Tech by VICE

NORML: We Have No Problem Taking Money from Dark Web Drug Dealers

The National Organization to Reform Marijuana Laws sees no problem taking donations from a dark web dealer.

by Joseph Cox
Feb 9 2016, 6:01pm

Image: Shutterstock

On Monday, a cannabis vendor announced that he was going to send a cut of his profits to a marijuana legalization nonprofit. And that nonprofit, it seems, is happy for their support, despite the possible risks involved.

"Beginning yesterday and running through the end of May we'll be taking $5 from every order you place to help our friends at NORML (National Organization to Reform Marijuana Laws)," vendor Canna-Juice, who sells liquids for cannabis vaporizers, wrote on Reddit.

NORML is a non-profit lobbying organization that works to reform laws on recreational marijuana use. On May 23 and 24, NORML will have its 2016 Congressional Lobby Day.

"Hundreds of marijuana consumers, activists, patients and business owners are expected to attend a day-long training and informational conference on Monday and re-convene on The Hill Tuesday to personally lobby their elected members of the House of Representatives and Senate," the organization's blog reads.

This event is specifically what Canna-Juice is donating funds for. "We'll be making bi-weekly donations in the name of the [dark web markets] and will keep you updated on the campaigns [sic] success regularly," the vendor adds.

Naturally, some other Reddit users have spotted a potential problem with sending a charity proceeds generated from an illegal dark web business.

NORML doesn't see taking donations from the underground as being an issue

"Nice gesture, but you're better off donating anonymously," one user wrote. "The fact of the matter is that if the donations are traced to [dark web markets] it will do NORML more harm than good. You can take any ideological stance you want on this, but that's the reality." (On its website, NORML takes donations via credit card and PayPal.)

But it appears that NORML doesn't see taking donations from the underground as being an issue.

"Be them illegal or taxed 'cannabusinesses', NORML welcomes their financial and in-kind donations to aid in the organization's 45-year-old public advocacy campaign to end cannabis prohibition, and replace with a tax-n-regulate policy similar to alcohol products," Allen St. Pierre, executive director of NORML, told Motherboard in an email.

Indeed, NORML has previously received donations from criminals in the past, and in a quite public fashion too. St. Pierre recalled that in 1976, the founder of NORML received "a pile of $20 bills equaling $10,000, donated from a group of cannabis smugglers, exhorting NORML to succeed in its stated mission to legalize the noble herb."

Legalities aside, there is also an apparent tension between a dark web dealer, whose entire business relies on the illicit nature of his product, donating to a charity that works towards closing that criminal market.

Regardless, Canna-Juice is seemingly determined to make a difference.

"Fuck these backwards laws on the books," the vendor concludes.

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