NORML Remembers Gatewood Galbraith

Gatewood Galbraith – a prominent Kentucky attorney, longtime cannabis activist, and perennial candidate for various state and federal offices – died in his sleep Tuesday evening as a result of complications from asthma and chronic emphysema. He was 64 years old.

[Listen to NORML SHOW LIVE’s interview with Gatewood Galbraith – December 3, 2010]

Galbraith was widely known as an outspoken advocate for legalizing cannabis, particularly the non-psychoactive variety of the plant. While campaigning for public office, Galbraith typically wore suits made from hemp fiber and sometimes traveled in a station wagon fueled by hemp oil. He also formerly served on NORML’s Board of Directors.

Galbraith ran five times for governor — three times as a Democrat, once on the Reform ticket and last year as an independent. He also campaigned unsuccessfully for state agriculture commissioner, attorney general and Congress.

In 2006, Galbraith published his autobiography, “The Last Free Man in America.” He was also recently featured in the documentary film, “A NORML Life.”

Several notable state politicians – including Gov. Steve Beshear, House Speaker Greg Stumbo, and US Senator Mitch McConnell – released public statements lamenting Galbraith’s sudden passing.

Said Beshear: “(Galbraith) was a gutsy, articulate and passionate advocate who never shied away from a challenge or potential controversy. His runs for office prove he was willing to do more than just argue about the best direction for the state — he was willing to serve, and was keenly interested in discussing issues directly with our citizens. He will be missed.”

Added McConnell: “I am saddened to hear of the passing of Gatewood Galbraith. He was a truly memorable character who loved our state and its people.”

NORML Founder Keith Stroup said, “Gatewood was someone who placed a high priority on the legalization of cannabis, and firmly believed industrial hemp — including hemp based ethanol — could help save the planet. In his several campaigns for public office in Kentucky, he was fearless in his pro-hemp advocacy. He will be missed by all of us who care about legalizing marijuana.”

Adds Patrick S. McClure, a member of the NORML Legal Committee from Danville, Kentucky: “In spite of his controversial stance, he was much beloved on both sides of the aisle for his humor, his grace, and for always being the smartest guy in the room. He was funny, inspiring, and a true gift to young lawyers who were willing to listen to his bold stance against the machine, almost always given in a courtly and informed tone and tenor. Some Kentucky politicians may have gotten more votes, but none in my lifetime has been more endearing.”

Galbraith is survived by three daughters.

NORML expresses its sincere condolences to the friends and family of Gatewood Galbraith.

17 thoughts

  1. I read this man’s obit the other day online and nowhere was a mention made of cannabis, hemp or his position on them. Just goes to show that if you want the truth, never trust a government source. Thanks NORML for posting the truth.

  2. Gatewood would be happy to know this but the Fed’s through their lying teeth will never tell you that this is a result of increasing use of Cannabis & the effects it has on cancer.
    Cancer death rates are continuing to fall, dropping by 1.8 percent per year in men and 1.6 percent per year in women between 2004 and 2008, according to the American Cancer Society’s annual report on cancer statistics.

    Advances in cancer screening and treatment have prevented more than a million total deaths from cancer since the early 1990s, according to the report.

    But the influential cancer group said new cases of seven less-common cancers rose in the past decade, suggesting more could be done in America’s 40-year war on cancer.

    This year, the cancer group projects 1,638,910 people will be newly diagnosed with cancer and 577,190 people will die from it.

    “The big news this year is that cancer deaths are still going down,” said Dr. Raymond DuBois, provost and executive vice president at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

  3. Gatewood was loved and respected and a tremendous ambassador for the bluegrass. I hope Dea Riley (or someone) will continue to carry the torch and fight the good fight. RIP GG

  4. RIP Gatewood Galbraith
    I wish I could have met him he has my utmost respect. Shame he never got to see marijuana legalized but hopefully it will happen in my lifetime after all this insanity can’t last too much longer… can it?

  5. What a sad thing to learn of Gatewood Galbraith’s untimely death. He was a man who truly had the courage of his convictions, and who brought an articulate voice and a charming presence to the cause of cannabis liberation.

    Over 20 years ago, at the height of the Nancy Reagan drug epidemic, in an atmosphere of media hysteria and political witch hunting, Gatewood Galbraith commenced his outspoken commitment to speaking truth about hemp in the beautiful Commonwealth where Cannabis once was a major agricultural asset, and where, in Gatewood’s vision, it would be again.

    Gatewood spoke out, and more than that he took the trouble to file and run for office, time after time, so that there was a way for his fellow citizens to cast a protest vote against the narcotics police state. Gatewood understood that the people have the power to win this fight, if we would only believe in ourselves and learn to use the weapon of the secret ballot.

    He knew that there was a lot of fear, confusion, and ignorance to overcome. By offering his voice–his eloquence, his humor, his passion, and his compassion–he became a figure of hope in a time and place of oppression. He was like the Daniel Boone of cannabis reform. He blazed a trail through a political wilderness, speaking those truths which the professional politicians shunned and derided.

    Just months ago, at the sentencing hearing for cannabis activist Dana Beal in Dodgeville, Wisconsin, Gatewood delivered a brilliant and eloquent courtroom oration, illuminating the injustice and folly of the case, and uttering a heartfelt and persuasive plea for mitigation.

    That eloquent voice is silent now, and it is up to all of us to use our own lesser skills to persevere toward the goal so dear to Gatewood’s heart—that day when we will see once more the vast fields of cannabis flourishing in the river bottomlands of Kentucky, and when sparkling sticky buds are freely harvested in all the hills and hollows of the Bluegrass State . . . and everywhere on planet Earth.

  6. I’ve been out of the country for 18 months, and just found out about Gatewoods passing, I’m broken hearted, Gatewood was a great person, that cared more than most about his fellow man, I’m in shock, I never heard,Rest in Piece Gatewood, this one’s for you Sir.

  7. Here is a video he introduce in 1998 on all this interdependence takeover type stuff Hillary just called “black helicopters” are comming well, read the documentation.

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