A brief history of the movement to legalize marijuana
Published: October 27, 2010
The White House cocaine controversy also clashed severely with NORML's lawyerly, socially conservative "decriminalization" image and the illusion of American "normalcy" it was meant to project, seriously undercutting the efficacy of the organization in terms of effecting real changes in the law.
For the next 20 years, the marijuana legalization movement remained at a virtual standstill while NORML was basically relegated to a place where you could be referred to a lawyer who would arrange a plea bargain with the prosecution to keep you out of jail but otherwise fully within the confines of a system that viciously persecuted millions of Americans who liked to get high on weed.
With all due respect, the NORML regime remained fully in control of the issue for a quarter of a century yet failed to take legalization even one step further than the Moscone Act of 1975. It wasn't until the Medical Marijuana movement led by Dennis Perrone in San Francisco and Scott Isler in Los Angeles mobilized AIDS patients and other medicinal marijuana users in 1996 to succeed in exempting this segment of the populace from the draconian punishments meted out by the generals of the War on Drugs.
Since then, 14 states and the District of Columbia have voted to legalize medical marijuana despite the unrelenting opposition of the government and its storm troops. While most of us may qualify as patients, the principle of liberation for the recreational user has gone begging until just now, and the moment of truth is finally at hand.
By the time my next column appears, we'll have our answer — and, hopefully, the true dawning of a new age. —Philadelphia, Pa., and Lowell, Mass.; Oct. 21-22, 2010
Former (and sometimes still) Detroiter John Sinclair writes Higher Ground on alternate weeks. You can hear him at radiofreeamsterdam.com.
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