Today the country’s oldest and most well-known marijuana law reform organization celebrates 40 years in the battle against marijuana prohibition. On March 2, 1971 the War on Drugs was still in its infancy, and the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws officially came into being.

The brainchild of a young lawyer named Keith Stroup and several of his friends, NORML has spent the past 40 years leading the cannabis reform movement – and despite the grumblings of some, massive gains have been made, and we stand on the verge of our ultimate goals.

In the coming year, NORML and NORML Foundation will mark the organization’s 40th anniversary not so much in celebration, but in reflection of the amazing public advocacy efforts, setbacks and achievements that have led the nation to this day where 15 states have ‘medical’ cannabis laws, 13 states have ‘decriminalized’ possession, and, by the end of 2012, likely one or more states will either pass cannabis legalization legislation or state voters will approve legalization initiatives.

The gains of the past 40 years would not have been possible without NORML, and NORML would not be possible without us. Activism everywhere supports the efforts of NORML and vice versa. When many efforts are moving toward the same goal, much more can be accomplished, and NORML has always been the standard in cannabis activism.

They have spawned many similar organizations, and the more the better. We are so close to the most historic victories in our movement’s history, and we must work harder than ever to achieve our goals.

Congratulations to NORML and all who support this legendary organization. Hopefully it’s an organization that doesn’t have to exist much longer.

- Joe Klare

About The Author

Joe Klare has been writing about marijuana issues for the past 5 years online, in print and on air.

  • DANIEL_7322

    I was there. That is to say that I was a smoker back then. This goal of legel cannabis seemed like a “no-brainer” back then and it still does. The fact that it’s 40 years later and that it isn’t legal yet is almost unbelievable. That’s what made it such a dissapointment when California had the chance to simply vote it to be so regardless of what the details looked like and failed to do so. That was the first real opportunity to do so in 40 years of trying.

  • Pingback: Norml turns 40 |

  • TonyDFixer

    Everyone please do not forget to attend the 420 rally in Washington DC on 4/20/2011. Lets get at least 1,000,000 people there!

  • Charles Queenc

    I was reading about the drig czars funny visit in Seattle.Yep it was a joke alright.Trying to push it off toThe predidents long term heakth crae?Whatever that meant.The proof is there as well as all of the well documented and well proven study’s done not only ithis country butin major country’s all around the world and all of these doctors scientists and proffesors are not wrong.Marijuana is a valuable medicinal auide good gor everything from cancer,to cgronic pain to mental diordres and to millions of others things in between.This 1 stae at a time legalization trend is costing mega millions or more when all along they know the given state will end up legalizing marijuana fort medicinal use.I think the government needs to srep in and mandate it legal for medicinal use nation wide and not leave it up to one state at a time.This only makes sense and saves billions in the end run