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Is It Really NORML?

Some find it NORM(a)L, some not so much...

One way to find out what is going on regarding marijuana usage and laws is to visit the website of NORML: the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. The very name itself suggests the purpose and philosophy of the group.

Reading the first page, we can get a firm view of what the penalties are for being found with marijuana in the state of Mississippi. For instance, the chart in general shows that, “Possession of 30 grams or less of marijuana is punishable by a fine of $100 - $250 for the first offense. For possession of greater than 30 grams the penalty increases to a fine of up to $3,000 and up to three years in prison. The penalty for possession of 250 grams or more is 2 - 8 years in prison and a fine up to $50,000. For possession of 500 grams or more the penalty is 6 - 24 years in prison and a fine up to $500,000. For possession of 5 kilograms or greater the penalty is 10 -30 years in prison and a fine up to $1,000,000. There are additional penalties for possession in any part of a motor vehicle except the trunk.”

The site also has links which will inform us of the fact that marijuana is somewhat decriminalized. In other words, it means “no prison time or criminal record for first-time possession of a small amount for personal consumption. The conduct is treated like a minor traffic violation.” You can see a chart which shows which areas of Mississippi have had the most arrests, and read about marijuana related news stories. You can also read about the crop estimates for recent years.

The website informs not just about Mississippi, but also about every state and even other countries’ laws. You can seek legal advice, buy a T-shirt, or donate to help the cause.

They downplay the effects that marijuana has on people by comparing it with the greater number of difficulties created by alcohol and tobacco usage. They do not see or mention it as a “gateway” drug because they do not believe it is one, or do not wish others to believe so. And yet, many people have described their journey into the drug culture as beginning with marijuana and then needing something more. They concentrate on the pleasures that are received, and do not talk about the difficulties that come from its use.

Is it really normal? I hope not. It's one thing to advocate marijuana use as a drug under medical supervision, quite another to "turn it loose."

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