NORML-Marijuana Policy Project Merger Proposal Goes Up in Smoke

via NORML and Marijuana Policy Project

On March 31, the NORML board and the NORML Foundation board voted to end talks regarding a potential merger with Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), CelebStoner has learned. 

NORML issued the following statement:

"Discussions between NORML and MPP related to possibly merging have led to a greater understanding between our two organizations and strengthened relationships between our staff. While the Board of Directors has decided not to merge the two organizations at this time, it is our hope and expectation that we will continue to work collaboratively going forward in a manner that amplifies our like-minded efforts to end cannabis prohibition.

"NORML and MPP will continue to work closely together to end marijuana prohibition and to reform marijuana laws."

With both Washington, DC-based organizations struggling financially over the last few years, discussions about a possible merger began to pop up in industry conversation last year. Both are currently without executive directors. A recent visitor to the NORML office at 1420 K St. reported it was nearly empty. The MPP is not doing much better.

Since cannabis legalization has taken hold in 25 states, NORML and MPP seem to have lost their mojo. Founded in 1970 by Keith Stroup, NORML is the Greenpeace of pot, the first and for a long time only activist-based group focused primarily on legalizaing marijuana federally and state-by state, which has happened since 2014 for adult use and before that medical-only (now in 37 states). In many ways, NORML and MPP shouldered that dramatic legal shift in the country's cannabis laws with relatively lean budgets. For a while, MPP, founded by NORML employees Rob Kampia and Chuck Thomas in 1995, spent a lot of money on state campaigns and won many. NORML focused more on consumers, memberships and its network of state and local chapters.

Back in October, Marijuana Moment noted the two advocacy groups were considering "merging amid fundraising challenges and leadership transitions." Wrote Kyle Jaeger:

"The simple fact that these talks have happened at all to some extent underscores that the nonprofit marijuana policy reform sector is not what it used to be. All advocacy is suffering in the new environment."

MPP has yet to comment on this development.



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Steve Bloom

Steve Bloom

Publisher of, former editor of High Times and Freedom Leaf and co-author of Pot Culture and Reefer Movie Madness.