Ironically, the marijuana legalization issue, which was a "hot button" political issue for decades, the discussion of which could almost be guaranteed to destroy a Thanksgiving dinner with extended family, may now become fertile common ground where those of us who may not agree on some other important issues, nonetheless can congregate and begin to rebuild a sense of community.
When I started NORML in late 1970 I realized that our movement would need the support of some courageous doctors and other health experts to overcome the widely-held perception that existed at that time that marijuana must remain a crime to protect the public health. I found that support in Dr. Lester Grinspoon, Dr. Norman Zinberg, and others.
Hugh Hefner and the Playboy Foundation ended up providing NORML’s initial funding in early 1971 and subsequently became our primary funder throughout the 1970s.
NORML founder Keith Stroup reflects on his 33-year friendship with author and NORML ally Hunter S. Thompson
As one reviews the modern history of marijuana policy in this country, beginning with the adoption of federal marijuana prohibition in 1937 (i.e., the Marijuana Tax Act) and continuing to where we are today with 33 states having legalized the medical use of marijuana and 11 states and the District of Columbia having legalized adult recreational use, perhaps the single most important step along the way was the report issued in 1972 by the National Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse.
On NORML’s 50th anniversary, NORML’s Founder Keith Stroup reflects back on a lifetime as America’s foremost marijuana smoker and legalization advocate. This is the first in a series of blogs on the history of NORML and the legalization movement covering the founding of NORML itself.