By Allen St. Pierre
In the marijuana law reform movement, women, minorities and senior citizens are woefully underrepresented at both public events and on organizations’ membership rolls. NORML is deeply committed to reaching out to these vital but underserved cannabis constituencies. That’s why, last year, the NORML Woman’s Alliance was launched to help address the unique concerns of female cannabis consumers and fully engage them in the marijuana movement. And we’re already seeing results, both within our own organization and in the culture at large, as the rise of “stiletto stoners” and “moms for legalization” has redefined the cannabis consumer stereotype irrevocably.
And now, this year, we’re announcing the NORML Senior Alliance!
As the baby boom generation – with their ‘hope I die before I get old’ and ‘don’t trust anyone over 30-years-old’ swagger – comes of age (old age!), a majority of them have already tried marijuana and the vast majority will be open to employing the erstwhile counterculture sacrament as a remarkably safe, non-toxic, versatile and cheap medicine. Quite simply, cannabis works as a treatment for many of the maladies associated with aging – everything from arthritis to aches and pains – and with less side effects and expense than the pharmaceutical alternatives.
In exchange, seniors – once among the staunchest opponents of cannabis law reform – will provide a powerful new front in the war to end the War on Marijuana. Senior citizens are the most respected and politically active group of Americans, and the legalization of marijuana will not be possible without greater support from this important voting block. And so, in conjunction with HIGH TIMES Medical Marijuana magazine, Robert ‘Black Tuna’ Platshorn and Rakontur Productions, the NORML Senior Alliance will create webpages, podcasts, blogs, public events, and media campaigns to help inform seniors citizens about marijuana and to get them involved in reforming our misguided prohibition laws.
Many HIGH TIMES readers know Robert Platshorn as one of the biggest marijuana smugglers in US history, who got busted and served an unbelievable 29 years in federal prison for a first time, non-violent offense. In addition to helping lead the NORML Senior Alliance, Platshorn has seen his life story captured in an upcoming documentary called Square Grouper (smuggler slang for a floating bail of pot) by Rakontur Productions, an innovative film company dedicated to helping the cause of marijuana reform. The film shows both the devastating effects of America’s illogical and counterproductive marijuana prohibition, and the inspiring story of one senior who’s still fighting back.
With so many states these days breaking away from the feds regarding cannabis, and society at large beginning to come to its senses about this beneficial plant, there has never—ever—been a better time for America’s senior citizens to come out of their smoky closets and stand to be counted as loud and proud marijuana consumers.
The NORML Senior Alliance aims to give those over the age of sixty a unified voice in marijuana law reform, as well as delivering medical marijuana-related services and products. Check norml.org for links to ‘NORML Senior Alliance’ projects nationwide this winter and spring, including film screenings, lectures and debates.
Allen St. Pierre is the executive director of NORML in Washington, D.C.
Learn more about the NORML Senior Alliance at norml.org/seniors and about Rakontur’s ‘Square Grouper’ movie at squaregroupermovie.com.