NORML respectfully notes the passing of former Congressman and Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums on July 30th. An outspoken opponent of the Vietnam War, Dellums was also a pioneering opponent of the war on marijuana, being one of the first House members to serve on NORML’s advisory board in the 1970s, along with NY Senator Jacob Javits.
Dellums was elected to Congress in 1970 from the Berkeley City Council as a self-proclaimed radical and socialist. He remained unapologetic about his politics. “If it’s radical to oppose the insanity and cruelty of the Vietnam War, if it’s radical to oppose racism and sexism and all other forms of oppression, if it’s radical to want to alleviate poverty, hunger, disease, homelessness, and other forms of human misery, then I’m proud to be called a radical,” Dellums said.
In 1983, a House investigation cleared Dellums and two other Congressmen from allegations of having used cocaine and marijuana. Dellums was a founder of the Congressional Black Caucus. In 1997 he was succeeded in Congress by his former aide Rep. Barbara Lee, sponsor of the Marijuana Justice Act and other cannabis reform legislation.
– Dale Gieringer