A Founder Looks at 50: Attorney Gerry Goldstein and the Early Years of NORML

A Founder Looks at 50: Attorney Gerry Goldstein and the Early Years of NORML

NORML Founder Keith Stroup For NORML’s 50th anniversary, every Friday we will be posting a blog from NORML’s Founder Keith Stroup as he reflects back on a lifetime as America’s foremost marijuana smoker and legalization advocate. This is the sixth in a series of blogs on the history of NORML and the legalization movement. Attorney Gerry Goldstein and the Early Years: A Tour of the Texas Prisons, My Bust in Calgary, and “the Pierre Trudeau Defense” During the 1970s when I was first running NORML, in an effort to extend the impact NORML might have on public policy, I traveled from state to state, wherever and whenever someone was willing to form a new NORML state or local group. During these travels, I was frequently meeting other young lawyers (although we also had many non-lawyers representing NORML around the country), many of whom were also active in the anti-Vietnam War efforts, who shared the NORML position regarding marijuana policy. While  privately most of these volunteer supporters were also marijuana smokers, they had to be especially careful to conceal their use in order to avoid being targeted by local law enforcement who might find their pro-legalization advocacy threatening. In addition, during those years most state bar associations would investigate any allegations that a member of the bar was a marijuana smoker, and would frequently suspend any lawyer from the practice of law for several months or even longer for even a simple marijuana possession conviction. It was considered a moral offense…

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