Marijuana Backers Hit A Political Chord

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA:  Not long ago, Allen St. Pierre couldn’t get an audience with many politicians. When he tried to send them campaign contributions, the checks were returned. His efforts to persuade the political establishment to take seriously the legalization of marijuana were met with blank stares, or worse.

But now lawmakers are beating a path to his door for meetings and advice, hoping to harness this new energy behind an issue that had been on the fringe of American politics. The once-quixotic goal of St. Pierre’s group — NORML, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws — is now one of Washington’s most-discussed issues.

Representatives of an array of potential presidential candidates have contacted him, asking for meetings to seek NORML’s endorsement and tap its donor base. Campaign checks are being cashed at a greater rate.

“We’re no longer talking about whether marijuana should be legal, [but] about when it should be legal,” St. Pierre said.

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