TRENTON, NJ - The New Jersey chapter for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws is pleased to announce that its executive director East Brunswick native Evan Nison (EBHS,2008) was elected to the National Board of Directors of NORML.
Since starting his cannabis law reform career canvassing in front of the East Brunswick Public Library, Nison has dedicated much of his time to help reform marijuana laws across the nation. Mr. Nison became the Statewide Campus Organizer for California’s Proposition 19 marijuana legalization campaign where he led the “Get Out the Vote” effort on over 40 college campuses across the State. In recent years he was also was a driving force behind 911 Good Samaritan Laws in the region, the passage of the New York medical marijuana law, and a US Council of Mayors resolution endorsing the legalization and regulation of cannabis. Under his leadership, NORML NJ joined NJ United for Marijuana Law Reform (NJUMR) to work as a coalition to advance the issue of legalization in the state.
Rick Cusick, Chairman of NORML NJ and 3 year Board member of NORML National said, “We’re very proud of Evan. His election to the National NORML Board is very well-deserved and signals the arrival a new generation of leadership in marijuana law reform.”
In addition to his role with NORML, Mr. Nison also sits on the Board of Directors of the international nonprofit Students for Sensible Drug Policy, is the Director of the New York Cannabis Alliance, and operates a cannabis specific public relations company NisonCo to help publicize industry trends.
While in college, Nison was President of Ithaca College’s chapter of Students for Sensible Drug Policy for four years. Nison’s efforts resulted in Ithaca College’s SSDP chapter being rated as the number one marijuana law reform chapter in the nation for helping pass the first “equalization” policy on a college campus, which equalized the sanctions for marijuana and alcohol by school’s judicial process.
Due to his tireless efforts in uniting college students across the country to reform marijuana laws, Nison was awarded the High Times Freedom Fighter of the Month in April of 2011 and NORML’s Student Activism Award in 2011.
“NORML helped give birth to the idea of marijuana legalization and since then enormous progress has been made as a result.” Nison said. “Cannabis legalization went from being a far-fetched radical idea to one that a majority of Americans now support and recognize as responsible. It’s an honor to be apart of that amazing history, and I look forward to helping us all cross the finish line and begin a new role as consumer advocates in a post- prohibition world.”
In an interview , Nison talked about the realities of cannibis use among younge people: "I was first offered cannibis at Churchill Middle School. I was far easier to get than alcohol." During his first year of college, Nison became aware that East Brunswick accepts local ballot initiatives. He recognized what local government can do and was tired of "students being arrested and expelled or losing their financial aid" because of drug enforcement. He saw the situation as one of "unregulated drugs creating crime" and tried to made East Brunswick locals aware of the "unnecessary and unrealistic" prohibition and the negative and costly impact it was having on the community.
"Six years later, the majority of Americans agree with the legalization of marijuana," Nison said. "What was once a radical idea is now widely recognized as a positive thing to do from a health and safety standpoint." In California, Nison worked toward the passing of Proposition 19 and continues to try to "change the public policy and conversation about the law."
Currently Nisonco is working with TerraTech, an enormous hydroponic facility in Belvidere, NJ, helping them develop their plan to grow and distribute medical marijuana. "I am preparing for the post-prohibition culture."