Not Authorized: Fults’ NORML label gets rebuke from national organization October 27, 2022 By Griffin Coop Melissa Fults is not authorized to speak on behalf of NORML, according to an email the national advocacy organization sent to the organizers of a panel discussion where Fults is scheduled to speak tonight. JM Pedini, the development director for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws’ national operations, sent the email Thursday morning to two of the event organizers, the Pine Bluff chapter of the NAACP and the Pine Bluff chapter of The Links. Pedini also sent the email to Responsible Growth Arkansas, the amendment’s sponsor, and copied Erik Altieri, NORML’s executive director. Fults was scheduled to speak Thursday night on a webinar hosted by the organizations and billed as “a real conversation on ballot measures from the experts for and against them.” Eddie Armstrong, chair of Responsible Growth, was scheduled to speak on behalf of the measure. The flyer for the event (above) was included in the email. Here is Pedini’s email: Hello, I’m JM Pedini, the development director for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML). Copied is Erik Altieri, NORML’s executive director. I’m reaching out to clarify that Melissa Fults, who is scheduled to speak on a panel this evening, is not authorized to speak on behalf of NORML or Arkansas NORML nor to represent herself as a member or spokesperson of either organization while speaking in opposition to Issue 4. I have included the Guidelines for Affiliation with NORML language below which prohibits such action: NORML frequently takes positions in support of cannabis-specific legislation or initiatives. In order to advance these measures, NORML utilizes its national resources, often in coordination with local NORML Chapters, to amplify and generate both political and public support. In instances where NORML has explicitly endorsed either specific legislation or an initiative measure, it is inappropriate for either NORML Chapters or their representatives in their capacities as NORML spokespersons, to contradict NORML’s position by either speaking out publicly or using their own local resources for the purposes of undermining these efforts. Doing so is contradictory to NORML’s goals and, therefore, will result in revocation of the NORML Chapter Affiliation Agreement. Melissa is aware of this restriction and should have made that clear when agreeing to participate. Please let me know if you have any questions. The email follows what appears to be some back-and-forth communication on the matter from the past week or so. On October 19, Altieri wrote: Thanks for reaching out, NORML has endorsed and is supporting issue 4, those who are identifying as Arkansas NORML aren’t recognized as NORML spokespeople and are operating on their own. We are aware of the situation and are addressing it. The national organization is working hard to pass Issue 4. A few minutes later, Laura Butler of NORML wrote: Why is Arkansas NORML not endorsing issue 4 and why are members campaigning against?? For their own personal gains. The website for the Arkansas chapter of NORML lists Fults as the treasurer of the organization and lists her husband, Gary Fults, as the executive director. Fults’s opposition to Issue 4 has drawn the ire of some in the state’s marijuana industry as illustrated by this guest column from Robbin Rahman of Conway’s Harvest Dispensary.