Keith Stroup, the founder of NORML, has a new book, in which he provides a history of NORML’s 40 year campaign to legalize marijuana. You can order a copy at NORML’s website www.norml.org. ($15.00). It is in my mind a wonderful story of an activist who never gave up. Whatever your position is on legalization its a good read.
Willie Nelson wrote the prologue. The book begins with Hunter Thompson and the 1972 Democratic convention. There are stories about many familiar people, as well as a thorough legislative history –and a lot about criminal defense lawyers (Keith was the Executive Director of NACDL for five years beginning in 1989.
The fight to legalize marijuana is a fight to preserve civil liberties. NORML and Keith have always stressed this. As Keith says in his introduction:
In the end, we are only incidentally talking about marijuana; we are really talking about personal freedom.
My favorite line in the book may be one Hunter inscribed on a photo he gave to Keith in 1990 to thank him for assembling a successful defense team to a criminal charge:
“The wicked accuse, the godly defend.”
Today, there are several organizations involved the effort to legalize marijuana at the state and federal level, all doing great work. But NORML was the first, and is still going strong. I consider it an honor to call Keith a friend for over fifteen years.