celebrities and public figures who support legalization and advance the message in the media.

Though local chapters of any national organization are bound to experience flux and tension over time, NORML has been a steadfast resource for the community for longer than many of us have been around, and in an industry that is constantly changing and evolving, there’s something to be said for that.

To get involved, visit

  • jimheffner

    Congrats. Who’d have thunk that Hugh’s original $5,000 could have enough leverage to bring NORML this far. Keep on truckin’.

    • Kathleen Chippi

      it’s the trust from Hightimes that gives them a pulse to remain….and ignorant ‘stoners’ paying big bucks for NORML paraphernalia and parties…..

  • Lynn-no-duh

    NORML? Really? In Missouri, NORML is a prohibitionist group. Their primary focus is fund raising, while their tardy proposal Constitutionally protects corporate profiteers, at great expense to people in need of cannabis. NORML is the biggest obstacle we have to re-legalizing this non-toxic, miraculous plant. Why be NORML, when you can Support Missouri Cannabis Restoration and Protection Act which will revolutionize Missouri’s economy and restore the people’s right to this miraculous plant.

    • TroutBum420

      Yah sure, NORML in MO is a prohibitionist group and the biggest obstacle in the state to legalization? That is insanity. Period.

      Don’t you think that maybe police, prosecutors and prison guard unions are biggest obstacles to MO legalizing cannabis rather than America’s oldest and largest pro-reform organization? How about the governor? Or Attorney General?

      Why lie about a group like NORML?

      Folks who care about ending cannabis prohibition should join and support non-profit groups like the chapters of NORML in MO and ShowMeCannabis.

      • Lynn-no-duh

        I’m not lying! NORML has misled thousands of people here, taking their money (cuz that’s what they are all about: fundraising) under the guise of promoting legalization. The lame, costly, limited medical-only proposal they are backing is loaded with fees and ridiculous limitations, ensuring the cost of cannabis will be needlessly high, and growing a whole new enormous Big Government bureaucracy within the Dept. of Health and Senior Services. That’s “reforming marijuana laws” alright, with continued prohibition. The proposal they are backing is just as bad as the one they came up with last year, penalizing patients needlessly, and Constitutionally protecting corporate profiteers at the expense of people in need of cannabis as medicine. Only the wealthy will be able to afford the costly licensing matrix they are trying to inflict on our Constitution ($3,000 nonrefundable application fee, plus $20,000 licensing fee every 3 years, plus an annual $10,000 licensing fee just cuz.) Oh, and since they didn’t address the Controlled Substance Scheduling, the data base their proposal will create of all medical cannabis patients can be readily shared with ATF to ensure medical cannabis patients do not have a right to bear arms.

        In the mean time, NORML could have been helping collect signatures for an actual legalization measure, like so many others have been doing around the state for 9 months now. NORML has been publicly criticizing this proposal with baseless claims, instead of helping it to pass, and NORML is the only one doing this. We aren’t hearing such criticisms from the general public, so yeah, I’d say NORML is the biggest obstacle we have to true legalization here in Missouri.

        NORML and ShowMeCannabis are not fighting to end prohibition, they are fighting to keep it. Cannabis is GOING to be rescheduled (the federal government can’t keep up their racket much longer, there is too much evidence of its usefulness, as they hold the patent.) The only question is HOW will it be done. NORML and ShowMeCannabis are not fighting to end prohibition, they are backing proposals to Constitutionally protect Big Government and the elite, at the expense of we-the-people.

        If you actually care to end cannabis prohibition, you will support the Missouri Cannabis Restoration and Protection Act. If you want to continue prohibition, you’ll support NORML and ShowMe.

  • Kathleen Chippi

    My dog, what a joke. NORML brought, lobbied and helped pass the unscientific 5 nanogram THC DUI limit in Colorado. It’s passage with the help of democrats puts ALL even monthly let alone daily cannabis users at risk of: blood draw, DUI, loss of drivers license, rehab classes, drug testing etc.

    NORML is nothing more than a phone bank of criminal defense attorneys who benefit off of cannabis prohibitions, who lobby for over-regulation of the safest therapeutic substance known to man and who sell T-Shirts and hats and throw expensive to attend ‘gatherings’. The money they make does not go to assisting those unjustly charged with cannabis crimes or lawsuits to fight for people’s rights in order to prevent arrests to begin with.

  • NORML = the lobbying arm for greedy big $$ Marijuana McLawyers who make MILLIONS of $$ by maintaining criminal prohibitions against pot.

  • I’m so confused. Who got the votes?

  • ExMauler

    NORML is the most useless “pro-cannabis” group ever conceived. I closely followed several landmark decisions too, does that make me one of the longest running advocates of prohibition repeal?

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