Author: Keith Stroup, NORML Legal Counsel

Pot Protestivals and the Role They Play in the Legalization Movement

As we approach the late summer/early fall festival season, I wanted to take a moment to discuss the annual pro-pot festivals, sometimes called “protestivals.” In the early years of the marijuana legalization movement, pro-pot events in the same vein of the Civil Rights Movement’s lunch counter “sit-ins” occurred. These cannabis community events were called “smoke-ins,” a reference to the crowd of individuals willing to risk arrest and jail by protesting marijuana prohibition. The smoke-ins were intended as an exercise of one’s First Amendment right to publicly protest unjust policies. While […]

Pot Protestivals and the Role They Play in the Legalization Movement

As we approach the late summer/early fall festival season, I wanted to take a moment to discuss the annual pro-pot festivals, sometimes called “protestivals.” In the early years of the marijuana legalization movement, pro-pot events in the same vein of the Civil Rights Movement’s lunch counter “sit-ins” occurred. These cannabis community events were called “smoke-ins,” a reference to the crowd of individuals willing to risk arrest and jail by protesting marijuana prohibition. The smoke-ins were intended as an exercise of one’s First Amendment right to publicly protest unjust policies. While […]

How to Prevent Employment Discrimination Against Cannabis Smokers

Now that America has some form of legalization in 23 states and the District of Columbia, activists must reevaluate those state’s laws to refine the details of their legalization systems. There are three distinct areas in which cannabis laws need clarification and evolution: employment issues, child custody issues, and DUID charges. This week, I will discuss the important area of employment discrimination. First, let’s be clear: no one should go to work in an impaired condition, regardless of what drug is involved. It’s not fair to the employer or to […]

The Origins of NORML: How Marijuana Reform Was Born

I’m sometimes asked how a midwestern farm-boy ended up starting a marijuana smokers’ lobby. I had been raised in the 1950s in southern Illinois by southern Baptist parents, and there was nothing in that environment that would cause one to challenge authority or attempt to change the prevailing cultural values. But then came the Vietnam War. Like many young men of my generation who came of age during that war, I had been radicalized by the war, or more specifically, by the threat of being drafted and sent to fight […]

Despite Legalization, Thousands of Americans Still Go to Jail–and Need Lawyers to Defend Them

The temptation is to celebrate the enormous progress we have made over the last few years by legalizing marijuana for medical use in 22 states and the District of Columbia. Even more importantly, we’ve legalized marijuana for all adults in Colorado and Washington. Thus, it’s easy to presume we’re getting near the finish line in this decades long struggle to legalize marijuana. But that would be both presumptuous and premature. The reality is that marijuana smokers remain the target of aggressive and misguided law enforcement activities in most states today. […]

Getting High with Hunter S. Thompson

“I have always loved marijuana. It has been a source of joy and comfort to me for many years. And I still think of it as a basic staple of life, along with beer and ice and grapefruits – and millions of Americans agree with me.” –Dr. Hunter S. Thompson One of the serendipitous occurrences in my life was meeting the late Hunter S. Thompson, the original Gonzo journalist, in 1972, at the Democratic National Convention in Miami. Hunter was there to cover the event for Rolling Stone magazine and […]

The Potential Political Impact of Dabbing, Concentrates and Edibles

Like many marijuana smokers, I’m always fascinated when I travel to other states, especially on the West Coast, and see the popularity of edibles and concentrates, especially the somewhat bizarre practice of “dabbing.” Now let me be clear that I enjoy getting high, and I’m generally willing to try any variation of marijuana, at least once, just to see what it’s about. So I’m not making a moral judgment on the use of these more potent forms of marijuana. I will also concede that I personally love smoking flowers, and […]

The Fear of Pleasure: Why CBD-Only Legislation is Not a Real Solution

Most of us were caught off-guard by the rush of states this year that approved the limited use of CBD-only marijuana extracts because these traditionally conservative states had heretofore rejected the medical use of marijuana. So it seems worth a moment to consider how this occurred, and what it means on a grander scale. But first, a little recent history. Throughout this year’s state legislative season, a total of 10 states enacted laws seeking to provide limited access to medical marijuana products that contain high levels of CBD and virtually […]