Smoking Pot is Norml
The 40 year Fight for Marijuana Smokers’ Rights
by Keith Stroup
Keith Stroup has written an informative and entertaining book about the history of the legalization of marijuana in the United States, peppered with stories of other activists and characters involved in the movement he spearheaded, including Hunter Thompson, Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, Willie Nelson, and more. Now, as the United States, state by state, begins to view marijuana like adults and remove out-dated criminal charges for use and possession of marijuana — Stroup’s book is more timely than ever. From presidential conventions, Aspen retreats, halls of Congress, Stroup tells the story of NORML, the oldest and most effective of all the organizations dedicated to the reform of marijuana laws. Keith Stroup is an American hero, as he continues this life-long struggle for civil liberty. This is the first book, really, that sets out the story of the history of NORML, and their 40-year fight for marijuana smoker’s rights. It’s well written, really fun to read, and I think this will be a text book in schools, some day, as people try to understand America’s decades old prohibition of marijuana, from the 1970’s through 2012, with decrimination becoming reality.
Willie Nelson wrote the forward for Keith Stroup’s new book:
I first met Keith Stroup in the 1970s, just after Jimmy Carter was elected president, when Keith and NORML were pushing the new administration to support decriminalizing adults’ responsible cannabis use, as the National Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse recommended. I liked what NORML was doing. After all, in 1977 Pesident Carter would send a message to Congress urging America’s legislators to amend law and step arresting responsible marijuana smokers like me.
I was playing a concert in Washington, D.C., and afterwards Keith and the president’s youngest son Chip came by my hotel to relax and spend some private time. Naturally, we shared a couple joints and drank a few beers while talking about the need to end marijuana prohibition in the United States.
Over the years, Keith and I would spend plenty more evenings relaxing with some good weed whenever I performed around DC, as he’d usually arrange to hang out on my tour bus before or after my concerts. I was interested in hearing about NORML’s progress toward marijuana law reform, and in catching up on our other common interest: family farmers. Keith was raised on a family farm in southern Illinois, and he became a natural ally in my work with Farm Aid to raise money to help family farmers save theri livelihoods and stay on their land.
In the mid-1980s Keith worked as a lobbyist for both the American Agricultural Movement — a progressive family farm organization — and for Jim Nichols, Minnesota’s Secretary of Agriculture, lobbying Congress for a bill that would help keep family farmers in business. During that time I came to DC to spend a day stumping through the Capitol with Keith, to lobby a handful of farm-state senators to push for family farmers.
A decade later, when Keith came back for his second term as executive director of NORML, I joined the advisory board as co-chair, a position I’ve held ever since. Over the years it’s been my pleasure to sponsor a Willie Nelson/NORML benefit golf tournament, put on a benefit concert for NORML in Austin, Texas, and record several public service announcements for the organization. Why? Well, I have smoked marijuana for too many years to count, and I’ve always enjoyed it. Plus, it just makes no sense at all to treat marijuana smokers like criminals
That’s why I continue to support NORML, and to work with the group my friend Keith founded to stop the senseless destruction of so many people’s lives ljust because they’d rather smoke a joint than take drink when they want to relax.
So, when I heard Keith was planning to write a book about his experiences over all these years at NORML, I offered to write this foreward. Keith Stroup has been my friend and political ally on both marijuana and family farm policies for more than thirty years now, and it has been my privilege to wook alongside him toward the goals we share for our country.
As I said at the outset, I smoke pot and I like it a lot. So do a lot of other fine people. It is past time we stopped arresting, and started respecting, responsible marijuana smokers.
Please support NORML — and help us finally legalize marijuana in America
“‘America’s most beloved marijuana smoker.’ That’s what I tell Willie he is, but then I tell him that he is America’s only beloved marijuana smoker, and we laugh and pass the joint.”
— Keith Stroup
It’s NORML to Smoke Pot