7-1-2014

In 1974, Stephen W. Dillon and a few like-minded friends formed an organization whose goal was to relegalize Marijuana in the State of Indiana. No one expected it to take 40 years. No one knew just how ingrained Cannabis prohibition was and is, and what a struggle it has been and continues to be.

I have been honored to have been Chairman of this organization for three years now, after having served as Vice Chairman since 2002, and Executive Director since 1999. I am further honored to having been associated with some of the highest caliber people I have ever worked with in my life.

One of the many things I have learned in my association with Indiana NORML is that it takes everyone, working in the same direction at the same time, to overturn such a deeply held conviction that prohibition certainly is. History will look back and shake its head at the idea that a government can control an individual so completely that they can influence that individual to obey a set of laws that run counter to nature.

That is precisely what prohibition is: Control of the individual. This government has coerced far too many of its citizens into giving up control over their own lives. It’s Indiana NORML’s job to break that chain in Indiana and return our citizens to a state of freedom.

That’s not easy to do.

It has been said that to play in Indiana politics one must have big numbers; either big numbers of people in the streets and hallways of the State Capitol, or big…really big…numbers of dollar bills. We have had neither. But sociologist Margaret Mead put it into perspective: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

Indiana knows what it knows about Cannabis/Hemp/Marijuana because of the efforts of Indiana NORML. We have spent the last 40 years educating and informing Hoosiers as to the benefits of Cannabis, and the wrongs brought upon us by prohibition. It took 40 years to get people to understand the network of lies put forth by special interests within and without government concerning Marijuana.

In December of 2013, WISH-TV (Indianapolis) and Ball State University released a poll showing 78% of Hoosiers want Marijuana reform. Now it’s time to bring the state’s officials along. When the people lead, the leaders will follow.

It takes us all to make change. We need Hoosiers to stand for what they believe.

We have steadily grown. We’ve had events with good attendance, and we do a booth in Expo Hall at the Indiana State Fair every year, plus we’ve had a presence at Indy Pride. We now have six affiliate chapters around the state. We are a founding organization of the Indiana Cannabis Action Network, which pulls in activists from other organizations throughout the state. We have thousands of hits on our website, and reach thousands of people on our Facebook page.

It has been a long, hard road we have travelled, and there is a ways to go yet. But it’s going to take all of us, you, me and all the people we know, to get involved. Relegalization is inevitable. We know it, and the government knows it. Nearly half the nation has at least some form of medical Marijuana laws, and as of this writing, two states are legal for personal use. Indiana has Hemp, and is working on getting through the federal bureaucracy and we’re hopeful there will be a crop in the ground next year.

But it will take everyone to stand up and be vocal, to contact their representatives and demand government get out of our personal lives.

Indiana NORML has been the driving force of the move in this state towards rational Marijuana laws. We will continue this fight until we, the citizens of Indiana, win.