Coconut Grove, FL: Peter Lewis, long-time Chairman of Progressive Insurance and a generous financial backer of various marijuana law reform efforts, died Saturday, November 23, due to natural causes. He was 80 years of age.
Over the past three decades, Mr. Lewis provided tens of millions of dollars of to various marijuana law reform organizations and campaigns, including statewide marijuana legalization initiatives and legal efforts. In the 2012 election alone, Mr. Lewis provided an estimated $3 million in funding to successful statewide reform efforts in Massachusetts and Washington.
Writing in Forbes Magazine in 2011, Lewis stated, "My mission is to reduce the penalties for growing, using and selling marijuana. It’s that simple. … I deeply believe that we’ll have a better country and a better world if marijuana is treated more or less like alcohol." He added, "[M]ore than half of Americans have used marijuana themselves. I am one of those Americans, and I know firsthand that marijuana can be helpful and that it certainly isn’t cause for locking anyone up."
Mr. Lewis had publicly acknowledged first trying cannabis at age 39 and then returning to the plant at the age of 64 to combat chronic pain from a partial leg amputation.
NORML expresses its sincere condolences to the friends and family of Peter Lewis.