Last updated on: 12/21/2017 | Author:

Paul Armentano Biography

Deputy Director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML)
Pro to the question "Should Recreational Marijuana Be Legal?"

“America’s real-world experiment with regulating marijuana has been a success…

Contrary to the fears of some, these policy changes are not associated with increased marijuana use or access by adolescents, or with adverse effects on traffic safety or in the workplace. Marijuana regulations are also associated with less opioid abuse and mortality. In jurisdictions where this retail market is taxed, sales revenue has greatly exceeded initial expectations.

The enforcement of marijuana prohibition financially burdens taxpayers, encroaches upon civil liberties, engenders disrespect for the law, and disproportionately impacts young people and communities of color. It makes no sense from a public health perspective, a fiscal perspective, or a moral perspective to perpetuate the prosecution and stigmatization of adults who choose to responsibly consume a substance that is safer than either alcohol or tobacco…

But legalization does not mean replacing criminalization with a marijuana free-for-all. Rather, it means the enactment of a pragmatic regulatory framework that allows for the licensed commercial production and retail sale of marijuana to adults, but also restricts and discourages its use among young people. Such a regulated environment best reduces the risks associated with the plant’s use or abuse.

By contrast, advocating marijuana’s continued criminalization does nothing to offset the plant’s potential risks to the individual user and to society; it only compounds them.”

“NORML: Marijuana Is Here to Stay,”, Oct. 23, 2016

Involvement and Affiliations:
  • Deputy Director, National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML)
  • Senior Policy Advisor, Freedom Leaf, Inc.
  • Faculty member, Oaksterdam University (Oakland, CA)
  • Recipient, Freedom Law School Health Freedom Champion of the Year, 2013
  • Recipient, Alfred R. Lindesmith Award, 2013
  • Recipient, Project Censored Real News Award for Outstanding Investigative Journalism, 2008
  • Former contributor,
  • Former Senior Policy Analyst, NORML
  • Former consultant, Health Canada and the Canadian Public Health Association
  • None found
  • Twitter handle: @NORML
  • His writing has appeared in more than 1,000 publications, including the New York Times, Washington Post, and The Christian Science Monitor
Quoted in:
Pro & Con Quotes: Should Recreational Marijuana Be Legal?