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.
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.
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 […]