A Founder Looks at 50: The Important Role of Medical Experts in Support of Legalization

A Founder Looks at 50: The Important Role of Medical Experts in Support of Legalization

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 seventh in a series of blogs on the history of NORML and the legalization movement. The Important Role of Medical Experts in Support of the Legalization Movement: Dr. Lester Grinspoon, Dr. Norman Zinberg, and others. 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.  The exaggerated claims of harm raised by our political opponents today seem amazingly modest when compared with the outrageous claims being made by the anti-pot crowd 50 years ago. Many now warn that legalization will lead to a corporate takeover of the marijuana industry by those in the alcohol and tobacco industries, and in an attempt to sound more reasonable (they read the same polling that we see), they no longer say that they think we should jail marijuana users. Their excuse now for publicly opposing and lobbying against legalization is to protect us all from the perceived dangers from “big marijuana” and their supposed underhanded marketing practices. But back then, our opponents’ messaging was far more hyperbolic. They included opponents such as Dr. Gabriel Nahas from Columbia University, who was…

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