He was a farm boy raised in southern Illinois and he didn’t know much about this marijuana, but his knowledge soon expanded while attending law school in the late 60s. He started smoking #Marijuana much later in life than one would expect, he first smoked when he was a freshman at "Georgetown Law School" in 1965 and have been a regular smoker now for 47 years.
He is a public interest attorney and has at different times represented the interests of criminal defense attorneys, family farmers and artists, as well as weed smokers, he represents the interests of the tens of millions of Americans who smoke marijuana and using $5,000 from the "Playboy Foundation", he founded NORML in 1970 and have spent much of his professional life working to legalize marijuana, he said:
We need to stop the destructive practice of arresting responsible marijuana smokers and establish a legally regulated market where consumers could buy their marijuana in a safe and secure environment.
When he and a few friends put "NORML" together in 1970, public opinion was staunchly against marijuana legalization, with only 12 percent in favor of the possibility. It takes an extraordinary amount of faith in one’s cause to push for legalization in an environment that overwhelmingly opposes your beliefs.
But he persisted and "National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws" eventually expanded to 135 chapters and 550 lawyers, becoming the largest grassroots organization in the world dedicated to marijuana legalization.
Keith Stroup & NORML
The Washington, DC public-interest attorney Keith Stroup who has been a "Champion Of Cannabis Movement" since he founded the NORML in 1970, the same year the "Controlled Substances Act" became law, and ran the organization until 1979, during this time 11 states decriminalized minor marijuana offenses.
He took a sabbatical from NORML to practice criminal law, lobby on Capitol Hill for family farmers and artists, and for several years served as executive director of the "National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers".
He resumed his work with NORML in 1994 when he rejoined the board of directors, and served again as "Executive Director" through 2004. Today, he is currently serving as "Legal Counsel" with NORML.
When NORML first started, the challenge really was to let people know that there was a lobby for #Weed smokers. There had been some people working on marijuana legalization even before normal, but not many.
However, it was initially sufficient that people saw that there were others standing up on their behalf as people at that point still thought marijuana smoking was something terribly dangerous and bad and should be avoided at all cost.
If you was a #Cannabis smoker, it was rare indeed that you ran across any organization that was willing to argue that you shouldn’t be treated like a criminal, and it shouldn’t be a crime to smoke marijuana. So NORML’s message was one that was well received by those who smoke marijuana at the time, Stroup said:
In fact, when I look back now, after all these years, the first year where we finally reached 50 percent support of the public, I think was 2011. And today we’re up at 66 percent support. We have, I think five and the different national surveys, including Gallup that show between 63 and 66 percent support now. That’s incredible – That two out of three Americans now support legalizing marijuana when only 14 percent of the public are current smokers.
It's NORML to Smoke Pot By Keith Stroup
The "NORML Founder & Legal Counsel, Keith Stroup" talks in his book "It's NORML to Smoke Pot - The 40 Year Fight for Marijuana Smokers' Rights" about the in between years away from NORML as a lawyer representing Americans arrested on drug charges.
He writes movingly about some of the people he was able to help or not, through his firm's efforts.
He had the brilliant idea to edit "Reefer Madness" into the short format we have become accustomed to today in order to create a more effective marketing tool for use on NORML's college speaking circuit.
He writes about how the promise of the 1970s gave way to the conservative political backlash of the 1980s.
He is refreshingly honest about the critical mistake he made that set back the movement and led to his ouster from the organization he founded.
He had the opportunity (in time) to return to NORML where he has succeeded in helping the organization once again play a leading role in the legalization movement.
He believes using medical marijuana as a strategy to open the door to wider use has its limitations.
He reflects on the nation's marijuana #Politics, he is pleased that the public has grown more tolerant, and he always, remains a "Champion Of Cannabis Advocacy".