NORML's Founder, Keith Stroup, on NORML at 40

An hour-long conversation with the founder of NORML on his recollection of four decades in marijuana law reform and what the future holds for NORML.
You’ll hear Keith’s look back at the whirlwind of reform in the 1970s, how the culture wars of the 1980s almost did us in, his opinions on the wisdom of continuing the 1990s – 2000s push for medical marijuana laws, and the future of NORML in the 2010s and beyond… but not TOO far beyond!
And what would Keith’s late friend Dr. Hunter S. Thompson think of the recent “gonzo” phenomenon of Charlie Sheen?  It’s the money quote of the whole interview!
Download Link: Keith Stroup – NORML at 40

40 thoughts

  1. Keith:
    You are one amazing man. I cannot say enough thank yous for guys like you who have dedicated their lives to such a great cause and I am 100% behind you. We need to get you into CONGRESS!
    See you in Denver on 21st if I can figure out how to buy the conference tickets…I’m booked & ready to go but, the actual conference tickets are a bit sketchy at the moment.
    Fighting the good fight for NORML!
    P.S.- a 3rd generation San Franciscan and a true believer in NORML wanting to help in anyway that I can!

  2. really i dont get how marijuana has been smoked for over 10,000 years and all of a sudden its illegal??? WTF?

  3. Nice interview. I think the Obama answer to legalization will help us even more so than expected. I have a feeling that a lot of people are unfamiliar with the Dutch-like concept of soft and hard drug categorization. Most people, at this current time, probably wouldn’t support all drug legalization, but if asked all drugs they may “settle” for marijuana.

  4. Thank You Keith
    The fat rats scurry about in The Darkness, be assured Eternities Mysteries will bound all those predatory insects in some Eternal Prison.
    Those good folks with the DEA, and the good folks with the UN with those papers with written treaties, also must testify, In the Natural World, I wonder about their Lost Souls, I Pray..Eternity Is ForEver
    Free Cannabis

  5. I’m a college student in the application process for medical school and hope I can contribute to the idea that not all supporters are dirty hippies (nothing wrong with dirty hippies by the way) at least in my social arena. However, I do not have the opportunity to be active in my support because of the behavior expected from medical schools looking to accept me. Nor do I have the time or resources to strongly contribute. Therefore, I am extremely grateful to those that have dedicated themselves to this worthy cause. thank you

  6. Thank you Keith and Happy birthday Norml. I have had a chance to meet Keith at a Norml conference and he is without a doubt one of the nicest persons you will ever meet. Great interview. And I agree with Russ, the best strain is ‘Got Some.’

  7. Thank you sir, for your many years of service for a very very very good cause.
    Victory is within our grasp because of you and NoRmL.
    Thanks again..

  8. i also want to thank you as i have been following this cause since the 70’s and thanks to you and your beginning followers to realize that the internet was also a great way to get the word across, but really i did not get into the internet until recently as i was busy raising my children and was not able to pay for connection..but now that i am i am very much interested in this cause and appreciate your bold paths you have carved out so that maybe in my lifetime i will see it legalized…thank you

  9. Wow where would you get a lawyer to sue the traitors haters of humanity. One that already has the proof and knows that all they got is.
    In the fall of 2003, Representative Ron Paul (R-Texas) asked the General Accounting Office to see if the ONDCP practice of misrepresenting the scientific evidence on marijuana could be stopped as misuse of public funds for false advertising. The following spring, GAO lawyers concluded that, since the office was set up specifically to oppose by any means necessary the legalization of all psychoactive drugs not sold by pharmaceutical companies, its officials are legally entitled to lie.
    When do we hear on every news channel…Stop

  10. Forty years is a long time. A long time to be fighting for the repeal of marijuana prohibition, just about as long as marijuana prohibition has been around. The war on drugs has been an utter failure at its task of reducing drug consumption and demand. Explain if you can how NORML has been any more successful than the war on drugs. If the repeal of marijuana prohibition is the stated goal of NORML I say it’s time to look in the mirror and ask what our efforts have accomplished. Since NORML doesn’t advocate for medical marijuana, you don’t exactly get to claim that as a victory. As a lifetime member I hate to say it but its looking more and more like all the money spent on the efforts of NORML could have been put to better use. This comment is not written from a place of anger, just the place of a depressed soul who could use a little sunshine.
    Joseph Tolman
    Lifetime Member
    [Editor’s note: Thanks for your generous donation to NORML! Unlike the taxpayer-funded war on some drugs, NORML has been immensely successful in 40 years of a genuine David-n-Goliath engagement with the federal government (led by anti-cannabis presidents like Nixon, Reagan, Bushes and Clinton) and 50 state governments. These taxpayer-funded governments have employed hundreds of billions of dollars trying to maintain the status quo re Cannabis Prohibition. NORML, on the other hand, provided with modest grassroots funding from concerned citizens like you (totaling under $1 million annually) has led a social justice movement to the point of the sought reforms.
    In a Zogby poll, 25% of the US public knows what the acronym ‘N.O.R.M.L.’ stands for…and of the subset polled who’d ever used cannabis, 86% believe the organization does a good job representing the interests ans concerns of cannabis consumers!
    When NORML began, less than 15% of the US population supported legalization, today, upwards of 45% support law reform.
    Today, largely because of NORML’s efforts, and the thousands of volunteers affiliated with NORML’s large chapter network and 600 lawyer strong National Legal Committee, 15 states and DC have some kind of legal protections for cannabis patients; 13 states (and numerous large municipalities) have decriminalized the possession of cannabis; currently, 25 states are debating over 40 cannabis-law reform bills (ranging from medical to decrim to legalization) due to NORML’s lobbying; for 40 years NORML has been litigating in state and federal appeals courts both fighting bad laws and making good legal precedents.
    I’m not sure where you get the idea that NORML does not support medical access to cannabis. NORML is the sui generis of the entire subject matter, see NORML vs. DEA (1972-1994).
    If you have constructive suggestions on how NORML can employ members’ donated funding more frugally and targeted than it does now, please don’t hesitate to call 202-483-5500 or send an email to NORML’s director. Unlike most other drug policy reform groups, NORML is a genuinely grassroots-oriented organization where members and stakeholders have largely shaped the direction of the reform movement to date.
    Again, thanks for doing more than 99.9% of cannabis consumers, cultivators and sellers who do practically NOTHING to advance cannabis law reforms–and their own personal freedom!]

  11. NOW is the time for all good people to come together and rid ourselves of these tyrants!
    …”that whenever any form of government shall become destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, & to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles & organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety & happiness. Are we there yet?…. Has this government done enough harm to us?

  12. theres no reason to make mariujuana illegal cuz
    first of its a plant and i thought plants were good?
    second we choose to make it a drug cuz of what it does
    thirdly from what i learned on it its not very harmful at all if you smoke it ya it will hurt your throat cuz its drys it out but other then that its not very harmful
    free marijuana

  13. Marijuna is still illegal, because the goverment has no way to control it beside taxing it. a person can grow it then selves and the goverment get’s nothing out of what you have growing. marijuna been on earth since the start of time. it’s a weed.

  14. 1. When the Peace of Cannabis is Signed and Enacted Planetwide, U.S. Presidencies will be downsized from four to two years, with one re-election possible for a total of four years per individual. I think we could get Keith one of those, he looks Presidential (some Beckians might accuse him of being too Wilsonian but Wilson was a very successful candidate, two for two). Good luck, Kief oops sorry Keith.
    2. The other 40-year celebrity is James “I’m from Cincinnati, I’m a National League man”
    Levine (Metdirector). I know nothing of Levine’s private life. It is well known Levine, 67, had rotator cuff problems and back surgery in summer 2010. Blue-haired Bostonians muttered, “We pay that guy this huge money and he blew off seven concerts! Let’s go get some strong young Do Da Mahler type instead.” Jimmy fights to win, on one (1) October day in 2010 he did Rheingold (2-1/2 hours) in matinee at the Met, flew private jet to Boston and did Mahler 2nd (1-1/2 hours) same evening. At the end he swung the stick over his shoulder like a triumpheering partisan, which drove the audience insane which in turn rushed out and set off a wave of worldwide uprisings (–“Band in Boston”). The sort of wave, submit, on which the barque of cannabis NORMLization will soon float safely into port among much other even more controversial boatage.

  15. I remember working on this in Nebraska in 1977. I still can’t believe cannabis is still illegal. A huge thank you to Keith and all of the good people at NORML. You will always have my support.

  16. I hope this wonderful man is alive to see his life work become true. Seriously without him and NORML we wouldnt have any decriminalized or medicial marijuana states. He basically is the MLK of marijuana and unlike MLK i believe he will see the day were marijuana users are no longer jail and are free from discrimination. NORML keep up all the good work and i will continue to support the cause untill the walls of prohibition crumble to the ground and the will of the people who have fought long and hard prevail.

  17. Kieth, we met at cannabis cup 2013. Name is nick from Idaho. I just wanted to tell you that it was a true honor to have met you and I will forever regret not getting my picture beside the legend himself. You’re my hero sir! And I am forever one of your soldiers.

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