NORML’s Federal Marijuana Lobbyist Departs After Five Years Advancing Reform On Capitol Hill

MJ moment

When it comes to advocating for marijuana reform on Capitol Hill, Justin Strekal of NORML is one of the most widely recognized faces of the movement, putting in the hours to champion the cause of cannabis consumers and convince lawmakers to get on board. But after five years, the chapter of his career as NORML’s political director has come to a close. While he will continue to work to advance the cause in a different capacity, NORML will be getting a new lobbyist to fight for an end to federal cannabis prohibition in Congress. Paradoxically, Strekal personally thinks that professional lobbying should be abolished. But in his years as the federal lobbyist for NORML, he’s demonstrated how having a voice directly whispering—and, occasionally, shouting—in the ears of policymakers and their staff can help affect real change. “I took the responsibility of being the federal lobbyist and political director for NORML incredibly seriously as a way to harness the decades and decades of organizing that has been done by activists in as pointed and tenacious a way as possible to translate that into federal policy reform,” Strekal told Marijuana Moment. (Disclosure: Strekal supports Marijuana Moment’s work through a monthly pledge on Patreon.) When he entered the job, Donald Trump had just been elected president. Republicans controlled Congress. Prohibitionist Jeff Sessions was soon confirmed as attorney general and moved to rescind Obama-era guidance that offered legal cannabis states some level of protection. While marijuana remains federally illegal today, there has been enormous progress on the cannabis front since Strekal took the job. In a historic vote, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a bill to end prohibition in 2020—though the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act later stalled in the Senate. More modest marijuana banking reform legislation has cleared the House…

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Source : NORML’s Federal Marijuana Lobbyist Departs After Five Years Advancing Reform On Capitol Hill

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